KAREN: I'm thrilled to have Claire Ashgrove back with more of her wicked warriors. Make sure to read the except below. You'll be glad you did. :) There's a contest make sure to read the details to be entered.
***Contest: Claire is giving away one digital copy of any one of her backlist books, excepting those in the Templar series, to one randomly drawn commenter at each stop on the blog tour. In addition, commenters’ names will be added into the tour-end drawing of a 25.00 Amazon gift card. Follow the tour – the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. Complete tour dates can be found here.
CLAIRE: Hi, everyone! It’s so good to be back here – thanks for having me today. It’s release time again, and I’m celebrating the second book in my The Curse of the Templars series. I thought I’d talk a little bit today on what the most difficult aspect of the book was.
Quite frankly, once I worked out how to deal with an atheist, everything else flowed pretty darn smoothly. Faith isn’t something that I typically come anywhere close to addressing in my books. My characters swear up a storm, there’s no hidden message in my writing, and well…let’s face it… they’re probably more apt to sin than be saintly.
But to marry the heroine, Noelle’s lack of beliefs with the Templar cause was really daunting. I’ve talked about her character earlier in this tour a little, and I discussed how its impossible to ignore the historical founding of the Knights Templar. So thrusting an atheist into the role of a seraph, wasn’t the easiest task I’ve ever tackled.
One of the things I absolutely didn’t want to do was preach. I didn’t want the book to be about beliefs, any implication of right or wrongness thereof, or delve into anything beyond the base purpose of the Templar Knights and their fight against Azazel. So I chose instead to work with simply opening her mind. Not to a higher power, if you will, but to life around her.
The task became easier when I layered on her personal past and the previous relationships she’s been through… or rather, the lack thereof. Yes, my friends, Noelle became an easier character to write when she became a virgin. (Only in fiction can one become a virgin – hee!)
Why? Because there were so many things I could open her mind to. One slight change, one slight shift to believing she’s a desirable woman, and suddenly she’s more willing to observe the inconsistencies around her. The lack of black and white and the overarching shades of grey.
Add in the conflict of science versus the magic she encounters, start twisting what she thinks she knows into what she can’t possibly logic, and everything gets yet a little easier. In the end though, it’s really Farran who alters her perceptions and creates a change in her.
I think it worked. I’m not entirely sure how she resisted for so long anyway, with Farran sleeping in her bed and taunting her with his kisses. I wouldn’t have held up for long!
But what about you? What would it take for you to alter one of your core beliefs?
Again the Giveaway Details:Claire is giving away one digital copy of any one of her backlist books, excepting those in the Templar series, to one randomly drawn commenter at each stop on the blog tour. In addition, commenters’ names will be added into the tour-end drawing of a 25.00 Amazon gift card. Follow the tour – the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. Complete tour dates can be found here.
Farran de Clare, loyal member of the cursed Knights Templar, wants nothing to do with predestined mates. Even the Almighty won’t turn him into a fool again—he’d rather sacrifice his soul. Yet in the scientist Noelle Keane, a devout atheist, Farran meets the seraph designed for him.
Ordered by the archangel Gabriel to protect Noelle, the possessor of a sacred relic that could give Azazel incredible power, Farran swears to do his duty—but in name only. Fighting an attraction that grows with each day, he’s determined that he’ll never pledge himself to her.
As they war over her future, their mutual passion ignites a conflict far more damning. But before Noelle will agree to eternity with him, she demands the ultimate sacrifice – his heart.
“Damnation,” he hissed through clenched teeth.
He stalked back to the bed. No longer concerned for her injuries, he snatched up her fingers and inspected the scar once more. Nay, his eyes did not play tricks. She bore a dagger on her hand. It matched his as if someone had miniaturized the eighteen-inch-long weapon and scalded it into her flesh.
She belonged to him.
The door opened, and Farran’s head snapped up. He returned Louise’s pleasant smile with a glare. “You may undress the wench.” He shouldered past the aging caretaker, ignoring the way she spluttered.
So Gabriel sought to pair him with a maid, did he? ‘Twas no wonder the archangel did not forewarn him of her nature. Gabriel well knew Farran would rather swallow his own sword.
He took the stairs two at a time, in desperate need of fresh air. His fingers twitched with the need to pummel something. A seraph! His seraph! God’s teeth, would he be allowed no mercy? Could he not just leave this world and be done with life?
In the wide front room, Farran braced his hands on the table and squeezed his eyes shut tight. Duty bound him to accept the pairing. With the oaths they were fated to take, the Templar would gain much needed strength. Much as he would like nothing more, he could not walk away from the woman in the bed upstairs.
And yet . . .he did not have to stay either.
“Brother? Is something amiss?” Lucan’s voice drifted down the stairs.
Farran turned around and raised his glower to Lucan’s face. “You will go to her apartment. Fetch her cat. Fetch her things. Deliver them all to Mikhail.”
Lucan’s gaze narrowed with suspicion. “I trust you do not seek to have the maid to yourself?”
“Nay!” God’s teeth, nay. He would no more touch her now than he would touch a snake. He would say his oath, deliver her to the temple, and leave with the first light.
Cocking his head, Lucan studied him. Slow dawning filtered into his expression, and he answered with a thoughtful nod. “You recognize her mark. I shall have her mate sent here.”
Farran exhaled through his teeth. At his thigh, he clenched a hand into a tight fist. “There is no need for such.”
“Farran, you cannot be serious. She must be paired at once. ’Tis written—”
“She is mine, Lucan.” With the vile truth exposed, Farran stormed out the door.
About the Author:
Award-Winning Author 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 romances, Claire’s paranormal romance series, The Curse of the Templars debuted with Tor in January 2012. For those who prefer the more erotic side of romance, she also writes for Berkley Heat as the National Bestselling Author Tori St. Claire.
She is an active member of Romance Writers of America, and her local RWA chapters, Heartland Romance Authors, Midwest Romance Writers, and North Texas Romance Writers of America.
Claire lives in Missouri with her two sons and too-many horses, cats, and dogs. In her “free” time, she enjoys cooking, winning at Rummy, studying Ancient Civilizations, and spending quiet moments with her family, including the critters.
To learn more about Claire, visit her on the web at www.claireashgrove.com, or www.toristclaire.com. You can also connect with Facebook, and Twitter