Seven Forbidden Arts
Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance
Publisher: Satin Romance,
an imprint of Mélange Books
Date of Publication: 19 March 2015
Number of pages: 252
Word Count: 101 000
Cover Artist: Caroline Andrus
When you play with fire, you get burned.
At the same time as mysterious fires commence to rage through Clelia d’Ambois’ home village in Brittany, France, she starts sleepwalking. Daughter of a Japanese orphan, Clelia’s heritage is riddled with dark secrets that threaten anyone she loves. In a recurring nightmare she sees Josselin, the haunted man who abandoned their village nine years earlier, come for her, but she doesn’t know why. All she knows is that she has to run. As fast as she can.
Leader of a paranormal crime taskforce, Josselin de Arradon is called back to his hometown with a mission–find and kill the firestarter responsible for Larmor-Baden’s blazing destruction. Sensing that Clelia is the key to solving the crime, Josselin kidnaps her to use her as bait. The battle doesn’t turn out quite as he expected. Nothing could have prepared him for the truth, or the depth of his desire for his prisoner.
This is Book 1 of the Seven Forbidden Arts series, but also reads as a stand-alone.
This book contains adult content with explicit language and consummated love scenes. Suited for an audience of 18+.
Josselin had only spoken to her once. It was on a summer day after school. She had wandered to the dense forest at the back of the schoolyard because she knew that was where she would find him. She stood behind a tree and watched him–studied him–the movement of his hand as he smoked a forbidden cigarette, the manner in which he pulled his fingers through his dark hair, and the way he laughed loudly into his gang of friends, even if his eyes cried, or blazed.
That day, however, he wasn’t with his friends. He was with a girl. Her name was Thiphaine and she was the most popular girl in school. She was blonde and slim and beautiful with blue eyes and red painted fingernails. Clelia watched from her hiding place as Josselin slowly backed Thiphaine up until her body pressed against the trunk of the witch tree. It was a thuja occidentalis but the townsfolk had baptized it so because of its twisted and crippled branches. The setting was eerie for a romantic adventure, and yet, it suited Josselin. He seemed right at home, while Thiphaine looked around nervously. His hand went to her cheek, his palm huge and dark and rough against the porcelain paleness of Thiphaine’s face, while his other hand slipped under her blouse. His gray eyes looked like melted steel when he lowered his head.
His shoulder-length black hair fell forward when he pressed his lips to Thiphaine’s and he moved his hand from her cheek to brush it back behind his ear. Clelia remembered the deliberate movement of his jaw, the way the muscles dimpled in his cheek, the hand under Thiphaine’s blouse, all the while maintaining his composure while Thiphaine came undone under his caress. The beautiful girl made low moaning sounds. Her knees buckled, but Josselin, without breaking the kiss, grabbed her waist, pulling her so tightly into him that her back arched, keeping her up with his arm while he made her weak with his touch and his tongue.
Watching them ignited both yearning and pain inside of Clelia. The hurt she felt speared her heart. The aching in her soul was suddenly greater than the heat in her pores and on her cheeks, but she couldn’t tear her stare away from the forbidden sight. It was Iwig, a boy from her class, who broke the painful spell when he discovered her behind the tree.
“What have we here?” he said.
His eyes darted to the distance where Josselin and Thiphaine were embracing. He knew what she had been doing. He was a tall, blond boy with a strong build, and Clelia disliked him for his habit of hunting abandoned cats with his pellet gun.
“A peeping tom,” he said, taking a step toward her.
When she tried to back away, he grabbed her long braid and tugged it painfully, causing her to yelp.
“Not so fast, witch.” He grabbed her arm and hauled her so that she stumbled into him. “You like to watch, don’t you?” He grinned. “How about a taste of the real thing?”
She opened her mouth to scream, but he had already brought his down and kissed her so hard that his teeth split her lower lip. In reflex her free hand shot up, aiming for his cheek, and collided with its target. The force of the blow shot Iwig’s head back and froze him in his action, but only for a second, before Clelia saw his arm lift. Not able to free herself from his grip, she cowered instinctively, but instead of his fist coming down on her, another pair of arms grabbed Iwig by his shoulders and flung him to the ground.
When she looked up, she stared into the face of Josselin, and what she saw was frightening. His features were twisted into a terrifying expression, and before she could say anything, Josselin bent down and lifted Iwig by his jacket lapels. Iwig’s legs dangled, flapping like fish on soil, while his arms flayed in the air as if swatting flies. Josselin let go of one side of the jacket, his fist arching and hooking under Iwig’s chin, while at the same time unknotting his other hand from the fabric of the jacket. The impact sent Iwig flying through the air. When he hit the ground, she could hear the loud thump as the air was knocked from his lungs. Josselin moved forward, his arms away from his body, his fingers flexing, his shoulders pushed forward, until he stood wide-legged over the submissive body of Iwig. Iwig lifted his hands in front of his face, mumbling pleas for mercy.
“If you ever touch a girl in that way again, I’ll hang you from a tree under a pack of wild boars and watch them eat you from your feet up to your useless dick, until they rip your stomach open and your insides fall out and you beg me to die,” Josselin said.
He spoke very softly, but the woods had suddenly gone quiet. His voice all but echoed in the absence of the sound of birds and wind. From the corner of her eye, Clelia noticed Thiphaine who stood to the side, hugging herself.
“And if you ever lift your hand to a woman again, I’ll cut off your balls and make you eat them and then I’ll feed you to the boars. Do you understand?”
Iwig tried to scurry away on his elbows, but Josselin stepped on his jacket.
“I asked if you understand.”
“Yes. Yes,” Iwig said. He had started crying.
When Josselin lifted his boot, Iwig scrambled to his feet. He didn’t look at Clelia before he ran down the path in the direction of the school. Only then did Josselin turn to her. She shook from head to toe while Josselin studied her quietly. After a moment he walked to her, took her chin in his hand and tilted her head.
“You’re bleeding,” he said, trailing his thumb over her lower lip.
And then he did something that shocked her wildly. He brought his thumb to his lips, slowly, his gray eyes holding hers prisoner while he slipped his finger into his mouth and licked it clean, tasting her blood.
Clelia couldn’t move. She stood still, unable to speak or blink.
He took a white handkerchief from his coat pocket and wiped it over her mouth before pressing it into her hand.
“He won’t bother you again, but you’d better go home.”
She only nodded. He was much taller than her, so that she had to crane her neck to look up at him. He shifted and then his face was obscured by the shadows with the sun at his back. She remembered wondering if he had forgotten about Thiphaine, who still stood to one side, silently observing, her eyes wide. Clelia looked from Thiphaine to Josselin. When life finally returned to her legs and she started to hurry down the path, he said, “What’s your name, girl?”
She stopped. “Cle … Cle…” Her teeth chattered.
He frowned. “Take a deep breath. You’re in shock.”
She did as he instructed, and found her jaw relax slightly.
“That’s better. Now, tell me again.”
His lips twitched. “The witch?”
She flinched. That was what her classmates called her.
He didn’t show any kind of emotion. Only his smile became a little bit more pronounced. “How old are you?”
“Fourteen,” she said through parched lips.
“You’re too young to wander alone in the woods.”
When he said that, his voice became soft and dark again, like when he had spoken to Iwig, and without sparing either of the lovers another glance, Clelia sprinted home and curled into a ball on her bed with his bloody handkerchief in her hand.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be?
When I was in second grade I wanted to become an airhostess so that I could travel the world and fly. (I loooove to fly). Somewhere in fifth grade I decided to become an archeologist because I was fascinated with ancient civilizations and their mysteries and legends. In eight grade I was consumed with the stars, and dreamt of becoming an astronaut. So I studied communication … and become a journalist.
For years to come, I searched for my true life purpose, having done many different jobs in various companies, knowing that none of them was the job. Writing has always been central to my heart (I need books and words for my soul) and my professions–my life passion–but, with all the bills that had to be paid, I never considered being a full-time novelist as a career. When I looked back at my passions–my love for traveling so I could visit faraway gothic castles, and for stars because they hold romantic meaning and inspire new worlds with endless possibilities–I realized that it could all be condensed into one, all-consuming passion: romantic literature. I remembered my happiest moments, as a child in the dusty old town library, discovering hidden treasures, inhaling the perfume of ink and paper. I took the plunge, and when I did, everything fell into place. At last, I am a writer.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
I always had the notion in my adult head that I had to publish a book to be able to call myself a writer, when, in hindsight, it is really something that is in your blood. In reality, I considered myself a writer already in second grade, when I dreamed up stories in class and pretended to be a poet.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
It took about six months after completing the manuscript. I made the mistake of blindly targeting publishers without doing research about the kind of books each one published. The result was a pile of rejection letters. Impatient, and deciding that I didn’t want my first story to die in a young grave, I decided to go the self-publishing route. I learned a great deal during the process, which helped me to understand the market better, leading to a successful submission and landing a contract the second time around, which took only three months.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
Besides writing full-time, I am also a mother to two young, beautiful children and a housewife, which requires the constant juggling of chores and priorities. My deadlines are tight–producing a novel every quarter–so I am often writing a new book while editing a different one and marketing another. Time management becomes crucial in ensuring a healthy balance between work and family life.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My newest book is Aeromancist, Book 2 of the Seven Forbidden Arts series, which is due for release in July. I’ll sum it up as: His lust condemned her to death. Now, he’ll do everything in his power to save her.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
I write romance novels for Satin Romance, an imprint of Mélange Books (an American publisher), and literary short stories for Solstice Publishing and Severest Inks (a British publisher).
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
It takes me three months from start to end, to where I am able to deliver a polished 100 000-word manuscript. It takes roughly four drafts before I deliver the final product.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
I am releasing three more erotic romance books in the Seven Forbidden Arts series this year, as well as one novella. Also scheduled for publication in 2015 are three short stories in the literary and romance genres. Over the next two years (2016 and 2017) I will be completing the Seven Forbidden Arts series, in which there are eight books in total.
What genre would you place your books into?
My books vary from sensual to erotic romance. Most of them have either futuristic or paranormal elements, but the main focus is always on the romance and the development of the relationship between the protagonists. I’m also a big gothic fan, so my books are full of real-life castles, mysterious settings, eerie landscapes and dark, alpha male heroes who obsess about their women.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I believe that you have to write what makes you tick. Whenever I tackle a new romance, my heart starts beating faster. I tend to listen to my body when I write. When endorphins flood my brain, causing those sensations you feel when you fall in love, I know I am writing what I am supposed to be writing, what I write best. If it feels like there is a heavy stone in my stomach, I know it is better to move on to a different idea. In the end, I write what I enjoy to read.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
I love Josselin in Pyromancist for his irresistible French looks and accent, his dark sexuality and his pure heart. I adore Lann in Aeromancist for his latent strength, his seductive Russian manners and for his admiration of the beauty of the female soul and body. And then there is Sean, a Scottish rogue, but that is only in Book 4.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I always had a notebook in which I jotted down stories and poems. I loved writing essays in high school. My inspiration comes from an inborn passion. The spark of excitement I feel around books becomes a flame when I walk into a library and smell the ink and the leather covers. Reading always inspires me to write. Whenever I finish a good book, I want to jump in and start creating a new story.
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I start at 9am every day and finish at 6pm, whether I’m inspired, or not (with the exception of the days when we have school activities in the afternoons). I sit down at my desk and do not allow anything to distract me from my task. I divide my daily time between marketing, writing and editing, ensuring that I do my writing during my creative peak, which is in the morning. Once a week I reward myself with a morning excursion (some me time) to recharge my creative energy, to take a break from my characters, and to touch base with the real world. Weekends are dedicated to my family. I have to write in silence. I find music too distracting. And I prefer to be at my desk, in my study, where interruptions are minimized.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I read and appreciate every, single review.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I choose the title after I have finished the book. More often than not, the title reveals itself while I am writing the story.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Places are a big source of inspiration for me. I like to travel, and always keep a travel log so that I can remember all the details of interesting, mysterious or unusual places to use as backdrops in books. For names I sometimes use baby name books, or I choose a name for its meaning to fit the personality of the character. For example, in my futuristic erotic romance novel, Between Fire & Ice, I named the hero Ciro, or Cy for short, which means sun, because he is from the Atacama Desert and possesses all the fierce characteristics of a fire element personality, while Elena, the heroine, was named after the moon. She is from the Patagonian glacier lands. Hence the title, also (fire and ice).
For Pyromancist (or firestarter) I used a different technique. When I visited Larmor-Baden and Vannes in Brittany, France, I carried a notebook with me and jotted down all the captivating names that I saw on office plaques in the city streets. I took note of attorneys, doctors, financial advisors and other services providers, as well as shop names. This is where I got Erwan, Iwig, Lann, Dréan, and various other names that I used in the Seven Forbidden Arts series from. Josselin (or Joss for short), the Pyromancist male protagonist, was named after the village of Josselin. In real life the village was named after the Josselin Castle, which in turn was named after a powerful line of French royal heirs.
I have also asked my readers to name my characters in the past. This is how Emilio in the futuristic erotic romance, The Astronomer, was named, as well as Zenna in the paranormal erotic romance, The Winemaker. I give a description of each character’s physical and personality traits and ask the readers to suggest names, which I then put up for voting. The name with the most votes is used. To thank the contributor of the winning name, I have also named one of the characters in the same book after that reader.
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
Place names I always know beforehand, because it is important for me to know where the story is going to play off, and this I can’t change easily once I am into the story. I like to work with existing locations, even in my futuristic books. Although I do plenty of research and I am pretty sure what my characters are going to be called before I start to write the story, it has happened that I decided to change a name halfway through a book, mostly because the name either didn’t work with the character (it would keep on jumping off the page and scream at me), or if I realized that the name has been used in another story.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I do an in-depth psychological evaluation of each character beforehand, so that I know them inside out before I start to write the story. Their characteristics and personality traits determine how they speak, what they wear, what they eat, who their friends are, how they behave in stressful situations and what occupations they choose. It is therefore compulsory for me to have this outlined before I start to tell the story.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
The central theme of my self-published literary romance novel, Between Yesterday & Tomorrow, is living in the present moment. Since I am fascinated by opposites–anything yin-yang, black-white, night-day, sun-moon–and how they compliment each other, I often use opposites to demonstrate a message of balance. To me, the secret of happy and healthy living is in balance, and I guess that is why it often pops up in my stories. In Second Best, a literary romance, the message goes deeper. This is the story about a juvenile criminal and a war journalist who help heal each other’s emotional scars after living through turbulent times in South Africa. The message is to never settle for second best in life. In the wine romance, The Winemaker, the Chilean wine cultivars are used as a personification of the personalities of the characters. The enigmatic and world-famous winemaker, Etán, compares Zenna for example to a Merlot, which is the pinnacle of his creations, the best he has ever made. His brother is a cheeky Bordeaux blend. And the descriptions get pretty hot. J The analogy between the wine and the woman Etán loves is sensual and worked really well. I didn’t have any message or morals in mind when I wrote the Seven Forbidden Arts series. This I wrote with the pure purpose of entertaining.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
I love my Kindle because it is so convenient to travel with, and because I can buy a book with the click of a button and have it instantaneously available. Living in Chile, where I don’t have access to English books or stores, this is a definite plus. But smelling and touching a paperback will always be like meeting an old lover over who I am eternally sentimental.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
I love the classic Frankenstein by Mary Shelley for its firecracker plot where each action has a string of detonating consequences, and for the deep emotional content and deliciously gothic elements of the story. In present day literature, Lora Leigh’s breed novels, Lion’s Heat and Coyote’s Mate, are my favorites. Ms. Leigh did an excellent job of the characterization and creating both suspense and sexual tension in these books. I have read these stories a couple of times already, and am sure I will read them again in future. They never fail to enchant me.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
I am almost always disappointed in a movie if I have first read the book, maybe because my imagination has already made up the graphic content and therefore my expectations are not met, and because the movie cannot portray the depth of detail of a book. The exception for me is Maleficent (with Angelina Jolie, directed by Robert Stromberg). I love fairy tales, especially Sleeping Beauty, and this movie exceeded my expectations by far. The acting, setting, script, costumes, special effects and message were all magnificent. One disappointment that comes to mind is the 2011 film of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, directed by David Fincher. I expected more, but then again, the book was complex and jam-packed with information that cannot be relayed in a 158-minute screening.
Your favorite food is?
Chocolate and coffee, hands down.
Your favorite singer/group is?
Def Leppard. I often listened to their song Love Bites (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0T1IVyXBGjM) early in the morning to get me into the right mood before sitting down at my desk to write Pyromancist. I also have a deep appreciation for Robbie Williams’ song lyrics.
Your favorite color is?
Your favorite Author is?
In the genre that I write, Lora Leigh and Anna Zaires.
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
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