Velvet, by Xavier Axelson

Title: Velvet

Author: Xavier Axelson

Genre: Historical/Fantasy

Length: 178 Pages (Novel)

Publisher: Seventh Window Publications

Heat Level: Moderate to Explicit

When an irresistible discovery unravels the forbidden secrets of a man’s heart, he finds the very fabric of his existence threatened.

In a land where cruelty is disguised as allegiance, loyalty is masked by obligation and the laws of sumptuary govern the people, nothing is more dangerous than Velvet.

ISBN: 978-0-9882310-4-7

 I love to open a book and just become completely absorbed in the words. When I received, Velvet, by Xavier Axelson, I was already reading another book so I thought I would just read the first few pages to see what it was like. 
The first chapter was a little confusing because it’s the present time after everything has already taken place. Chapter 2 starts the back story so of course I had to read it also. As I finished that chapter I thought well just one more. I did that through the entire book and read it in its entirety till the end, in one sitting. That’s how good Velvet is.

Xavier Axelson writes with a lyrical prose that will keep you hypnotized as you read. The story flowed so effortlessly that I had no concept of time. I was transfixed by the life of Viagro, his blind brother Sylvain, and Seton, a traveling musician that has come to play before the king if he is granted permission.

 Viagro’s father was a tailor to the King and also a very good friend. Their sons played together and were close friends growing up. Both fathers are now deceased and Viagro has taken over being the tailor in his father’s place and Prince Duir, the King’s son, will be crowned King.

Viagro has known since he was in his early teens that he was attracted to the same sex. This was a secret he was prepared to live with forever.
The laws of the land are punishable by death if his secret was ever discovered. Not even his brother knew of the desires he felt and the fear of discovery he carried in his heart.

A knock on his door one afternoon will be the beginning and the end to the life Viagro knew.  One look at Seton, a traveling musician, who has come to ask favor to play for the prince, and he knows in his heart that Seton is the same as he. Viagro has up, till now, been imprisoned by his own fears, by his thoughts and his feelings.
He has never voiced aloud to anyone his desires. His life was an illusion, a false perception, and he intended to keep it that way. But, Seton has other plans…

He faced me. I could see his erection straining the front of his breeches. Perhaps this was a trick, a way to make me reveal my truth. What if somehow I were wrong? This doubt made me stop. Now I could hear the sounds of the familiar world return and with it came cold realization. I stared hard at the floor. Flies had already begun to buzz around the fruit and spilled ale.
“I’m sorry,” I started to say and bent to clean up the mess when Seton grabbed me by the shirt and yanked me towards him.
Unable to bear his eyes on me, I squeezed my lids shut and shook my head sadly.

Seton has been to many places. He has lived where loving another man was no big deal. He doesn’t understand Viagro’s fear and promises to show him everything he has been missing. You can immediately feel their connection, their attraction, and they seem to be soul-mates from the beginning.

 Seton likes to flirt and wink at Viagro which only ups his arousal and his curiosity. He has only been touched by his own hand and now he can only think of what it would be like for Seton to touch him, kiss him, and make love to him. And, when it happens, it is more than he could have imagined. The words harder, faster, and more were repeated frequently.

And then we see the arrogant, vicious, demeaning boys, now men that grew up side by side with Viagro and played together as friends. They automatically give their loyalty and devotion to Duir, which is expected and some of them are his closest advisors. Things began to change as the coronation comes closer and Viagro is very skeptical and cautious of their behavior.

 He has the highly awarded task of making the vest for the King. A vest like no other before or after. Stumbling upon material that was sent from faraway lands intended for his father will make the vest the King will wear. Never laying eyes on anything so delicate and soft, Viagro knows it will be the perfect material. He appears before Duir with the velvet for his inspection. Duir is so enamored with the cloth that he rules it is not to be seen or touched by anyone other than Viagro and used only for him. Viagro struggles with this ruling because, to him, Seton is the most worthy and he wants him to have something that is, literally, fit for a King. If he gets caught he could be imprisoned for going against the decree.

 Viagro is finally realizing that being childhood friends with Duir will not give him favor anymore. When Seton comes to visit him at the castle they get carried away in their passion and one of the guards begin to suspect. As he challenges Viagro for answers he will learn firsthand the cruelty and venom this man he once called friend possesses. He realizes that his secret may not have been as hidden as he hoped.

 I have to mention Sylvain, Viagro’s brother. He has the same skills as Viagro yet due to his disability he is often times overlooked or looked down upon. He may be blind but he sees things more clearly than anyone around him. He is an amazing character who continually tries to be there for his brother, help him with his duties and obligations. He knows what people say about him especially Duir and his cohorts.

 He tries to reason with his brother and get him to see for himself what they are really like but sometimes his brother is just as blind because he doesn’t want to see or accept they are not who he thought. He may not want to admit it but he sees changes in Duir and they are not good. He goes from being friendly to not hesitating in letting him know what will happen to him if he doesn’t concede on the things he wants.

Duir clasped one of my shoulders in each of his hands and stared hard into my face. I dared not to look away, for Duir would know I lied if I did.
His eyes searched my face for a second. “You must send my wishes for a speedy recovery to him. I trust you will be able to proceed with the making of my garment without his aid. Though how a blind man is capable of sewing a stitch worthy of a royal garment eludes me.”
“Of course, Your Grace. You will have a vest worthy of your greatness!” As the words tumbled from my mouth, I fought the sudden bitter wave of anger caused by Duir’s insults towards Sylvain, but couldn’t retract the note of sarcasm in my words.
“You would do well to impress me as I’m sure there are many who would be more than able to produce something indeed worthy of my greatness, Viagro, considering the material.

This is a full length novel -so many things happen and there are many twists and turns to go through. There were moments when I had this sense of fear I couldn’t get rid of. I felt like I was hypnotized by the author’s words and I was afraid for Viagro, Seton, and Sylvain. You have a sense of foreboding that holds you hostage. From the execution of the plot, the character growth, the descriptive narrative, to the overall total enjoyment of this story was incredible.

The originality and creativity the author puts forth in this story was brilliant. I’m no expert by any means on language and details for this time period. However, not one time did I ever feel pulled out of the story because the words didn’t conform. The journey Xavier Axelson takes us on with Viagro and each facet of his life was mesmerizing. I can’t express enough how much I enjoyed this story. My best advice is to get it and read it yourself if you like this time period.

There are many secondary characters that play an important role and add value to this story. Too many to name, yet they were all vital. Most of them you will probably hate and will take a much-needed breath when Viagro finally begins to understand, and see for himself, his friends are no longer friends.

 I hope the author has plans to take this story further and let us revisit them again in the future. I wouldn’t say the story ended with a HEA but it definitely has a HFN. I would love to see where they go from here and I would love to see Viagro find the place where he can love Seton openly with no reservations.

Thank you Xavier for a wonderful story.

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the author.*

For more information on Xavier Axelson you can find him here: