The Rules of Arrangement book cover

STAR RATING: 4 stars
PAGE LENGTH: 344 pages
CW: Sexual content, suicide attempt, toxic friendship/relationship, death of parent
IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: Always be My Duchess by Amalie Howard for the arrangement side of things, or Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross for the artistic side


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… 

Rules of Arrangement by Maren Mackenzie wasn’t quite what I expected it to be. I was hoping that art would take more of a forefront here, but sadly, it really doesn’t. The art dealing world was just a backdrop to a rather steamy story. (I also somehow thought this was about an art heist? Dunno where I got that idea from.) Despite that, I really enjoyed Rules of Arrangement for what it was: a romance book with a contract.

I don’t know that I’ve ever read a contemporary romance with a contract in it, but I liked the trope in this book! I might have to seek out more like this one, to be honest.

Adelaide Wright is an excellent leading lady. For much of the story, people are telling her what to do, when to do it, why she should do it, etc. When she finally stands up for herself, it is a triumph. I loved watching her come to realize that she had the power to do whatever she wanted, regardless of the consequences. That was nice. Jack Nolan, the leading man, was frequently a horrible person. He is stubborn, he is used to getting his way, and on top of all that, he’s rich as hell. Did I end up liking him as the story went on? Yes, I did. He still drove me nuts in some scenes, though. Declan, the artist who blackmails Adelaide, was straight-up insane most of the book. The author did a fantastic job of showing him just spiraling into insanity throughout the story.

Adelaide and Jack had amazing chemistry together that you could really feel as you read. Their sex scenes were steamy, and their conversations (where they actually talked) felt real. Despite their age difference (She’s 22, and he’s…38? I think?), it felt like a definite match between them.

I really enjoyed Rules of Arrangement — I read it in a matter of hours, actually. I just couldn’t put it down!

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  1. I was also kinda confused about the direction of this story (definitely also thought it would be more art heist focused!) but I’m glad you liked it! I enjoyed it, too, despite this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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