Embittered by his purpose, Merrick du Loire must honor an ancient pact and bring peace to his cousin’s soul. When he stumbles upon history professor Anne MacPherson, he discovers she possesses a sacred artifact that marks her as a seraph. Duty demands he set aside his personal quest and locate the knight she’s fated to heal. As he struggles with conflicting oaths, Anne arouses buried hope and sparks forbidden desire that challenges everything he’s sworn to uphold.
Anne has six weeks to complete her thesis on the Knights Templar. When Merrick takes her to the Templar stronghold, he presents her with all she needs—and awakens a soul-deep ache, he alone can soothe. Yet loving Merrick comes with a price. If she admits she's destined for him, her gift of foresight predicts his death.
Claire is here with Caradoc from IMMORTAL HOPE, Claire Ashgrove’s newest paranormal release.
Name: Caradoc of Asterleigh
Profession: Knight Templar
Age: Over nine hundred years old
Height: 6’ 0”
Hair: Sandy Brown
Claire: Good afternoon, Caradoc. Thanks for taking the time to meet with me today.
Caradoc: Always a pleasure. Though I cannot guarantee I can answer all your questions, I shall share what I am able.
Claire: Understood. Actually, I wanted to talk a little about you today. You’re more reserved than many of the knights we’ve met in Immortal Hope. Is there a particular reason why?
Caradoc: I am second in command, and answer only to Merrick and the archangel Mikhail. With that position comes responsibility that I hold dear. I am a knight, above all things, and my duty is foremost to the Order.
Claire: So a man of honor, definitely. Duty-bound. Driven by oaths – would you say as much as Merrick?
Claire: What brought you to the Knights Templar, if you don’t mind my asking?
Caradoc: ‘Twas a choice I made on my own. I knew Merrick for quite some time. He asked, he spared no detail. I agreed to serve under him.
Claire: Even at the expense of your own happiness? Sacrificing all your property, your wealth…?
Caradoc: Aye. Those are material objects. ‘Tis what matters here (he sets a fist over his heart) that makes a difference.
Claire: Very true, and very sage. Now, you’re English, right? What about the others?
Caradoc: I hail from Briton, aye. From Asterleigh. ‘Tis a non-existant place in this world you know now, but ‘twas once beyond beauty. Merrick hails from France, though we fought many battles together in our youth. He came north, to strike against his uncle. Farran and Tane are also Frenchmen. Lucan shares my heritage, and Declan hails from the far north, a Scottsman through and through.
Claire: And there are others, right? In fact, as I understand it, the Templar are a conglomeration of heritages. How’s that happen?
Caradoc: In our heyday we were vast. We had enough members to form our own nation, though we were not all knights. Many laymen were employed for our various needs – to build for us, to craft armor for us, to keep our horses fit.
Claire: I see. So the Templar world isn’t just about knights and swords.
Caradoc: Nay, though it has become such now.
Claire: Right. With the fighting of Azazel and the immortal oaths. I’m curious – when you took your pledge, was it painful?
Caradoc: The only pain that presented are the aches that plague me now. I have been chosen to suffer in a manner unlike my brethren.
Claire: Why’s that? I sense a story.
Caradoc: I do not know the precise reason. I know only that it began when I turned my back on one who mattered above all the rest.
Claire: Ooooh… now that sounds like something our readers would really like to know more about. Details, please!
Caradoc: Nay, milady. ‘Tis a subject delegated to my past. ‘Tis no sense in dwelling on what cannot be undone. My duty is to continue on. I accept that willingly and will not delve into the shadows on my soul. Should I, I am certain I would falter.
Claire: I have to confess, that gives me the shivers. (And though I didn’t tell him, I was dying to know more. He, however was clearly unwilling to entertain my curiosity.) One last question, Caradoc – who’s the next seraph?
Caradoc: I know only that Anne’s sister, Sophie is destined to join our ranks. When, or where her place shall fall is known only unto Gabriel.
Claire: Drat! I was hoping we might get a little sneak peek at what to expect next. I guess we’ll just have to wait. Thank you, Caradoc, for spending some time with me. I know you’re busy. I’ll let you get back to what I’m sure is a mountain of tasks assigned by Mikhail.
Caradoc: Aye, I must return to teaching Anne how to wield a sword. It appears she and Merrick cannot see eye-to-eye long enough to move past the holding of the blade. Good day to you, milady.
Sounds like Merrick and Anne have a bit of trouble relating to one another. Let’s take a peek at this short excerpt and see if Caradoc’s correct:
“Merrick, wait,” she called softly.
“Nay,” he answered on a hard swallow. “Nay, Anne. If I stay another moment, I will have you in that bed.” He shoved a hand through his hair and reached for the doorknob.
“But that’s where I want you,” she whispered.
He nodded once, a sharp dip of his chin. Pulling the door open, he answered, “I know.” Another protest, and he would turn right back to her waiting arms, cart her off to that oversized bed. When he finished with her, he would hate himself.
He entered the hall and shut the door.
Determination narrowed his gaze as he descended the stairs. He trained his thoughts to his cousin, focused on the oath he swore to Fulk. The very moment Anne discovered her intended, he vowed to leave. No sacred nail, no protected relic, no other oath would he honor until he fulfilled the promise to his kin. In so doing, he would free himself from this torment and lift his blade in Azazel’s name. It was a price he no longer feared to pay.
Claire lives on a small farm in Missouri with her two toddler sons, fifteen horses, four cats, and five dogs. In her “free” time, she enjoys cooking, winning at rummy, studying ancient civilizations, and spending quiet moments with her family, including the critters. She credits her success to her family's constant support and endless patience.
Claire can be found on the web here: