It's here, it's here - squee!  Immortal Protector is available today!

But in keeping with the Tuesday Teaser theme, for those of you who've been following along, I'm going to go ahead and give you a peek at chapter two today.

If you want to catch up:  Chapter One Part One, Chapter One Part Two

Immortal Protector
The Curse of the Templars, Companion Novella
March 12, 2013
Order Here! ($1.99)

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…



Catherine chewed on the inside of her cheek all the way across the inner city, telling herself over and over again she hadn’t committed a cardinal sin by failing to disclose she was a nun. Okay . . . actually . . . not a nun. Not yet. She was still a novitiate, still discerning whether the monastic life really fit. But for all intents and purposes, though she hadn’t said her vows, she considered herself a full Sister.

She stole a sideways glance at Iain. His relaxed posture erased some of the edge to his powerful build. Both hands on the wheel, he navigated the pickup confidently, with just a touch of aggression that she shouldn’t have liked, but made her belly flutter all the same.

That involuntary reaction was exactly why she should confess her commitment to the faith. He’d stop tossing sexy grins just as the silence became awkward. Once he found out, like every other man, he’d back away as if she breathed fire. Which would make it that much easier to pretend that he didn’t have her insides tangled like spaghetti.

“So, where are you from, Iain?”

“Europe.” He downshifted, drawing her attention to a thick thigh that bunched beneath his jeans. “A small community just beyond Paris.”

Catherine let out a wistful sigh. “I’ve always wanted to see France. Guess that explains why you called me ‘mademoiselle’.” Combating nerves the only way she knew how, she laughed. Then immediately frowned. What was the matter with her—she’d never had trouble around men. Not the kind of trouble where her tongue wrapped itself in knots and she trembled like a leaf. She’d been around the block so much as an orphan teen . . . well, she didn’t like to think about the years she spent cycling through foster home after foster home. 

So what was it about this guy that made her insides feel like melted butter? 

Something he’d said clicked in her head. “You’re taking the couch to the homeless teens’ shelter? I didn’t know there was one specifically for teens in need.”

Iain turned his head and smiled, sending her pulse on another skyward leap. “My brother Tane is opening one at the end of this month.”

“Really? That’s wonderful! Kids hate going to the adult shelters.”

“’Twas what he discovered. As I have been told, a friend of his—Marie—had a need. To aid her, her brother, and those in their situation, Tane founded the home.”

She looked at him again, really allowed him to sink into her brain. His hands were fascinating. She’d seen them in action with the man she’d hit, knew the strength those fingers held. The faint dusting of hair at the back of his wrist continued up a muscular forearm. He wore a simple dark blue T-shirt that pulled across broad shoulders and a powerful chest. Nothing about him was weak. And yet, nothing about him was intimidating. 

A chuckle shook his shoulders.

“What’s so funny?” Catherine asked.

“You, mademoiselle.”

She ignored the pleasant shiver that his accent stirred and tipped her head to the side. “Me? What about me?”

Deep brown eyes met hers for a flicker of an instant, before he looked back to the road and shifted position in his seat. He shook his head, an amused smile playing on his sensual mouth. “’Tis naught.”

“No, tell me. What did I say?”

“I do not wish to embarrass you.” He navigated a corner and eased to a stop in front of a newly renovated old warehouse. Sporting a full grin now, he opened his door and climbed out.

Just as Catherine began to think he’d close the door on her question, he braced his arms on the top of the pickup and ducked his head inside. “If I were to inspect you so thoroughly when I believed you could not notice, I am quite certain ’twould earn me the lash of your tongue.”

In a heartbeat, her cheeks blistered with heat. Oh good grief! But in the next heartbeat, the saucy attitude she’d worn with pride before she began considering life with the Church reared its head. Give it a try, and we’ll see. She stopped the thought an instant before it could slide off her tongue. But it echoed in her head even as she turned her back on his grin and exited the vehicle. 

Catherine bit back a snort. Thinking like that would get her into deep trouble. 

Before she could develop any sort of reply, the shelter’s crimson-painted wooden door swung wide, and another dark-haired man descended the short stairs. He clapped a hand on Iain’s shoulder, then embraced him in a quick masculine hug. “’Tis good to see you, Iain.”

She stayed a few inches behind the pickup’s rear fender, lingering on the sidelines, not wanting to intrude. The man had simply offered her a ride—sticking her nose in his business further wasn’t her style. But their similar accents intrigued her. Was this man from France as well? Had they immigrated at some point? They must have, for their native inflection to come through so strong.

As the new man turned toward the pickup, he stopped short, his gaze halting on her. Surprise passed across his face, then green eyes sparked with curiosity. Catherine gave him a hesitant smile.

“Tane, please meet Catherine Grady.” Iain gestured at her with a warm smile. “She found herself in need of a ride. I offered aid.”

Tane glanced at Iain, lifted eyebrows asking some question she couldn’t comprehend. She wouldn’t have noticed the slight shake of Iain’s head if she hadn’t been looking straight at him. Whatever the meaning, Tane’s brow smoothed, and he turned back to her, one hand extended in greeting. “I am Tane. A pleasure to meet you.”

Catherine shook his hand. “Likewise. It’s great what you’re doing for the teens here.”

“My thanks, good lady.” Releasing her, he stepped toward the pickup again. “’Twill be meaningless if they lack a place to sit. Let us move this inside, Iain.”

His grin turned harsh features into handsome ones. Good genes must run in their family. He matched Iain in height, but his build was stockier. A touch of uncertainty plagued the way he moved, whereas Iain’s movements held the same appealing confidence she’d observed as he drove. And Iain exuded warmth with his constantly laughing eyes, while his brother’s countenance remained closed, walled off from strangers.

She followed behind them as they hefted the couch through the door. What she found inside astounded her. Instead of plain white walls and industrial fluorescent lighting that so many shelters sported, Catherine discovered layer after layer of welcoming warmth that contradicted the man behind the idea. Aged bronze fixtures washed walls of rich, dark green with soft incandescent light. Instead of tile floors, she walked on polished, laminated wood. And she didn’t enter a sterile, wide front room set up with card tables and chairs, but rather a long hallway—as if she’d walked through the front door of a residential home. Dark wood-framed entryways opened into comfortable rooms: an entertainment room with a wide flat-screen television, a room with individual computer desks situated in each of the four corners, a smaller library with fully stocked shelves.

Iain and Tane angled through another doorway and led her into a back room, where they set the couch down beneath a wide picture window that overlooked a fenced-in yard, complete with an inviting patio.

He hadn’t created a shelter. He built a home.

“This is amazing, Tane. But there’s five floors—what’s on the rest?” And where in the world had he come up with this kind of money?

“Tane! I need you in the kitchen! I can’t get this stupid stove to work!” a feminine voice called.

He sighed, shook his head, and cast an apologetic glance at Catherine and Iain. “Iain, do show her around. I must help Marie. My apologies, Catherine.”

He hurried out of the room, leaving Catherine alone in Iain’s company. His devastating smile pinned her in place. The flicker of appreciation that lit in his eyes turned the spacious area surrounding her into a room no larger than a closet. She couldn’t breathe, couldn’t stop the erratic pounding of her heart. An old familiar feeling stirred. One she knew she should ignore. But the sharp clamping of her womb and the rush of heat that flared through her body was so incredibly pleasant, she didn’t care. For just this moment, she wanted to revel in the simple pleasure of being a woman.


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