So last week Immortal Protector came out--I hope you've been enjoying Iain's story. This week we're keeping the Templars going, but changing up to the coming release on March 26th, Immortal Trust, The Curse of the Templars, Book III
So with much ado, let's dig right in!
The Curse of the Templars, Book III
With the fate of the Almighty hanging in the balance, Lucan must find faith in something more terrifying than the dark lord's creations. He must learn to believe his heart.
"The engrossing Curse of the Templars series hits another high note with its third installment, packed with the tension and passion fans have come to expect..." - Romantic Times Reviews 4/4
Julian Broussard glanced out the frosty window at a distant mound of rock and cursed his sister’s ridiculous fear of the dark for the hundredth time. If she weren’t such a goose, he’d have someone to share the nightly rounds. Another pair of hands to pick up tools their team of student archaeologists left lying in the mud. Another set of eyes to check the waterproofed markers that identified bits and pieces they’d chiseled out of frozen ground.
But no, as usual, Chloe and her imaginary demons managed to find sanctuary in the hotel’s ample warmth before the last student left the site. Leaving Julian an hour’s worth of work with only a flashlight to guide his way around the exposed medieval structures.
He muttered and thumped open the mobile trailer’s lightweight door. A frigid northern whipped across his face, stealing his breath. The scent of snow lingered in the air. With luck, it would skip over Ornes and carry on into Paris. Now that they were finally into the guts of what they’d come to find, a snowstorm would only piss him off further. He’d had his fill of melting ice, moving snow, and needing a jackhammer to break through frozen soil.
Pebbles crunched beneath his feet as he trudged down the steep path that led to the excavation site. Hunkered down in his coat, muffler about his ears, he followed the bold white beam of light. His breath billowed out before him, and he wished once more that they could transport the whole damn project to Arizona. He despised the cold.
His light caught on the narrow shelf of stones that marked the boundary. Forty-two days of excavating ground, moving aside the crumbled remnants Hitler’s bombs left behind, and at last, the feudal castle rose from the depths of the earth. With every exterior nuance recorded, tomorrow they would begin scaling off the interior. Rebuilding walls. Laying out stones and whatever else they found in the fortified enclosure.
If luck was on their side, they’d locate the stash vagabonds reported at the start of the year. Damn shame he couldn’t force the man who’d been jailed for stealing artifacts into identifying the exact location. Even more damning, the other thief died out here. Supposedly of fright.
Fright, my ass. They probably fought over the take.
In any case, the rumor fueled Chloe’s paranoia to exceptional heights. She hardly ever neared the forest’s edge, day or night. Locked away in the field trailers, she catalogued bits of pottery, fragments of stone, and detailed their discoveries in their required logs.
A glimmer of gold halted his walk. He swung the flashlight before him and cocked his head as the light glinted off a jutting fragment in the earth. Julian stepped over the remnants of what had once been a thick stone wall and squatted before the golden chip. With the butt end of the flashlight between his teeth, he plucked his trowel from his back pocket. Using the point, he loosened the ground around the object. Chunks broke free. He brushed them aside with his thumb.
A handle? He frowned at the exposed scrollwork design. The thieves had brought in a golden chalice with a similar design. Could this be a serving pitcher? In gold? Julian scraped at the earth with the flat edge of his tool.
The breeze picked up, stirring the overhead branches. He tucked his chin deeper into his coat, determined to ignore the near-freezing temperature. A few more carefully placed wedges of the point, and he’d have . . .
His hand stilled as the gravel crunched behind him. Though thick clouds obscured the sky, an even thicker shadow descended over his shoulder. The hair at the nape of his neck lifted, and an unexplainable shudder rolled down his spine. His heart stuttered into an unnatural cadence.
Closing his fingers around the trowel’s wooden handle, he poised the weapon to defend himself and turned.
A hand shot out. Fingers dug into his shoulder. Julian lifted his gaze across a blackened chain-mail-clad chest, up a thick neck, and onto a coif-covered head. Shadows marred the man’s face, blocking all features save for his eyes. But the eerie green light that filled a malicious gaze closed Julian’s throat.
The illogical thought drifted across his mind seconds before the hand on his shoulder tightened and dragged him to his feet. Despite the utter lack of heat in the air, sweat broke over Julian’s skin. He swallowed hard, told himself ghosts only lived in his sister’s mind.
“Azazel sent for you.”
The hollow empty laugh that issued from the ebony-clad man’s throat silenced the feeble protests of Julian’s mind. Nothing living made that sort of spine-chilling sound.
“Wh-who?” he croaked.
“You will bring him the Veil.”
“The veil? What veil?” Julian twisted his shoulders, attempting escape.
The man’s grip clamped into bone. Pain shot down Julian’s arm, wrenching a pitiful cry from his throat. As he stumbled against a rush of dizziness, a fist slammed into his face. Pinpricks of light burst behind Julian’s eyes. Distantly, he recognized he was moving. Leaves crunched beneath the being’s boots. Chain mail clinked in the stillness. The revolting stench of death assaulted his nose.
Grasping at the last of his strength, Julian fought off the pull of unconsciousness and opened his eyes. What stood before him justified every irrational fear his sister possessed. Red-orange eyes gleamed with wicked hunger. Yellowish fangs protruded from an unholy face.
The thing that had brought him into the forest thrust him into a deadly embrace. Claws raked across his back, slid between his ribs. Agony lanced through his body. An anguished cry tore from his throat.
“Yes, scream,” the creature murmured. “It is so much better when you scream.”
Tendrils of darkness fingered at Julian’s mind. He grasped at them, desperate for the promised escape. But seconds before he succumbed to blissful oblivion, he felt the invasion. The foul, horrific, glorious presence of death pressed against his mind. A whisper of command more comforting than any cessation of his heart.