Morning bloggers! We're winding down now into the home stretch. Just another couple of weeks before Immortal Surrender is on the shelves!
Meanwhile, you can indulge here a little. If you need to catch up on the Teasers:
Immortal Surrender Prologue
Immortal Surrender Chapter One
Immortal Surrender Chapter Two, Part 1
Immortal Surrender Chapter Two, Part 2
Immortal Surrender Chapter Two, Part 3
Today, we're moving on into Chapter Three.
The Curse of the Templars, Book II
September 25, 2012
The throbbing in Farran’s head became angry drums that pounded against his skull. Faint lights flashed behind his eyes with each pulse of his blood. Groaning, he squeezed his temple. Pain arced down his arm, and he struggled to make sense of the cold.
It seeped into his bones, intensifying the ache in his body. Wetness blanketed his back, plastered his jeans to his thighs. He cracked one eye open and stared up at a cloud-covered moon. Outside. What was he doing out . . .
Memories slammed into him. The Camaro, the impact, the rolling vehicle. They had been run off the road. How long had they been here?
He sat up, ignoring his body’s protests. What ever injuries he had received were insignifi cant. They did not come from a Templar blade, nor had Azazel’s demon inflicted them directly. He was immortal—he would heal.
Not so Noelle.
Rising to his feet, he searched their surroundings. The SUV lay on its roof in the ditch, four black tires barely discernible in the dark. No lights marked nearby houses, and the closest streetlamp failed to shine.
A shiver rolled through him. He pulled his twisted coat down to cover his dampened clothes. Where was she? Had the demon taken her?
Stumbling, he approached the wrecked vehicle.
Thoughts sifted into firm place, despite the blaring noise inside his head. Other than aches, he felt no significant pain. Nothing broken. Nothing damaged. He felt the truck, the cold frame telling him they’d been here quite some time. An hour, maybe two, gauging from the moon’s height.
“Noelle!” His voice rasped through the night.
His legs gained strength with each step, and he quickened his pace. Trudging through banks of plowed snow, he rounded the vehicle. Bits of glass speckled the ground, glinting against the intermittent light of the moon. Twisted at a grotesque angle, the passenger’s door stood open. His heart skipped a panicked beat when he stuck his head inside and found the seat empty. Only her purse remained. Dangling by one handle, it hung motionless on the jagged corner of the door. The other strap stirred in the faint breeze, tap-tapping against a dull brown stain.
Farran whipped around, his gaze scanning over the expansive field. Wherever she was, she bled. If she was here at all.
His breath caught as a swathe of reddish brown caught his eye just beyond the SUV’s rear end. “Noelle!”
He choked back bitter unease and rushed to her side.
For a handful of heartbeats, he could do no more than look down on her. She lay on her stomach, her lower body in a wide indentation in the snow where the SUV had hit. Arms stretched above her head, her hair covered her face. The tattered remnants of her coat clung to her right arm. Beneath her left, the snow soaked up her blood. Fresh blood.
She was alive.
Farran dropped to his knees and gently pushed the hair away from her face. Through lips the color of violets, she breathed shallowly. “Can you hear me, damsel?”
Shucking his coat, he covered her with haste. Then he stumbled back to the vehicle. Amidst a barrage of vile oaths, he searched for his cell phone to no avail. He found his sword, the map Gabriel left behind, a tube of lipstick that escaped Noelle’s purse, her glasses. A glance over his shoulder told him Noelle had not moved, and he resumed his search once more.
Faint but persistent ringing stilled his hands. He cocked his head, listening. The notes came not from the SUV. Instead, they drifted from where he had lain.
He raced around the vehicle and the tune stopped. Farran lifted his eyes to the heavens, and in a moment of rare faith, begged the Almighty to make it ring again.
For the first time in more years than he could remember, his prayers did not go ignored. The chiming began anew. Snow flew as he dug for the sound. His fingers touched the cold plastic, and relief surged through Farran’s veins. He snapped the phone open. “I need help.”
“Where are you?” Lucan’s voice filled with urgency.
“On the south side of town.” He turned a circle, looking for a street sign, a marker of any type that would identify their position. Damnation, why had he not paid attention to where Noelle instructed him to turn?
“You come here oft,” he snapped at Lucan. “Tell me where I am.”
“Are houses nearby?”
“Nay.” And no passing cars, much to his frustration.
“We turned off about two miles from her apartment. Ask Gabriel.”
“Gabriel left once we were out of sight.”
Farran ground his teeth together. ’Twould figure that the archangel would vanish. God’s messenger did naught but create headaches.
Rustling on the other end of the line indicated Lucan used his map. Farran returned to Noelle. He pressed his fingers to her delicate throat. When he found her pulse intact, he breathed deep.
“I am not certain, Farran. There are so many places . . .”
“For the love of the saints, phone Merrick,” Farran barked. “Have him locate the vehicle. My ward is injured. Get here.” He snapped the phone shut and jammed it into his pocket.
He must get Noelle warm. And yet he feared moving her. If she had injured her neck, he could damage her further. Still, he could not risk she bled someplace he could not see.
With the gentleness he would give an infant, he removed his coat from her body and slid his hands beneath her. Taking care to keep her head from bouncing too greatly, he eased her onto her back. A faint moan tumbled free, a noise so soft and anguished, Farran’s heart twisted.
“Noelle, can you hear me?”
When she did not do so much as twitch, he moved to her feet. Sliding his hands along her legs, he checked the alignment of her bones. Pressure on her left hip provoked another throaty protest. The sound gained strength as he examined her ribs.
Frowning, he moved to her exposed shoulder where the blood ran in a thin stream. She lay still as he pressed her collarbone. He pushed aside her sweater’s shredded sleeve, following the trail of blood, and froze.
In the moonlight, the torc glinted with subtle color. A decoration he could not hope to ignore, no matter how he might wish to.
“Jesu,” he swore softly.
Come back next week, on release day, to see the conclusion of Chapter Three.