Erotic Contemporary Romance
Today it’s a huge welcome to Christina Phillips from Down Under! Christina will be releasing Hold Me Until Forever, the third and final instalment in her sizzling contemporary erotic romance series, the Grayson Brothers on January 4th. I was fortunate to be offered an ARC of this book and if you’d like to read my review, scroll down after our interview with Christina in which we quiz her about the series and her writing process.
I have been a fan of Christina’s work for years, whether she is writing historical, paranormal or contemporary romances. For me what distinguishes her work from that of others are how she writes her deliciously dominant alpha males who are always a perfect fit for the women who are destined to be theirs. If you’d like to read my reviews of some of Christina’s other books, I’ve included the links at the end of the post. Tina ❤
She’s the only one he wants…and the one he can never have
Ella Clark has been in love with Alex Grayson forever. She’s tired of being invisible—or worse, being treated like his kid sister. If she can just get him to drop his iron-fisted control for two seconds, she’ll prove she knows exactly how to blow his mind.
Alex has been fighting his attraction to Ella since her should-have-been-innocent sweet sixteen kiss burned down his world. He’s damaged, and there’s no way he’ll ever drag her into his screwed up life. Until she offers him something he’s always craved—steamy, no-strings sex inside his exclusive BDSM club. Where she’ll be safe from the darkness that haunts him.
Except there’s nothing safe about being with Ella, and the more she gives, the harder it is to let her go. If he stays, he risks everything, but how can he walk away from the only woman he’s ever needed?
1. What inspired you to write the Grayson Brothers series?
I’d wanted to write a connected series about brothers for some time, but it wasn’t until mid 2014 that the Grayson brothers suddenly appeared in my mind. They were hot, tough and had survived a brutal childhood and I was instantly hooked and had to find out more about them!
2. Did you base any elements of your heroes or heroines on anyone you know?
Well, it’s a closely guarded secret that I have a slight crush on Henry Cavill and I’ve based a few heroes on him in the past (not only is that man beautiful he’s so versatile when it comes to heroes!) However, strangely enough, he wasn’t the inspiration behind any of my Grayson brothers.
3. In the three novels which make up the series, Hold Me Until Midnight, Hold Me Until Morning and now Hold Me Forever, the three Grayson brothers and the women they are destined to love are all very different. Have you a favourite couple, brother or heroine?
Oh this is a hard question because I love each couple for different reasons. But if you’re really going to push me for an answer, then I’ll have to say Alex and Ella, in Hold Me Until Forever. They’ve known each other all their lives and Ella is literally the girl next door, who’s been secretly in love with Alex for years. As for Alex, he’s so consumed with guilt at what happened in the past that he’s convinced he doesn’t deserve her. I just love these two and desperately wanted them to have their happily-ever-after.
4. Whose book was the most challenging to write and why?
Each book had their own challenges, but I always knew Alex’s book would be hard, because of his past and the barriers he’d erected around his heart. Unfortunately I was right! It took a long time to unravel the layers and reach the core of the man, but when I did I fell in love with him all over again. 🙂
5. What do you think makes a good hero and heroine?
I like a heroine who isn’t afraid to go for what she wants, in her own way, and who is the hero’s match in every way that counts. As for the hero, I do love a man with a sense of humour. It doesn’t matter how powerful, wealthy or bad boy hot he is, I just love it when he has that moment of not taking himself seriously. And I have to admit I do like it when the hero needs to do a bit of a grovel at the end of the book!
6. Why do you think most romance readers have such an appetite for alpha males and are they fulfilling to write?
There are several degrees of alpha male, but I think what makes them so fascinating is their air of danger, their conviction that they’ll never fall in love and then of course their utter devotion and loyalty to the woman who finally captures their heart. I love writing about them, and have a special sense of glee when their heroine ends up bringing them to their knees. 🙂
7. The hero in your latest Grayson novel, Alex, has a penchant for BDSM. Did you (cough, cough) have to carry out any research into this world before writing the novel? 😉
Heh 🙂 Well, I do have a vivid imagination which helps, but I also did some online research. Also an author friend did a series of interviews with Doms on her blog last year, which was very enlightening.
8. Have you any writing/publishing projects in the pipeline that you are able to share?
I have a few things in the pipeline that I’m very excited about! I’m in a second TAKEN boxed set with Cathleen Ross and Mel Teshco which will be out very soon, and I also have a release with Tule Publishing for their new erotic romance line, Eros, in January – Every Breath You Take. The hero is a tattooed bad boy, who after five years meets up again with the one girl he can never have. I also have a super-secret project in the works that I can’t wait to share!
9. Have you a message to readers?
Thank you for reading and enjoying my books! And thank you for taking the time to let me know. It really does mean so much! Yes, authors are a needy bunch!!!
My Review ~ ***** FIVE stars
Steamy and Heartfelt!
Hold Me Until Forever is a combustible mix of one damaged alpha male with a penchant for BDSM and a long-time female friend he has forbidden himself to lust after but who desires him like no other! I just LOVED this read from the off and although all of the books in Christina Phillips’ Grayson Brothers series are fab reads this is my favourite: I like my heroes to be alpha, brooding and tortured and Alex fits the bill perfectly, and Ella is a perfect foil for him: understanding his dark past and being spunky enough to stand up to him.
Alex has had an unbelievably tragic childhood, fearing his emotional responses to situations and likes to keep people at a distance. This is especially so when it comes to relationships with the opposite sex, where he is careful to keep his emotional barriers well and truly up, lest he loses control. Excalibur, the BDSM club which he part owns, is where he goes to have his sexual needs fulfilled, knowing that he can, through a combination of control and safe words, ensure the safety of his submissives.
Despite his attraction to Ella he has treated her like a younger sister for years to protect her from his dark nature. Alex has been hoping that Ella, who works at his security firm, will hook up with his brother Cooper. However, when Cooper, as well as his brother Jackson show that they have found their own soulmates, things are about to change. Alex’s icy façade that he has maintained when it comes to Ella begins to crack and when she offers him total submission at his BDSM club, he cannot resist. Yet rather than this being a one off experience for them, both crave more.
I felt so much for both characters. Ella understands Alex’s issues, having witnessed his past, and is very giving emotionally. However, there is a limit to even what she can endure. Maybe Alex is just too broken to ever want a normal relationship? For his part Alex begins to unravel and is forced to face his demons from the past. It remains to be seen whether he will be able to cope with what Ella really wants, a relationship with all of him, not just the part confined to his club, however much she adores the ecstasy he brings her to (and the scenes between them are damn hot)!
The characters, plot, dialogue and the pacing in this book all came together perfectly for me and Christina Phillips once again excels in writing the most delightfully erotic and heartfelt love-making scenes. The book works very well as a standalone, but if you enjoy steamy contemporary romances why stop at one Grayson brother when you can enjoy reading about all three? You can find out about Cooper and Jackson’s romances in the first two novels in the series, Hold Me Until Midnight and Hold Me Until Morning.
Reviewed by Tina Williams
Please note that a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.
About the Author
Christina Phillips is an ex-pat Brit who now lives in sunny Western Australia with her high school sweetheart and their family. She enjoys writing paranormal, historical and contemporary romance where the stories sizzle and the heroine brings her hero to his knees.
She is a triple finalist in the 2013 ARRA Awards for Favorite Erotic Romance, and finalist in the 2012 ARRA Awards for Favorite Paranormal Romance. She is published by Entangled, Ellora’s Cave and Berkley Heat and has dipped her toe in the indie pubbed waters. She is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, Romance Writers of America, the Dark Side Down Under Group blog and Historical Hearts Group blog. She helped establish the inaugural Professional Development for Authors program and has been a member of the editorial team for the RWA’s monthly newsletter, Hearts Talk. She loves hearing from her readers!
Christina is addicted to good coffee, expensive chocolate and bad boy heroes. She is also owned by three gorgeous cats who are convinced the universe revolves around their needs. They are not wrong.
Connect with Christina
For our reviews of some of Christina’s other books click on the links: