Warning: This book includes mature content such as: sexual content, and/or drug and/or alcohol use, and/or violence.
A reckless infatuation nearly ruined Lady Alice Cathcart-Ross in her youth, but from the moment she spies Elijah Philemon Keating scaling a rock face without a rope in sight, the man awakens her long-buried desire. Alice has come to the high Alps in search of a mountaineer, and in Elijah she finds the guide of her dreams.
Though Elijah is known as one of the greatest explorers of the age, a tragic accident has destroyed his taste for adventure and society. Elijah can't deny his attraction to Alice, but he resolves to avoid the entanglement that could accompany it. He promises Alice one week in the Alps, and no more.
Alice agrees, valuing her independence above all else. But as the heights they climb by day are overshadowed by the summits of passion they reach at night, these vows become harder and harder to keep…
*I received a free ARC of Improper Arrangements from Carina Press via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
Improper Arrangements is pretty improper! Twenty-six year-old Alice travels alone, and then finds herself a male guide for a week-long walk through mountain passes in the French and Swiss Alps… and Alice is not exactly innocent… Neither, of course is Eli, but it was always understood that men could behave any way they wanted to, whereas women were supposed to stay pure and demure.
And the fact that Alice was not a perfect little lady is one of the reasons I enjoyed Improper Arrangements so much! She knew what she wanted, and went after it. At first, Eli thought nothing of spending some naughty time with her, but afterwards, he thought she had used her feminine wiles to make him be her guide from Argentières to Arolla. And the places the couple walked by is another reason Improper Arrangements spoke to me – I live close to the French and Swiss Alps, and have been in several of the places Alice was able to visit during the story.
There was an instant physical attraction between Alice and Eli, and it was very refreshing to read about a woman in that period who was not ashamed to go after a man who pleased her, and who also knew how to pleasure herself when need be. However, this is also where I was a little confused at times, because Alice was very bold in some moments, then she was like the shy quivering virgin in other moments. She would do things to Eli without question, and then she was ashamed when he reciprocated. I also found that there was some word-usage that was a little anachronistic, and this kind of pulled me out of the story of Improper Arrangements a couple of times.
Both the dialogs and the other interactions between Alice and Eli were well done, I enjoyed Alice’s repartee, and I thought it was awesome that Eli commented on how different from other women she was – and he showed that he really enjoyed that, too. Eli was not a man of double standards, and that was just as refreshing as a woman who was strong and independent.
His irises shone a pale, clear gray, so light they might have been silver, and were ringed with a narrow band of blue the exact color of India ink. In all my life, I’d never seen such unusual eyes.
At the time, I’d sworn to myself I would never be tempted again – not by a man’s pretty words and certainly not by an attractive face r form. What real need had I of a man, after all?
I valued the life I had created for myself and had no wish to see it destroyed. I was a modern woman, a woman who took pride in making rational, sensible choices. But that woman had vanished, or perhaps had been vanquished, and in her place was an Alice I scarcely recognized, heedless of consequence, reckless to the point of ruin, deaf to everything save the flame of need his touch had kindled.