Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Arrangement by Felice Stevens - Release Day Blitz with Review and Giveaway

Title: The Arrangement
Author: Felice Stevens
Genre: M/M Romance
 Release Date: July 20, 2016


Carter Haywood lives for the weekends—specifically the one weekend every month when he escapes real life, with all the pressures of work and caring for his special needs brother, to do whatever he wants, with whomever he wants. Sex is only a release; he's not looking for love, a relationship or even a second night with the same man, until he walks into a bar and finds someone who makes leaving it all behind impossible. After one incredibly passionate encounter, he breaks his rule and goes back. He needs to see this man again. And again.

Damaged goods. That's all Reed Kincaide sees and hears when he looks in the mirror. Anxiety and ADHD define his life and he’s learned to keep people at a distance, never letting them get close enough to know who he really is. When Carter proposes a monthly weekend of sex without strings, it's the ideal arrangement for him. Or so he thinks. Every month, leaving Carter proves to be more and more difficult. It’s not only the intensely hot sex they have in their hotel suite; Reed wonders about the secret life Carter refuses to share.

As months pass and they grow closer Reed finds himself falling for Carter, but he needs more than hurried hugs and farewell kisses. He wants it all. Letting Reed into his carefully constructed family life could upset Carter’s whole world, but it might be the risk he’s finally willing to take, if it means keeping Reed. Once bodies are engaged, the heart is sure to follow, and Carter and Reed discover that holding on to each other is the first step in letting go of the past.

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It wasn’t the same standard room this time, Reed noticed. Carter had a suite, and Reed hadn’t ever been in a hotel room quite as large or luxurious. The outer room boasted a dining table with four chairs, a credenza with a flat-screen television, a large, comfortable-looking sofa, and two club chairs. A low light glowed from an interior room, which Reed assumed to be the bedroom. His stomach clenched tightly in response.

“Uh, sure. I wasn’t working the bar, just doing some of the office work for Vernon, so he didn’t care if I left.” Still holding on to his waist, Carter walked him over to the sofa where Reed dropped his knapsack and duffel bag, then managed to break Carter’s hold on him so he could remove his jacket. On the pretense of looking around the room, Reed walked around a bit before halting by the wall of windows overlooking the congested streets of Times Square.

“It’s bizarre, you know?” He touched the cool pane of glass. “There’s so many separate worlds going on all over the city. We’re in this secluded bubble up here where we don’t even hear the sound of the traffic. Anything could happen, and no one would realize it; love, death, every day it all goes on around us and we remain oblivious.”

He sensed Carter behind him. “That’s very philosophical. Is that what you’re studying—philosophy?”

The disbelief in Carter’s voice caused Reed to smile, but he kept his gaze fixed on the glittering light show outside the window instead of turning around to meet Carter’s eyes. “No, I’m studying hospitality management. I’d like to eventually manage my own restaurant or a hotel.”

“Good. For a moment I thought you were wasting your tuition money on nonsense. You’ll never make any money studying that crap. It’s not like you can open up a philosophy store and spend your day spouting all that bullshit to people.”

Strangely enough, Carter’s obvious disdain quieted Reed’s nerves. “I don’t know; I could see myself sitting in a nice quiet space, talking to people about their lives, thinking deep thoughts.”

“Oh yeah?” Carter pressed him against the window, covering Reed with his body. He’d forgotten Carter had been naked when he entered, and Reed could feel the thrust of his cock against his ass. “Maybe you have something there ’cause I like it when you get deep.” Carter kissed behind his ear, sending shivers down Reed’s spine. “Deep inside me.”

A surge of lust jolted through Reed, stiffening his dick, and heat flooded through him. Carter’s tongue traced a slow deliberate pattern across his neck and Reed’s pulse raced. “I like that too,” he whispered, and Carter’s lips curved in a brief smile against his ear, his breath hot and humid.

4 out of 5 stars

The Arrangement is a new stand alone contemporary romance from Felice Stevens. 

Carter is a driven man. He lives for his work, and his little brother who he has been raising for the past three years. He tells himself he doesn't want a relationship because he doesn't want to deal with the emotional fallout nor does he want to take time away from his brother, who needs him. 
Reed is also driven, he's working as many hours as he can get along with going to school, working on his degree. He also suffers from severe anxiety with panic attacks and ADD. This is his challenge and he works on overcoming them both daily. Sometimes he wins, sometimes his mental state wins. 

Carter and Reed meet purely by accident one night when Carter is out and sees Reed working the bar. He's intrigued, and a lot turned on, and this leads to a one-night stand between them. But that's not the first and last time they'll see each other. Obviously other things happen in the story but I'd rather you read for yourself and get sucked into Carter and Reed's story. 

This was a little different story 'feel' for me from this author. We have two men, Carter and Reed, who are very different and have had very difficult lives in their own way. Those lives have shaped who they are today in both good and bad ways. There were times in the story that I had trouble connecting to one or the other character. This didn't make it a bad read, not at all, it did make it a read where it didn't always flow from scene to scene. Again that's not a bad thing necessarily, it just made it a different read then normal. 

I seriously adored Reed through most of the book, there was a time or two when I wanted to shake him but it was understandable and worked out. Carter on the other hand, sometimes I felt like he wasn't always invested in more than the warm body that was Reed. But then on the other hand these two worked together both in the literal and figurative sense. There was a connection from the start but Carter kept putting up walls between them to stop his feelings from becoming engaged. Until they finally hit him like a freight train and then he was all over those feelings for Reed. 

I did enjoy the story and cheered on Reed and Carter through the entire book. The story was still a typical Felice Stevens story, lots of heart, and a great narrative throughout the book. She knows how to build characters that are polarizing and the others who tug on your heartstrings. This book fits all those descriptions it just wasn't my absolute favorite of her books but that won't stop me from re-reading it again to catch things I missed the first time around. 

I highly encourage readers to try this story because every reader has their own unique perspective when reading and what works for me my not work for you and vice versus.  

 Author Bio

I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner, my characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love.

I live in New York City with my husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of my own. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be a few bumps along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

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