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FRIDAY FEAST with Christina Phillips

Oh, I do love Fridays. Not only is it the end of the week, which means fun, frivolity and very, very soon FOOTBALL, it’s Friday Feast time. And I don’t know about you, but I’m thoroughly enjoying these posts. Everyone has such wonderful food stories to share and today’s guest is no exception.

I am a huge admirer of Christina Phillips. Her writing is beautifully lyrical, her stories compelling and her heroes… well, let’s just say they make me gooey. A lot gooey, in fact. Maximus, Maximus, you sexy Roman hunk of….

Oh, sorry. Where was I? Yes, praising Christina. Wonderful writer. Fabulous books. You must check them out. No, seriously, you must. Forbidden, Captive and soon, writing as Christina Ashcroft, Archangel of Mercy.

Here’s a look at Forbidden to give you a taste.

He was a master of seduction – but no match for the magical allure of the woman he wanted most…

Carys knew from the moment she first spied on Maximus in his naked barbarian glory that he was a dangerous Roman centurion – his taut, battle-scarred flesh marking him as a fearless warrior. But her desire for him was as undeniable as it was illicit.

Charged by his emperor to eliminate a clan of powerful Druids in Britain, Maximus never expects his mission to be thwarted by the clan’s ethereal princess, Carys, his daring voyeur. Falling under her spell, he doesn’t realize her true heritage – until he captures her heart as well as her body.

As Carys’s loyalties are twisted, and freedom is no longer her single-minded obsession, an avenging former lover threatens to crush Maximus’s people into oblivion. Now Carys and Maximus must overcome the devastation of war and face the ultimate sacrifice if their forbidden love is to survive.

Think of it… Maximus in his naked barbarian glory. How can you possibly resist!

Oof. Look at me rabbiting on again. Without further ado, here’s Christina.

Thank you Cathryn for having me on your blog today! I love the idea of your Friday Feast blog posts and all the delicious recipes. I’m sure I’ve whacked on several kilos just by drooling over the photos!

Since I’m a bit of an undomestic goddess I thought I’d chat today about a recent wine tour we enjoyed in the gorgeous Margaret River region of Western Australia. It was to celebrate my husband’s birthday and my daughters discovered a fantastic villa right on the river – Riverzedge Retreat.

Two weeks before the weekend we sat him down and told him we were going away and he needed to take time off work (yes he does need to be told this!) The weekend arrived and the weather was perfect. The villa was stunning and our bedroom was fabulous. I’ve always had a craving to sleep in a four poster bed and although it didn’t quite have the four posts it did have the most gorgeous drapes, and combined with the breathtaking views it was a little slice of heaven!

On the Saturday morning the seven of us trudged down the hill to wait for the tour bus. Aha! As an added surprise we’d told him we were taking the tour bus and I will never forget the look of absolute astonishment on his face when instead of a bus, an amazing white limo pulled up!

I would now love to give a detailed description of every winery we visited and wines consumed. Unfortunately, I enjoyed myself far too much at the first stop with a selection of Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignon Merlots and the entire day is one very happy blur!!!

However, I do remember we stopped for lunch at the Voyager Estate with its magnificent Cape Dutch architecture. The grounds are absolutely beautiful and after we’d eaten (I believe more wine was also consumed!) we had a leisurely wander around the lovely rose gardens.

One of the experiences I’ll never forget is the adorable kookaburra that woke us each morning by dive bombing our windows. I’m originally from the UK and a total City girl, and even after living in WA for thirteen years the incredible wildlife still leaves me breathless. It was kind of surreal to hear this kookaburra doing his best to wake us up, then we’d walk out onto the balcony and there he’d be, perched on the rail and giving us the beady eye. It’s the closest I’d ever got to this cheeky bird and I discovered they are a lot bigger than I’d imagined when, as a child, I’d warble “Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree…” We also had a family of ducks who’d waddle right up to the back door looking for edible goodies.

It was a wonderful weekend away with great company, plenty of wine and delicious food (none of which I had to cook and in my book that is a huge bonus!!)

As a side note, when I was researching for my Roman/Druid romances I came across several fascinating tidbits. Apparently the Romans thought it was common to drink wine neat and instead they’d cut it half with water. But what really knocked me sideways was how during the earlier Republic period it was against the law for Roman women to drink wine at all. The reasoning behind this was because, naturally, women were unable to control themselves and if they drank wine they would sleep around. A man was within his rights to kill his wife if he discovered she’d been drinking and in order to discover if she had he would kiss her on the lips! So much for romance 🙂 Needless to say none of my heroes harbour such barbaric prejudices!

Sigh. That sounds so wonderful. Thanks, Christina. Fabulous post. Margaret River is one of the few Australian wine regions I’ve yet to visit and this just makes me want to go there more. Although I’ll definitely have to drag along the golf clubs so I can wear off all that delicious food and drink with some exercise.

Now, Christina has a special gift for ten lucky commenters. Share your favourite wine region or, if wine isn’t your thing, simply your favourite tipple, and you could score a very attractive and handy present!

Get commenting because entries close midnight, Tuesday, 21st February Australian Eastern Standard Time. And don’t forget to include your email address or a link so we can contact you. Open internationally.

If you’d like to know more about Christina and her beautifully written books, please visit her website. You can also connect via her blog, Twitter and Facebook.

 

The contest is now closed. Christina has generously offered a prize to all who participated, with details on how to claim in the comments section.

Thank you for joining in the Friday Feast fun!