A Cunning Plan: Astrid Ardith
Divorce does not always play out the way you want it to and most times can be messy and nasty. Sloane Harper and her husband Tommy seem to have come to a parting of the ways since he was caught cheating on her. But, Sloane does not seem to grasp this and her mode of revenge is to stalk and hang out in front of his girlfriend’s apartment hoping to catch a glimpse of her and maybe even dome nasty dirt. That is just the start of this hectic novel filled with antics you won’t believe, Sloane’s critical mother Bizzy and her do nothing but hilarious housekeeper Claudia who is keeping vigil with her rather than clean her house or do anything worth while. Unfortunately for Sloane someone else is watching Kate’s apartment and this person has another reason which will get Sloane embroiled in some dangerous sleuthing, dangerous encounters and meeting a man named Gabriel Valor hoping to nail him for whatever he is guilty of. Sloane is impetus, unyielding at times and often goes off on tangents and does not think about the end result. But, what happens when a hot, handsome and really pumped IRS agent named Ethan Cunning decides to set his sights on her but not the way you think. Explaining when he firsts sort of accosts her that she has no choice, no way to say no and he needs her to continue checking out Kate along with him but not for the same reasons. He wants to nail Gabriel and she is the decoy. But, Ethan and Sloane might form what you may call an unholy alliance but this is definitely not conventional and some of the scenes are hilarious as she tries to ward him off, make him disappear and not tell anyone about him but how can she keep him a secret?
Sloane finds herself wanting to do something to better herself so why not take martial arts and hire someone to get her back in shape and who better than Sven. But, Bizzy is materialistic, fashion conscious and definitely the most critical mother in this book anyway and she finds reasons to put down Sloane, let her know her shortcomings as Sloane spirals out of control in more ways than one.
Ethan wants Sloane to remain in front of Kate’s apartment but she never shows. Although he shows up at the most in appropriate times for some reason she seems drawn to this man why? Added in we meet Poppy and Rose her two daughters who seem to be quite astute for little girls and seem to understand their mother’s moods better than she does at times. With their father showing up to take them overnight or a long weekend, Sloane at times forgetting to pick them up at school needing her mother’s help you begin to wonder when will she ever become more organized, responsible and think before doing something that might endanger her and her children.
Surveillance is not her thing when Gabriel spies her and demands that she come into the office and say hello to her friend Kate. The scene is quite funny as she tries to figure out a way to not go inside although Gabriel’s mannerisms are quite insistent and she sort of has no choice but to follow him inside and pray that something bad does not happen. Meeting Kate for the first time she does become a little flustered but why does Kate cover for her and pretend that she forgot their meeting and can they reschedule? The glares are there but not so fierce that anyone really notices.
Kung Fu lessons that Claudia enjoys watching as she also enjoy Sven and so does Bizzy. No one seems to be doing any sort of work yet her mother manages to take care of the girls and deliver them to school or pick them up when she gets in a tight spot. Claudia loves to go along with her on her surveillance not knowing exactly who Ethan is and why she is watching him. As things get out of control and Sloane realizes that Gabriel might not be the rich businessman she thinks she finds herself wondering about his associate Hector, his chief CFO Isabelle and thinks that they are into something that would hurt Gabriel. Dinners, dates, getting to know him and yet managing to remain neutral and not get that close that things get totally out of control Sloane thinks that he is just a nice man who is being betrayed. At times she seems naïve, not too smart and always tries to look for the good in others as we meet the dance teacher and her associates at the daughter’s school where she has invited Gabriel to attend with her as her date at the gala. Her friend Alina, who is gorgeous and married to a man named Yuri befriends her at the gala and the two of them become thick as thieves until Yuri shows up. Looking at him she begins to wonder about him and why Alina’s demeanor changes. Deciding to follow Hector and going to the dock reveals his secrets, what they are really bringing into the country, why and the reason she thinks she needs to warn Gabriel. But, intertwined she has mixed feelings about Tommy, wants him back but he is bent on Kate at least until he gets a better offer.
Going back and forth in her mind and trying to sort out her feelings she becomes stuck in a three way triangle not sure about how she feels about her ex-husband, Ethan and his way of making her feeling vital or convincing her to go along with his mission or scheme and Gabriel who has snowed her under. When she realizes the truth what happens will put her in harms way and will Ethan be able to find her when he is nowhere in sight. Telling him to get lost, stay away and learning the truth about him she realizes that she can trust just about no one including her own mother who taunts her. But, confessions are quite apparent and the scene between her and her mother quite unique as the author decided to present a mother-daughter moment in an unusual way but will this cement them in a better way and will their relationship finally be as mother and daughter? What about Ethan will he get there in time to save her before what some people have planned and plotted takes her away from her children? Why is Tommy following her and what is his offer about coming back? Will she see the light and allow the fog to clear? A story about love, betrayal, trust, family loyalties, friendship and one girl named Sloane Harper who has yet to find her own special niche. What’s next for her? Will she continue to do some sleuthing? What about Ethan? A Cunning Plan: Are there more to come?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.
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.
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