Monday, June 15, 2015

Interview and Giveaway: Loving the Enemy by Charmaine Pauls

Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to write in this particular genre?

I have been writing fulltime since 2009 and have since published 8 books, several short stories and various articles. Although my mother tongue is Afrikaans, I write predominantly in English. I am a big fan of gothic literature, romance, and passionate fairy tales, hence my stories are mostly erotic romances with gothic elements such as castles, mysterious settings, forbidden love and an iron office at the top of the Eiffel Tower. All of the backdrops I use for my novels are existing, real-life locations.

What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to write a prequel for the Seven Forbidden Arts series to give a more rounded background to the antagonist, only known as Godfrey. Godfrey is elusive and doesn’t appear much in the series, until the last book (Book 8). In Loving the Enemy, we meet Godfrey’s daughter, Lily, and we get to know him mostly through what Lily tells us about him, except for a small scene towards the end where he makes his appearance. This is part of the mystery that surrounds Godfrey.

Please tell us about your latest release.

Loving the Enemy is a story about first love, unequalled desire and a lover’s betrayal. Lily is the young and innocent daughter of a powerful criminal, Godfrey. Having protected her from his sinister operations for all of her life, Lily only realizes the extent of her father’s criminal dealings when their South African home is attacked while her dad is in France and everyone is killed. Lily manages to escape but ends up homeless and penniless, constantly on the run from the men who are always one step behind her. Not knowing where to locate her father in Paris, Lily has to rely on the help of a stranger, Jacob, who is kind and caring. Jacob promises to take Lily to Europe in search of her father’s protection. Lily gives him her heart, her body and her trust, only to discover that Jacob is the enemy.

Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?

I loved writing Jacob. He is fierce when it comes to survival and gentle when it comes to Lily. His protectiveness of her surprises him. He is an assassin, after all. And he never quite got a handle on his feelings where Lily was concerned. He tried hard to do the right thing while Lily knew and said what she wanted–for Jacob to be her first lover. For all his physical strength and experience, he didn’t stand a chance against the young and delicate Lily. She had him bowled over with the bat of her eyelashes. Even if he kept telling himself he wasn’t going to lay as much as a finger on her, he was doomed from the start. Well, he is only a man…

What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?

I love the part where Lily dives into the sea from their getaway boat for a swim. Because Lily has had a hard time up to now, she doesn’t let go very often, and therefore the spontaneous, if not daring, action surprises Jacob. He is even a bit stressed, as Lily lost a lot of weight while she was homeless and the sea around Durban can be rough. She is still weak. He jumps in with her and then something that touches Lily’s leg frightens her and drives her into Jacob’s arms. (They had spoken about sharks just before their swim.) They share a moment in the water when the physical awareness between them blossoms. Jacob fights the attraction with every ounce of willpower he possesses, even as Lily tells him in no uncertain terms that she wants him. I like that Lily is so honest about her feelings and not shy to share them, and I love that Jacob doesn’t take advantage when he knows the truth will devastate her.

What is the most interesting thing you have physically done for book related research purposes?

I often do it in reverse. I write about an amazing experience or base scenes in my books on adventures I embarked upon. A few things come to mind… It is hard to single out one, specific activity, but these are some of my highlights:

The opening scene of Aeromancist, The Beginning, the prequel novella to Book 2 of the Seven Forbidden Arts series, is from a glider flight I took over the Andes in Santiago. This enabled me to describe the scene where the Russian aeromancist, Lann, pilots his glider. Air being his element, Lann loves to fly, and fortunately so do I! The thrill of soaring over the mountains with no engine but only the wind was exhilarating. While I do admire Lann (and my gracious glider guide) for his skill, I am quite happy being a passenger in the competent hands of my pilot. The few seconds during which he let me take control of the plane were rather stressful, as I tipped the wing and headed for a nosedive. Writing Lann’s character also afforded me the luxury of a seaplane flip from the harbor of Cape Town to an island in the middle of an inland lake for a private picnic. That is probably one of the hottest scenes I have ever written, so keep an eye out for it in Aeromancist, The Beginning.
I have scuba dived with the tranquil but curious ragged-tooth sharks in Durban and with the renowned aggressive Zambezis in Mozambique to write an underwater scene. I have visited Machu Picchu in Peru to describe the setting of my futuristic erotic romance, The Astronomer. I also interviewed several astronomers who work at the European Southern Observatory in the Atacama Desert of Chile, the biggest observatory in the southern hemisphere, for the book. Learning from them about the stars, stellar archeology and living in the driest desert in the world was an eye opener.

In order to get the facts straights for my paranormal erotic romance The Winemaker, I relied on inspiration from Chile’s award-winning celebrity winemaker, Francisco Baettig. Of course I had to do several wine tastings to get the description of the cultivars just right. J The tastings in the book become quite heated, as the protagonist, winemaker Etán, compares making love to drinking wine. The wine bouquets are a personification of the characters in the book. For example, Etán describes Zenna, the woman he is falling for, as a Merlot – the pinnacle of his creations.

The setting of my futuristic erotic romance, Between Fire & Ice, was inspired by a visit to the 4200m-high plains of the Atacama Desert, as well as the glaciers of Patagonia. To become inspired for my gypsy character in the sweet romance, Between Yesterday & Tomorrow, I attended several gypsy performances in the south of France, as well as the annual gypsy pilgrimage and procession in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. For Pyromancist, Book 1 of the series, I used the exploration I did during our annual French holiday of the standing stones in Brittany, the enchanted forest of King Arthur and the Josselin Castle in the village of Josselin. The idea for Aeromancist (Book 2) was conceived while I visited a library in downtown Santiago with my writers group where I could see and touch books that were handwritten hundreds of years ago by monks.

I rode a camel through the desert of Egypt and raced on the back of an ostrich in Oudtshoorn, South Africa. I have also cuddled a very big Boa Constrictor snake and a small one that fastened itself around my neck, held a tarantula spider and a baby crocodile for the sake of writing accurate jungle scenes with realistic sense descriptions. Who says being an author is a safe job?

With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as standalones?

All of the books in the series can be read as standalones, except for the novella (Aeromancist, The Beginning), which is the prequel to Book 2, Aeromancist. Readers will meet the same characters in every book, with a few new ones introduced with each novel, but it is not necessary to read the preceding books in order to follow the story. For the most reading enjoyment, I do recommend that they be read in chronological order.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

When I feel a mental block coming on, I write over it. I keep on writing, even if what I produce is not up to standard. Eventually, I always hit a scene that works and that fires me up anew. I can then go back and fix the parts that lack energy and passion.

Do you write in different genres?

My novels are all romances, varying between passionate to steamy and erotic. These books are written with the aim of entertaining. My short stories tend to be of a more literary nature with a darker and sometimes controversial side to them.

Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?

To travel is one of my passions. I have visited over 40 countries on 6 continents, as well as several islands. A lot of them I did backpacking. I adore cats and have two Cornish Rex girls – the furless ones with the pixie faces, big ears and curly down hair – who are 15 years old. I also have a special relationship with coffee and chocolate.

What was the last amazing book you read?

I loved the King trilogy by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff.

Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?

We have a big window that faces a Japanese Maple tree. I love to snuggle on the couch facing that window for a sunny afternoon read. It is pretty all year round, whether the leaves are new green and luminous in the soft light of spring, bright red and set alight by the autumn sun, or the branches bare and reaching toward the grey sky of winter.

What can readers expect next from you?

Next up is Aeromancist (Book 2), due for release this summer. Hydromancist (Book 3) will follow in September.

Where can readers find you on the web?
Author website

Follow me on Facebook

Follow me on Amazon

Follow me on Goodreads

Follow me on Twitter

Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?

I would love to. And thank you very much for having me on the blog!

Excerpt from Loving the Enemy:

One week on the sea, and Jacob was having a hard time controlling himself. Now that they were closer to a tropical climate with warmer weather, Lily was lying on the deck in her bikini, exposing her perfect little body, and conjuring images he shouldn’t have of what he’d like to do to that body. First of all, she was a virgin, and secondly, he was a liar and a cheat. If she knew the extent of his betrayal, she’d despise him.
       When he had embarked on this mission, he hadn’t considered how he’d react to her, or she to him, because he could see in her eyes she wanted him, and it didn’t help his resolve to not cross that line. Making a conscious effort to turn his attention away from her bare back, he focused on the instruments. So far, they had had good weather. The forecast played in their favor. They’d have to stop in Durban in three days’ time to stock up on water and food. His contact, Gustavo, had done a good job fitting out the boat, making sure they had enough and more to last until then. From there it would be long stretch up the coast of Africa, all the way to Marseille. This is why he ensured they got a good vessel. The Janine was as luxurious as they came; including personalized embroidered yacht towels and Egyptian cotton linen. He made a mental note to pay Gustavo a bonus for the extra–the unlicensed revolver and boxes of ammunition.
       Lily lifted herself on her elbows and looked over her shoulder at him. Her black hair trailed in the wind, blowing around her face in a way that made him imagine how it would look tangled in his sheets. She had unfastened the clip of her bikini top to tan her back, and as her shoulders lifted, the fabric fell away at the sides, exposing the rounded curves of her breasts. He got a torturous hint of their firmness, and how perfectly they’d fit in his mouth.
       He groaned, and adjusted the hard-on in his pants.
       His name was a soft lisp on her tongue. Coming from those candy-apple lips, he could never get enough of hearing her say it, although, it would sound better if she’d scream it in pleasure.
       He gave himself a mental shake and forced an answer. “Mm?”
       “Can you give me a hand, please?”
       His gaze ripped to her narrow waist, and the way it tapered to her ass. He’d like to give her a hand in more than one way.
       She reached behind her back and tried to close the clasp, but her fumbling fingers failed. With a tight jaw, he made his way over to her, and took the problematic clasp from her hands. The clips snapped together with a soft click.
       “Thank you,” she said, lying back down with her face turned to the side.
       Her skin was soft to his touch. He lingered a second too long, brushing his fingertips over her spine for a stolen caress. He was punishing himself, because Lily was forbidden fruit. Even if he’d steal to get to her father, he had no plans of stealing her virginity. That was best saved for someone worthy of it.
       The task done, he straightened, but hovered above her, not able to tear his gaze away as she lifted on her elbows and popped the underside of her curves back into her top, making them plump out at the top. She got up and wrapped the towel around her in a cute, modest kind of way, pushing the one end over the other between her breasts to keep it up. He had to give it to her, she wasn’t a deliberate tease. Lily was just too innocent to realize how much she affected him. If she knew, she would never have taken this trip with him.
       “Dinner?” she said, giving him a bright smile.
       Not trusting his voice to speak, he only nodded, and watched her make her way to the cabin. She was too thin and pale. No doubt, the couple of months it took him to track her down had taken its toll. Thank God he found her when he did, or she would have been dead the day after. He shuddered thinking of the attack, and what could have happened to her, had she been helpless and alone in that park. Not to mention the amateur gangsters he had tied to the trees.
       Jacob ensured that they were steady on course before he went inside to wash up for dinner. The day had been warm, and he was sticky from sunblock and the salty air. Lily stood in front of the counter, chopping whole, tinned tomatoes when he entered. He watched her slender fingers work. Her nails were painted pale pink with the varnish she had bought at Dischem. She was still only wearing the towel over her bikini, looking petite and vulnerable.
       “I’m going for a shower,” he said more tightly than he intended.
       She looked up, measuring him with her big, baby blue eyes. She almost seemed disappointed. “I thought we could have a swim before dinner, when we anchor for the night.”
       In fact, a swim wasn’t half a bad idea, but seeing that she had confessed her fear of water to him, he lifted an eyebrow. “I thought you didn’t want to have your legs dangling in shark infested waters.”
       The glare she gave him was meant to chastise. “Don’t tease, Jacob. It’s not nice to make fun of my phobia. And I know there are no sharks here.”
       “I’ve read the guide.” She pointed at a book with the sea fauna and flora that was kept with a few other non-fiction titles on the small bookshelf. “The great whites are around False Bay, and the ragged-tooth sharks are in Durban.”
       He wasn’t going to tell her that they weren’t that far from Durban. Why spoil her fun?
       “Food won’t be ready for a while. I’m making pasta with tomato sauce. That all right?”
       She looked at him with expectation, and he couldn’t help but say, “Sounds good.”
       Lily’s cooking was goddamn awful, but he didn’t want to crush her efforts in trying to make herself feel useful. It was obvious that she had never set foot in a kitchen. He’d have to teach her a few basic cooking skills.
       She dumped the tomatoes in a pot, and chucked in a handful of dried basil. He flinched at the quantity.
       “I’ll put on the sauce when we get back.” She made her way to the deck. “Come on,” she called over her shoulder.
       Jacob pulled off his shirt and followed her outside. She dropped the towel, gave him an uncertain glance, took a deep breath, and jumped overboard with a scream loud enough to make his ears ring. Damn brave minx. He couldn’t believe she had dove in just like that. He rushed to the side, worried about the swell. Lily was tiny, and she was still weak from malnourishment. Looking down, he saw her floating on her back, laughing. He aimed for a spot farther from her so as not to splash her, and when he hit the water, his body jerked at the coldness. Maybe a cold swim was exactly what he needed. With strong breaststrokes, he made his way to Lily, who had the nerve to kick water at him.
       “Hey,” he said, “that’s not kind, seeing that I’ve been considerate and dived far from you.”
       She laughed again. “The water’s freezing. You could have warned me.”
       “And spoil the surprise?” He grinned.
       “You’re evil.”
       He tread water next to her, wiping the drops from his face. If she had any idea how evil, she’d run, as fast as she could. Only, now, out here in the middle of the ocean, she was pretty much his prisoner. Not unlike she’d been all along, without realizing.
       “Why do you always look like that?” she said.
       “Like what?”
       “You get this strange, moody look.”
       She was too observant for his peace of mind. Before he could think of a reply, Lily squealed. She turned in a circle, looking down.
       He grabbed her around the waist, and pulled her to him, her back against his chest. “What’s wrong?”
       “Something touched my leg.” She shivered. “What is that?”
       “It’s probably just a jellyfish or seaweed.” He hugged her tight. Her skin was soft against his, the cold water amplifying just how warm her body was. His dick realized it too, and it twitched as she pushed her ass deeper into him, getting as close as she could. He wanted nothing more than to bury his cock between those ass cheeks, but he was growing hard against her, and had no choice but to put some distance between them, holding her at arm’s length.
       Lily turned in his grasp. The minute he looked into those blue eyes, he knew he was fucked. Her eyelashes dipped, shining with drops, and her mouth parted as she looked up at him. Despite the cold water, her cheeks were flushed. She was perfect, from the top of her shiny black head, to the tip of her tiny toes. He couldn’t get enough of her, and while he was getting his visual fill, she wrapped her arms around his neck and her legs around his hips, pressing their bodies together. He froze. His erection was like a steel rod between her legs. He tried to untangle her ankles, but she let go of his neck and kept her balance with one hand on his shoulder, while the other stilled his fingers on her feet.
       “Don’t,” she whispered. “I like this feeling.” She tilted her hips forward. “And so do you.”
       Yep, he was definitely fucked. And so was she, if she didn’t let go. “My body naturally reacts to friction, Lily,” he lied. “If you rub up against me, I’m going to get hard.”
       For a second, disappointment flickered in her eyes, making him feel like a jerk. “Are you saying you don’t like me?”
       “Like’s got nothing to do with it. You’ve got a beautiful body, sweetheart. Any single man in his right mind will have the same reaction.”
       “So, you’re single.”
       Clever minx, using his own words against him. “That doesn’t change anything.”
       “Why not?”
       “For starters, you’re too young. And you don’t know me, Lily. You don’t know what kind of man I am.”
       “But I know how you make me feel.” She guided his hand from her ankle to the front of her body, pushing it down into the elastic of her bikini briefs.
       Jacob stilled. She was bare. The pressure building at the base of his cock was going to detonate, and when it did, it was going to blow his mind to pieces. She slid his hand over her slick skin, and fuck it, she was hot and wet. He ached with a need he had never known before. She took his hand lower, and the gods of evil helped him, but he couldn’t resist cupping her small mound and curling his middle finger, dipping only the first digit into the moistness of her tight folds.
       She threw her head back and gasped, her long lashes brushing her cheeks, even if his touch was nothing more than a gentle probe. Her reaction jerked Jacob back to his senses. He pulled his hand from her bikini briefs and pushed her away harshly. Lily opened her eyes to stare at him in dazed confusion.
       His chest felt tight, the air stuck painfully between his ribs. “Unless you want to be thoroughly fucked, don’t do that again.”
       She gave a little breathless laugh. “I was kind of hoping for a gentle initiation, but I think I can handle being fucked.”
       “Shit.” He moved away from her, as far as he could.
       “We’re attracted to each other. And it’s not like my virginity’s sacred to me or anything. I’d like you to be my first.”
       “Fuck.” He swam back to the boat, and climbed up the ladder. He didn’t even give a damn that she could now see how hard he was for her with his wet swimming suit molding his crotch. “Get up here, and fix dinner.”
       She did as she was told, her head low. When she walked past him, he grabbed her wrist.
       “It’s not that I don’t want you, sweetheart. As you’ve said, it’s obvious. But you need a man who you can love, and who can love you back, and I’m not loving material.”
       She gave him a cutting look. “Stop assuming to know what I need. You don’t have to baby me. I can take no for an answer. And you don’t owe me any explanations.” She gently freed her arm and picked up her towel, starting to dry her body.

       Jacob watched her warily. Under different circumstances, he wouldn’t have hesitated to make her his. But, this was as fucked up as a situation could get.

Loving the Enemy
Seven Forbidden Arts
Charmaine Pauls

Genre: Erotic Action Romance

Date of Publication: 8 May 2015

ISBN: 978-0-620-65578-1

Number of pages: 258
Word Count: 71 000

Cover Artist: Adara Rosalie

Book Description:

If your father is a powerful criminal, you can’t trust anyone, especially not the stranger who saves you.

Lily is on the run for her father’s sins. Having escaped a brutal attack on her home that left her dad’s small army and her beloved nana dead, she finds a job and a cheap room in Camps Bay, South Africa. When the men from Sky Communications track her down, she’s forced to flee again. This time, Lily ends up homeless, alone on a bench under a brewing winter storm in a violent city. It’s a lucky coincidence that Jacob appears through the mist just before a gang finds her in the dark, deserted park. Or is it?

After offering Lily shelter for the night, Jacob’s flat is destroyed in an explosion. With Jacob’s help, Lily tries to locate her father in search of his protection. In a whirlwind escapade from Africa to France, danger always a step behind, Lily learns about desire, love, survival and trust. Eventually, she’ll also learn about betrayal … and the truth about the savior to who she gave her body and heart.

This novel is a prequel to the Seven Forbidden Arts series, but reads as a stand-alone. There are no cliffhangers.

* This book contains frequent, consummated love scenes and explicit language. It is recommended for an adult audience.

Available at Amazon

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.

Follow me on Facebook

Follow me on Amazon

Follow me on Goodreads

Follow me on Twitter
a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

Good Choice Reading said...

OMG! I think I just died looking at that picture of the spider!!!! WHYYYY??? LOL!

I couldn't scroll through fast enough! LOL!

The book sounds like a great read, though! :)