"Deliciously deviant... Akin to Anne Rice’s ‘Beauty’ series.” — Library Journal (Starred Review)
Mona Lisa St. James made a deathbed promise that she would do anything to save her mother's art gallery. Unfortunately, not only is The Red painted red, but it's in the red.
Just as she realizes she has no choice but to sell it, a mysterious man comes in after closing time and makes her an offer: He will save The Red if she agrees to submit to him for the period of one year.
The man is handsome, English, and terribly tempting...but surely her mother didn't mean for Mona to sell herself to a stranger. Then again, she did promise to do anything to save The Red...
The Red is a standalone novel of erotic fantasy from Tiffany Reisz, international bestselling author of The Bourbon Thief and the Original Sinners series.
"A delightful, wicked fairytale." — Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
"Kinky, well-written, hot as hell." — Little Red Reading Hood
"Smart and intriguing." — NPR
"Tiffany Reisz at her best." — Collector of Book Boyfriends
"[A] best romance of the month." — Goodreads
"An exploration, exploitation, and celebration of sex." — Heroes & Heartbreakers
"Four stars." — RT Book Reviews
"You can't quite believe what you're reading." — Lil Maso
"Not your average erotic fantasy story... [Leaves] you hot one moment, then raw the next." — Texas Reader Stacy
"Filthy." — Blogger Vivien Olvasókuckója
"I tossed sleep aside to finish it in a night... This book is worth it." — No Pithy Phrase
"No holds barred." — Sarah Tandy, A Woman and Her Books
"A lovely bit of literary smut, full of art and sex and mystery." — RITA Finalist Kira Gold
"Unlike anything I've ever read before." — A Reader Who Reads Blog
|File size:||1 MB|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Tiffany Reisz is the bestselling author of The Original Sinners series from Mira Books. She is out of her damn mind.
Read an Excerpt
The Fox Hunt
* * *
It had always been called The Red Gallery, even before the gallery was red.
Originally it was called Red's because a man named Red owned the place and for no other reason. Mona's mother, however, said the name came from the 1920s when The Red was a speakeasy. So many people were killed during bloody gangster shootouts, she said, that the place had been nicknamed The Little Red Shooting Gallery. None of that was true, of course, but Mona's mother had been the sort of woman who valued beauty over truth. She loved The Red Gallery and thought it deserved the very best origin story. Mona never passed on that fiction herself, but she never denied it either. She also kept the brick painted crimson and her own brown hair colored candy apple red.
It's what her mother would have wanted.
Her mother had loved The Red Gallery so very much that her last words to Mona had been, "Do anything you have to, but save The Red." And for that reason alone Mona sat at her desk in The Red Gallery long past closing time, adding up numbers again and again in the hopes of finding a misplaced zero somewhere, a zero that would turn assets of fifty thousand dollars into five hundred thousand dollars. She'd robbed Peter to pay Paul and now Peter was at the door and pounding. There was no one left to rob to pay him.
Unless she sold the gallery.
Why her mother loved this place so much Mona might never know. Oh, Mona loved The Red too, their little gallery on Savoy Street. She loved its painted red brick and glass storefront, the ebony-stained hardwood, the red velvet curtains along the walls that made the colors of the canvases pop like balloons. She loved the little office off the main gallery that had once been her mother's but was now hers. She loved the storage room in the back where all the paintings and sculptures not currently on display were safely kept — a second private art gallery. What she didn't love was the debt. If her mother had died a quick death, Mona might have been able to save the gallery. But she hadn't. She'd been sick and had lingered for two years, getting a little better and then a little worse, better, then worse, a step forward, a fall back. In the end, all she could leave Mona was the deed to the gallery and a fortune in medical debt that her mother's life insurance barely touched.
And no one gave a damn about art anymore.
She knew that wasn't true, but all attempts to revitalize the gallery had failed. Up and coming artists had drawn young hip crowds. But while the hip young crowds were happy to drink the free wine and eat the free crackers and cheese, they didn't buy the paintings. Older artists had flooded the markets with their works and were selling for peanuts, if they were selling at all. She'd tried to entice the estate of a recently deceased painter to give her the exhibition of his collection, but they'd gone with a bigger gallery uptown. She didn't blame them. She might not have picked The Red Gallery either.
Today, she'd let go the very last member of her staff.
Except for Tou-Tou, of course. She'd never let go of Tou-Tou.
"Don't worry," she said to the little black cat curled up in the corner of her office in his bed. "If I sell the gallery, you won't be homeless. You can come live with me."
Tou-Tou — short for Toulouse-Lautrec — merely glanced in her direction, blinking his luminescent green eyes before returning to the task at hand, namely licking his right paw for the next ten minutes. Tou-Tou had been the gallery cat for ten years. Her mother had found the malnourished black kitten in an alley two streets away and had brought him here to nurse him back to health. He'd never gotten very big, but his coat was glossy and soft, his eyes bright, and his purrs loud enough to wake the dead. She wasn't allowed pets in her apartment, but what her landlady didn't know wouldn't hurt her. Ten years. Mona had been fifteen when they found Tou-Tou. Ten years. Ten years ago the gallery had been the apple of Savoy Street, the darling of the art district. But rents had gotten too high and the galleries, one by one, had shut their doors or moved. Only The Red was left behind.
And now it would close its doors too.
Mona rose from her desk and walked to Tou-Tou's bed. She stroked his head, his chin, pressed her hand to his side to feel that marvelous diesel engine purr. It comforted her. She whispered promises to Tou-Tou, that he would like it at her apartment. That she wasn't firing him, she was selling the gallery. She told him to tell her mother — her mother had been certain cats could communicate with the dead — that Mona had done all she could to save The Red. No banks would loan her money. The credit cards were maxed. Bankruptcy was imminent. Art for art's sake was a lovely idea in theory.
But art alone couldn't pay the bills.
Mona stood up straight and squared her shoulders. The wall clock said it was almost midnight. Sometime in the last hour she'd made up her mind to sell. She felt better now that she'd acknowledged she had no choice but to sell. The numbers weren't going to magically multiply no matter how long she stared at them. Might as well give up, go home, and sleep. She slung her black bag over her shoulder, took her red coat off the hook and laid it over her arm, slipped her feet back into her black heels and blew a goodnight kiss at Tou-Tou. Time to lock up. Time to give up. Except ...
There was a man standing in the gallery.
Mona gasped, her hand over her mouth. It didn't seem he had heard her gasp. He didn't even turn to look at her. She swallowed hard, her heart running like the White Rabbit. He was tall and broad-shouldered and wore a three-piece black suit. He had one hand on his hip, one hand on his chin. Although his clothes were modern and he looked about forty years old, there was something about him that looked ... old. No, not old. Old World, perhaps. Yes, that. Old World. She could think of no other way to describe him. It was the hair. That was it. He wore his hair in a style that would have best belonged on a Regency- era lord. Black and tousled, rakish even, he reminded her of Eugene Delacroix's dashing self-portraits. Dark eyes, black heart. To Mona he looked like the devil gone courting.
But who was the devil's lucky lady?
"Sir?" Mona finally worked up her courage to speak. "The gallery is closed."
He didn't speak at first. But he did move at last. He dropped his hand from his chin and stepped toward the small painting in front of him. It was a George Morland, a contemporary of Joshua Reynolds. Nothing terribly impressive about it. Merely an uninspired painting of men in red coats on horseback. A pretty painting, pretty and unobtrusive. Mona imagined an older couple looking to decorate a country house would take a shine to it. All it had done in the four months it hung on the gallery wall was gather dust.
"Things aren't what they seem."
His accent was English. She'd recognized those lovely vowels at once.
"No," she said. "I imagine they aren't."
"I hear your gallery is closing," he said. Again the right hand came to his chin, the left hand to his hip. The left hand drew her gaze. He was lean and the well-tailored vest emphasized his trim waist and hips. She was finding it very difficult not to enjoy looking at his body. The man was a work of art.
"Closed, I said. I told you the gallery is closed. It's almost midnight."
"You're in the red."
"So are you. That's the name of the gallery."
At that he turned and looked at her, met her eyes, smiled. She felt a current of fear run through her body, electric and exciting. Why hadn't she dressed better today? She wore her plain tweed skirt, her plain black blouse, and plain black heels. She looked more like a secretary than a gallery owner. If only — secretaries made far more money than she did these days.
"You're in the red," he said again. "In debt, I mean."
"What have you heard?" she asked. She knew local real estate developers could be aggressive when it came to prime property in prime locations. Had someone sent this man to force her to sell?
"I heard the gallery was in distress. Such a shame," he said. "It's a treasure trove."
"It's a money pit," she said.
He arched an eyebrow at her. He looked even more like the devil than ever. A dashing devil. Despite her fear, she liked looking at him. He didn't seem dangerous. No, he seemed terribly dangerous. But he didn't seem violent. There was a difference.
"How so?" he asked.
"My mother bought paintings she couldn't re-sell," Mona said. "She spent huge sums of money on gallery parties that brought in no revenue. And she died of cancer last autumn. The bills were enormous."
"No father to help?"
"I don't know who my father is. My mother was a bohemian type."
"And you have no money?"
"Having no money right now would be a blessing because currently I have negative five hundred thousand dollars," she said. "So unless you're going to buy that Morland for five hundred thousand dollars, I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to leave. The gallery is closed, but it isn't closing — not yet. If you want to come back, you can. We'll open at ten tomorrow morning."
"It's not a Morland," he said.
"I told you — things aren't always as they seem. There are machines for seeing through paint? Or am I mistaken?"
"Yes, those." He nodded sagely. "You should take this painting and have it run through one of those machines. Tell me what you see."
"I don't have one here," she said. "I'd have to find one."
"Do that. I'll return in one week," he said. "I want you to trust me."
"Because I would like to help you. I would like to help you very much indeed. But I can't help you if you don't trust me. And I certainly can't help you if you sell the gallery. So do as I say."
"Do as you say?" She was flabbergasted. The gall of this man.
"You won't regret it," he said. "I assure you, you won't regret any of it, Mona."
"How do you know my name?"
"Mona Lisa St. James. You own The Red Gallery."
"Have you been stalking me?"
"Only watching," he said.
"You're scaring me."
"I can't help that," he said. "Although I do apologize. I will not harm you in any way. I hope you believe that."
She wanted to believe it.
"It would help if you told me how you got in without me hearing. The door was locked."
"Your mother had a spare key made. She hid it in the potted plant outside."
"What Mother lacked in common sense she made up for in style."
"That she did. Do you, by any chance, have a book of Morland's paintings?"
"I think so."
"Fetch it please."
"Fetch it?" Was she a dog now?
The man grinned that fiendish grin again. "Please."
Mad as it was, Mona returned to her office to find the book. It was on the shelf somewhere with hundreds of other art books her mother had collected through the years. They'd all have to be sold to a book collector, though it broke her heart to think of parting with them. After a few minutes searching, she found the slim blue Morland catalog and returned to the gallery.
The man was gone.
There was a bell on the door that chimed when anyone came or left. Her ears were trained to hear that bell no matter if she were in the office, the bathroom, or the back room. That bell meant a customer had entered and a customer meant money. But the bell hadn't rung and yet he was not there, not anywhere in the gallery. Nowhere at all.
Unbelievable. All of it. Yet the man's certainty had infected her somehow. Not a Morland he said. Not a Morland. Well, this book had a picture of every Morland ever catalogued.
She flipped through it, page after page, looking for the painting of the four men in red coats, the four brown horses. There. It was a Morland. Red coats. Brown horses. She examined the artist's signature in the book and found it matched the artist's signature on the painting.
The man in the suit was wrong.
Mona lightly touched the signature — the ornate M, the curving D. She knew she shouldn't. One should never touch a painting with bare hands, but the painting was so uninteresting and uninspired and was taking up valuable wall space that she didn't feel too guilty about touching a tiny corner of it with her fingertip.
"Shit." The M flaked off onto her finger. Just like that. Barely a touch and the paint crumbled. Well, it was her fault and she'd take the blame for it when the painting's owner demanded an explanation for the damage. It could be repaired, but that meant more time and more money, money she didn't have. She peered at the bare spot where the M had been, fearful of seeing more damage. But she didn't see any damage.
She saw a J.
There was no J in Morland. But that was without a doubt the letter J.
Before she could stop herself, she'd used her red fingernail to chip off one more tiny fleck of paint. It was against every rule. It was madness. But she did it anyway. She'd seen a glint of gold in the bottom of a box of China dishes and she was breaking the China to pieces to get to the gold.
And there it was.
An R after the J.
Mona took the painting off the wall, back to the office, flicked on the lights and as slowly and carefully as she could, set about extracting the top layer of paint off the signature below it. Her mother had taught her how to do it while simultaneously warning her never to do it. Yet her mother was gone and Mona did it. And when she finished, she not only had a J and an R. She'd uncovered an E and possibly a Y as well.
Surely not. Or was it? She had to find out.
"Forgive me, Mother," Mona breathed as she went about removing more of the paint.
Her mother had told her to do anything to save the gallery. That's exactly what Mona would do.CHAPTER 2
* * *
The week passed in a blur as the newly discovered Reynolds painting became the talk of the art world. Mona spent hours on the phone with arts and culture reporters who'd seized upon the story in a slow news week. They all wanted to know how she knew there was a Reynolds hidden under the unremarkable Morland painting. All she could tell them was that a visitor to the gallery noted something off about the painting. When she examined the signature, she noticed the flaking paint and followed a hunch. When they wanted to know the visitor's name to talk to him as well, she had to tell them the truth — she had no idea who he was. He came in, made a comment about the painting and left before she could get his name. The news drew visitors to the gallery. She sold two pieces for ten thousand each.
All thanks to the mysterious man in the three-piece suit.
She'd almost forgotten he'd promised to return in a week. But on the seventh evening she remembered and lingered long at her desk after the gallery had closed. She listened for the bell as she did her paperwork. She never heard it ring. But at five to midnight, Tou-Tou hopped out of his basket and ran through the door to the gallery as if he'd suddenly recalled he was late for a very important date.
Mona rose from her desk and walked as quietly as she could to the office door. She opened it a few more inches and saw the man in the gallery, holding Tou-Tou and stroking his head.
"You have a black cat, Mona," he said. He wore the same three-piece suit as before. "How fitting."
"Tou-Tou's the gallery cat," she said. Cautiously she approached the man and took Tou-Tou from his arms. She wasn't sure she trusted him yet, and her cat was the closest thing Mona had to family. "Not much luck but he keeps me company."
"A cat to be envied then," the man said.
"Do you have a name?"
"Forgive me. I should have introduced myself last week. Malcolm."
"Malcolm," she repeated, liking the feel of it on her tongue. "Any last name?"
"Not at the moment. Was I correct about the painting?"
"You know you were. It was all over the news."
He shrugged a shoulder. "I pay very little attention to the news. A Reynolds, I assume?"
"It was. Appraised at five million."
"How much will you get?"
"Fifty-thousand-dollar finder's fee from the owner. Yours, of course."
"Why 'of course'?" he asked.
"I didn't even like the Morland. It was from his later years, after he stopped producing good work. I only displayed it because I thought it might sell for a couple thousand dollars. You're the one who told me there was something underneath it."
"What exactly was underneath it? Have you seen it?"
"The restorer says it appears to be a portrait of Nelly O'Brien. They've dubbed the painting The Courtesan. Reynolds even signed the canvas."
"Ahh, Miss O'Brien. Reynolds painted her several times, I believe."
"Once more than we'd realized. One art critic believes Morland painted over it during his debt years. Maybe he'd run out of canvases and couldn't afford more. He put a two-thousand-dollar painting over a five-million-dollar painting. The owner has decided to keep it in the family, but he's sending me the check this week."
"Put it toward saving your gallery," he said. "I have no interest in taking money from you. Quite the opposite, in fact."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Red"
Copyright © 2016 Tiffany Reisz.
Excerpted by permission of 8th Circle Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1. The Fox Hunt,
2. The Courtesan,
4. The Slave Market,
5. Nymphs and Satyr,
6. A Portrait of a Gentleman,
7. Dora and the Minotaur,
8. The Bleeding Man,
9. Roman Charity,
10. The Luncheon on the Grass,
11. The Rape of the Sabine Women,
About the Author,
More Books by Tiffany Reisz,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved this book! So sweet and sexy... I wanted more!
This book was sent free for honest review by the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I don’t often read straight erotica. I’m mostly an erotic romance kinda gal but Tiffany Reisz is my queen, so as soon as I saw her latest stand alone was available on NetGalley to “Read Now” I knew I’d be exploring more yummy erotica and THE RED certaintly delivered. On her mom’s deathbed, Mona Lisa St. James promised she’d do anything to save her art gallery, The Red. She didn’t realize exactly what anything entailed until there was no choice but to sell or accept a strange Englishman’s offer to save The Red in return for submitting to anything and everything he could dish out for a year. “I’m not paying you a million dollars just to f*ck you. F*cking you is the least of what I’ll do to you. What I’m paying a million dollars for—minimum, mind you—is to f*ck with you.” And, boy, does he! Malcolm makes Soren’s sadistic mindf*cks look like child’s play. Out of all of Reisz’s many stand alone novels, THE RED sits atop my favorites list and Malcolm is reason numero uno. He’s a charming, mysterious, creative Englishman who’s the devil with a riding crop. He’s also got an interesting thoughts on prostitution. While I’m not 100% sold on all his ideals, his logic is rather intriguing. THE RED raises the question what is worth selling yourself? What is worth giving a stranger consent to do anything and everything to you? Could I sell myself to a mysterious man I know nothing about for a least a million dollars? The only answer I came up with after finishing THE RED: If the man was Malcolm. It has been a long dry spell since my last venture into BDSM erotica and THE RED was the novel to get me back in the mood for some kinky fun. In fact, I feel urge for another Original Sinners binge read in the near future. If you’re on the hunt for a new erotic adventure give THE RED a chance!
The Red, An Erotic Fantasy, Tiffany Reisz Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews Genre: Romance,Erotica I love Tiffany Reisz' stories, so well written, so full of interesting twists and turns and I have read and reread all the Original Sinners novels. So was really excited to get this, a novel "written" by Nora Sutherlin. I think its the book she's writing in the very first of the series...I could be wrong on that. Sadly, it Just Wasn't One for Me, surprised me, shocked me that I really didn't like it, I just didn't expect that. I was looking forward to a typical sensual on the edge Tiffany read and what I got was something that made me seriuosly uncomfortable reading, it's fantasy possibly, but its presented as real, Mona thinks its real, we don't really know when it happens what's real, whether she's dreaming, drugged, or having a genuine experience. There were parts I enjoyed, the art links to the sex scenes, they were cleverly done and interesting, fitted the art gallery link, I loved the way the story winds round full circle and ties up so neatly. Set against that though I found some of the sex scenes too disturbing - even gave me bad dreams...I'm very prone to them so avoid anything likely to set those off, my mind takes an idea and runs with it. This story though takes a direction I didn't expect, not the spicy, sensual and edgy OS scenes I'm used to but ones with a supernatural edge that I feel uncomfortable with. So, my BDSM knowledge comes purely from books, especially Original Sinners ones, so SSC and RACK are terms I agree with. However the sex here takes a twist so that really Mona isn't consenting, isn't aware of risks she's taking and the big bugbear - she has no safe-word. She signs a blank cheque for anything Malcolm wants to do to here almost. Is that consent? Is that Safe and Sane? Risk Aware? I don't think so, and I'm uncomfortable with scenes where she isn't consenting, even if she does enjoy what happens. If someone orgasms does that make it not rape for example? That defence wouldn't and shouldn't work in real life or books IMO. Throw in the Satyrs and the Minotaur and it was a step too far for me, a little too animalistic. I love fantsy and paranormal so I'm used to werewolves having sex, but they don't do it in their werewolf or part werewolf form – well, not in the books I like. There's a thin line between art and porn whether its sculptures, paintings or writings and this for me is reaching the wrong end of the scale. I can see others love it, and that's great but for me its a step too far. I enjoyed the story, thought it had a clever twist - a few clever twists, but I didn't like the execution of some of the sex scenes. I've loved all the OS ones, but this book just isn't right for me. Stars: Two, a clever and intriguing story but the turn the sex scenes took was not right for me. Others love it, only you know what's right for you. ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
Mona Lisa St. James made a deathbed promise that she would do anything to save her mother's art gallery. Unfortunately, not only is The Red painted red, but it's in the red. She soon realizes she has no choice but to sell it. Just as she realizes she has no choice but to sell it, a mysterious man comes in after closing time and makes her an offer: He will save The Red if she agrees to submit to him for the period of one year. The man is handsome, English, and terribly tempting...but surely her mother didn't mean for Mona to sell herself to a stranger. Then again, she did promise to do anything to save The Red... Review: I loved this story! I loved that it intertwined art, fantasy and kinky-ness. The story was truly unique. The way each encounter was centered around a piece of art was expertly done and captivating. Those scenes were so richly described it felt like I was watching them, not reading about them. They were my favorite parts of the book. Plus, I truly could not guess what or who her mystery man is until the big reveal at the end..."mike drop" I never would have guessed it. I loved the ending, thought it was perfect. There is lots of kinky goodness in this story and lots of taboo scenarios, so it may be a little rough for some, but I loved them all and thought they were excellently done. Now, it is not all fun and sexiness, there is emotion and drama woven into the story too. When Mona and the mystery man hit a rough patch in the middle I was a little teary and really felt for Mona. I want to say more about the storyline but I am afraid to give too much way and I want this to be spoiler free. I will say if you want a sexy, unique erotic fantasy story, you should read this one! 5Stars *I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book provided by the publisher.*
Hot! Hot! Hot! Intoxicatingly Erotic! This was the most erotic story I have ever read! Blush! Blush! The heat of this story will singe your fingers as you turn the pages. Not only from the content but from the speed of your fingers turning the pages to read more. Tiffany Reisz is a masterful author of erotica and she out did herself in this story, in my opinion. This was captivatingly, arousing storytelling at its finest. If you want your panties to combust, this is your story. Mystery, suspense, with dark, erotically, ominous overtone I devoured this! Loved it! Received a ARC through the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily wrote an honest review.
This is not your typical erotica. It is not a simple story about girl meets boy. It is so much more. Ms. Reisz has written The Red in the same elegant rhythm of Anais Nin. It is precise and clear with broad enough strokes to paint the picture she wants you to see. With dark undertones it captures your attention almost immediately and demands your full attention. Within the first few chapters you are caught up in Malcolm and Mona’s actions. Then before you realize it, it’s no longer about the erotic acts, but about the secrets each painting and subsequent act reveals. I suggest you go into this read with very little information. Trust this author to point you in the direction you should go. Then just enjoy the journey. ARC provided through NetGalley
Mona promised her mother on her death bed that she would do anything to keep The Red, her mother's art gallery. A mysterious man known to her as only Malcolm gives her a proposition. He'll save The Red if she agrees to be his sexually for the next year. He'll come to her about once a month and be able to do whatever he wants with or to her. Each time he comes, they begin by acting out a scene from a different famous piece of art. Every meeting is a unique and erotic experience. Do not try to read this book in a public setting. There's a good chance you'll need some 'me time' more than once. The scenes may push your boundaries also. I enjoyed each time Malcolm paid a visit. Certain bits almost made me combust. I loved the ending. I guessed something along those lines of what Malcolm was, but I never would have guessed his end game. The story wraps up well, but I wouldn't be opposed to revisiting Mona in another book.
3.5 Stars! Well, I can definitely say this was a unique story. It was a bit out there for me, but I admit I was still fascinated with where the author was going with it and I actually really loved the ending. This is one of those books I think is best to just dive in not knowing what it's about. I think knowing certain aspects may take away from the story. I will say I felt it was pretty risque` and not your typical love story. A bit on the dark side. If you are looking for something unique that is well written, I would recommend this book. ARC provided by NetGalley.
Greatest series ive ever read
Loved the story
So unexpectedly naughty. I could not put it down. I had to go jump my husband. Made my toes curl. I want to read it again right away.
Love all her books I have read so far