Immortal Hope: Curse of the Templars by Claire Ashgrove
Kind thanks to Tor for providing a review copy
Centuries ago, Templar knights defied the archangels and unearthed the copper scroll that revealed the locations of the gates to hell. Cursed for their forbidden act, they now roam the earth, protecting mankind from evil. But darkness stalks them, and battles they fight bring them ever closer to eternal damnation. One promise remains to give them salvation—the return of the seraphs.
Embittered by his purpose, Merrick du Loire must honor an ancient pact and bring peace to his cousin’s soul, releasing him from the clutches of their enemy. When he stumbles upon history professor Anne MacPherson, he discovers that 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 Merrick 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 that he alone can soothe. Yet loving Merrick comes with a price. If she admits she is destined for him, her gift of foresight predicts his death.
Anne MacPherson is determined to finish her thesis on the Knights Templar and gain the promotion that she richly deserves, but when a handsome, rather imposing Knight appears in her home and whisks her away to the Templar stronghold, she doesn’t know what to think. One thing she does know is that when Merrick touches her, she sees a terrible vision, one of his death. Anne comes to find out she is a seraph, which is a decendant of Nephilim, and her destiny is to be mated to one of the cursed Knights and save his soul. When the Knights unearthed ancients scrolls almost 900 years ago, instead of finding a devine relic, they inadvertently uncovered scrolls that were the keys to the gates of Hell. Azazel is sending his minions to steal relics that will allow him to gain power, and it is up to the Knights to thwart his plans. The only hope for the Knights, before the cursed darkness claims their souls, is to find their matches in the seraphs and banish the darkness forever. Anne is Merrick’s destined, but she is afraid if the makes that known, it will lead to his death. Makes for some serious drama, yes? You have no idea…
I’ll admit, even after discovering some really good paranormal romance, I still consider myself a reluctant romance reader. However, I’m a sucker for the Crusades, and the premise of Immortal Hope looked very promising. I wasn’t disappointed, not in the least. Seriously, guys, Immortal Hope will hook you from page one. Anne is a smart, feisty heroine, and her acclimation into the Knight’s stronghold had me giggling at times as she encountered the Knight’s chivalrous and outdated habits concerning women. As the darkness comes closer to claiming each Knight, however, not all of the men have good intentions, but don’t worry, Merrick is loathe to let Anne out of his site, a fact that both excites and frightens her. As for Merrick, he’s about as swoonworthy as it gets, girls, and he’s got poor Anne in knots. Merrick starts off cranky and sullen, but Anne’s influence is too much, and that tough veneer slowly begins to crack. The author puts her poor readers through the ringer with Anne and Merrick’s push and pull, as she falls for him, and he tries to resist her, since, for all he knows, she’s meant for another. Delicious tension, seriously. The romance is passionate and tender, but doesn’t overwhelm the story. Ms. Ashgrove weaves in rich history and great characterization (getting to know the Knights was one of my favorite parts), and creates a wonderful fantasy to lose yourself in. Yes, there are sexy parts, but they only serve to highlight the love that develops between Anne and Merrick. And of course, there’s angel and demon lore. How can you pass this one up? The author has a gift for storytelling, and I can’t wait to get to know other Knights, and other seraphs, in future installments!