Stealing Rose: A Novel

Stealing Rose: A Novel

4.3 32
by Monica Murphy
     
 

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The second novel in New York Times bestselling author Monica Murphy’s sizzling series about three powerhouse sisters and the men who would have their hearts
 
People say the youngest child has it easy, but nothing can be further from the truth. Unlike my two sisters, Violet and Lily, I’m never in the limelight. I just work

Overview

The second novel in New York Times bestselling author Monica Murphy’s sizzling series about three powerhouse sisters and the men who would have their hearts
 
People say the youngest child has it easy, but nothing can be further from the truth. Unlike my two sisters, Violet and Lily, I’m never in the limelight. I just work my butt off for Fleur Cosmetics and get little to no thanks for it. I’ve been pushed too far one too many times, and I’m finally brave enough to do something about it.
 
Maybe my newfound courage has something to do with the amazing pink and white diamond necklace I wear to the party in Cannes. The instant those dazzling heirloom jewels touch my skin, they excite some deep, aching need inside. And when that guy—that totally gorgeous guy—locks eyes with me, I know this nice girl is going to be naughty.
 
For once it’s my turn. My turn to say no to my father, to outshine my sisters, to walk away from it all—straight into the arms of a mysterious stranger. But what if Caden is much more than I bargained for? Sure, he makes me feel sexy and free in a way I never have before, but there’s something else I can’t quite place—something dangerous. Maybe our “chance” meeting wasn’t so random. Maybe he was looking for me for a reason. Whatever his motive, there’s no going back now.
 
And maybe I don’t want to.

Praise for Stealing Rose
 
“Prepare to have your heart stolen! Rose and Caden’s story crackles and sizzles right to the swoony end.”New York Times bestselling author Katy Evans

“Cannes, London, diamonds, glitz, glamour, a jewel thief, and steamy sex—[Monica] Murphy delivers it all! . . . Readers who can’t resist a bad boy and hot, hot sex will find much to enjoy.”Booklist
 
“Entertaining characters ignite the pages.”Publishers Weekly
 
“Murphy is an incredible talent. . . . Rose and Caden have formed an unlikely relationship that seems perfect, but is an illusion. Their chemistry is off-the-charts hot, but is that enough for them to get their happily ever after? Readers will be hanging on the edge of their seats wondering what Murphy has in store for this couple. A fantastic book that you simply must read!”RT Book Reviews (4 1/2 stars)
 
“Mesmerizing characters, stellar writing, sexy as sin: just wow!”Fresh Fiction


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/12/2015
Entertaining characters ignite the pages of the predictable second Fowler Sisters romantic thriller (after Owning Violet). Cosmetics heiress Rose Fowler is at the Cannes Film Festival for the opening of a documentary film about the family business. She’s wearing an indescribably sexy white dress and a priceless diamond necklace. Caden Kingsley is there to steal said necklace. An easy job—if it weren’t for the potent electricity between him and Rose. So he swipes a few other bobbles and hightails it to London to regroup, only to encounter Rose an improbable second time. And a third, and a fourth, and so on, in every position, in every location around town, for several days and nights. The sex is good, and these two might have a future together, but the plot goes exactly where the reader expects, and the thesaurus-reliant prose is recrementitious. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
Advance praise for Stealing Rose
 
“Prepare to have your heart stolen! Rose and Caden's story crackles and sizzles right to the swoony end.”New York Times bestselling author Katy Evans

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553393293
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/03/2015
Series:
Fowler Sisters , #2
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
12,635
File size:
3 MB

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Rose

What do you do when you discover something about your family that you never wanted to know?

You pretend it doesn’t exist. That your perfect little family is precisely that—­untouched. Pristine. No amount of tragedy has ever put its fingers upon us. At least, that’s what we want you to believe. There are books out there, unauthorized biographies about my grandmother and her legacy, Fleur Cosmetics. About how my father and my sisters and I have continued on with that legacy as best we can, referencing us as if we’re somehow insufficient. Daddy is the one who made the company flourish, though he gives all credit to Grandma and she takes it, the greedy old lady that she is.

I love that greedy old lady to bits. I really do.

My oldest sister, Lily, has done a piss-­poor job of carrying on the legacy, and she’d be the first to admit it. Her brutal honesty is one of the things I love best about her, though most of the time I resent her actions and the attention they receive. She is all about the spotlight and when it doesn’t shine on her, she will do whatever it takes to snatch back that light so she can revel in it.

Then there’s Violet, the middle sister. The quiet one. The secretly strong one. Oh my God, is she strong. She’s been through so much. Tragedy has placed its hands all over her, yet somehow she’s always risen above it. Now she’s so happy with her man, Ryder, and I can’t begrudge her that. He’s so intense sometimes it’s almost scary, but then he sees Violet and his eyes get this dreamy sort of haze to them . . . he’s a total goner for her.

It’s sweet. Too sweet. My jealous side can hardly take it.

Me? I’m the Fowler sister everyone believes is normal, with a bit of a fighter streak in me. Grandma says I’m closest to her personality-­wise and I want to believe her, but I don’t know. Do I really want to be like her? Like any of them? My disillusion with the Fowler image is firmly secure on the worst night possible.

I don’t know what to believe anymore, after what I just found out about our mother. The tragedy that no one ever, ever talks about—­even those unauthorized, horribly scandalous family biographies gloss over the death of Victoria Fowler. I don’t remember much about her, and what I do recall is fuzzy at best. Those memories are fueled by my sisters, though, since they actually do remember Mom, especially Lily. The loss was especially hard on her. Hence Lily’s outrageous behavior from the age of about fourteen until now.

At least, that’s what we all blame it on, including Lily. I’d like for once to see her take full responsibility for her actions, but I doubt that will ever happen.

There is more to our mother’s death than I ever knew. I wonder if Lily or Violet knows. It’s such a touchy subject, one I don’t broach with them . . . ever. As for Daddy, I never talk about Mom with him. He swept our mother’s death under the rug, something he’s so good at doing. Threw himself into his work instead of focusing on his daughters, though he wasn’t a bad father per se. A tad neglectful sometimes?

Yes. Most definitely.

We strive for perfection, yet every last one of us is far from perfect. When I was little, I was protected in this silvery, pillow-­soft cocoon where nothing ever touched me, or the people I loved. Not even my mother’s tragic death brought by her own doing could bother me. How could it, when no one ever talked about it?

But I want to talk about her now, after reading her last diary. The one I discovered when I was given a box of her old things by Daddy. He finally cleaned out our mother’s rooms and closet. He’d kept them preserved for so long, but now that his new . . . girlfriend is in the picture, he’s banished all reminders of our mother from his home.

Forever.

I couldn’t even look at the contents of that box without nerves eating me up and feeling nauseated. I kept what was in there a secret from myself for months. Until a few nights ago, when I finally opened the box and found her diary filled with passages she wrote up until she took her own life.

Fascinating reading. And sad.

So incredibly sad.

What’s happening tonight . . . things could be revealed. Moments from our family history are going on blatant display. All of it controlled by my grandmother, which means . . .

It will all be glossed over—­become glossy perfection. Isn’t that the term Violet used for her collection when they discussed packaging? That could be the Fowler family theme.

I watch as Grandma approaches me, a fond smile on her face, her eyes misty with memories.

“I want you to wear this tonight.” Grandma Dahlia presents the large, square box to me, her frail hands shaking the slightest bit, causing light to glint off the diamond rings on her fingers. “It hasn’t been worn by anyone in ages.”

We’re in my hotel room, my grandmother having knocked on the door only minutes before as I was getting ready. We were all supposed to meet later but here she is, resplendent in her gorgeous black lace dress, a sweet smile on her face as she studies me.

I have no idea why she’s doing this and I don’t like the uneasiness that settles over me as I take the box from her, my fingers smoothing over the black velvet. It’s old, the color slightly faded, and it’s heavy. Slowly I open the box, anticipation and fear curling through me, and I gasp at what I see lying inside.

A necklace. But not just any necklace—­the stones alternate between a brilliant white and a soft, blush pink, and each one is perfectly cut, perfectly matched. “It’s beautiful,” I murmur, surprised at the size of the stones. I’ve never seen this necklace before in my life, and I thought my sisters and I had all played with or worn every piece of fine jewelry there is in the family. “What are the pink stones?” I ask as I drift my fingers across the necklace almost reverently.

“Why, they’re diamonds of course, some of the rarest in existence. Your grandfather gave this necklace to me long, long ago.” Grandma sounds at once both proud and sad. “A present for when your aunt Poppy was born.” A wistful sigh escapes her and she looks away, her mouth turned down, her eyes shining with unshed tears. “You remind me of her. So much.”

“I do?” I purposely keep my voice soft, not wanting to upset her. I didn’t know my aunt Poppy, though I wish I had. She died in a horrible car accident before I was born. I’ve seen photos and yes, there’s a resemblance, but I never thought I looked much like her.

More tragedy. More death. Another family member we lost that we rarely mention. It’s frustrating, how easily we forget what happened to those who are gone. If I disappeared, would everyone eventually forget me too?

I don’t want to forget anyone. Not my mother. Not my aunt Poppy. I want to know more. But tonight is supposed to be special, so I should let it go. This night is for my grandma, for the family, for Fleur.

I will myself to let it all go.

“Oh, yes.” Grandma turns to face me once more, the tears gone, the familiar determined look back in place. She rarely shows any signs of weakness and I love that about her. She’s such a strong influence on all of us, and right now I’m in need of some of that strength. “There’s some similarity in your looks, but really it’s your attitude. The way you speak, the way you behave, how you think. It’s just like my Poppy. She was so vibrant, so full of life, and she was never afraid to back down from something she believed in. Just like you.” She reaches out and clasps my face in her wrinkled hands, her fingers cold against my skin. I smile at her but it feels fake, and I let it fade. The velvet box is clutched in my hands, my fingers digging into the stones. “Wear this tonight and think of Poppy. Think of Fleur.”

“But Grandma, tonight is all about you.” We’re in Cannes for the movie festival, here to watch the premiere of a documentary about Grandmother and how she started Fleur. She monitored every step of this documentary and claims it is a collaboration of love between her and the director and producers of the piece.

More like my grandmother dictated to them exactly what she wanted mentioned. Again, no one crosses Dahlia Fowler. To do so would be taking an extreme risk. The woman has no problem making claims of ruining people.

She has ruined people. Time and again.

“You should wear this necklace. Not me,” I say when she still hasn’t said anything. She’s staring at me as if she can look right through me and I blink, hard. Blocking my thoughts, my anger, my frustration. But she can probably see it.

Grandma just chooses not to talk about it.

“No.” She shakes her head and drops her hands from my face. “You should wear it. It’s yours for tonight. Violet has her young man and Lily has .  . . whatever it is she thinks she wants. Such a disappointment that she’s not here.” Her mouth screws up into this bitter line and I want to smack my sister for yet again letting everyone down. “You . . . you deserve this. Wear it proudly. It’s your legacy too, my love. Never forget it.”

My legacy. Most of the time, I don’t feel like it’s mine. It’s Daddy’s and Violet’s. It’s slowly becoming Ryder’s. Lily’s? Not so much. She loves to wear Fleur cosmetics and spend the Fleur money, but that’s about it. She has no desire to be a part of the family business. She’s allergic to work.

Lucky bitch gets away with it, too.

I work like crazy and no one notices. I’m tired of putting the time in. I’m tired of dealing with Daddy and his horrific relationship with that slut Pilar Vasquez. The woman is scheming to become a permanent part of Fleur Cosmetics—­by nabbing the last name Fowler—­pure and simple. Does she really care for him? Doubtful. But my father is so blinded by lust he can’t see beyond her big tits and her supposed great ideas.

“My legacy,” I murmur as I withdraw the necklace from the velvet casing and hold it up to the light. It sparkles, the blush-­colored stones even more dazzling when they shine. I vaguely remember hearing of the Poppy Necklace and I’m pretty sure I’m holding it in my hands at this very moment.

The necklace will look amazing with the white dress I’m wearing tonight. White may signify virginity and purity and all that other nonsense, but wait until everyone sees this dress. It’ll blow their minds.

And I’m in the mood to shock this evening. This is my last hurrah before I give notice to my father next week. Yes, I’m quitting Fleur. I can’t imagine staying there now. I made my escape for a short period of time after it came out that Daddy was dating one of the most conniving employees Fleur Cosmetics has ever had under its roof. Pilar rubs it in our faces as much as possible that she has our father wrapped around her little finger.

I hate her. I refuse to work with her, especially now that I’ve heard rumors that Daddy is promoting her. Not that he’d ever come to me and tell me about it. No one tells me anything. I’m ignored at Fleur. So much so that I don’t think it’s even worth continuing to work there . . .

Considering this evening will most likely be the last I’m representing the Fowler family for a long time—­I know Daddy is going to be furious over my giving notice—­I’m going all out. Besides, I’ve never been to the Festival de Cannes before. The necklace will only add to the effect.

Meet the Author

Monica Murphy is the New York Times bestselling author of One Week Girlfriend, Second Chance Boyfriend, Three Broken Promises, Four Years Later, Owning Violet, Stealing Rose, and the eBook novella Drew + Fable Forever. A native Californian, she lives in the foothills of Yosemite with her husband and three children.

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