Rosa Cruz, the fiery and ultra-sexy heiress of the Mama Linda Latin foods empire, is determined to create something on her own and not rely solely on her family’s name and legacy.
For her new upscale restaurant in the trendy Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, she enlists the help of her childhood friend, the hot, young Cuban-American chef, Eliseo Perez, who’s already made a name for himself on the New York culinary scene.
Despite Rosa’s reservations about a forbidden workplace romance with her new employee, not to mention longtime friend, the chemistry between them is undeniable.
When the cooking starts, things quickly heat up in the kitchen and the bedroom. But with Eliseo’s troubled past coming back to haunt him, can Rosa and Eliseo hold onto love and keep the restaurant from going up in flames?
This book. THIS BOOK. THIS BOOK YOU GUYS.
Okay so my first reaction when I finished reading this book was that I did not sign ups for all the highs and lows that this book took me on. Talk about a book that has basically everything—plenty of smut, the innocent first stages of infatuation, much food (my favourite!), very intense drama that set your teeth on edge, a brief glimpse into all the previous couples of the series! Like I said, basically everything!
Forbidden Rose is the second book in the Wildflowers series, and pfffft, of course it’s my favourite! This book is about Alejandro and Rodrigo’s sister Rosa Cruz, whom we see periodically in the Dahlia and Lily trilogies, but only as a part-goer, and obviously not in the depth that this book gave. Rosa was an honest-to-God, force of nature. She’s the type of woman that you want to look up to, because as rich as she is, she’s really not the bratty child I was expecting. In Forbidden Rose, we see Rosa setting up a restaurant on her own without the help of her family’s influence, and as her chef she recruits Eliseo Perez (fellow hottie) and childhood friend.
I know I’m supposed to talk about Eliseo as being hot (he was) and perfect book boyfriend material (he totally was) but I’m going to take a minute to appreciate Eliseo in the whole. Throughout this series and the series before this one, I don’t especially remember Eliseo being mentioned at all—so for me, this guy was a completely new character. And the fact that he was a brilliant chef certainly helped win me over to his tie—I’m all about the food these days. Apart from his pragmatic nature and completely calm exterior, this guy was passionate about his work, and also a very caring soul. I loved seeing him in his element, but he was also so so kind with Rosa, it was amazing ❤ It was especially surprising to see him this way, considering his shady past and anger issues.
Eliseo and Rosa made a great team together, inside the kitchen and out. They were both driven and their take-no-shit attitude was hugely appealing. They were kind of the couple that I can see running a multi-million empire in the day, and still going on little spontaneous dates all the time! That also solved quite a lot of issues together in this book—humongous problems that threatened Rosa’s restaurant—in a way that was very mature, very adult.
I love the setting of the book—Miami sounds amazing!—and of course Vivian Winslow never disappoints. Her writing was on point, and I’m so glad that she didn’t take the easy way out of solving problems in the book. The characters always reflect the author’s talent, and judging by Forbidden Rose, Vivian Winslow is one hell of a talented writer. She brings life to a story that is as unique as it is real, and takes you right into the midst of the these characters that you’ll love simply because they are flawed and human, and thereby, perfect.
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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 and her incurable wanderlust. 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 fashion, 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 eating at the newest restaurant in her beloved 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.