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Claudia slammed the door and left. I stuck my forehead to the cool window, trying to catch a break from the unduly heat inside the Mini. It was a beautiful June day. The kind that rarely came about in rainy London. Instead of enjoying it, here I was, stuck yet again inside my car, doing nothing. I must be crazy.
A knock on my window caught me by surprise. I shook like an epileptic when I realized Gabriel Varela stood next to my car. He was bent down toward me, his face leveled with mine, his smile dazzling. He gestured for me to roll down the window.
I considered locking the doors and driving the hell away from him but then I figured the chances that a florist would off me in the middle of the street in broad daylight were slim to none. I looked for his bulky bodyguard from the picture. He would gladly shoot me dead. No one in sight. My hand shaking, I opened the window.
“Hello,” Gabriel Varela said, extending a manicured hand to me.
It was a beautiful hand, delicate yet powerful, with long pianist fingers. The hand of an intellectual, its skin soft, as I shook it feebly. The hand of a real man all the same. A hand that swallowed mine completely and made me feel small. A hand that invaded my car like a threat.
A Cunning Plan
by Astrid Arditi
GENRE: Romantic suspense
Determined to put her family back together, Sloane Harper stalks her ex husband and his annoyingly stunning mistress, Kate Stappleton. But she’s not the only one.
Handsome IRS agent Ethan Cunning is surveying Kate too, but for entirely different reasons. He is attempting to nail Kate’s playboy boss.
Ethan and Sloane decide to help each other, which sends Sloane’s wobbly life spinning out of control. She’ll have to face danger, humiliation, and – scariest of all – the dating scene, to lure her daughters’ father home.
Losing control was the best thing to happen to Sloane…until it turned lethal.
5*** Fast-paced crossover between romantic comedy and spy novel
** I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**
In the name of honesty, I must say I’m not a big fan of spy/cozy mystery books. I’ve read some, but I’m not big on them. Also, as a writer of erotic romances, I prefer reading stories with a higher level of heat in the love scenes. Still, I totally enjoyed A Cunning Plan. So that must give you an idea of how good it is since a ‘non-converted’ such as myself liked the story so much, right?
Granted, it took me a while to warm up to Sloane. Funnily enough, the very characteristics that make her so realistic were the ones that annoyed me the most: her low self-esteem, her fixation on her cheating ex-husband, and her clumsiness. Yet, like I said, they made perfect sense for her character. Moreover, Sloane evolves so much during the story that you can’t avoid empathizing with her and cheering her on. It’s a great example of character development.
Speaking of which, Astridi Arditi displays awesome writing skills for a debut author. It’s not easy achieving her level of quality in character development right off the bat as she’s done. Kudos! With Rose and Poppy, for example, she captured their children’s perspective so well. one Sloane comes home one night and goes to their room to kiss them goodnight, you can almost hear Poppy’s giggles welcoming their mom and Rose’s whispers telling Poppy to be quiet as they weren’t supposed to be up. They are two of my favorite characters, by the way.
As for writing style, Ms. Arditi’s elegant descriptions are detailed without being tiresome. The pace is fast since there’s so much going on in the story. You won’t have time to think about putting it down. Luckily, read it over Labor Day weekend because I wouldn’t be able to stop it and do my regular job otherwise. LOL The plot is engaging and keeps you turning the pages to know what comes next. Even when what comes next is a bit predictable, it makes sense in the context of the story.
Favorite line – “I’ll find you”. As I don’t write spoilers, I won’t say why that’s my favorite; but you’ll understand when you read the book. LOL
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Astrid Arditi was born from a French father and Swedish mother. She lived in Paris and Rome before moving to London with her husband and daughter back in 2013.
After dabbling in journalism, interning at Glamour magazine, and teaching kindergarten, Arditi returned to her first love: writing.
She now splits her time between raising her kids (a brand new baby boy just joined the family) and making up stories.
A Cunning Plan is Arditi’s first published work.
I blog at www.astridarditi.com
Facebook Astrid Arditi author https://www.facebook.com/Astridarditiauthor
Twitter @astrid_arditi https://twitter.com/astrid_arditi