14 March 2015

The Gilded Flower Series Spotlight!

Wild Violet is the first installment of The Vi Trilogy of the Gilded Flower Series. Appearing in The Lily and Dahlia Trilogies of the Gilded Flower Series, Violet Rai, or Vi, is Lily and Dahlia Baron’s sharp-witted BFF, who is always up for a party and a hot guy. But, in The Dahlia Trilogy, there are hints that Vi’s world is quickly coming apart, and her dark secret is about to be exposed.

In this flashback story, Vi, the strikingly beautiful daughter of an Indian business magnate and English supermodel, is enjoying a privileged lifestyle in New York City while a college student at NYU. Yet, in her senior year, Vi learns that her strict and traditional father intends to force upon her an arranged marriage and a career working for his conglomerate in Dubai. When Vi is paired with sexy Spaniard, Andrés Costas, in her ballet class, not only does she find herself falling for him, but he introduces her to a shockingly different world—one that offers her the prospect of escaping her father’s plans, but at a price.
I love it when you read a book in a series and it changes your mind about a character.  That’s what happened to me with this story.

In the first of this new series that piggybacks on the Gilded Flower Series, we are let into Vi’s world.  Best friend to Dahlia, we’ve not been privy to her story until now.  What we do find out is a dark past filled with secrets that make Vi the woman she is today. 

As I said, finding out more about Vi was not something I was so sure about but at the end I was really happy that I was given more to her story.  I think it adds more to series as a whole with Dahlia and Lily’s stories, not to mention that Vi is just an interesting character. 

I’m not often surprised by plot lines but I have to admit, I was a bit surprised here.  The only thing I don’t like about these books is the serial nature of them.  It doesn’t detract from the story, but I still can’t help but wonder why this couldn’t just be one big book.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story and I look forward to the next book.  4 stars.
“Come have coffee with me,” he says as Vi enters the stairwell. He’s leaning against the wall of the landing, dressed in torn, loose fitting jeans and a half-tucked, casual white button down, with two buttons undone. His beauty can only be regarded as perfectly masculine with dark, chiseled features and lean, ripped muscles. In fact, his entire body is muscle, which is to be expected for a dancer. Yet, there’s an ethereal quality to the man standing before her, the way he walks and carries himself. Vi’s never met anyone like him, which intrigues her. However, he’s so aware of his looks and the effect he has on others that it makes her ambivalent to his charms.

“Too hot for coffee,” she replies quickly as she begins her descent. He follows her down the stairwell and out onto Broadway.

“You can have it iced.”

“No thank you, I’m not interested in having coffee.” The reply is half-hearted because a part of her is curious. Of course she can imagine herself sleeping with him. The image of him taking her on the studio floor had flashed through her mind when his hand brushed her inner thigh as she moved into attitude. It sent a shockwave through her that she couldn’t forget.

“Then we’ll get water. I’ve seen you drink that.”

Vi shakes her head and stops walking. Turning to him she says, “Persistence isn’t a charming quality. It’s creepy and borders on stalking. You should make a woman feel respected, not just desired.”

He grins and puts his hands into his pockets. “So I take it that’s a no to any beverage.”

“You learn fast,” she says, hailing a taxi. Vi knows if she stays near him any longer, she might just sleep with him. One more glance at his fine form confirms that.

He holds the door open for her. “Maybe next time.”

She can sense from his smile that he’s not any easy person to resist, and who is she to pass up what could be an incredibly memorable fuck? It just has to be the way she prefers—on her terms.
With her hidden past about to be exposed, Vi turns to her longtime friend and confidant, Thomas Squires, for help. Yet, they may just risk exposing their feelings for each other in the process. When Lily’s engagement to Alejandro is threatened by ex-lover Gustavo, Vi is forced to come clean with her best friend and possibly destroy the lives of those she loves. Now that her secrets are no longer hidden, Vi faces the most difficult challenge yet—how to build a new life for herself outside of the shadows.
This book brings us back to present day, where the previous book tells us Vi’s past, this book tells us the present in the Gilded Flower universe.  In this installment we see how Vi attempts to live her life in truth in order to help her best friend.  We see if she can reconcile her past with her present and still have a future.
I found this book very enveloping.  I just had to see how it was all going to work out and how Vi navigates the present now that she’s been forced out in the open.  She was so used to living her life the way she’d been living it…I don’t want to sound dumb, but this book really highlights Vi blooming into the woman that she should have felt free to be all along.  I think so far this is my favorite book in the entire series.
Vi and Thomas are what drove this entire story for me.  Their chemistry is so well written that it just sucked me in.  This is exactly the kind of H/h chemistry I look for in a romance novel and I was so happy to have it delivered.  It was tangible…loved it!
If the previous book was all about giving us Vi’s background and answering questions then this installment was all about creating more questions and mystery that I hope will be solved in the last book.  Again, I’m slightly annoyed that this is a serial set of novellas instead of a full book, but that only bothers me because it’s good and I’m greedy to know what happens next.  4 stars.

Vi takes a few deep breaths. She never prepared herself for the moment when she’d have to confess everything to her friends. Keeping secrets seemed natural for her, a form of self-protection, at least that’s how she saw it. As her life began to unravel, she couldn’t help but wonder if she had lived more openly, more honestly, whether she would’ve been able to avoid the trap that comes with leading a double life. What she didn’t foresee is that the price you pay for living such a life is that you cheat yourself and those who love you out of knowing you fully. Yet Vi can’t regret any of this. It’s done. All she can do now is seek forgiveness.
“I don’t know where to begin,” she says, leaning her arms on her legs, looking sincerely at Lily.
“Begin with how you got started in the business,” Lily says firmly.
“I knew a guy who did it.”
“That’s too vague. What’s his name?”
“Andrés Costas.”
“Wait, I know that name,” Dahlia interjects.
Vi nods, “I’m sure you do.”
Lily pauses. “You were at NYU?”
Vi nods. “He was in a dance class I was taking the summer before senior year.”
“And he just said, ‘hey you wanna be my pimp?’” Lily replies sarcastically.
Vi gives her a warning look. “Not like that. I never pimped him out. We started hanging out for a while. You might even say we dated.”
“You had a secret boyfriend?” Dahlia asks.
“Boyfriend is a stretch. We couldn’t be exclusive, but we kind of were. I wasn’t seeing anybody while we were together.”
“How long was that?” Lily grills.
“About six months.” Vi looks up at the ceiling, realizing how bad it all sounds when she’s saying it out loud. “But it wasn’t like we were dating like you and Jack were. We just hung out at my place, or went out occasionally to some local bar. It was easy and nice to have a friend.”
“And have you had any boyfriends since?”
“That’s irrelevant.” Vi grows defensive. “It has no bearing on what’s going on now.”
“I beg to differ,” Lily argues. “You’re supposed to reveal what you’ve been keeping from me.”
“No boyfriends,” Vi says flatly.
“Except Thomas,” Dahlia butts in.
Her friend gives her a warning look.
“What about Thomas?” Lily asks curiously.
“Nothing!” Vi replies, becoming frustrated by the turn in the conversation. “Aren’t we supposed to be discussing other things?”
“Thomas is someone else we only learned about this year.”
“And you’ve known each other a long time,” Dahlia adds. “He’s so in love with you, he doesn’t even bother hiding it when I bring it up.”
“You talk about me to him?” Vi is incredulous.
Dahlia shrugs her shoulder and feigns innocence. “Just briefly. I can tell the way you get all flushed and excited when he comes up that you feel something too.”
Vi shakes her head. “It’s not the same. We’ve known one another since we were young. That’s all. It would never work between us.”
“Why not?”
Vi runs her fingers along the armrest of her chair. “We’ve seen each other at our worst.”
Lily and Dahlia both begin to speak, but Vi holds up her finger. “Wait. I know some say that’s a good thing, but for us, it’s why we’d fail. I’m too jaded, and war broke him. I’m not going to fool myself into thinking our love could save us.”
“Oh my god, you just said it!” Dahlia squeals.
Vi looks away. “It was merely an expression.”
Lily scoffs. “Lying to yourself isn’t going to make the feelings go away.”
“That’s enough about Thomas. Let’s move on,” Vi tells them.
Vivian Winslow was born and raised in Southern California. Before becoming a writer, she made a career out of moving around the world every couple of years thanks to her husband’s job. She currently lives in New York City with her husband and two elementary school age children, and is grateful to finally have a place to call home for more than two years. New York is the perfect city to indulge her love of shopping, the arts and especially food. If she’s not at home writing or running around the city with her kids, you’ll most likely find her indulging in pizza on the Lower East Side or having a cocktail at her favorite bar in Alphabet City. That said, she’s still a California girl at heart and would gladly trade in her heels for a pair of flip-flops to catch a sunset on the beach.


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