Title: The Templars Falter
Author: Holly Blackstone
Series: The Void Chronicles, #3
Publication date: July 23rd 2016
Genres: Erotica, Fantasy
Julianna Foss, full fledged Templar, finds herself in an impossible situation.
The High Templar and Julianna’s lover, Tristan, seemed about to commit himself to their relationship when he became entranced with Iris, the lone survivor of the attack on Hayden’s Gate. The thrall he and many of the other Templars are under is unnatural and Julianna is at a loss as to how to break the spell until Prior Basil asks for her help. It seems that Tristan and his lieutenant Tor have taken deathly ill, and the High Templar’s death would practically assure the Void dragon Dryx succeeds in enslaving the land.
She is forced to confront Lucas, the captured necromancer, and ask his assistance in understanding the source of Iris’ power – but it will come at a price, as Lucas grows increasingly possessive and entranced by Julianna, the first female Templar in hundreds of years.
Julianna succeeds in destroying Iris, but in some ways it is a Pyrrhic victory. Iris really is Reena, sister to the head necromancer Vaux, and that means Julianna has a price on her head. Vaux is ruthless and bloodthirsty, and will stop at nothing to avenge the death of his little sister.
So begins a chain of events that leaves Julianna on the outside once more, confused by her attraction to Lucas, who should be her enemy, and her wounded love for the Tristan. She is further alienated by the secrets she carries, and the terrible knowledge that has been revealed to her about VoidCleaver, the godsword she wields. Basil and Tristan are convinced that she is the Deorwyn, a woman prophecy claimed would help rid the world of Dryx, but she chafes under this new expectation
Julianna is stressed beyond endurance – she carries the fate of the world on her shoulders, will it prove to be too much for her?
*Contains explicit depictions of warfare and sex and is intended for adults.
Julianna threads her way through the corridors until she stands in front of a large door. The sentries look at her a moment, then at one another and open the portal for her and once she is inside, they close it.
Lucas is kneeling near the centre of the cage, his hands and arms bound together, his body bare except for the cloth that covers his sex. I am sure he has hidden his clothes somewhere handy for future use, she thinks as she scans the room briefly before resting her gaze on him.
“Ser Foss”, he says coolly, but his eyes betray the lust he is trying to contain.
“Lucas”, she answers and squats down, pushing her scabbard out of the way.
They stare at each other a moment and then he stands, forcing her to stand once more.
“Are we playing a game, Lucas?”
“I know why you are here.”
“Yes, I believe I do. The High Templar is ill, and you want my help restoring your former lover to his old glory.”
She sighs, and rubs the heel of her hand against her forehead. “I don’t know what the future has in store for any of us, Lucas, but I know he has been afflicted by something horrible, and I believe he will die – and soon – if nothing is done.”
“I have no reason to help him.”
Julianna quickly erects a ward to ensure privacy. “Do you have any reason to help me?”
“To aid you in this defeats my purpose, my desires. You KNOW this, Julianna.” He looks at her hotly.
“Why are you still here? You could have left last night; I’m sure those clothes are secreted away somewhere.”
“My reasons for remaining are my own.”
“Lucas – I just want to know if my thinking is sound; is it so much to ask that you help me with that?”
“You know what you ask of me!”
“What do you want from me, Lucas? Do you think that allowing him to die will endear you to me? I defended you to the Prior and Calix; we all know Iris is behind this but lack proof. I can take care of her but I want to know what she used on Tristan and Tor; what can we do to unmake that sorcery?”
“I will extract payment from you for this. Is that understood?”
“Yes, Lucas.” She doesn’t hesitate, despite the ominous tone to his voice.
“There is only one thing that can cure their illness – a life.”
“What?” Julianna blanches.
“The magic is strong in their bodies – too potent for most people to combat; only perhaps a few might have a chance, myself included. The quickest and swiftest way to stop the illness from progressing is to end the life of the one who begat it; the sorcery is tied to her power and life force.”
“Iris’ life is forfeit then – so be it.”
“You do not realise what you will unleash once you kill her; it will pave the way for other… difficulties, other challenges. Her death will not go un-avenged; it may be – will be – a terrible price to pay.”
“If Tristan dies the Order will falter; there is no choice to be made. Whatever happens in the future we will deal with it then.”
“I warn you again – the cost may be great.” Lucas’ brow furrows. “I can feel Fate move beneath our feet. Julianna! I…”, he shakes his head. “I do not advise it.”
“I take that responsibility.” As she says it, Lucas’ shoulders slump and Julianna feels as if something has passed in front of her.
“I will pray to the gods for you, for mercy. Go then, hatch your plan”, Lucas says and walks towards the bars of the cage. “As for you, love – I will see you again very, very soon.” He casts one more hungry look at her before turning and walking to the far side of his enclosure. Julianna stares at his muscular back for a moment, watches him breathe, and then removes the ward and stalks from the room.
About the Author
Holly was born in New Jersey and moved to the Pacific Northwest at the age of eighteen. She’s always loved writing and expressing herself and scrupulously kept a journal at a young age. She started her first book around the age of eight, although she never completed it, and in high school was co-editor of her school’s literary magazine. She enjoys blogging, reading, and writing poetry and novels. Although an American, Holly is fascinated with British and Scottish history and culture; this interest is reflected in her choice to often use British spellings for words because she likes them better.
Holly likes exploring how a character’s personality changes and adapts as they are introduced to new experiences that are challenging. She also enjoys creating worlds and tales that are deep and complex and are driven by a solid story, yet have intense erotic elements.
Much to her chagrin, Holly has many interests and has a hard time keeping up with them all. She enjoys cooking and has made wine with friends; she likes gardening, drawing, reading, video and board games, dancing, eighties music and yoga, to name a few of her more regular preoccupations.
She welcomes comments and questions at her website: http://www.hollyblackstone.com
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