Tainted, #4 in the Forbidden Series, by Christina Phillips

tainted_msr-001Historical Erotic Romance 18+

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.

http://christinaphillips.blogspot.co.uk/

Publisher Ellora’s Cave site

Betrayed (# 3 in the Roman/Druid Series), by Christina Phillips

17401185[1]-002Erotic Historical Romance

Adult content 18+

A Beautiful and Passionate Meeting Of Soul Mates

Betrayed is an erotic historical romance, set in Roman Britain. It describes a beautiful and passionate love between two sworn enemies, Tacitus, a Roman Tribune and Nimue, a priestess from the Druid nobility, whom the Romans are pledged to eradicate. It is a fantastic addition to the other two books in Christina Phillips’ Roman/Druid Series, Forbidden and Captive, and can be read as a stand alone.

Betrayed takes place in Cymru, in 51 A.D, where the Romans are committed to quashing rebellion. Whilst on an important mission for Caratacus, the Briton King, Druid priestess Nimue is injured and captured. Tacitus is entranced by her beauty and demeanor. To prevent her being treated as a spoil of war to be sold to the highest bidder, he purchases her as his slave, lest any other man seeks to possess her.

Tacitus ensures that Nimue has the best medical care while she recuperates and gives her more freedoms than a slave is due. Initially Nimue is unaware that Tacitus owns her and does not comprehend why she is not held with the other prisoners. There is a strong sexual chemistry between them and as passion ignites, Nimue decides to take advantage of what his body has to offer, whilst biding her time until her recovery so that she can complete her mission for the Briton King.

Nimue is angry and mortified when she comprehends her lowly status, which she regards as being little more than a whore. However, she cannot prevent herself falling in love with Tacitus, enemy of the Druids, who would turn her over for torture and cruxifiction if he knew of her true heritage. She knows that she is coveted by other officers in the legion and realises that Tacitus spoke the truth when he said that he enslaved her for her own safety. However, her promise to Caratacus and her birthright dictate that she must betray him and this is heartbreaking. Nimue also has a task to carry out for her goddess, linked to a sacred bluestone, which her people hold in high esteem. I was so drawn into the world that the author created that I lay awake at night fretting about what would happen to Nimue and Tacitus and whether they would get their HEA!

Nimue is a fantastic heroine, not only brave but also possessing great knowledge as she is an acolyte to the goddess Arianrhod. She seeks guidance and enlightenment in some mystical scenes which take place throughout the novel. She is also a skilled healer and archer. She is loyal to her people and wants to free them from the indignities she sees them suffer. She knows that Tacitus will view her actions as the ultimate betrayal and also what will happen to her if she fails. She also carries a secret burden and heartbreak from her past.

Tacitus is a wonderful hero, masterful and passionate. A complex and honourable individual, he does not always conform to Roman views. He has never taken a slave and will not force himself on a woman. Tacitus is entranced by Nimue, who is open and confident in her sexuality and is amused that she, a slave, gives him orders. He strives to understand her customs and beliefs. However, what will he do when he discovers that she is not just a Celt, but a Druid who communes with the gods, let alone one who is hell bent on betraying his trust?

The author creates a world full characters that jumped of the page. I am no scholar of ancient Britain but she appears to have done a lot of research into the customs, religion and medicinal uses of various herbs etc. of the time. The erotic scenes are beautifully executed and you could really sense the growing connection between the lovers, who, despite being sworn enemies were a perfect foil for each other. I feared that I, along with my Kindle, would spontaneously combust whilst reading it!

I recommend this novel to all lovers of erotic romance, especially those who like a historical theme and a strong heroine and a leading man who is the embodiment of male sexuality and virtue. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, Tainted.

I was lucky enough to win a copy of the e-book of Betrayed in a competition and have carried out an honest and fair review.

Click for Christina Phillips’ website.

Find out more at Ellora’s Cave

Permission to feature cover art kindly received from Ellora’s Cave

Edited by Victoria Reese

Cover design by Fiona Jayde

Cover photography by Andreas Gradin and Medvedev Vladimir/Shutterstock.com