Meet the Knights - Declan MacNeill
I’m here today with Declan MacNeill, from Claire Ashgrove’s newest novel, IMMORTAL HOPE.
Templar knights defied the archangels and unearthed the copper scroll, revealing the gates to hell. Cursed for their forbidden act, they forever 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. 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
Profession: Knight Templar
Age: Over 8 centuries old
Height: 5’11” and a smidge
Hair: shoulder-length auburn
Eyes: Bright Blue
Good afternoon, Declan. I’m so glad you’re feeling up to talking to us today. That’s quite a bandage on your arm.
Declan: Och, ‘tis naught but a hindrance. I canna lift a thing.
But that gives you time to hopefully run into your seraph. I understand you’ve been struggling with the darkness for quite some time now.
Declan: Aye, indeed, and mayhap such would be my blessing. We shall see. Should my seraph present the trial Anne gave Merrick, I canna say I ache for the pairing. (He winks, giving me a hint of his good humor.)
Aw, now you have to admit, Anne had reason to not be so willing.
Declan: ‘Tis true. Though if her faith were greater, she might have been more inclined to save us all the trial.
Great faith is what holds the Order together, isn’t it? I mean… you had to believe to sign on to this whole thing didn’t you?
Declan: I canna say ‘twas faith that brought me to the Templar. ‘Twas more lack of faith and the needing to find meaning.
Oh, that sounds curious. I don’t suppose you’ll shed some light on what you mean by that?
Declan: Nay. ‘Tis a subject best left in the past.
All right, I can accept that. We’ll learn more as the stories unfold. Are you still struggling with meaning?
Declan: My place, I know. ‘Tis the place of others that begins to concern me. With the seraphs coming, men fail. Oaths become trivialities. Natures are tested. We shall have to see what becomes of the Order. If the seraphs do not arrive quickly, I fear for the worst.
That’s a bit dark and contrary to your nature. Where’d that come from? You’re always the first to laugh, to find amusement in things around you.
Declan: Dark times surround us, lass. Laughter is precious, but ‘tis best used in moderation. We canna make light of the truth when Azazel would cast us all in eternal evil.
Very true, and judging by the things Immortal Hope revealed, I guess we can count ourselves lucky that things haven’t already become worse. Can I ask you to speculate a moment and tell us who you think Gabriel would choose next?
A frown creases his brow, something that seems out of place on his open, friendly expression. He slowly shakes his head.
Declan: I canna say for certain. Merrick was chosen as the leader, ‘tis my presumption. ‘Twould then seem natural Caradoc would follow. He is next in command, and without those who lead us, we are naught.
Who would you pair him with?
Declan sighs before answering, “’Tis no one. He would have none of them. His heart… remains in the past.”
That’s enough to make my own heart hurt. Sounds like his path would be really difficult. Yours, on the other hand – who would fit your ideal pairing?
Declan: Ah, I fear that is not so easy to answer. ‘Tis complicated. I care naught for beauty or wit. ‘Twould be my fondest hope to be seen for the man, not the obligation.
You’re a softy – sounds like you’re holding out for love.
Declan: (His laugh returns, rich and hearty. It’s warm enough to thaw the frostiest heart.) Mayhap you could say such.
Unfortunately, while I’d love to dig deeper on that subject, we’re out of time. I’ll have to let you get back to protecting us from Azazel’s dark designs, and I need to dash off to my next interview. Thank you again, Declan. Best of luck to you.
Declan: And to you, lass. May you find the things you hold closest to your heart.
Well with that, let’s take a peek at the first book in The Curse of the Templars, IMMORTAL HOPE, where you can meet Declan and all the other Knights Templar.
“Dine,” Merrick insisted as he jabbed at her bowl with his spoon, the gesture jerking her out of her thoughts.
Anne stared down at the greasiest bowl of . . . glop she’d ever seen. Merrick said it was stew. But her eyes—and her stomach—refused to consider this mushy concoction as anything but garbage. “Oh. Hell. No.”
She pushed the bowl away and fought back the urge to whimper. She was so hungry her stomach was in knots. But even starving people had their standards, and that bowl of crap defied the minimal ones she possessed.
Spoon poised near his mouth, Merrick lifted one reproachful eyebrow. The men on each side of him—men Merrick hadn’t wasted time in discovering they weren’t meant for her—stared at her as if she’d just committed blasphemy. A blush crept up her cheeks, and she offered Merrick a weak, apologetic smile.
“ ’Tis food, Anne.”
“No it’s not.” No wonder everyone around here had massive chips on their shoulders. How long had it been since they’d had a decent meal? “Is there maybe some salad somewhere?”
Merrick’s other brow shot up. “Salad?”
His companions continued to stare. Behind Merrick, a stranger with long ash-blond hair turned to looked over his shoulder. His gaze narrowed. Cold blue eyes flashed. Dangerous energy assaulted her.
Anne swallowed down unexplainable foreboding and met Merrick’s soothing onyx stare. The uneasy tension in her belly dissolved. “Yeah, you know— lettuce, celery, carrots, croutons?”
A chuckle shook his shoulders, but he refrained from smiling. “A man does not eat leaves.”
Just like they didn’t believe in radios. Somehow that didn’t surprise her. She dropped her spoon to the table, folded her arms over the scarred surface, and gave each gawking face a sugary-sweet smile. The two men hastily turned their attention to their meal. Behind Merrick, the nosy stranger abruptly turned back to his meal. Anne gestured at her bowl. “If I’m going to eat greasy crap, I think I’ll take McDonald’s. Or maybe Pizza Bob’s. He delivers, you know.”
Merrick indicated her food with his spoon. “What did you tell me earlier? Ah, aye, get used to it.”
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About the Author
Claire Ashgrove is an author and a mother to two wonderful boys. In her copious spare time, she raises and trains Oldenburg, Thoroughbred, and Arabian horses.