Good morning, everyone! Time for another Teaser with Immortal Surrender!
Need to catch up on what's happened?
Immortal Surrender Prologue
Immortal Surrender Chapter One
Immortal Surrender Chapter Two, Part 1
Immortal Surrender Chapter Two, Part 2
Meanwhile, let's see just why Farran wasn't scowling afterall!
The Curse of the Templar, Book II
September 25, 2012
All the air in Farran’s lungs lodged in his throat as he turned around to acknowledge his tardy little ward. Hair, more rich and thick than he had imagined, draped around her shoulders. The damp waves tumbled to her waist, long and free, reminding him of the thick vines that covered the grotto where he played as a boy. Her glasses were not cumbersome. If anything, they enhanced the saucy upturn to her nose.
They tempted too. Called to his fingers and begged them to pull those wire frames away from those fawnlike eyes. And the mouth he had believed was plain, smiled with such innocent hesitation, he could not help but wonder if it had ever known a man’s lustful touch. Full and lush, her lips would be soft. Mayhap as silky as her hair. He curled his fingers into a fist and turned away. Saints’ blood, he would have to pay a visit to Leah upon his return. Clearly, he had spent too long away from her willing arms if this scrap of a woman could warm his blood.
“Are you ready?” Noelle asked.
She picked up her purse, crossed to the door, and pulled it open. “It’s rush hour. Seth said we should probably go south out of town and then head west on the outskirts.”
“You will guide me. I have not been to D.C. in quite some time.”
Again, her smile graced her face, and his stomach balled into a hard knot. He ground his teeth against the uncomfortable twist. A few hours more, and he would be free of her. She would fade into memory, no more significant than any other woman he had encountered throughout time.
Farran entered the hall, waited for her to lock up her house, then followed to the stairs. He furrowed his brow as he recalled the cat. “Someone will tend your pet?”
“Scat?” she let out a soft chuckle. “Yes. Seth said he would stop by over the weekend.”
The fist around his innards clamped harder. This Seth, did he enjoy the softness of Noelle’s mouth? He could not silence his curiosity. “Seth is?”
“My assistant at the lab.”
Invisible fingers released their hold, and Farran breathed deeply. He had no cause to feel relieved, yet ’twas no mistaking he did. More reason for him to satisfy his oath to Gabriel and return to the temple.
Outside, the sun sank into the horizon, and long shadows emerged atop the piled banks of snow. He opened Noelle’s door, then jogged around to his. But as the doors thumped shut, the silence he had treasured became oppressive. Enveloped by the sweet fragrance of her jasmine perfume, Farran became aware of the woman beside him. The rustle of her coat when she moved scraped against his nerves. Her bright smile rose within his mind to torment, and his thoughts steered down a treacherous course. A path that led to visions of those long lengths of hair secluding them away whilst he explored the softness of those damning lips.
He gripped the wheel in both hands, silently cursing his fate.
“So this is what you do? Security?” Noelle’s voice vibrated with a touch of nervousness.
Security—’twas an interesting way to describe his duty. Somehow he doubted she would care to hear the truth, or that she would believe if he explained. He settled for the easier response. “Aye.”
She twisted in her seat to look at him more fully. “Are you from here? From America, I mean? Your speech—you have an accent and distinct dialect, but I can’t place it.”
“Aye.” He glanced at her, gauging how much to reveal.
“I was born outside of Clare, in England.” The only son of a long-dead lord and one who left his family in shame. Lost to time like the rest of the world Farran understood.
“That’s in Sussex isn’t it? I went there once in college. We were doing research at Sutton Hoo.”
“Turn here.” She tapped on the window, indicating the approaching narrow road.
Dutifully, Farran slowed for the turn. As he rounded the corner, he chanced a glance at her. Posture relaxed, expression full of animation, she looked at ease. Naught like the uncomfortable woman who tried to hide in the seat on their first journey together. Her gaze slid to his, surprising him with the same hesitant smile. A touch of pink rose in her cheeks, and she hastily cast her eyes to her lap.
Beneath the rising lavender of twilight, they left the hustle-bustle of D.C. proper and emerged into a remote stretch of fields. The houses spaced farther apart. Fields rose between them. Trees even peppered the landscape. Great hulking trees with twisting branches that rose like skeleton arms to embrace a winter’s sky.
“Do you miss it?” Noelle asked. “England. Home.”
A more conflicting answer he could not imagine. Aye, he missed En gland, but not the one she knew. He missed the fields of green, the days spent on horse back, the harder, yet simpler life he had known so long ago. At the same time, the thought of home filled him with such loathing he could not stand to think upon it. Farran settled for, “Sometimes.”
“It’s so pretty over there. Everything has character. And oh . . .” She let out a wistful sigh. “There are so many old things there. I get glimpses when artifacts come into the lab. But seeing everything under the microscope just doesn’t compare. I can’t imagine leaving, if I’d been born there.”
He had once felt the same. Now, with Azazel’s darkness running in his blood, En gland only spurned fury. Anxious for a change in subject, he asked, “You were born where?”
“A little farm in Iowa. My folks raised pigs.” She pulled down the visor to fiddle with her hair. “Hey, that looks like Seth’s car behind us. I guess I won’t have to worry about finding him at the airport.”
Farran glanced in the rearview mirror. Several yards away, a yellow Chevy Camaro rapidly approached. Despite the rolled- up windows, he caught the stench. The revolting scent of rot. A smell so foul, it still made his stomach roll even after hundreds of years of combating it.
Mayhap her Seth followed, but somewhere near, Azazel’s minions lurked.
He gripped the wheel tight and stepped on the gas. Jaw clenched, his gaze riveted on the mirror. The Camaro’s grille bore down on them, its headlights mere feet away from their bumper.
Not somewhere near, he rationalized. Right behind them.
“Hold on,” he barked. Stomping on the accelerator, Farran gave the wheel a fierce jerk and skidded through a sharp right-hand curve.
From the corner of his eye, he caught Noelle’s furrowed brow. She opened her mouth to speak, then quickly snapped it shut. She grabbed for the overhead handhold and shrank into the seat.
Farran’s pulse bounded to life. His chest tightened, and his heart hammered into his ribs as he tried to outmaneuver the creature behind the wheel. But already exceeding eighty, he dared not attempt more speed. Not with a mortal sitting at his side. Too great was the risk he would lose control on this slick highway.
In his side mirror, the sports car gained. It surged around his rear fender, barreled down the oncoming lane. Farran glanced out his window, catching a brief glimpse of a man behind the wheel before it sped past. The foul odor filled the car and tightened his throat. Beside him, Noelle gagged.
When the taillights evened with their front bumper, Farran expelled the breath he had been holding. Azazel’s minion wanted the Sudarium, not the woman at his side.
Best to alert Lucan. He reached between the seats for his cell phone.
As he flipped it open, Noelle let out a shriek.
Metal ground against metal in a sickening scream. Somewhere glass shattered. His hands slipped from the wheel as his body lurched to the left. Where pavement had stretched out before them, brown grass and clods of dirt flew by.
In the next heartbeat, everything went black.
Come back next week for Chapter Three!