Velvet Trap by Mael d’Amor – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by MediaKit_BookCover_TheVelvetTrapLife’s a beach, or about to become one, for newly-wed young Helen. Fresh out of uni, she is on her way to a private tropical island, on the Queensland coast, to sample its delights before her adorable husband can join her for their honeymoon.

Trouble is, her sultry hostess Selena had more than cute portraits in mind when she persuaded her to pose for the lens. Can Helen ignore the steamy fantasies which this blue-eyed Circe is fanning in her heart?

Confused by her own unexpected desires, the angel-faced bride is trying so hard to remember who she is, and where she came from. So hard. But sometimes, trying is just not good enough. Especially if a gorgeous sorceress wields the tempting hand.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Helen has not bothered to slip out of her clothes. Lying on a thick futon in the guest bungalow behind the main house, she is staring at the dark shape of a motionless ventilator on the ceiling. The mist in her mind has cleared slightly and the hiccups are gone, but she is still floating on clouds. Sleep is eluding her, though, kept at bay by a kaleidoscope of thoughts and impressions. The chopper ride to the island, the coral swim, the sunset watch on the deck, that rather unsettling conversation …

As if born of the night, muted strains of music begin to waft through her open window. She can’t make out the melody but recognises the soft sounds of a pan flute. Intrigued, she gets up gingerly in her darkened room and makes her way to the window. The music is coming from Selena’s bedroom across the lawn, where light is pulsing dimly through the gaping French doors. Candlelight probably, judging by the flickering glow.

A shape now, outlined against the glow. A woman’s shape, moving sensually in the half gloom, dancing it seems. Yes, dancing a slow, sinuous dance. Elbows raised high, hands holding back long strands of hair, hips gyrating. The body glides and flows in perfect unison to the tune, as though part of it.

Helen is puzzled by the performance. This is not your standard workout. A relaxation technique perhaps, before sleep? Whatever it is, she cannot take her eyes off the undulating silhouette. The dancer has moved to the right and stepped into the glow. Helen catches her breath, for Selena is stark naked, and the candlelight is fluttering across her hips and breasts. Luscious, curvaceous breasts, which sway gently to the rhythm of the flute.

Helen feels a twinge of guilt. She is intruding on a very private moment. What if she is seen? She is only metres away. How awkward. But that’s impossible. Her own bedroom is cast in complete darkness; there is no way her hostess could know she is here, peeping.

Her curiosity snuffs out her qualms and she watches on, with growing fascination. Selena has started spinning in slow motion as she rolls and sways. Like a golden extension to the notes, the candlelight is playing lascivious games with her curves, coaxing out of obscurity now the swell of a hip, now the crescent of a buttock.

Helen cannot make out her expression. The dancer’s face remains stubbornly plunged in darkness, screened by unruly locks of hair. No face then. Just a flowing shape, without identity. A tantalising shape. Helen is curiously bound to the aura of this lithe body. She had no idea the female figure could be so enticing, so mesmerising. She had always had an aesthetic appreciation of the beauty of her sex, of course, acquired, among other things, from her academic meanderings through European art, and gleaned also, more prosaically, from the countless health and fashion magazines she had pored over as a teenager.

But this – this is something else, although she is not sure exactly what is moving her. A longing, an attraction, oddly foreign to the pinpricks of jealousy she had felt before, when scrutinising the glossy, elongated and perniciously photoshopped bodies of the vapid models that spilled out of her monthlies. Not envy, then, but a bizarre captivation for this fluid silhouette. Is this the effect of the mist still drifting through her mind? Perhaps it is. She hopes it is. She does not know how long she has been standing there but, surprisingly, her heart aches with the pain of sudden loss when the music finally dies and Selena moves beyond the door frame.

About the Author:Born in a cosy village in Brittany, France, Mael D’Armor has worked as an academic, cartoonist and young children’s author. He came to Australia in search of wide spaces and exciting life forms. For reasons as yet unclear to him, this prompted his move into fiction and his first, award-winning short story was published in 2012. He writes about the complexities of desire, frustration, hope, love and French kissing – though not always in that order.

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  1. Mael d'Armor says:

    Thanks so much for hosting Book 1 of my Awakening trilogy!

    Writing this novel (btw it was meant originally as one single story rather than 3 novellas) has been great fun, and totally new territory for me. To be honest, I’d read very little erotic fiction before starting on The Awakening. Having a French background, I was familiar with some vintage texts of course, like the Story of O by Pauline Réage. Plus my interest in European graphic novels had exposed me to a few visual pearls – Paolo Serpieri’s Druuna series, Milo Manara’s Click or Guido Crepax’s adaptation of the rather sublime Emmanuelle. As someone who was then a little wet behind the ears, I was quite fascinated by the sexual initiation of this Parisian girl in exotic Bangkok (her initiation 30 000 feet above ground too, making her, I’m told, one of the first of a rather select group of people – the “airborne frolickers”).

    So as I said, I’d read or seen a few classics. But I hadn’t even gone over one line of 50 Shades of Grey when I set out to plot Helen’s fate in tropical Queensland! Don’t know if it’s a good or a bad thing.

    I’ve been back in my native Brittany in Western France for a while and when I’m not lecturing, concocting new class material or enduring one of those interminable departmental meetings (triple sigh), I’m working at a new erotica novel. Which I have to say is a bit tricky sometimes with my daughter’s pet rats running all over my keyboard and making outrageous additions to the story. I think I’ll add a disclaimer when the time comes (“for any weird twists in the narrative and egregious character flaws, please blame the rats”).

    Anyway, this new novel starts in sunny Sydney and ends – where else? – deep in the heart of Celtic Brittany! There’ll be romance, mystery, humour, thwarted love, a few muscular knights, a lot more magic than in The Awakening, a sprinkling of suitably hot French phrases and – obviously – lots of very steamy scenes.

    The book should come out in a few months, curtesy of Harper Collins Australia again. In the meantime, I hope readers enjoy this little caper on a Queensland island.


  2. Thanks for hosting!

  3. How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

    • Mael d'Armor says:

      Hi Mai. Happy to see you’re following the trail!

      I was trained as a linguist (among other things) and on the whole, I try to combine relevance (meaning) and the way the name sounds. For example in The Awakening trilogy, I chose Selena because it was a Greek name and had mythic connotations (Selena being an ancient Moon goddess). Also because of the initial sibilant (the s sound) which made it sound more darkly mysterious (and possibly treacherous?) than, say, Joanna, Kate or Charlotte. As for Helen, I don’t want to give too much away but the reason for her name becomes obvious in Book 3 of the trilogy (Dangerous Liaisons) – same with her dear husband Uli. In fact, the only character here who is not obviously linked to Greek myths through his name is Karl. But I liked the determined-sounding plosive (the “k” sound) and the meaning in Old Norse (“man, male, freeman”). There are quite a lot of useful sites online – but one that I’ve used a few times is Just a suggestion, of course.

  4. Linda Romer says:

    Velvet Trap sounds hot! Looking forward to reading it. Thank you

    • Mael d'Armor says:

      Hope you like it Linda!

      As I really wanted to build up the tension between the two female protagonists, the first part of Book 1 is really about how Selena sets her trap and slowly weaves her seductive web. So the pace in the early chapters is perhaps a little more sedate than in most erotic stories. All this to say that you shouldn’t expect torrid scenes from page 1, really.
      But once Selena has got Helen where she wants – exactly where she wants – then the fun starts in a big way! And Helen is going to discover a whole new side to her personality. Of course, all this is just part of an elaborate stratagem revealed in Book 3. The three novellas were really meant as one novel to start with – and the enigma of the prologue, at the start of Velvet Trap, is only resolved in Book 3 (Dangerous Liaisons). Hope this helps, and happy reading!


  5. Jennifer Lessard says:

    Added to my TBR list, thank you for the opportunity!

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