With apologies to the author for taking so long to review this novel. It literally slipped through the cracks (no pun intended).
Publication Date: January 31, 2013
In Arranged by Arlene Valle, Samantha Beck is a woman with needs. Her boyfriend, billionaire Reid Harris, understands her needs and is willing to indulge the despite the fact that they involve other men. Reid arranges a weekend for Samantha with a handsome younger man, Max Wolfe. Normally, Reid facilitates liaisons with men that Samantha will never see again but Max, to whom she’s inexplicably drawn, plays heavily into future dealings that Reid has on Margarita Island. Can the pair honor the spirit of Reid’s arrangement and keep their hands off of each other and what of the dead body found in the fishing net?
The author, Arlene Valle, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
This novel has a huge market in 2013. It falls firmly into the erotica category and the next time someone asks me what they should read after Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy, I’m going to suggest Arranged by Arlene Valle. The sexual acts in the narrative are usually one man and one woman and in only a few exceptions ventures into a ground that would cause new erotica readers to cringe. Samantha’s life does turn bad and turns to sexual violence that she doesn’t ever really address within the course of the story — kind of rationalizing and assimilating the experience.
There’s a minor mystery story line but for the most part, it is one woman’s sexual adventure. The characters are extremely well outlined. Samantha connects emotion to sex and uses both sex and emotion in “earning” her lifestyle. Reid loves and indulges her. She’s his pet that he calls Princess and smiles indulgently as she has fun with other men. He says that he’d like to be her only man and the only one satisfying her, but when he’s not outright contracting for her needs or satisfying them himself, he’s sending her into situations where she’s going to stray.
I found the sessions dealing with her sex addiction interesting. They are few. She credits Reid with saving her from the porn industry, but really she’s still in the sex trade and she, at some level, acknowledges that in the novel. The sex therapist asks if she’s staying on her meds and I wondered what meds a sex addict would take. We know she’s on birth control and has been for years so that she’s never had a period, but what would she be on to control urges? The acupuncture sessions were real enough to make this reader cringe. The thought of little needles. Ugggg.
Overall, the plot progression is logical because the plot progression is sexual partners. We see the downside of Samantha’s life and as much as I didn’t want to feel sorry for her it was impossible at points not to feel for her. I didn’t want to feel for Reid either as I think a man in his position would be paying for sex whether it was Samantha or not. He tells us at the start that she’s all his, all for him. She’s not—she loves all of her partners in different ways and all of those ways make sense in the context of the story.
If you like erotica, Arranged is a well-written example of the genre.
Read an excerpt and buy Arranged by Arlene Valle on