Interview with Tane du Bruiel
Templar knights defied the archangels and unearthed the copper scroll, revealing the gates to hell. Cursed for their forbidden act, they forever roam the earth protecting mankind from evil. But darkness stalks them, and battles they fight bring them ever-closer to eternal damnation. One promise remains to give them salvation – the return of the seraphs.
Embittered by his purpose, Merrick du Loire must honor an ancient pact and bring peace to his cousin’s soul. When he stumbles upon history professor Anne MacPherson, he discovers she possesses a sacred artifact that marks her as a seraph. Duty demands he set aside his personal quest and locate the knight she’s fated to heal. As he struggles with conflicting oaths, Anne arouses buried hope and sparks forbidden desire that challenges everything he’s sworn to uphold.
Anne has six weeks to complete her thesis on the Knights Templar. When Merrick takes her to the Templar stronghold, he presents her with all she needs—and awakens a soul-deep ache, he alone can soothe. Yet loving Merrick comes with a price. If she admits she's destined for him, her gift of foresight predicts his death.
Name: Tane du Bruiel
Occupation: Templar Knight
Age: Over eight hundred years old
Height: 5’ 11”
Eyes: Sharp green eyes
Good afternoon, Tane. I know it can’t be easy meeting with us to discuss the Order, or what happened in Merrick’s biography, Immortal Hope, but I’d like to talk about what brought you to the Order, if you don’t mind.
Tane: ‘Tis indeed difficult to discuss, things given as they are. But I shall endeavor to answer your queries. I came to the Templar in the second wave of knights, men who joined Merrick after his return. As was revealed in Merrick’s biography, there was an incident within my family that led me to a holy warrior’s life. The story, however, is best left for a later time.
So you will have your own story? Fascinating!
Tane: I did not say such. Do not give Merrick or Mikhail any more reason to suspect my motives are for myself, milady.
Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it that way. I just thought—
Tane: ‘Tis my hope that I should be worthy enough, and contribute enough to the Order to warrant the telling of my life. Should that not come to pass, it will not be a story missed. Let us move on.
Yes, let’s move on. This Marie and David – are you with them now?
Tane: I have a plan in the works that will hopefully better aid their plight. Marie is like the sister I have never known. ‘Tis my fondest wish that she and her brother will find safety, and I shall stop at nothing to see it is done.
Well that’s a good way to spend your… er… time now.
So tell me… Anne…
Tane: Nay. It is done. I was mistaken. There is naught to discuss. You wished to discuss the past, milady. Not the present.
Apologies, Tane. I’m a reporter, I can’t help but ask the uncomfortable questions. It’s no secret that envy is your struggle. Can you tell us the one thing you miss most from the life you knew centuries ago?
Tane: Aye, ‘tis easy, though ‘tis simple. I miss my mount. It has been eons since I have had cause to sit atop a horse. These SUVs accomplish much, and they are a necessity in this world you designed. But the simpler times are not far from my heart, nor the quiet moments in a meadow, with the power of an equal, trustworthy warrior beneath me.
You’re not so bad, you know. A man that likes animals – he’s got to be good at heart. Real quick, before we have to go, what you would do if Gabriel showed up with your seraph next?
Tane: (It takes him a minute to answer, and in his expression, I can see he’s struggling with something internally. Something that pains him, judging from the sharp darkening of his eyes.) I am not deserving of a seraph, damsel. If you believe such, you did not pay close attention to my actions, nor my circumstance. Your delusions are even greater than mine own.
Oh-kay. On that note, I guess we’ll let you get back to this super secret project you’re working on. Thanks for stopping in, Tane, and I hope you aren’t too upset with my digging for information.
Tane: Nay. (A faint smile crosses his face.) ‘Tis a woman’s way, is it not? Good day, damsel.
See you around, Tane – I hope.
Let’s take a quick peek at what we’ll find in IMMORTAL HOPE. Maybe we can see what Tane finds so compelling about Anne.
Seeing a thin white scar that spanned across the back of his hand, she traced the mark with her nail. “I want to know about you,” she added more quietly. “What caused this?”
Merrick looked down to where she touched him. Using his opposite index finger, he traced the same path her fingernail had taken. Briefly, their fingertips touched. “’Tis a mark from a lance.”
“A lance?” Anne struggled with the urge to twine her finger around his.
“Aye. ’Twas a battle that came to us unexpectedly. I was not given time to don my armor before the riders set upon us. The knight struck me there, and here.” He touched his ribs beneath his right arm.
Anne’s gaze lifted to the vulnerable spot and pictured the battle as it might have occurred: Merrick standing down an armored knight on horse back, the sharp metal spear that punctured his flesh, the way his face might have contorted as he bit back a painful cry. Impulsively, she gathered his hand in both of hers and lifted it, bringing it to her lips to place a gentle kiss over the scar. “I’m sorry.”
Merrick said nothing, and in his silence, she began to question maybe she’d taken one too many liberties. They’d hardly begun to get along—what if her unchecked impulse just crossed some invisible boundary? Slowly, cautiously, she lifted her eyes to his. What she found in his fathomless dark eyes, however, said nothing of anger or annoyance. They gleamed with startling intensity, light bright enough to make her catch her breath.
“Do not be sorry,” he murmured. His eyes canvassed her face, lingered on her mouth. “’Twas a scar borne from duty. An order I was sworn to obey.”
The husky quality of his voice sent shivers coursing up and down her spine. She tried to look away, ordered her eyes to settle anywhere but on the sudden softening of Merrick’s expression. But her body refused, leaving her unable to do anything but choke down a dry swallow. When her thoughts cleared enough to form coherent words, she sought to lighten the moment with a bit of humor. “Orders can do that to you, I guess. Like now, you’re stuck with me.”
“I cannot say I find these orders entirely displeasing.” Merrick lifted his free hand to push a length of her hair away from her shoulder.
The back of his hand grazed the side of her neck and goose bumps scattered down her arms. “No?”
Claire Ashgrove has been writing since her early teens and maintained the hobby for twenty years before deciding to leap into the professional world. Her first contemporary novel, Seduction's Stakes, sold to The Wild Rose Press in 2008, where she continues to write steamy, sexy stories for the Champagne and Black Rose lines. Adding to these critically acclaimed contemporaries, Claire’s paranormal romance series, The Curse of the Templars, debuts with Tor in January 2012. For those who prefer the more erotic side of romance, she also writes for Berkley Heat under the pen name Tori St. Claire.
Claire lives on a small farm in Missouri with her two toddler sons, fifteen horses, four cats, and five dogs. In her “free” time, she enjoys cooking, winning at rummy, studying ancient civilizations, and spending quiet moments with her family, including the critters. She credits her success to her family's constant support and endless patience.
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