Tuesday 26 March 2013

Guest blog: Christina Phillips - 'Betrayed'

In 51 A.D., Druid priestess Nimue is injured and enslaved by the hated Roman Legions. Even though she is drawn to her captor, she’s determined to escape and complete her mission for the Briton king and her duty to Arianrhod, the goddess she is bound to.

The tough Roman warrior who captures her is far from the brutal barbarian she expects. His touch inflames her desires and passion burns between them. Though Nimue does not accept her enslavement, her heart surrenders to her enemy. When Arianrhod appears to her in the form of an owl, Nimue knows the union is blessed.

Roman warrior Tacitus is enchanted by the fiery beauty who shows no fear and challenges him at every turn. Though enslaving her goes against his heart, he’s determined to make her his. No woman has ever heated his blood as she does. But when he discovers her true nature as one who actually communes with the gods, his loyalties are torn between his heritage and a woman who could destroy everything he’s ever believed in.

A Romantica® fantasy erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

Excerpt ~ from Chapter One (edited for PG rating)

An eerie chill trickled along Nimue’s spine, causing the hair to rise on the back of her neck and arms. Without thinking she leaped to her feet, dagger once again in her hand. But it wasn’t a lone legionary who had caught her so unawares. It was a mounted Roman officer, in a flowing scarlet cloak, with his shield in one hand and sword in the other.
For a moment all she could feel was the erratic thud of her heart in her ears, the uneven gasp of her breath in her throat. The sun dazzled her, glinting off the polished metal of his armor as he stared down at her, and obscurely she noted his impressive biceps, his muscles flexing as he urged his horse forward.
Flee. The command whispered in her mind, faint and insubstantial. But the treacherous rocks on her right, the fast flowing stream at her back and the steep bank on the far side did not offer her a speedy escape. But somehow she had to lead him farther away from the queen and princess. Except he had effectively trapped her by the edge of the stream.
Yet even as the weight of her responsibility tormented her conscience, she couldn’t drag her fascinated gaze from the Roman. His face was hard, autocratic, unsmiling. The face of countless Romans, and yet like none she had ever seen before. His eyes were narrowed, his strong jaw shadowed. And the tip of his sword was a mere arm’s length from her face.     
“Surrender to the might of the Eagle,” he said in the ancient Celtic language of her people. His voice was deep, sensuous, and dark embers stirred between her thighs, as if she faced a brave warrior of Cymru instead of a cowardly barbarian of Rome. “And you shall remain unharmed.”
Her palm was sweaty around her dagger and she tightened her grip before it slipped from her grasp. She might not have a chance against this Roman but she would never surrender to him. And she would never willingly give up her weapons, either.
“I would sooner die fighting you,” she said in Latin, just to show him she was no ignorant native of a fractured land. Her mother had taught her the language well. “Than surrender my freedom to your filthy Emperor.”
She had no freedom under Rome. As soon as they discovered she was a Druid, her life would be forfeit. Crucifixion was terrifying enough, but it was the torture she would doubtless endure beforehand that shriveled her soul.
His black stallion whickered, pawed the ground, but the Roman did not break eye contact nor did his sword waver.
“Brave words, little Celt.” Still he spoke in her language, and disbelief unfurled through her breast at the tone of his voice. Did he find her challenge amusing? “But I don’t fight women.”
She ignored the threat of his sword and stepped forward, her dagger on clear display. He had no right to enter her land and then mock her prowess as a warrior. Just because she did not possess the brute strength of a full-grown male didn’t mean she lacked dexterity or speed. She glared up at him, wishing, obscurely, she could see the color of his eyes.
“Why? Are you afraid I may unman you?” Why was she trying to raise his ire? Wouldn’t it make more sense to beg for freedom? Pretend to be a mere peasant, caught up in this revolt? Perhaps, then, he would allow her to escape without persecution?
Even as the thought teased her mind she knew the silver bracelets on her wrists, the torque at her throat and jewels in her ears plainly branded her as anything but a peasant.
For one brief moment the corner of his lips quirked, as if he found her not only amusing but highly entertaining.
“I believe,” his voice was a seductive caress along the naked flesh of her arms, the exposed swell of her breasts. “I am more than man enough for you, Celt.”


Rose Anderson said...

Ooh this looks great. I love when societies clash, especially with the Celts. Best luck with this Christina.


Christina Phillips said...

Thanks so much, Rose!

Barbara Elsborg said...

Congratulations, Christina. I love the cover!

Christina Phillips said...

Thanks, Barbara! so do I :-)

Lily Harlem said...

I'm intrigued :-)

An extra lovely cover too.


Christina Phillips said...

Thanks, Lily! And yes, the cover is gorgeous :-)