On the day of Lia’s university graduation party, her parents—wealthy art collectors with friends in high places—gift her a beautiful wine cup, a rare artifact decorated with roses. It’s a stunning gift, and one that August Bowman, a friend of her parents and a guest at Lia’s party, also has his eye on. The cup, August tells her, is known as the Rose kylix, and it’s no ordinary cup. It was used in the temple ceremonies of Eros, Greek god of erotic love, and has the power to bring the most intimate sexual fantasies to life.
But Lia is skeptical of August’s claims of the cup’s mythology and magic—after all, he’s a collector himself, and she suspects he just wants to get his hands on this impressive piece of art. So he dares her to try it for herself, and when Lia drinks from the Rose kylix she is suddenly immersed in an erotic myth so vivid it seems real—as though she’s living out the most sensual fantasy with August by her side…
Realizing the true power of this ancient and dangerous relic, Lia is even more wary of giving it up, though August insists it is only safe with him. He’s willing to pay the full value of the cup, but Lia has another type of trade in mind. One that finds them more tangled up in each other—and in fantasy—than either was prepared for.
Source: NetGalley and MIRA Rating: 4/5 stars
One of the things I have long admired about Tiffany Reisz and her writing is her ability to weave an actual story among so many scorching naughty bits scenes. Without doubt, that skill shines through once again in the second installment of The Red series, The Rose.
Lia’s parents are tremendously and ridiculously proud of her! To that end, they have not only thrown her an elaborate graduation party, but also gifted her with a priceless treasure, the Rose kylix. Given her interest in Greek mythology, the kylix is really the perfect gift for Lia. What she didn’t expect, the additional “gift” that seems to have come with the kylix, the most handsome and seriously interested in her kylix, August Bowman. August is charming, desirable, intelligent, stunningly intuitive, and determined to convince Lia of the true nature of the gift she has been given.
Thanks to a terrible encounter as a teenager, Lia is often skeptical of men and their motives, but August Bowman is a hard man to resist. With his incredibly in-depth knowledge of Greek mythology and his insights about the kylix, Lia decides to take a chance on August. The story he tells her about the kylix is unbelievable until, over a series of sex-fueled nights/encounters he proves to Lia just how powerful the treasure truly is. Aside from the amazing sex and waltzes through “history,” Lia finds herself falling for August and wondering if he really can heal her and help her overcome her great misgivings about men and relationships.
Of course, there are many obstacles separating Lia and August from their HEA. The obstacles come from sources known and others which are completely inconceivable to the mortal mind. Once the force of her true feelings for August come crashing down on her, Lia is prepared for battle. She will try and wrap her head around the inconceivable bits, battle the known head on, and do her level best to preserve what she has only just begun to build with August.
The Bottom Line: As always, once I started The Rose, I got sucked into the rabbit hole that is a Tiffany Reisz book and didn’t come out until the end. Hands down, I was totally smitten with August from the very beginning and found him carrying the story for me in so many ways. His guidance through the world of the Greeks, his confidence in his skills and abilities, and his care of and for Lia made him a stand out character for me. As the story and August’s identity unfold, he becomes even more interesting and intriguing. Additionally, the excellent ending with its lovely twists and turns and truly excellent guest appearances were perfectly appropriate for the rest of the story. Last, but certainly not least (and circling back around to the beginning) I completely appreciated the real story that happened in and around all the naughty bits. Gratuitous sex really pisses me off and Tiffany Reisz always makes sure the story is real, the characters are solid, and the sex is a part of the story rather than being the story. In all, yet another fine offering.