Ashlynn Monroe is a creative, inspiring and prolific writer. I've had the pleasure of working as an editor with Ashlynn at Keith Publications. Today, Ashlynn's talking about her second book in the Templar Vampire Series, See Me. And for those readers who are already hooked on this new mythic take on vampires, there will be more. I already have book 3 in my hot little hands! If you haven't started, catch up with Book 1, Pray for Me. Now, to meet
I’m so excited about my Templar Vampire Series from Wicked Ink press. As a special surprise, I want to give away a copy of book one Pray for Me, to two lucky commenters today! Just reply to this post with your comment and email address.
Friday the thirteenth is considered a very unlucky date due to one infamous event in history. On Friday, October 13, 1307, the Templar Knights were rounded up and arrested in the early morning hours. What most people don‘t know is the majority of these men escaped into hiding.
Accused of terrible crimes such as blasphemy and idolatry, these men of God went to sleep as men of the cloth and woke up as criminals. Although the charges had no merit, Pope Clement V at the Council of Vienne officially dissolved the Templar Knights, for the reputation of the order was completely shattered. Warriors without a war now found themselves outlaws. They‘d devoted themselves to the Holy Wars, to the Pope, and to their God. Lost and confused, they tried to find a new path. Hundreds of strong and brave men, most from noble families, suddenly faded from history.
March 18, 1314, the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay, was burned at the stake after recanting his earlier confessions of guilt. As the man burned in agony, he was said to curse King Philip and Pope Clement, asking both men to join him in the cold embrace of death within a year, and they did.
This is the story of how the dark forces, of which de Molay called upon in his curse, reverberated among the innocent men trying to rebuild their lives. A story of how his curse has come down through the centuries and how the Knights Templar still walk among us after dark…
The Templar Knights were powerful warrior monks who faded from history in the blink of an eye. Here’s my version of what happened to them. Book one and two tell the tale of two brothers who die and awake as vampires, and the women who give them a reason to live instead of just exist. If you like vampires, history, and passion you’ll love my tormented but sexy Templar Vampires.
See Me excerpt:
As he sat in the cold, dank prison cell, Michael pondered the terrible events. He felt foolish. That foolishness had killed his father and Uriel. He was numb. It felt like he should cry or rail at God and the townspeople, but he was too numb. Thank God Cassiel, Tyne, and the children had escaped. Michael could see his neighbors building a bonfire in the center of town. He had a feeling it was for him.
Somehow, he felt no fear. Numbness left no room for any emotion. He would never see his family again. Cassiel would never return to France. There was nothing for him, as the family’s property had been confiscated as punishment for harboring him. He should have gone with Gabriel to the Swiss or with the other men to Scotland. Everything that mattered to him was gone. Michael hung his head waiting patiently for his death. He deserved death. He’d killed his father and brother by seeking out love, he never should’ve returned home. Whatever was ailing Desirae, he knew his leaving to join the order had caused it. Her broken heart had festered and poisoned her mind.
Strangely, he was a little surprised when the men actually came for him. He knew they would burn him, yet he had hoped they would come to their senses. When they’d captured him earlier, Desirae’s father had been shouting his witchery had caused his daughter’s illness. Claude had demanded they burn him. Whatever was wrong with Desirae, his death wouldn’t save her. They had sent their man with provisions and money to tell Gabriel of the family’s plight. Now Michael wished they hadn’t sent the man. Hopefully, Gabriel would stay safe with the Swiss.
Weeks turned into months. After the sham of a trial, he knew they would burn him, even as he hoped they would come to their senses. He didn’t struggle. He willingly walked to his execution. He shook but faced them bravely. Desirae and her family stood near the front of the mob. It seemed the whole town had come to see him burned at the stake.
He knew the men who tied him to the wood pole. As a boy Michael had often swam and hunted with one of them. How could they do this? The man he knew well spoke in a flat voice.
“Do you have anything to say, any last words?”
Michael scoffed. During his trial, none had believed his innocence, but he decided to declare it once again.
“I’m innocent of any crime against God or France.”
Someone threw something at him. He closed his eyes. Praying quietly to himself, he waited for the lick of the flame, for his terrible death.
When the pain came, he tried not to scream. Michael lost the battle after a few moments; horrendous agony took over the right side of his body. The flame caught his clothing and quickly climbed up his leg and arm to his face. He could smell his own flesh burning: it was horrific. Through his agony, he looked down to see Desirae screaming. He saw her regret. Even in his agony, it proved to be a strange comfort. Then he felt something else. Even where the flames hadn’t touched him, he felt the fire. Intense pain shocked his body, and he felt it begin to shut down. Mercifully, he died before the fire finished consuming his body.
Chapter 5: Present Day-Los Angeles, California
Desire finished putting on her costume. Tonight she was a naughty nurse. In the past the costume earned her a good deal of money. She was twenty-seven and she knew her career as a stripper was winding down. In the last year she had noticed the amount of money she took home was not as good as it had been. Even with a bad economy men tipped well if a performer turned them on enough. It was obvious she needed to find a different occupation. Sadly, with no skills, she knew what happened to old strippers: they became old prostitutes. She didn’t want to turn tricks. Her roommate did and Desire saw how horrible it was. Sure, Candy made money, more than either of them had made stripping, but the abuse was not worth any amount of money. Desire liked sex, a lot, but she was very selective in the partners that she took. Candy teased her about being the only stripper in the world with a nun’s sex life.
Recently, Candy seemed to be involved in trouble. She’d received threatening phone messages even after changing her number several times. She looked over her shoulder when they were out, afraid someone was watching her. She jumped everything there was a knock at the door. Her happy-go-lucky personality had changed. Desire hoped the woman had the sense not to bring it home. They’d been roommates a long time, but they were very different people. Sighing, she focused on the task. She was up.
Her music started. The song was perfect for the costume. An oldie but a goodie, Robert Palmer’s “Doctor, Doctor Give Me the News” played softly until the DJ finished her introduction. She blinked some of the smoke out if her eyes. The bar was dark, even if it were only late afternoon, as red and blue lights illuminated the stage. Stepping out in her stilettos, she felt the heat of the lights. Her routine was new and she hoped it was going to bring in extra cash. Swirling and twisting on the pole, she focused her mind on the artful moves. She let herself go and felt the freedom of dancing. Later, she would circulate and give a few lap dances. Now she just let herself experience the beauty of her body’s movements. Desire knew she was a great dancer. Other dancers tried to copy her moves, but they lacked her passion. She made them special.
As she twirled, she felt the eyes of the crowd on her while she moved to the music. The bright light blinded her each time she tried to look at the men watching her dance. It bothered her slightly she couldn’t gage their reaction to her routine. When the music ended, she heard the whistles and cheers. Several men tucked bills into to her g-string as she left the stage.
She circulated among the men and even a few women who had come out to see her dance, and she made a nice amount of money. She was so pleased with the money she was making she could feel her radiant smile. A tall man in a brown suit approached her. He wore a pinched expression on his face, and she pasted on her brightest smile.
“Hi Honey, can I give you a little private dance?” Desire spoke to him in a silky voice.
When he spoke, he had a heavy French accent, and his words startled her.
“Are you Ms. Kirsten Du Lac?”
She’d not heard her name since moving to LA. No one knew her name.
“Who are you? How do you know my name?” she asked, speaking faster than she could think. “What do you want with me; am I in some kind of trouble?”
“I am lawyer from France. My name is Marc Archambeau; I am with Lyon Law Firm. I have had a very hard time finding you Ms. Du Lac,” he said. “I am to tell you of an inheritance from your father’s family in France. You have an estate in Europe…how you say… is there some place private we can talk?”
Desire wanted to punch the jerk. When she spoke, her words sparked angrily. “What kind of a fool do you think I am? As if you’re the first jackass who tried to get me alone, hoping I do more than take my clothing off. I might be a dancer, but I’m not a whore…jerk!”
She spun away ready to leave. He grabbed her arm. Mac, the bouncer rushed over. “Don’t touch the lady.” He moved to remove the hand, and probably the man, from the bar but she stopped him.
“It’s okay Mac, he only wants to talk.” Mac stepped back, his eyes trained intently on the stranger. She rounded at lawyer angrily.
“Ms. Du Lac, I do not want to be alone with you for those reasons you assume. Here, this is my card and a detailing of your inheritance. If you want to come to France, I will have everything ready for you at the hotel,” he said. “I will speak to you in very public lobby; you will be safe. The name and address of hotel is written on the back of card. Please find me if you decide to accept inheritance. You can verify its legitimacy and call me when you are ready. I will await you until Friday.”
He paused, emphasizing his words. “If I do not hear from you, I will assume you do not want your inheritance. I will then return to France to find the next legitimate heir.”
He left. Desire stood looking after him, speechless. Glancing at his card, she noticed it was in French. It looked professional, but for all she knew it was a coupon for french fries.. She didn’t speak French. She tucked the card safely with her cash. One of the other girls spoke French; she would have her translate the card later.
On her ride home, Desire was still amazed the card was as legitimate as she could prove. Google found multiple references to Mr. Archambeau and the Lyon Law Firm. She decided to call him in the morning. There had to be a catch. Desire had never heard of any rich French relatives. Her parents had died when she was in her early teens, and no relatives had showed up to claim her. She spent some terrible years in foster care. A foster home was where she had met Candy. Candy was the person who helped her move to Los Angeles and start stripping when she turned eighteen. Lost in thought, she almost didn’t notice that the door to the apartment was unlocked. They lived in a rough neighborhood. Even when they were home, they locked the door. Frowning, Desire slowly opened the door. Everything looked ransacked. Oh Candy, what have you gotten us into now?
See Me is available via Amazon
Also check out Ashlynn’s first book in the series, Pray for Me, available via D’Ink Well and Amazon.