Lush Eroticism and a Riveting Romance
Tainted is bursting with lush eroticism and riveting romance. The tale is set in ancient Britain and features a love between a sexy Celtic warrior and a Roman aristocrat, whose combination of strength and vulnerability melts his heart. The novel, published by Ellora’s Cave, also has paranormal elements, befitting of a time when both Romans and Druids communed with their respective gods.
The patrician Antonia, recently divorced, has left Rome and journeys to Britain with her merchant father. Antonia is relieved to have left her brutal marriage far behind her. As soon as she catches sight of Gawain, whom has featured in earlier novels in the series, instant mutual attraction flares between them. Gawain blatantly parades his lust for Antonia and his intention to bed her, whilst at the same time making known his disdain for Rome and all it represents. Although Antonia tries to hide her attraction, she finds it impossible to maintain her apparent disinterest. She decides that there is no reason not to encourage this man, whom she is very much attracted to, and embark on a short term affair, where she can hopefully put the bad memories of her marriage behind her.
For Gawain’s part he is determined to possess this woman, just as he has the bodies of many a Roman aristocrat. However, Antonia is different – she has no husband with her whose secrets he wishes to uncover in his quest to bring down the Roman oppressors as a good Druid warrior should. Nevertheless he determines to slake his lust on her before moving to pastures new.
Gawain, well practised in the erotic arts, inducts Antonia into sensual pleasures beyond her wildest dreams, a far cry from her experience of the marriage bed. His seduction includes sexual acts that she has only heard spoken of in whispers by her erstwhile friends in Rome. The lovemaking scenes are very hot indeed! The couple very soon begin to share more than physical pleasure and develop strong emotional bonds, which grow into mutual respect and a deep love. As with all of Christina Phillips’ novels that I have read in this series, their developing romance is beautiful to behold. Both Gawain and Antonia however have their own secrets and when a figure from Antonia’s past reappears in her life and Rome’s determination to destroy the Druids comes to the fore, their budding romance is threatened by violence and treachery. There is also an unexpected plot twist, which i did not see coming, which added to the pleasure of the read.
I loved the characters of both Gawain and Antonia. Gawain is portrayed as a strong and honourable individual, committed to the path of the Druid warrior, to repel and destroy the Roman invaders, whom he despises. He feels as if he has failed his Celtic God Lugus, as he was unable to prevent the treachery which resulted in the King Caratacus being captured and taken to Rome, an episode which also resulted in the execution of the other Druid warriors loyal to the king. Gawain feels less honourable because he managed to escape their fate. He is a considerate and inventive lover and I found him to be a irresistible, just as Antonia does!
On the surface Antonia is the perfect reserved Roman aristocrat, but she has been made to feel wanting by virtue of her merchant father’s heritage which is not considered good enough for her mother’s patician blood. She has therefore suffered whilst in Rome. However, Antonia has an inner strength, which Gawain comes to respect. Gawain helps to heal her sexually and their relationship is also full of humorous and lively banter. Neither individual wishes to see the other hurt by their own actions or those of another.
Other characters include Carys and Maximus, the hero and heroine of book 1, Forbidden, who play a key role in the novel. There is also Antonia’s father, who has his own secrets and the Praetor who does not have the best interests of Antonia and Gawain at heart. The tale is set against the backdrop of the Roman objective to annihilate the Druids and the power and influence they wield over the populace, by whatever means possible. Author Christina Phillips is in the Premier League when it comes to historical erotic Romance. Her novels have the perfect balance between erotic lovemaking and an exciting, credible and well crafted plot.
I recommend the novel to romance lovers who like to read erotic romance, set within an historical context.
Reviwed by Tina Williams
A copy of this novel was given to me by the publisher for the purpose of a fair an honest review.