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

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17401185[1]-002Erotic Historical Romance

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

Wanderlust, by Skye Warren

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Beautiful Girl in the MeadowA Dark, Compelling Read

Skye Warren has penned yet another dark masterpiece, which brings together two wounded individuals and delves deep into the psychology of dubious-consent, captivity and power play. I love dark reads such as this as they push the boundaries and examine human emotions so deeply. I am often left in the uncomfortable position of being aroused by the darkly erotic scenes, whilst my sympathies lie not only with the victim but also the perpetrator of various taboo acts, leaving me feeling totally conflicted!

In Wanderlust Evie leaves her home and her mother after years spent ‘confined’ there by her mother’s mental health issues and her paranoia, in which she constantly warns Evie about the evil in the world. Evie longs to escape and lead a normal life and heads across the US to take up a job working in a photography studio. En route she stops at a motel, where she attracts the attention of Hunter, a trucker. After rebuffing him she retires to her room for the night, only to have him appear and compel her to consent to sex with him for the night. Hunter has a threatening persona, and Evie is left with little choice but to submit to sexual acts that were both shocking and arousing at the same time, which I found utterly compelling. Hunter then abducts Evie and holds her captive in his truck, using her as his whim dictates. This part of the novel is very dark and some scenes not for the faint hearted. I felt for Evie as she struggled to accept an intolerable situation, where she initially feared for her life.

Evie is innocent in that she has little experience of people and the outside world. However, she hides a dark secret from her past and despite her insecurities possesses an inner strength. Hunter gives her no chance to refuse him and escape seems impossible. However, she soon finds a strange comfort in feeling close to an individual, instead of being alone in an unfamiliar world. Hunter helps Evie to feel free for the first time in her life, encouraging her to appreciate the outdoors and participate in new experiences. Yet how can she truly feel free when she is still his captive and their relationship is so twisted?

Evie learns that Hunter too has secrets which have made him the man he is. As Evie and Hunter roam the countryside they forge a strange kind of camaraderie. Yet what future can they have together when Hunter has committed the crime of kidnapping and controlling her and Evie is still his prisoner, despite the liberating effect of their time together? The story has a number of unexpected twists and turns before reaching its conclusion, during which both Hunter and Evie strive to resolve their unconventional relationship.

This couple are two wounded individuals, who although cannot wholly heal each other are far better together than apart. It is a dark, but beautiful love story. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a compelling read that is sometimes uncomfortable but which gets to the heart of human emotions.

Click here for Skye Warren’s blog

Cover art by Book Beautiful

Deceptive Lord (Lords of Bondage #1), by Corinne Balfour

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15724366[1]-001A Wild Romp through an Alternate Earth

This book is original and addictive, with a cast of larger than life characters which leap off the page and engage you fully. Corinne Balfour’s forays into her alternate Earth are erotic and bawdy, full of outrageous behaviour, with a heavy dose of humour and romance.  In Deceptive Lord, book 1 in her Lords of Bondage series, we encounter the Flourdans , a matriarchal society where women dominate, the Asstrumnians, of Celtic and extra terrestrial descent and the debauched Romans.

Asstrumnia has been forgotten by the rest of the world until the Romans start to invade and a war threatens.  Drest Kavanaugh, an Asstrumnian bard, is sent undercover to Flourda, to the home of depraved Countess Nefertiti Avenal to search for a kinsman who is the offspring of an Asstrumnian nobleman and a Flourdan princess. It is thought that the man may be unaware of his heritage. Drest poses as Lord Kane Woodcock, a new paramour for the Countess.

The lusty Countess Nefertiti is drunk on the power she wields. Her harem is full of strapping examples of masculinity and she delights in humiliating them, and copulating openly with them at every opportunity. Drest soon identifies Lord Devereaux Langley as the one he seeks. As part of his information gathering, he befriends Lady Eden Avenal, half-sister to Nefertiti. The two share a mutual attraction and there are several erotic scenes where Drest tries to seduce Eden and where she reluctantly repels him, fearing reprisals. The Countess does not allow her household to fraternise in such a way, sex being reserved for her alone.

Drest lingers too long however, and he is forced to Nefertiti’s bedchamber by her eunuchs as she tries out her new Roman toys on him in a humiliating scene, involving chains, shackles, ropes and whips. He is making good his escape, using his alien hybrid powers, when Lady Eden discovers him and what he is, in yet another hilarious and erotic encounter.  To protect his identity, Drest is compelled to transport her with him back to Asstrumnia, It is now Eden who is the captive, held by the Asstrumnians who despise the Flourdans, especially the half sister of Nefertiti. There are many twists and turns in the remaining plot that includes frequent copulation, weird Druid sex rituals and ceremonies, jealousy, kidnap and all round mayhem!

Eden, as a Flourdan female, has been brought up in a society where women dominate. Males have few rights and cannot inherit or own property. Aristocratic females take as many permanent mates as they wish and also temporary mates from the noble classes as paramours, forming harems. As head of the family, Countess Nefertiti has ultimate power over Eden, from arranging a union, to putting her to death if she steps out of line. Eden feels little more than a slave herself and does not approve of her half-sister’s behaviour. Although attracted to Lord Woodcock, she resists getting involved as he is Nefertiti’s property. She also doubts his ability to submit as his comments and his behaviour are sometimes a bit strange….  When he transports her to Asstrumnia, she is petrified,  as she has heard terrible stories about how the Asstrumnians enslave their captives and she finds she has to trust him for her own salvation.

Drest is a complex character. He is attracted to Eden, but realises that she is his enemy and finds that her beliefs and customs are outlandish by Asstrumnian standards. He has no choice but to bring her back with him to Asstrumnia, not realising how she will complicate his life. The couples’ romance is sweet, but also full of some very erotic encounters. Both Eden and Drest are increasingly confused by their feelings for each other as the plot develops and I found myself willing them towards a HEA.

I enjoyed learning about the different cultures of Flourda and Asstrumnia, especially when it came to their sexual customs! The supporting cast, some of whom feature in her other novel, Dark Lord, is excellent and I hope that she manages to return to them in her continuing tales of her alternate Earth. I am particularly interested in what will happen to Drest’s cousin Kambria as well as Portia, another captive of the Asstrumnians.

Deceptive Lord Lords of Bondage #1), is escapist erotic romance at its best. I recommend it to those who enjoy tales of an outlandish nature, with intriguing characters , great world building and a humourous, creative and addictive plot, which is brimming with erotic scenes. Vampire Slave Trade, also in this series, but set in Rome, is also a great read and I am looking forward to reading Dark Lord, which explores the tale of Lord Devereaux Langley, who we met in this novel.

Cover art dsplayed by kind permission of Corinne Balfour

From out of the Shadows, by Linda Mooney

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OutoftheShadows_LgWeb[1]-001The Sensitive and the Lycan

This novel rocks! It is far more than your usual werewolf romance. It is a dark and erotic fairytale which deals with issues surrounding discrimination and acceptance, which affect all societies. It is the first book that I have read by Linda Mooney and I will be delving into her backlist and future releases of paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi romances very soon.

In From out of the Shadows, which is set in a world akin to medieval times, the heroine, Tora is captured and thrown into a dungeon by Baron Agrino’s henchmen. A group of men bring another prisoner into the cell, subjecting him to an extremely savage beating. In the darkness of the dungeon Tora, goes to his aid, using her special powers as a Sensitive (Empath) to discover the extent of his injuries. She is astounded to discover that the body she touches is not that of a man, but a Lupan, a half-man, half-wolf creature from legend. She does the best she can to help him heal and shares some of her meagre rations with him. The Lupan, Croat tells Tora to stay away from him to save herself. He warns her that the baron’s men have put him there to break him so that he will aid the baron with his evil plans. Tora is being used by the baron to torture him, for if Croat is not fed, his Lupan side will dominate and he will be compelled to kill and eat her to survive. This he is loathe to do. Morover, they have formed a special bond with each other, enabling them to sense each others’ emotions from afar.

Tora and Croat eventually escape from the dungeon and return to Croat’s Lycan village. Tora cannot hide the fact that she is a Sensitive from Croat’s brethren and some find it hard to trust her. Sensitives are believed to possess dark magicks and are reviled and persecuted by those who do not understand their gift. However, Tora is under Croat’s protection and the bond between them grows, although Croat is fearful and a little suspicious of what this means. Croat and the other Lupans must decide what to do about Baron Agrino who is a threat to the Lupans. Tora returns home to find out what has happened to her brother Basil whilst she was a prisoner. From here the tale becomes darker as Tora finds out what awaits her in the village and the evil machinations of the baron and others are revealed to the reader. Croat and the Lupans are forced to act, ‘coming out of the shadows’, to not only save Tora but also their own way of life, before Tora and Croat can fulfil their true destiny.

The tale is very romantic, both Croat and Tora have experienced discrimination throughout their lives and remain strong characters deserving of each others’ love. Their mutual attraction is strong – even when Croat is in his Lupan form there is a sexual tension between them and Croat in particular finds it hard to dampen his body’s response. Croat wants to bed her from early on in the novel, although it is quite late on the first time Croat and Tora make love, but it was worth the wait and happened at just the right point in the narrative. Their lovemaking was also very erotic, their connection making it extra special! Tora tells Croat that she is happy to accept him into her body in human or Lupan form and this pleases him greatly.

The story does contain a great deal of violence throughout. The Lupans, for example, succumb to their animal instincts when in Lupan form and battle the baron’s men. There is also one particular harrowing torture scene in the book, which I will not divulge, suffice to say it had me cringing, but on reflection it reflected behaviour that occurred within the world the author created and was also key to progressing the plot.

Other major characters in the book include Deelaht, Croat’s grandmother, who plays the part of a wise woman and seems to know a lot more than she is letting on. There is also Mengar, Croat’s friend, who initially does not trust Tora as she is a Sensitive, Basil her brother and of course the baron. The author creates a very believable world and paints vivid pictures of the people, their abodes and their customs, adding to the depth and credibility of the story.

I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy erotic romance in a fantasy or paranormal setting, especially those who enjoy reading tales with a darker side.

Author’s website http://www.lindamooney.com/

Publisher’s website http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/torrid/

Cover art reproduced by kind permission of the artist Kendra Egert

Editor: Sara Kent

More reviews to come soon!

Apologies for the absence of reviews! I also blog at another book review site http://areadersreviewblog.wordpress.com/ with a friend, which we have been very busy launching this since Christmas. It has taken us a lot longer than we thought it would to set up the site and organise the artwork, Facebook page etc. Rest assured, ‘I’ll be back’, as one of my favourite film characters says. I need somewhere to share my love of erotic romance, dark fantasy and erotica with others of like mind!

I have recently read Daryk Hunter (Daryk World, Book 1), by Denise Agnew, Deceptive Lord (Lords of Bondage #1) and Vampire Slave Trade by Corinne Balfour and The Awakening (Cyberevolution 0.5), by Kaitlyn Oconnor. I’ll be posting reviews on these throughout February.

Tempest by Louisa Trent

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tempestSkea

Feisty Space Chick meets Lusty Barbarian Warrior   

When I pick up a Louisa Trent book I know that I am guaranteed a steamy and entertaining read and this does not disappoint! Tempest is set on the planet Skea, populated by humanoids with a fairly primitive society. The three territories of Skea comprise Khet hunters who live in the caves, Khet miners, who live on lower ground and the coastal dwelling Sald, who farm the watery land which hugs the coast. Dry land is a premium. 

Amilaw, a shape shifter, is the sole survivor of a spacecraft which crash lands on the planet, leaving her the last of her kin. She is taken in by the peace-loving Sald and is ever grateful to them, although she struggles to adapt to the monotony and conformity which underpin their culture. Kore is the leader of the Khet hunters, a race of warlike cave dwellers who live alongside the Khet miners in a precarious alliance, which Kore struggles to maintain. Kore inspires little loyalty amongst his fellow Khet, instead holding onto his position by virtue of his fighting and hunting acumen and his imposing physical appearance, which he uses to overawe those around him. 

Amilaw becomes aware that a raging tempest is due to vent its anger on the planet, threatening all with annihilation. She goes to Kore, whom she believes to be little more than a murdering savage, prepared to do anything she has to do to protect the Sald. She aims to broker a deal, persuading him to allow the Sald refuge from the coming storm in the higher ground of the Khet caves. Kore is suspicious of Amilaw, who is willing to use any measure necessary within her shape shifting arsenal to pacify, beguile or deceive him, using her body at every available opportunity to save the lives of the Sald. As the tempest approaches and the winds and water rise, Kore and Amilaw embark on a scorching affair. We are left wondering who will survive the tempest and if Amilaw and Kore will find their HEA. 

Kore plunders every part of Amilaw’s body every which way he can. Louisa Trent describes their erotic love scenes in characteristic heart pounding detail, drawing on all five senses, which left me so hot! Scenes involve vanilla sex, anal sex, spanking, bondage, voyeurism, exhibitionism, archaic sex toys, you name it and Amilaw is up for it. Initially she surrenders due to her commitment to save the Sald, but there is soon no denying the attraction she has for Kore. It is Kore however, who recognises Amilaw as his mate, though he chooses to conceal his compulsion to love and protect her, lest she uses it against him.

Kore is a strong character, loyal to his people and keen to maintain peace. Despite being leader of the Keht hunters, he feels an outsider, partly due to a special gift of his, which he conceals, but also due to his physical appearance, which marks him as different. Due to these differences, he does not believe anyone, least of all Amilaw, can love him. Kore knows that the Keht do not take kindly to strangers, especially those like Amilaw, whose appearance, speech and demeanour vary from the norm, let alone any shape shifting abilities and is thus very protective of her.

Amilaw, although appearing a tough cookie, also feels apart from others. She is not only an outsider on the planet, but she can shape shift, an ability which she must conceal, lest she arouses suspicion and forfeits her life. Amilaw has spent her life travelling the universe and experiencing different worlds, many of which were more technologically advanced than the cultures of the Sald and the Khet. She therefore has a different way of looking at things, giving her a somewhat subversive personality. I love how these two lonely, yet seemingly disparate,  individuals come together in this tale of love, lust and self-sacrifice.  

The author provides the reader with excellent world-building and plot development. Her descriptions of the cultural differences between the warlike Keht and the harmonious, peace loving Sald are persuasive and help provide tension in the plot. The story also contains humour, as evidenced by Amilaw’s inner contemplations on Keht and Sald life. The banter between Amilaw and Keht is also amusing, especially when Amilaw lapses into space chick lingo, contrasting with Kore’s more archaic speech.

I would recommend this book to fans of Louisa Trent’s work. I have previously enjoyed her historical erotic novels, Captive and Courtesan and found Tempest just as engaging and entertaining! Lovers of erotic sci-fi, erotic  fantasy or erotic historical romance would certainly enjoy the read, as would those who enjoy erotic romance with an element of bdsm.

 5 FLAMES                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Cover art and map of Skea kindly provided by the artist Terrance Trent for the purpose of this review
Book published by Trent Publishing
Copyright Louisa Trent 2012
http://www.louisatrent.com

Welcome to Sizzle and Burn

Welcome to my blog site Sizzle and Burn, where I plan to post reviews of erotic romance, dark fantasy and erotica novels that I have read. The site is intended for adults only so please exit the site if you are not the legal age of an adult according to the country you live in.

The site is currently under construction, but if you have come across it you are welcome to come back and visit in a few weeks time to check out some recommended reads and share your views.