ARC Review: The Red by Tiffany Reisz

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3 fantastical filthy stars

Holy filthy smut! I think this may well be the dirtiest book I’ve ever read! And leave it to the queen of well-written kink to deliver a limit-pushing read that is surprising and unique with an unexpected fantasy element that left me thinking about the story long after I’d finished reading.

“You smile like the devil,” Mona said.
“The devil doesn’t smile,” he said. “The devil smirks.”

Mona St. James owns and runs The Red, a small art gallery owned by her mother where she spent the majority of her childhood. On her mother’s death bed, she promised to do anything within her power to keep the gallery running, and that promise is about to be put to the test with The Red struggling, and Mona on the verge of selling.

And then along comes Malcolm. A tall, dark and handsome stranger, Malcom offers Mona the opportunity to save the gallery she loves so dearly. But his offer is far from what she expected.

“What is it you want from me?”
“May I be blunt with you?” he asked.
“I’d prefer it.”
“I very much wish to fuck you.”
“I have no interest in love or marriage from you. Nor do I wish to take you to dinner. I simply want to fuck you in various ways that please me. It’s my preference.”

Malcolm proposes a deal with Mona where she becomes his for a year. Anything he wants, whenever he wants it, and in return he will give her the means to save The Red. Not only is Mona desperate, but she’s also intrigued and disturbingly turned on by Malcolm, so she accepts. Having no clue what she’s going to be in for.

“We’ll start tomorrow night.”
“So soon?”
“Does your c**t have a prior engagement?”

Oh holy hell, this is one smutty, smutty read! Hot, filthy, explicit and kinky, pretty much anything goes with Malcolm, and Mona soon finds herself completely under his spell. Desperate for his touch and for the scandalous things he does to her.

His money had made her a whore, but his cock had made her his slave. She never wanted to taste freedom again.

I want to include a warning here that this is not your usual smut. I’m not a prude by any means, and I love my smut just as much as the next romance reader, but there are things that happen in this book that I’ve never read before and certain scenes had me crossing my legs in imagined discomfort. So rather than getting all hot and bothered, I was just uncomfortable and slightly grossed out. But to each their own, and I’m sure there are people who read this book who will love the boundary-pushing erotica aspects to the story. I do want to stress, though, that all acts are consensual and Mona definitely enjoys all that she experiences.

Along with the filth, there’s an element of mystery. Who is Malcolm? What is his big secret? And how does he manage to evoke the fantasy world that he takes Mona to? Not just sexual fantasy, but actual fantasy, with each encounter become more and more fantastical, blowing Mona’s mind and rocking her world.

“Is this all a dream?” That’s the only thing that makes any sense.
“You aren’t dreaming,” he said, and she knew that was true. She was awake and had been every time they had met. “But if you were a dream, would you want to wake up?” he asked.
A good question. A fair question. A hard question, but one she answered easily.

I’m a huge fan of Tiffany Reisz. Her writing is always sharp and intelligent, and she draws you into the story, and this book is no different. Although the sexy time pushed limits for me, I kept reading, desperate to figure out what was happening and how it was all going to play out. I liked how she wove the mystery into the story, and the links to the paintings and art that are Mona’s life is really well done, and I thought the tie-in was really clever. I wouldn’t consider this a romance read, there is definitely a strong emotional connection but I’m not sure that I’d call it love, but Tiffany Reisz writes unconventional relationships really well, and it worked for the story.

Do anything you must, but keep me forever.

So yeah, this is a difficult one for me to rate. The sex was filthy and more OTT than I would usually read, which turned me off a bit, but I thought the story was interesting and unique, and I like the fact that it kept me guessing and kept me thinking even after I had finished.

3 stars.

An Advanced Review Copy was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.


For more reads by this author, check out our Tiffany Reisz Author Spotlight


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