Fawn Bailey may sound like a new author to me, but you would be wrong. She’s actually a pen name for Isabella Starling. Isa, who already writes some stuff that leans towards the dark, decided that she needed a nom de plume for the really dark stuff. And so, we get Blood Red Rose. Now, BRR says that it’s the first book in the series. And it is, technically. But, there is a prequel called Blush Pink Rose. It’s free on Zon, so you have no reason to not grab it and read it. You’ll get a little bit more backstory about Harlow and Thorn. It’s not a prereq to read it before you get to BRR, but you’ll appreciate having spent the time reading it.
So, on to BRR.
Harlow is an 18-year-old young woman who has spent years training in ballet. She just had a very successful night as the Sugar Plum Fairy and is busy hanging out with the rest of the company and thinking about all the offers that will be coming her way. It’s her biggest goal in life to be a principal with a Russian ballet company, so when she hears that they wanted to talk to her, she gets mad at Madame, who didn’t let them talk to her.
Along with all the many bouquets of flowers she gets, she gets one single rose. When Harlow goes to leave, she can’t leave that one behind, so she picks it up to take it with her and gets stabbed on a thorn.
Thorn has been waiting and watching Harlow. He knows that she’s his, he just has to wait for the perfect time, and that time is now. He could send his men to get her, but this is one job that he wants to do on his own. He really doesn’t want to let anyone else touch her, even though he’s going to have to at some point. He’s pleased to see that she brought the flower that he sent her with her. He drugs her and takes her to The Mansion so that she can be trained the way that he wants.
OK, here we go. You know the routine by now. If you don’t like to not have a nice neat ending until you get to the next book, this may be a series you want to wait to read. I didn’t see it as a cliffhanger, but not everything is wrapped up super neat in a bow either. That doesn’t bother me at all. I don’t always need to have an HEA or even an HFN. The story does lean towards the dark, we get noncon and capture and sexual training, so yeah, definitely in the darker side of things. I really enjoyed it and I’m looking to see how the next books are going to come out. There are plots and subplots and machinations. It’s going to be interesting.
I think I only trust Thorn and Harlow in this book. Maybe. I know what their motivations are. I know what Ellis’s was, but there are other players who are moving around. I won’t say one of them is a queen, but there are at least 2 pawns on the board. One pawn’s motivation is kind of clear, but I can’t wait to see if what they want comes through clearer.
I think we’re in for quite the ride with the rest of the series. I enjoyed it a lot and knowing Isa’s books, I’m guessing that we are going to get deep into people’s minds.
OK, that’s all for this one. Happy reading!