Monday, July 27, 2015

Pump Up Your Book Chats With Charmaine Pauls, author of Aeromancist

Thanks for joining us at the book club Charmaine.  Can we begin by having you tell us how you got into writing? 

Thank you very much for having me today! Writing has always been my passion, and since completing my communication degree, I have always written in some professional capacity, whether in journalism, advertising, or public relations. I fulfilled my dream to write creatively full-time when I moved to France with my French husband, and had to give up my demanding job as brand manager for a pet food company. As I didn’t have a work permit for France, I decided to spend my free time writing the book I always wanted to, but never had the time to do before. I believed that if I managed to write one book in my life, I would be content. I’d then move on and plant a tree. But writing is addictive, because, before I knew it, that book had grown into eight full-length novels, with six more on contract over the next two years.

Why did you choose to write novels in the paranormal / erotic / romance genres?

I write what I love to read best. When I first started out, I thought I was going to write women’s fiction. The more I tried to force my story in that direction, the harder it became to write it. I had a heavy stone in my stomach when I sat down in front of my computer, and the narration just didn’t flow. I tend to listen to my body a lot when I write. I knew that tightness in my chest meant that I was on the wrong path, so I decided to let it go and see where it went. Before I knew it, Jean-Christophe, the French veterinarian from my debut novel, Between Yesterday & Tomorrow, was falling in love with Marlien, the young woman who had sworn eternal loyalty to her fiancé who had mysteriously disappeared eight years earlier. From that moment on, there was a lightness in my head. My heart beat faster every time I approached my desk. My fingers itched to attack the keyboard. Endorphins released in my brain. I was giddy on writing; in love with my story. That’s when I knew I needed to write romance.

I am a big fan of classis gothic novels such as Dracula, Frankenstein and the Hunchback of Notre Dame. In a sense, the modern paranormal genre adopted many of the gothic elements and themes. It permitted me the use of my favorite castles from around the world, mysterious settings such as the Celtic stones of Carnac, dilapidated monasteries, libraries filled with hand-written books, the enchanted Breton forest of King Arthur, and the eerie, abandoned gas factory in Johannesburg in my stories, to name just a few. In saying that, I have to mention that all of my novels to date play off in the present time, or in the not-to-far-off future. I also like to use existing locations, even in my futuristic stories. (As a descriptive writer, I need to have first-hand experience of the cities and countryside where I place my characters.) In gothic literature we often have the Beauty and the Beast scenario, where the innocent woman falls in love with the dark monster. This is the case in Between Fire & Ice, a futuristic erotic romance, where Elena is artificially created as the last fertile woman on earth for the dark and unwilling Chilean copper mine tycoon, Cy. In another futuristic romance, The Astronomer, Emilio binds Fraya to him with sex, since she develops a rare addiction to a hormone transmitted during intercourse. I love these themes because the emotional stakes are so high. In Aeromancist, the sexual and emotional tension is especially dramatic, as Lann and Kat face a problem that can be fatal. Some of my themes may lean toward dark romance, which nowadays have, in my opinion, replaced the 80’s pop romance market of bodice rippers. Besides for being branded with plenty of international flavor, especially settings inspired by my travels, you’ll always find a lot of gothic elements and themes in my romances. For me, there is no bigger treat than settling down with a sizzling paranormal romance, where power is unlimited, and supernatural talents can create alpha males beyond my wildest dreams.

Where is your book set and why did you choose that location?

Aeromancist kicks off in Santiago, Chile. Each of the nine books in the series is staged in a unique location from destinations I have visited around the globe. I chose Santiago for Lann, the Russian aeromancist, after being inspired by a Franciscan monastery I had visited with my Santiago writers group. The library with its collection of antique, hand-written books made the perfect backdrop for the romantic, sophisticated, powerful and dangerous Russian.

I’d like to know more about Aeromancist.  Can you give us a little background into why you wrote the novel and the series, Seven Forbidden Arts?

At first, I wanted to write a story inspired by mysterious fires that destroyed houses in the village of Larmor-Baden, in French Brittany. This true-life, news headline event sparked the creation of Clelia, a firestarter. While researching the subject of firestarting, I came across seven arts that had been forbidden in the Middle Ages by the church. Their practitioners were burned on the stake as demonic worshippers. Since then, these arts had gone underground to be practiced in secret, and greatly disappeared, until the onset of the intellectual revolution.

The seven arts planted the idea of a series in my head; of dedicating a book to each art (the control of fire, air, water, etc.), and of creating an international cast and playing the story off around the world in the destinations I were visiting at the time while traversing South America. In the overall series plot, Cain Jones heads a paranormal crime taskforce. His aim is to prevent the onset of a Second Dark age by eliminating his archenemy, a man only known as Godfrey. Whereas withholding knowledge from the masses marked the first Dark Age, the Second one will be brought on by a complete manipulation of communication, including satellite, internet and printed press. Godfrey has his own team of paranormals who can manipulate the elements to give him the power he seeks. Cain and Godfrey are the main forces who set the battle stage. They make a powerful, albeit elusive, protagonist and antagonist. The final book in the series will be exclusively dedicated to these two characters, when the build-up of action over the nine books explodes. Up to then, they each make brief, but memorable appearances.

In the first book, Pyromancist, we are introduced to Josselin, or Joss for short, who has the ability to tell many things about people by tasting their blood. He meets his match in the firestarter, Clelia, who he abducts to use as prey. In Aeromancist, The Beginning (Book 2 and a prequel novella to Book 3) we get to know Lann a whole lot better. We understand what drives him, and discover the reasons for his aloof behavior. In Book 1, Lann is a bit of a mystery. He is an introverted intellectual, but that doesn’t make him any less dangerous than the other team members. On the contrary, those arty, sexy Prada glasses that give him his geeky look are deceptive, because when they come off, the sparks fly … both in, and out of the bedroom. Where Clelia’s story has been about fire, Lann’s tale is about air. It is a romance about how a woman can move the air for a man obsessed by that very element, and about a desire so great, it has the power to both salvage and destroy lives in the paranormal world of the seven arts.

I’d like to know more about your main character, Lann Drean.  Can you tell us more about him?

Lann is a very interesting character and I had a lot of fun spending time with him. He is complex. His troubled past causes him to put a distance between him and everyone else, but once you crack through the veneer, you discover a passionate man who harbors a deep love for books, antique scripts, poetry and artistic beauty. This passion is portrayed when Lann decides to buy a dilapidated Franciscan monastery and the library that comes with it in Santiago, Chile, to restore it to its former glory. Living in New York, from where their paranormal crime taskforce operates, Lann’s idea is to turn the monastery into a holiday home. He invests a large amount of money in converting one wing into a museum of Colonial and romantic arts, and he shocks critics by opening his private, priceless library to the public.

Physically, Lann has always enticed me with a mixture of understated elegance, a great dress sense, exotic looks, an accent as sexy as hell, and latent power. Behind his black-rimmed glasses lurks a dangerous man, one who can set you on fire with a stare from those strange, yellow eyes. He prefers wearing his hair long to cover his ears. I find it endearing that he is sensitive about their shape, as to me, there is nothing wrong with his ears. His hair is often braided down his back, and for this I have to give credit and thanks to my artistic, Viking-resembling brother, Andrew, who used to wear his hair like that. I did always think it so very masculine. With slender fingers, well-manicured nails, and his signature ruby pinky ring and gold thumb band, Lann’s hands always catch my attention. I am not sure what it is about a man’s hands, but Lann’s hands definitely do it for me.

Bono Black, the team pilot, likes to tease Lann for being a dandy. Well, he does look good in his beige-and-blue pinstriped suit, or his black slacks and French-cuff shirts. I love it when he folds back the sleeves, so you can see his muscular forearms. Lann enjoys good food. Although he doesn’t admit as much, I have a strong inclination that this is because he grew up as an abandoned child in the streets of Moscow, often going hungry. His favorite drink is champagne, and oh, the glass has to be chilled. His taste in music leans to classical, and sometimes jazz. His element being air, he appears to be aloof and cool, making logical instead of emotional decisions. He enjoys piloting his glider, and also has a commercial license, which comes in handy when Bono is unavailable. And what the gossip columns say about him is true – he is a skilled lover, for the woman fortunate enough to capture his attention.

Can you tell us a little about the other supporting characters?

Besides Lann and Kat, we see more of Clelia and Joss, the taskforce leader and the firestarter who tied the knot in Pyromancist (Book 1). Maya Martin is the team’s hydromancist. For now the beautiful South African is part of the supporting cast, until she has her own story in Book 4. Her element is water, and she can split the sea like Moses. The team’s Senegalese pilot, Bono, is always ready to fly them to their next mission. He is happiest in the air, with a joystick in his hands. We briefly see Clelia’s adoptive grandfather, Erwan, again. Godfrey, Cain’s archenemy, is as elusive as ever. Godfrey makes his appearance in the prequel novel to the series, Loving the Enemy, and won’t be seen again until the bonus book, Book 9. There is also the FBI agent, Antony Vaughn, who seems to be as interested in Kat as he is in catching Lann. Vanessa, a journalist on Lann’s tail, shows her claws, and Adam, Godfrey’s adopted son, is the emotional sadist who will make Kat’s life hell. For the first time we are introduced to Godfrey’s blood son, the deformed Nicolas, who harbors an affection for the classic Hunchback of Notre Dame due to his personal disposition (there you go, another one of my gothic elements!). Eve, the team doctor, also has a more extensive cast in this story, as her participation is vital to the main characters’ wellbeing and future. There are a few more minor characters, such as Kat’s friend Diana, Kat’s parents, her thesis mentor, Lann’s butler, the vampires of Vamp valley in Paris, the gila shifter, David, and his crazy brother Daniel. Together, this multi-cultural cast has recited a performance to keep you on the edge of your seat.

They say all fiction books have pivotal points in the book where the reader just can’t put the book down.  What’s one pivotal point in Aeromancist?

In the prequel novella, Aeromancist, The Beginning, Lann offered Kat a 30-day affair. Hunted and with a price on his head, he has no intention of dragging her into his dangerous life. Of course, he can’t tell Kat the reason for his behavior without risking her life. When he abandons her, Kat is devastated. In the first few paragraphs of the full-length novel, Aeromancist, Kat learns some shocking news that will alter her life. The revelation she makes implies that Lann deceived her. The pivot point for me is when she confronts him with this information, and his reaction to the news.

It could also be a small while later, in Paris, when Lann takes Kat to Eve’s clinic, and Kat finally takes matters into her own hands. I won’t say much more for fear of giving spoilers. J

What’s next on the agenda for you, Charmaine?

Right now, I am editing Book 4, Hydromancist, which is due in September. I have just completed Book 4, Geomancist. This one is scheduled for release in March 2016. I will spend the next two years completing the series, as well as writing several short stories for various anthologies to be launched between the book publication dates. My shorts are of a literary nature, and two have been selected by the International Literary Society for publication in an African anthology from across the continent. To expand on this achievement, I would like to submit more work for the short fiction market. I would also like to write a contemporary romance to present to agents by the end of this year, as my long-term goal is to move from small press into the mass market.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans?

For this series I followed my heart and ran with my passion. I wrote exactly what I like to read myself, creating fictional worlds in existing, delightful settings around the globe. The cast is multi-cultural, each bringing his or her own values and language to the scene. I suppose my South African background plays a big part in this. I hope that you will enjoy the diversity as much as I loved creating it. As I said before, my books are full of gothic elements cast in a modern light. You’ll find it in a broken bell tower, in captors who gently abduct their prey, and in the victory of light and love. If you find magic in dark mystery, legends, strange tongues, words unknown like pearls on the tip of a tongue, obsessive love, passionate emotions, sizzling desire, exotic scenery and plenty of fast action, then this is the series for you. And last but not the least, thank you very much again for having me at the book club, and for listening to my stories about seven forbidden arts.

About The Book


Title:  Aeromancist
Book 2: Seven Forbidden Arts Series
Author: Charmaine Pauls
Publisher:  Mélange Books
Publication Date: July 6, 2015
Pages: 284
ASIN: B010766W5S
Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance
Format: eBook / ePub / PDF

Preorder Book Buy Links:  Publication Date: July 6, 2015


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Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Book Description:

Passion always comes with a price. 

All he could offer was thirty days of passion.

He condemned her to a terrible fate instead.

Now he’ll do everything in his power to save her.

He is known as the Weatherman. Lann Dréan is the last of his kind. A price on his head, chased for a power he should not possess, he can’t promise any woman forever. All he can offer Katherine White is thirty days of passion. But his uncontainable desire comes with an unforeseen price. Lann’s lust will cost Kat everything. Now he’ll do anything to save her from the fate he has brought upon her.

* This book contains adult content with explicit language and frequent, consummated love scenes, including light bondage, sex toys and breath play. Reader discretion is advised.

Book Excerpt:

Short Excerpt

From the expression on Lann’s face, Kat knew he hadn’t expected her. Alfonso hadn’t warned him of her visit. Lann sat behind his desk, very similar to the first time they had met, but this time he was in the library, and not in his office. He had probably been working on the restoration of his ancient books, because he wore his glasses. Removing them, he immediately got to his feet. The air felt lighter, as it always did in his presence. Wisps of her hair lifted as if to an invisible caress, but Lann didn’t acknowledge the subtle dance of molecules this time.
       As always he looked impeccable in tailored pants and a white dress shirt. He stood immobile, exerting calm, waiting for her to make the first move. Kat had never been fooled about the latent danger that lurked under his quiet sophistication and intellectual air. There was a raw energy about Lann that hinted at his wildness, even as his exterior was polished civility.
       “Alfonso showed me in,” she said.
       “Katherine.” His lips lifted in the corner, exposing his dimple.
       Her heart broke at his smile. It was the one he reserved for other people. Never for her. It was automatic, a practiced social stance, and she hated it.
       Hers was faint in return. She glanced at the employees who were handling his books with protective gloves. “May we speak in private, please?”
       He frowned. “Let’s go to my office.”
       He led the way. At least he hadn’t thrown her out on sight. She was walking the familiar path she believed she’d never walk again. The air gathered around his ankles as he moved, lapping at her feet as she followed in his wake. She had never felt it stronger, and yet, it should have been the reverse. She was supposed to be cutting the tie, not strengthening it, dammit.
       Inside his office he almost took a military stance, his shoulders straight, his arms behind his back, as if keeping them there would prevent him from touching her. But his eyes were filled with warmth and concern.
       “Katherine, I didn’t tell you I was back because I didn’t want to make it harder on you.”
       He didn’t owe her an explanation. She agreed to his terms. With her eyes wide open.
       “I came back to take care of the money,” he continued. “When Alfonso told me you returned everything–”
       “I don’t want your money.”
       “You can live in comfort. Why struggle, if I have enough to share?”
       “Because it wasn’t part of our agreement,” she snapped. She took a calming breath. “Because it’ll make me feel like a prostitute.”
       His expression was incredulous as he considered the statement, but after a moment he inclined his head. “Of course. I respect your decision.”
       “Lann…” She chewed her lip, thinking of the best way to tell him. Hadn’t she practiced her line a million times? “I wouldn’t have broken our agreement if it wasn’t necessary.”
       He stared at her expectantly. There was no easy way to break the news.
       “I’m pregnant.”
       He froze. The heat evaporated from his gaze. His upper arms flexed as he clasped his hands behind his back. She couldn’t tell if he was mad or disappointed. Either way, neither was the reaction she was hoping for.
       The silence stretched between them. For a while he seemed incapable of speaking or moving. Only his eyes lowered and rested on her abdomen.
       “It’s impossible,” he finally said.
       She opened her handbag, retrieved the blood test results and offered it to him shakily. Lann lifted one hand from behind his back and took the piece of paper. Kat watched him closely as he read it. His eyes widened and narrowed again. She presumed he was looking at the age of the child growing inside of her, doing the calculation in his mind. Emotions she couldn’t place played across his face. Was it sadness, envy, anger that made him press his lips so tightly together? Finally, he lifted his head. She didn’t like the way he looked at her.
            He handed her back the report. “Congratulations.” His voice was impersonal. “Who’s the father?”
       The words punched the air from Kat’s lungs with the same ferocity as when he had cut her airflow during lovemaking. Then it had given her an earth-shattering orgasm. Now it caused her pain, with the same intensity. She couldn’t believe he said that. Hurt and anger blurred her vision. She drew back her hand, and before she could stop herself, she slapped him. She took a step away from him, biting back the tears. The trace of her fingers lay red across his pale cheek. Lann accepted her abuse with a stoic expression, without uttering a word.
       “You bastard,” she whispered. “You needn’t feign your innocence by insulting me. Are you afraid I’ll ask you for child support? Do you think I expect you to play an unwilling role in this baby’s life? Maybe you think I’ll try to emotionally blackmail you into marrying me.” She clutched her bag to her chest like a shield. “I didn’t come here expecting anything from you. I want nothing. I only came because you had a right to know.” She took a ragged breath. “And to ask why you lied to me.”
       When he still didn’t speak, she nodded slowly, the unwelcome tears threatening to find their way to her cheeks. He wasn’t going to offer any explanation, any solace, any excuse.
       “I see,” she said. “Then we have nothing more to say to each other.”
       She turned for the door, but Lann’s voice halted her. “Please stay. You’re upset. I’ll take you home when you feel calmer.”
       To her dismay, a small gasp escaped her. Did he honestly think she’d stay after what he just said? Not looking back, she ran downstairs, not caring that Lann was calling after her loud enough for the building to hear, or that his employees were staring at her from the library window.

Long Excerpt

“You made your bed, you sleep in it,” my mother always said.
       I made this bed, with Lann Dréan in it. Only, he wasn’t anymore, not after thirty days of the best sex of my life. What remained were crumpled sheets and consequences.
       How could I not be attracted to him? I had a thing for intellectual guys, especially damaged ones. And Lann was damaged, alright. His father abandoned him at birth, never forgiving him for his mother’s death. It took some time before Lann told me how he grew up in the streets of Moscow, stealing and cheating his way to survival. He never revealed what he did for a living, how he became a self-made millionaire. He had pulled himself from the gutter and built a life. From the guards surrounding us, I knew he was involved in something dangerous, maybe illegal, but I told myself it didn’t matter because ours wasn’t a permanent relationship. It was a thirty-day contract.
       When I first met Lann it was in his privately owned library of ancient books. He had just bought the Santiago convent. The plan was to spend a month of holiday there before going home to New York. I had been rewarded a scholarship for an exchange program in Chile to conduct my thesis on daemon lovers. His handwritten books were invaluable to my research. He spotted me from his office balcony and when everyone else left, kept me behind.
       Lann was reserved, to the point of being recluse. Few photos existed of him, even as the paparazzi hunted and stalked him. Nothing could have prepared me for the tall Russian. He was lean, well defined, minus the bulging muscles I hated. His long, blond hair was mostly braided down his back. I preferred it to when he wore it loose, because that way I could admire his ears. He had perfect ears–beautifully proportioned, slightly elongated–but I never said as much because he was sensitive about them. A silver ring was pierced through the top left one. His dark Prada glasses gave him an academic look in a sexy kind of way. His most unusual feature was his eyes. In the dark they seemed yellow. In daylight I could see they were a mix of amber and brown flecks. And when he opened his mouth and spoke to me in his thick Russian accent, telling me I moved the air for him, my knees went weak.
       So, when he asked me to give my body to him for thirty days, exclusively, I signed my name on the dotted line. Although I had given him carte blanche, he took his time to lure me, to teach me what he liked. It was never a seduction. Unless I gave him permission, he didn’t move on. But I wanted it. All of it. All of him. Lann woke a dark side in me, a part I didn’t know lurked in the shadows of my desire. Only when I was comfortable with him did he tie me up, blindfolded and gagged me, and he didn’t introduce me to breath play until I trusted him. In those naked moments I made myself vulnerable, gave him control of my body, and he rewarded me with pleasure that wracked my mind and left me craving more.
       One day, he flew me in a water plane to a private lake for a picnic. It was the most perfect day of my life.
       We were sitting on the shore.
       “Lann, this is incredible,” I said.
       His palm smoothed over my shoulder. “You’ve been studying too hard. Been cooped up in my convent for too long.”
       “So this is my reward?”
       “No. I think your reward will come later.”
       “What a lucky girl I am.”
       “The luck is all mine, bella.”
       “Are you hungry?”
       “For food?” he drawled.
       “You’re impossible.” I gave him stern look and brought a piece of cheese to his lips. “Open.”
       He obeyed. He took the cheese, and sucked my fingers into his mouth. I could feel the atmosphere shift in a second. Lann had a hundred different moods a day, and I took pleasure in the knowledge that I started to understand how to navigate them. He allowed me to feed him some more, and after I had eaten, he got to his feet and started removing his clothes.
       “What are you doing?” I said with a laugh, looking around, even if I knew we were alone.
       “Come swim with me.”
       “The water will be freezing.”
       “Are you a pussy?”
       “You didn’t just call me that.”
       “Oh yes, I did.”
       I jumped up and discarded my clothes faster than him. Before he was out of his pants, I was running to the water, stark naked. I gritted my teeth when I felt the iciness around my feet. Looking over my shoulder, I saw Lann making his way to the water, a huge grin on his face. I held my breath and charged. It was so cold it felt as if it would stop my heart. I let out a yelp, and heard Lann’s laugh echo behind me. I dove in and swam furiously for a few strokes to warm up my limbs. When I turned, Lann still stood on the beach.
       “Come on!” I beckoned him with a curled finger. “Or are you a pussy?”
       He made big eyes at me. “What did you just call me?”
       “I said–”
       Before I could complete the sentence, he was storming me. I managed to splash him before he got wet, and heard his curse before he dove underwater to resurface in front of me. Laughing, I tried to swim away from him, but he grabbed me around the waist.
       “Not so fast, bella.”
       He turned me to face him and jerked me against him. His body was warm in the coldness of the water. I wrapped my arms and legs around him, pressing close. His erection strained against my pelvis. Lann wasn’t laughing any longer. He groaned, and his eyes turned a darker shade of gold. His hands went to my bottom, gripping me firmly. He lifted me slightly so that his hardness pressed against my folds. The water contracted my skin, and when he lifted me higher with one hand, spreading my opening with the other, an onslaught of cold water assaulted my swollen clit. Immediately the sensation was replaced with the warmth of his body as he lowered me onto his erection, sliding effortlessly into my lubricated depth. I arched my back, gasping as he claimed me with every inch he had.
       “God, Katherine, I’m buried so deep inside of you,” he said against my neck.
       He kissed me feverishly, sucking my skin into his mouth, making me scream as he bit down gently.
       “You drive me wild, krasota.” His tongue moved down my neck to the hollow of my throat, trailing a path to my breasts. He licked each upper curve, before he took a cold, hard nipple in his warm mouth. I moaned loudly. He started suckling me, moving me up and down on him.
       “Is this good, bella?”
       I whimpered. “Lann…”
       “Tell me, Katherine. Tell me what you want.”
       “Everything. I want everything.”
       “You don’t know what you’re asking,” he said darkly.
       “Then show me.”
       His mouth claimed mine with hard approval, his tongue sweeping over my lips before he drank the very breath from me. I struggled to draw air through my nose while he claimed my mouth like that. He kissed and kissed me until I felt the urge to shove away from him to draw air, but when I pushed with my palms on his chest, he only sealed his lips tighter over mine, at the same time increasing the pace with which he was penetrating me. My clit rubbed against his pelvis. One hand closed around my throat, applying gentle pressure, while the other spread the cheeks of my ass. Sensations slammed into me. His fingers around my neck tightened, cutting off my oxygen. I felt a finger rubbing down my cleft, and then I felt it there. I jerked when Lann pushed on that forbidden entrance. It was hard to think with my body craving air, craving him, and craving release. Already my orgasm was a tightly coiled cord, a second away from snapping. Just when I thought I was going to black out from the lack of air, he released my throat, at the same time pushing his finger inside my rear. As oxygen reached my brain, my orgasm exploded in me with an intensity I had never felt before. I clung to him, filled by his cock and his finger, as the waves crushed over me and continued to ripple long after he had spurted all of his seed inside of me. My strength gone, all I could manage was to lean my head on his shoulder, and to trust him to take care of me.          
       Lann kissed my hair and my cheek. He said gentle things to me in Russian, while he slowly pulled his finger from my slightly burning backside. I moaned, and he kissed my forehead. I felt like fainting from the aftershocks of pleasure. I tried to lower my legs, but Lann prevented me with his hands on my ankles.
       “Hold on, krasavitsa,” he said against my ear. “Don’t try to walk.”
       He gently cleaned me in the water, washing his semen from me, before carrying me to the shore. I had never felt more depleted in my entire life. It was worse than the time I had a few drinks too many at the student bar and my friend had to drive me home and put me to bed.
       I started shivering as Lann lowered me onto our picnic blanket. He stretched out on top of me and folded the blanket around our bodies. He kissed my neck and shoulder until I felt his heat penetrating my skin, and my body once more relaxed. When the shivering stopped, he lifted himself to look down at me.
       “The sun will warm you. I’m going to get off you now. At first it’ll feel cold with the breeze, but you’ll dry in no time.”
       I whimpered when he rolled off me, exposing my skin to the air. “No, don’t.”
       “I’m too heavy.” He rubbed my arms.    
       That was the first time I felt the air move around us. It shifted down from my shoulders to my feet, a blanket of clouds pulled over a naked body. This was the dance of air Lann had tried to describe to me, what he meant when he said I moved the air for him. At first the breeze made me feel colder, but then I gradually warmed as the sun dried my skin. I felt extremely lethargic.
       “What did you do to me?” I said, trying to focus on Lann’s face and not fall asleep.
       “I cut off your ability to breathe, just for a few seconds. The surge of oxygen that follows makes you come harder.”
       “That it did,” I said, closing my eyes.
       “Katherine, look at me.” I gazed back at him. His expression seemed concerned. “Did you enjoy it?”
       “Oh, yes.” I tried to nod. “It was the best sex of my life.”
       A slow smile curved his lips. “Good.” His eyes warmed. “Your trust means everything to me.”
       He lay down next to me and pulled me into her arms. We stayed like that until I felt some of my energy return. When I tried to sit up, he shook his head.
       “I need a drink.” I reached for my glass of champagne.
       “No more alcohol,” he said. He sat up and reached inside the basket, taking out a bottle of water. He unscrewed the cap, lifted my head and brought the bottle to my mouth. After a few sips, I lay back again, studying him.
       “You’re so handsome,” I said.
       “And you’re so expressive. I can never get enough of your face when it’s contorted with pleasure, knowing it’s the pleasure I bring you.”
       “You bring me lots of pleasure,” I said, mumbling my agreement.
       “Now I’m going to feed you strawberries.” His eyes went to my breasts. “And then I’m going to fuck you softly.”
       That was the day I knew I had fallen in love with him.

       By the time Day Thirty arrived, I was addicted. To him. But I had signed a contract to walk away, and never look back. And it wasn’t as if he gave me a choice when he left me behind. What I thought would be a harmless sexual adventure had burned a hole in my existence. I had fallen in love with Lann, when I promised I wouldn’t. But there was more at stake than my heart. I never would have guessed that accepting his contract was signing my death warrant. There was only one thing left to do. To sleep in the bed I had made. And it may just cost me … everything.

    About The Author

Charmaine Pauls was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She obtained a degree in Communication at the University of Potchestroom, and followed a diverse career path in journalism, public relations, advertising, communications, photography, graphic design, and brand marketing. Her writing has always been an integral part of her professions.

After relocating to France with her French husband, she fulfilled her passion to write creatively full-time. Charmaine has published six novels since 2011, as well as several short stories and articles.

When she is not writing, she likes to travel, read, and rescue cats. Charmaine currently lives in Chile with her husband and children. Their household is a linguistic mélange of Afrikaans, English, French and Spanish.

Read more about Charmaine’s romance novels and psychological short stories here on

Contact Charmaine at:
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The prizes include:
a set of 5 antiqued silver bookmarks,
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and eBooks of the preceding books in the series:
Loving the Enemy, Pyromancist, and Aeromancist, The Beginning

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