Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Immortal Protector by Claire Ashgrove


Immortal Protector
The Curse of the Templars,
Companion Novella

After the brutal murder of his seraph, Iain Donnelly's salvation is eternally lost. Damned to become a dark knight of Azazel, he can no longer embrace his immortal purpose as a Templar Knight. When the archangels send him on Sabbatical to find his faith once more, his quest leads him straight into the forbidden arms of a Benedictine Sister, whom Azazel is threatening.  But this woman arouses far more than his protective instincts.  He wants her as he's wanted no other woman, and he's willing to provoke the archangels’ fury to keep her safe.

Catherine Grady has devoted herself to the fellowship of faith and forged a path of eternal dedication to a higher calling.  But when a traffic accident forces her to accept Iain's aid, she discovers that her chosen path is not what her heart craves.  Iain awakens a buried yearning to be needed and loved in a way her broken childhood denied her.  As she struggles to reconcile her desires, she stumbles into the truth about her heritage, ancient secrets, and unholy danger.  Iain's immortality is all that can protect her.

For Iain, it's an impossible choice.  The archangels have decreed if he walks away from the Templar, they will reclaim his soul.  Yet returning to the Order only guarantees his inevitable death…

Purchase for only $1.99 at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

For more about The Curse of the Templars, discover all the books at Claire’s Templar Webpage

Excerpt:
“Catherine,” he began, his voice unsteady. He cleared his throat, tightened his grip on the steering wheel. “I return home in a short while. But I should like to see you again.”

She went absolutely still.

Horns of warning echoed in his head. A woman who returned his interest would not behave as if she had suddenly turned to ice. And yet, he could not still his tongue. “I have not enjoyed an evening so much in too many years to count.”

Her teeth worked at her lower lip. In her lap, she twisted her hands together. “I’ve enjoyed it too. A lot.”

Her confession came so quietly, several seconds passed before it fully registered in his head. When the words connected, the space behind his ribs contracted pleasantly. “Then tomorrow—”

“Turn here.” Her unadorned fingernail rapped on the passenger-side window.

Iain navigated the turn and pulled into the abbey’s small parking lot. He nosed into a spot, turned off the engine, and jumped out to hurry around and open her door. She slid out of the seat, and her gaze connected with his. Before she quickly averted it and took a step toward the entrance, he caught the flash of appreciation that had so oft filled those pale blue eyes throughout the night.

She desired him, though for some reason she did not wish to acknowledge it.

Iain fell into step beside her, taking her small hand in his once more. She did not fight the contact. Indeed, her fingers slid between his in a most welcoming manner. “Tomorrow is Friday—do you have transportation to your school?”

“Not . . . really . . .” she answered hesitantly.

“Then what say you about allowing me to drive you in, come morning. After, I will take you to dinner, and I shall spend tomorrow planning the rest of the eve.”

She came to a halt on the top stair and turned to face him. “Iain, I—”

Her eyes locked with his, and her words fell into silence. A riot of emotions reflected in those blue depths. Desire, hesitation, uncertainty, and curiosity captured Iain like a tightly woven net cast over his person. The air around them transformed, filling with subtle heat. Her gaze lowered to his mouth. When she drew her upper lip between her teeth, an invisible fist thumped into Iain’s gut. Saints’ blood, he wanted to know the softness there. Wanted to taste the sweet sugar that lingered on her tongue from the minted tea she drank through dinner.

About the Author:

Building on a background of fantasy game design, a fascination with history, and a lifetime love of books, Award-Winning Author Claire Ashgrove brings to life action-filled, passionate journeys of the heart. Her first contemporary novel, Seduction's Stakes, sold to The Wild Rose Press in 2008, where she continues to write for the Champagne and Black Rose lines. Adding to these critically acclaimed romances, Claire's paranormal series, The Curse of the Templars (Tor), marries the history of the Knights Templar with the chilling aspirations of the most unholy--a must-read for speculative fiction fans. Her books have received multiple nominations for "Best Romance of the Year" awards as well as placements within a variety of contests, including the rigorous, Reader's Crown Awards, where Immortal Hope was named Best Paranormal Romance of 2011. For those who prefer the more erotic side of life, she also writes darkly arousing espionage novels for Berkley as the National Bestselling Author Tori St. Claire.

She is an active member of Romance Writers of America, and her local RWA chapters, Heartland Romance Authors, Midwest Romance Writers, and North Texas Romance Writers of America.


Claire lives in Missouri with her two young sons and too-many horses, cats, and dogs. In her "free" time, she enjoys cooking, studying Ancient Civilizations, and spending downtime with her children and the critters. She credits her success to her family's constant support and endless patience.


To learn more about Claire, visit her on the web at www.claireashgrove.com, or www.toristclaire.com.


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