STEALING ROSE - Monica Murphy
The Fowler Sisters Series, Book 2
London, England and New York, USA
At twenty-two, Rose is the youngest Fowler sister. She feels undervalued for her contribution to the family's company, Fleur Cosmetics, and thinks a scheming employee who is dating her father threatens her promotion in the company. Her grandmother, Dahlia Fowler, started the company. The family is in Cannes to see a documentary made about Dahlia. She gives Rose the ‘Poppy Necklace,' made of white and rare pink diamonds to wear to the showing and party afterward. At the party, a very handsome man saves her from a boorish brute. This man attracts her in a way no other has, making her want to be wild for a change.
Caden Kingsley is at the film party to steal jewelry, in particular the Poppy Necklace. A customer has already requested it. Stealing high-end jewelry is Caden's specialty, and he is very good at it. His job has supported his mother since he turned fifteen. His rich father killed himself after the discovery of the Ponzi scheme he was operating, leaving the family broke. In the end, Caden takes someone's bracelet, but leaves the beautiful Rose in possession of her necklace.
They meet again at a dinner gathering in London, and Rose and Caden begin a torrid affair, documented in the story by many sex scenes. Yet both know it can't last. Both refuse to relate their circumstances, and neither can resist the other. It takes them a long time to understand they love the other, but even then, they don't disclose it. Caden knows he is unworthy of Rose, and once she learns the truth about him everything will end.
Rose and Caden are interesting characters with backstories that make their situations understandable. Previous characters from OWNING VIOLET, the first story in the series, play important parts, with a handful of Caden's acquaintances rounding out the cast.
In the two stories so far, it is sometimes difficult to understand the characters' motivations. The three Fowler sisters seem to love their father, but he comes off as crass and interested more in their work performance than their wellbeing as his daughters. Grandma enters to provide motivational support and bestow jewelry on her granddaughters. Both Violet, from OWNING VIOLET, and Rose fall for deceitful men who turn out wanting to change. There is a family secret about the girls' mother, but it seems to be more than just that troubling the family. These issues hopefully will be clarified in the last book in the series, TAMING LILY, releasing in July.