R. Malone’s Crimson Rose (Jan/Feb 2010) is an intense read that is unlike most vampire romance books on the shelves today. This is not a story with a clear cut “love conquers all” feeling to it. It is truly a happily ever after…with a twist.
Rose Litchford hasn’t had a great life for the last 5 years. Her husband was killed the same night they conceived her son, Jacob. Rose and Jacob are living with her abusive boyfriend Shane, who has made it all too clear what would happen if Rose ever left him. Could things get much worse for Rose? She soon finds out when a strange man, Stefan, begins stalking her, leaving bloodied roses by her window, waking her son and telling him that he is going to take her from Shane.
When she confronts him outside her home one night, she realizes he is not a mere man, but something else. He forces a passionate kiss on her as he confesses his love. Rose is confused and frightened by his abrupt statement of love and the fact that he says he’s known her for a century.
Everything changes in the blink of an eye for Rose. After Stefan saves her from a brutal attack by Shane, he renders her unconscious and steals her away. She wakes to find herself being held prisoner by this Stefan. Locked in a room he comes only to feed upon her. She begs to leave, to see her son. He only professes his love and says that she can never leave him. She is trapped with a monster, a vampire. The only other company is an aged butler and a female vampire that has obvious feelings for Stefan and less than favorable feelings for Rose.
Many weeks pass and Rose learns a secret that Stefan has kept hidden, something that proves to her he was just as much a monster in life as he is now. Stefan tries to make her understand, but given her current standing with him she has nothing else to judge him by.
Stefan eventually brings Rose’s son to her, yet still keeps them both captive in his home.
Throughout the story Rose is continuously trying to figure out if Stefan is truly a monster or if there is something more, something good inside him that has been buried because of a brutal past. Stefan lost the love of his life the same night he lost his mortal life and was an empty shell until he found Rose.
Just when Rose begins to think she may be able find some happiness with Stefan, a ghost from his past returns with nothing but vengeance planned. Stefan must come face to face with his past in order to save his future with Rose. Rose must face the facts of Stefan’s past and struggle with the life-altering decisions about their future.