A Dangerous Arrangement
Harlequin Escape Publishing AUS
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
Dean Logan designs and sells yachts and has just been the victim of a cyber attack which has stolen the latest designs to his superyacht. This attack could cost him billions and unless he gives in to the hackers demands, he and his company will suffer. There’s no denying it’s an inside job but his former employee has vanished. Dean has his head of security making investigations and the eye of suspicion soon falls on his former employee’s flatmate.
Violinist Marina Wentworth has just arrived in Europe for a very small gig, something that’s important to her to get her back on the path of performing. She’s playing as part of a quartet and the last thing she expects is to be accosted by an angry yacht owner who thinks she’s involved with the plans to steal from him. It doesn’t take long for Dean to realise that Marina isn’t involved and has been set up by her former flatmate who used his formidable computer skills to hack into her laptop and gather information about her that was used to plant evidence against her.
Despite the circumstances under which they meet, Dean and Marina experience a powerful attraction which only grows as Marina works with Dean with information that might help him bring to justice his former employee and her former flatmate. But ultimately Dean and Marina are from different worlds, far apart and Marina still has a secret or two she’s been keeping. Is this only a fleeting happiness or is there a way to make it work for the long term?
A Dangerous Arrangement is Lee Christine’s fourth romantic suspense novel and once again she delivers another smooth and polished story with some main characters with very interesting occupations. Dean Logan is a yacht architect and makes his money building expensive boats for other people. He has a history in racing yachts and a trauma buried deep in his past. Marina Wentworth is American, although living and working in Sydney. She’s a violinist and quite a well known one, although she has experienced some injury with her wrist and is currently easing herself back into performing. After a childhood where Marina knows just how much her family sacrificed for her lessons and for her to become successful, she’s terrified of her injury threatening her career and letting everyone down. This trip to Europe to play as part of a quartet on a ship (boat? yacht? like Marina, I have to admit I’m not entirely sure which is which!) is a way to gently test herself and build her confidence again. The last thing she expects is to be accused of theft and bribery and then roped in to help the real thief be caught.
Dean doesn’t take too kindly to being blackmailed and I can understand his anger at what has happened to him and his suspicion of Marina. Some of his actions are a little heavy handed, but he does listen to Marina and figure out pretty quickly that she’s not involved and is nothing but a scapegoat for the real culprit. Marina does have some information that she’s able to offer up and when it looks as though she is being blackmailed just as much as Dean is, she vows to do all that she can to ensure that the guilty party is caught. The two of them end up spending a lot of time with each other as Dean takes Marina to his yacht and then also begins to teach her how to swim when he realises what her fear stems from. There’s an attraction that simmers between them and I liked the way their relationship developed as they spent more time with each other.
I also really liked both character’s backgrounds, not something that you read about a lot. I’ve read another book many a year ago now that focused on the characters of an orchestra but probably nothing since and I found Marina’s background quite interesting. She’s very open about the sacrifices her family made for her and the possible resentment this has inspired from her siblings, who didn’t get quite the same attention lavished on them. She feels so compelled to be the best that she can be, to justify that time, effort and money spent on her in her youth. She has hit a lot of heights in her career but there’s been a scandal or two and lots of pressure as well (most of it probably self inflicted). I found Dean’s background fun as well, it was nice to learn a few things about sailing and yachts. It’s hard not to know the money that can be in them – the gossip pages are full of this celebrity and that celebrity enjoying holidays on their million dollar yachts but you tend not to think of the design that goes into crafting something like that, just the luxurious end product. Dean was a self-made man who had known personal loss and pain and also sacrifice and hard work. I quite admired his determination to catch the hacker and blackmailer and not accept the situation passively. Although he does pay the bribe, he does it knowing that it won’t accomplish anything other than perhaps buy him more time to further close in on the elusive hacker and I even found the story behind the hacking quite interesting too and not too implausible.
A Dangerous Arrangement is a fast-paced and highly enjoyable story that blends the best of romance and suspense into one cohesive story. I never have any hesitation in picking up one of Lee Christine’s books and recommend them all.
Book #102 of 2015
Make sure you check out the wonderful trailer for A Dangerous Arrangement here!
A Dangerous Arrangement is book #42 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015