Rules of Arrangement

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Pub Date 02 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 31 Jul 2022

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A ten-page paper on the Cold War? Three hundred dollars. Need it by tomorrow? Four hundred. Want an A? Five.

Cash-strapped college senior Adelaide Wright doesn’t give discounts—she can’t afford to. Writing papers for other students is an expulsion-worthy risk, but Adelaide thinks she might actually make it to graduation day—until Declan, her art history TA, threatens to reveal her secret.

Declan won’t turn her in to the university on one condition: she must recover his stolen paintings from a notoriously cutthroat art dealer.

Jack Nolan is older, wealthy, and exacting, a power player in a world where money, sex, and high art rule. Adelaide’s only way into his exclusive circle is through an arrangement that leaves her at Jack’s beck and call. But can she handle being his arm candy without revealing her true motives? And as the chemistry unexpectedly sparks between them, is it possible that Jack isn’t quite the villain Declan described?

As Adelaide’s relationship with Jack intensifies, so do Declan’s demands. Soon the only thing holding her in place is a delicate tangle of secrets and lies that threatens to unravel at any moment…

A ten-page paper on the Cold War? Three hundred dollars. Need it by tomorrow? Four hundred. Want an A? Five.

Cash-strapped college senior Adelaide Wright doesn’t give discounts—she can’t afford to...

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ISBN 9798985286403
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Average rating from 123 members

Featured Reviews

4 stars

Rules of Arrangement was the pleasant surprise that I needed in the middle of this reading slump! Sometimes, it is good to judge a book by its (awesome) cover.

This book admittedly started out a bit slow for me but once we met our love interest, it hit the ground running. Romantic suspense and new adult are not genres that I have really delved into before, but this book may have just converted me. Mackenzie does an excellent job of building an actual love story out of a complicated set of circumstances and the tension that the blackmail subplot brings inserts itself enough to both allow the romance to build and add just that little bit of spice.

I think that it is one of the more successful debut novels that I have encountered recently and I look forward to reading more from Maren Mackenzie.

Thank you to NetGalley and Marmack Books for an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review!

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I had no idea what to expect going into this book. I thought it would have more art heist vibes, but then I saw it classified as a romance. My expectations were all over the place.

Despite this, or maybe because of this, Rules of Arrangement was a lot of fun. The story was so creative, so unlike any other romance I’ve read before. Adelaide Wright is a college senior who sells papers to her peers to get by. Declan, a childhood more-than-friend turned TA finds out and uses this fact to blackmail her into helping him get his art back from Jack Nolan, the art dealer who stole it.

When we first met Jack, I couldn’t help but picture him like Frank Lundy (my roommate and I have been binge-watching Dexter this week), a 60 year old man. I had to keep reminding myself he’s only 38. When I recalibrated my brain to picture Jack as my attractive next-door neighbor, I was able to enjoy the story much more.

On a serious note, Addie and Jack’s relationship was so compelling. I finished this book in two sittings (I had to take a break for sleep and work, unfortunately). While Jack annoyed me at times with his demands and I was a little uncomfortable with the age dynamic, the tender moments between him and Addie were perfect. Not to mention, those sex scenes were ****ing hot.

Mackenzie’s depiction of grief and Addie’s family dynamic were also realistic. It had been three years since her parents’ deaths, and I really felt the grief that came through on certain occasions such as holidays or when talking about her childhood.

I do feel like Addie’s friends, Imogen and Katy, got the short end of the stick. There really wasn’t any great resolution between the friend group in the end. It seems like Addie just kinda forgets about them in favor of her family and Jack.

However, I was really pleasantly surprised by this one. I’ll be interested to see what Maren Mackenzie will publish in the future.

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thank you netgalley for this arc which I received in exchange for an honest review.

this was SO much better than i thought it was going to be.

the romance was great. i loved addie and jack. it was interesting, steamy and entertaining throughout and overall just a fun read.

there was serious issues discussed which i didn’t expect which gave it some added depth and the characters didn’t seem at all one dimensional.

enjoyed this! would be willing to read other books by this author.

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Adelaide Wright finds herself facing expulsion from college, when a former teenage friend, Declan, blackmails her. How? Adelaide has been writing papers for students so that she can pay her college fees and survive. Declan won’t reveal her secret if she recovers his stolen paintings from Jack Nolan, an art dealer. When Adelaide catches Jack’s eye, she finds herself drawn into his world, accepting an arrangement whereby she is at his beck and call, in return for a lucrative fee. As the chemistry between them ignites, Adelaide wonders whether there is more behind the image that Jack projects or if there can be more than their current arrangement.
The premise of this story had me interested but the more I read, the more I found myself thoroughly immersed in the relationship between Adelaide and Jack. At first Jack seems quite aloof and not quite likeable but as time goes on, and their relationship intensifies, we see Jack reveal more of his feelings, very subtly. I enjoyed the gradual transition from their aggressive manner towards each other, to more tender feelings. The conflict between Adelaide and her two siblings, was well integrated into the storyline, as was Declan’s character. For a first novel, the writer deals with the adult themes with tremendous sensitivity, never letting these issues overwhelm Adelaide and Jack’s developing relationship. Even once I finished reading this book, I found myself rereading pivotal sections, and in a way, not wanting to finish the story. A great read!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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This is the book you pick up when you need something scandalous and compelling to fall into for an afternoon. There's drama, romance with a touch of spice, a glamorous art scene juxtaposed against your average college campus, but what surprised me the most is the emotional depth that this story pulls off. I'm so glad I requested this on a whim off NetGalley. Sometimes, the best books just have a way of finding you when you need them. What a fantastic debut!

TW: attempted suicide (not graphic, on page), death of a parent, blackmail, slut shaming

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC

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It's been awhile since I've read a book that so thoroughly hooked me from the very beginning that I sat and read the entire thing in one day. But that's exactly what Rules of Arrangement did. From the cover art (absolute perfection) to the description (very intriguing and gave me L.S. Hilton Maestra vibes), this book was exactly what I needed as a palette cleanser from my steady diet of romantic comedies. This had everything I could want in a book - romance, a little mystery, a little intrigue, and enough character-driven drama to keep me turning the pages as quickly as possible.

Adelaide Wright is a broke college senior just trying to make it to graduation by writing other students' papers for cash, as she has for the last several years. Until she runs into a old friend of hers, Declan Jones, who reappears in her life after six years. After painting her portrait, having sex with her, then leaving her without a word on his way to becoming a rising star of an artist, she's surprised to see him on her college campus. After convincing her to write a paper for him, she's even more shocked to find out he's the TA for her art history course - the same course he asked her to write a paper for. Knowing that he's trapped her, when he blackmails her into helping him recover some stolen paintings, paintings that he's convinced will help him get his career back on track, she's left with no choice but to go along with his scheme. Sure that his former art dealer Jack Nolan stole his most brilliant paintings and betrayed him, Declan facilitates a meeting between Jack and Adelaide so that she can become his "arrangement" or lover. As she gets more involved with Declan, she begins to question how much she knows about and can trust him. And her arrangement with Jack becomes more and more intense, and when it begins to feel less like an arrangement and more like something serious and real, she's torn between what she wants, what she thinks she deserves, and who she can trust as she walks a fine line of deception, desire, and ambition.

Absolutely brilliant and engaging novel! The characters are well-developed and nuanced, the plot is well-paced with just enough intrigue to be engaging rather than edgy, and the chemistry between Adelaide and Jack was explosive but realistic. Highly recommend this book! Thanks to Maren Mackenzie, Marmack Books and NetGalley for the privilege of reading an early copy in exchange for my honest review.

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This book had me hooked from start to finish.

I am a slow reader, even short books take me a couple or days or more. This book only took me an afternoon and an evening. I could *not* put it down. Maren Mackenzie's debut novel is an absolute hit. I wish I could experience it all over again for the first time. I am so happy with it! Her writing is convincing, emotional, sexy, and romantic. The whole package!

I am not used to reading books with quite the age gap this one had, but now I'm eager to discover more-- especially if they're written as compelling as this one.

I felt for our lead Adelaide so much. There was one point towards the second half of the story where I was so scared she was not going to be able to share her truth on her own terms. So many of her choices were manipulated away, leaving her with limited agency, and I was nervous for when and how the truth would come out. The fact I held my breath and my heart was racing as wildly as it did, is further evidence of how compelling the book was. Jack made me feel all things-- frustration and anger; love and exhilaration. I wanted him away from Adelaide, but also needed him to stay with her. Their relationship was one I immediately bought into. There is so much tension, chemistry, and urgency in their attraction to one another. The smut was a total steamy delight, but what I ended up caring more about was when they emotionally connected to one another. Shower sex is a total plus. but I also love scenes of vulnerability. Of soft intimacy. The urgent sex, the soft intimacy, this story balanced it out so well! There was sincere depth I so appreciated.

Some may question the feasibility of Adelaide getting away with 3 years of illegal essay writing, but for me, I think sometimes you have to suspend your disbelief. I fell easily into this story and honestly did not want to leave it. I regret how quickly I read it, if anything.

My only "complaints" are quite minor- I would have enjoyed a lengthier finish or epilogue, with a narrative that paced itself so well, I was a bit bummed with how quickly things wrapped up. On the opposite side, I think I needed more a build-up of Jack's secret. Again,I do consider these minor nitpicks that did not detract any from my overall enjoyment of this book. Like I said, for a slow reader like me-- finishing within a day means a book was freaking fantastic!

Thank you NetGalley and Marmack Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book prior to its release. I am so grateful-- the synopsis had be immediately intrigued and I felt extremely satisfied with this book.
Will 100% recommend to all! I can't wait to see what other stories Mackenzie has in store for us-- I'll definitely be a loyal and eager reader to all future works!

trigger warning: there is discussion of a past suicide attempt as well as a present day suicide attempt.

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This is was such an easy, enjoyable read. The characters were wonderful to get to know and I was hooked as soon as Jack was introduced.

I love me an age gap romance! Adelaide and Jack’s attraction to each other was instant, however as their relationship becomes more complicated, it’s as if their romance goes from a fast to a slow burn as we watch them figure it out.

I absolutely adore Adelaide. A college student who has experienced more than your average 22-year-old, she’s scrappy and has a bit of a chip on her shoulder. So it was really nice to see her become so vulnerable with Jack.

I really loved how many emotions I went through as I got to know Declan. One moment, I sympathized with him and the next, I hated his guts, then back to sympathizing. That’s a sign of a great story, in my opinion!

Overall, I loved this book and I couldn’t put it down. I will absolutely recommend it to everyone I know.

Thank you to NetGalley and Marmack Books for an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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The option of writing papers for money in college was available to me. I'm not sure if this book makes me sad or glad I didn’t. Ms Mackenzie has crafted an excellent and riveting story of tension that keeps your eyes on the page. Adelaide is a very familiar character to this generation; while most of us haven't written papers for money or entered into questionable contrats to survive, most of us have dealt with paying for college, student loans, and the terrifying future after you graduate. Her choices may be “wrong” to some, but one of the themes of the book is did she really have a choice at all; the lesser of two evils.

Now to the less existential part. The tension, the romance, the chemistry! It was truly simmering in the pages. Fake dating trope has to be one of my favorites and this plot embraces it while finding a fresh take. While the spice is certainly spicy a lot of the tension is not lust based; but on both Jack and Adelaide needing emotional support and not believing the other is open to that. Damn contracts. This could have been a typical fake dating romance, and there is nothing not lovely about that, but underlying themes of modern class inequality, sibling struggles, and mental health elevate Rules of Arrangement.

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My Fair Lady meets Pretty Woman!!
I couldn't put this down and literally read it in one sitting. I'm already looking forward to more from Maren Mackenzie.
Adelaide Wright is a struggling college student, desperately trying to make ends meet in order to pay her tuition at a costly New England college. She earns money by writing papers for other students, always at risk of being found out, but so far, with only months to graduation, keeping a low profile and a lid on her illegal side job.
Enter Declan. Art History TA who discovers her essay writing game and gives Adelaide a choice: help him recover his paintings from a well-known, ruthless art dealer or he turns her in for cheating.
Jack Nolan is exciting, wealthy, and hot as hell. Her only chance to get close to him is basically becoming his sugar baby. However, they both begin chipping away at each other's armor as they chemistry grows between them and Adelaide starts to question everything that threw her into this "arrangement."
I really liked the storyline of both Adelaide and Jack. It was a sad story that brought a couple tears to the surface but as their relationship developed, it felt natural, even though it was an instant lusty attraction between them.
This was reminiscent of Pretty Woman meets My Fair Lady so if that crossover peaks your interest, this is for you!
Thank you Maren Mackenzie and Marmack Books for this ARC. However, it in no way influenced my review.

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