The Three-Week Arrangement by Sarah Ballance

The Three-Week Arrangement by Sarah BallanceThe Three-Week Arrangement by Sarah Ballance
Series: Chase Brothers, #3
Published by Entangled Publishing on April 4th 2016
Pages: 200
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Ethan Chase isn't interested in dating. After losing the woman he loved more than life itself, he'd much rather ride solo, but his family is dead set on fixing him up. To get them off his back, he hooks up with ultra-adventurous, ultra-temporary adventure photographer, Rue Campbell. All he has to do is survive three weeks in her orbit and he'll be single again, only without the pitying looks and pressure to move on.
Rue is literally counting the days until her plane leaves New York City. The last thing she wants is a relationship, but being Ethan's pretend girlfriend can't hurt, right? Wrong. With Ethan, there's no faking anything—in or out of the bedroom. With the sheets burning hot and the clock ticking on their arrangement, Rue realizes she's falling for a man guaranteed to derail her goals...and break her heart.

Being accosted by a random stranger on the road wasn’t ever part of Ethan Chase’s plan and before he knows it, he and Rue Campbell have an arrangement that will mutually benefit the both of them. Temporary yet intense, neither expect that there could be something more past that due date

I had expected this relationship to be fraught with angst, denial and explosive (but exaggerated) passion and was pleasantly surprised when it really wasn’t. Sarah Ballance captures Ethan Chase perfectly: tentative, wary, but open and giving, if not a bit scared still of venturing out into dating.

Yet I thought ‘The Three-week Arrangement’ read like a book skewed towards exploring Ethan’s own journey post-grieving with a woman whom I wasn’t too convinced was a perfect match for him. It was brilliant to read about Ethan slowly crawling out of his comfort zone, but I finished the book with the nagging feeling that Rue Campbell’s somewhat self-absorbed nature hadn’t changed too much when decided she wanted Ethan on her own terms and failing to make that same measure of sacrifice he had. Rue never quite gave me the impression that she would ever keep a stable home and in the epilogue, her constant travel made it look like their relationship would be defined by them more physically apart more than together.

Perhaps this works for some readers; this particular compromise of far-flung dreams and relationship with strings that could comprise a good enough HEA for couples like Rue and Ethan. Personally, I’m simply less convinced – not because of Ms. Ballance’s great writing itself – of this kind of ending because I thought some kind of grand(er) gesture from Rue was needed for someone so beautifully-written as Ethan.