1. The Knights Templar badge is two men on one horse.
2. The Knights Templar supposedly guard the Holy Grail. Perhaps that was the inspiration for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
3. The Knights Templar invented Travellers cheques. A pilgrim could pay in money before they started their journey and withdraw it when they reached their destination.
4. Friday the thirteenth is the date the Pope and King Phillip lV ordered the Templars disbanded. It meant he didn't have to repay the money they'd leant him. The Templars were rounded up and tortured until they admitted blasphemous acts.
5. Legends tell of a band of knights, survivors from the Friday the Thirteenth massacre fighting with the Swiss against their oppressors. These knights went on to form the Knights Templar.
When I wrote Knights Vampire, I needed to invent a whole new order of Knights. I researched the Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller then came up with Knights Defender. They were a pan-European order of Knights who stood for Truth and Justice. They also fought in the crusades.
About Knights Vampire
Betrayed by the Knight Defenders and murdered by his cousin, crusader knight Blaxton de Ferrers rose as a vampire. For nine centuries, he’s preyed on the people he once swore to protect. Gradually, as his emotions leach out of him, he forgets how to feel. Then he meets Harriet.
Harriet Mortlake’s a strong sassy woman who battles her weight and her temper. Her job is to seek out the ancient secrets of the castle that was Blaxton’s childhood home. Instead, she finds the love of her life.
When danger threatens Harriet, Blaxton steps in. Harriet and Blaxton, are a match made in heaven. Except… he’s a vampire and to fully claim her, he’ll have to kill her.
“How dare you embarrass me like that?” Harriet Mortlake planted her hands on her hips and glowered at the man she’d cornered outside the cafe. Spitting mad, she wanted to slap the condescending smile off his face. Normally, she was iceberg cool, but as hard as she tried to keep her expression neutral, she could feel lightning bolts flashing from her eyes.
“It’s a temple, not a chapel,” he insisted.
Stubborn. Damn. Male. She’d been showing the big guns from the Castles’ Management Trust round the building, but they clearly thought her too young for her role as Whitborough Castle’s archivist. She’d almost been too angry to think when this know-it-all first sounded off. Now he infuriated her all over again.
Harriet snorted. “As if! No way would medieval Christians build a pagan temple on their grounds. Superstitious locals would probably have accused them of devil worship and burned them at the stake. Any fool knows that.”
Her degree in library science made her suitable for the post. The castle manager had told her afterward that she’d been the only applicant. She’d almost stuck her tongue out at the head office guys and yelled Beggars can’t be choosers.
Despite Mr. Condescending’s interference, she’d managed to impress the big bosses—she thought. He flashed her a smile so electrifying it would have lit up the dingy, underground chapel where he’d embarrassed her earlier. The way he sat there dripping sex appeal, her anger might have evaporated. If only he hadn’t needed to have the last word.
He took another sip of coffee. “You really should get your facts right.”
Stupid, arrogant male. She couldn’t decide whether to show him her diplomas and degrees or kick his shins. Professional to the core, she’d reined in her temper while the higher-ups carried out their inspection, but now that they’d left, she felt free to vent her rage.
Hands still on her hips, she tapped her foot at him. “Lost for words without an audience? Or maybe you can’t back up your cock-and-bull story? Put up or shut up, Mister. Tell me why you think it’s a temple.”
Mr. Condescending sat outside the tearoom as if he hadn’t a care in the world and enjoyed the early afternoon sunshine. He didn’t know it, but his interference when she’d shown the bigwigs into the chapel could have cost her a job she loved. Whitborough Castle’s extensive records needed cataloging, and she considered herself fortunate to work here. Only sometimes, she got a someone’s watching me feeling that unsettled her.
The last two archivists had vanished, and the police were “looking into it”—whatever that meant. Now people viewed the post as a poisoned chalice. Harriet knew an opportunity when she saw it, and she’d grabbed it with both hands. Everything should have been perfect, but it wasn’t. From day one—just four weeks ago—she’d felt as if the castle’s ghosts studied her as eagerly as she studied the records. Paranoid or what?
After an early start, she met the bigwigs from Castles’ Management Trust for the first time. Things had been going well. Okay, they’d been surprised by her youth, and clearly considered her too inexperienced for the post of archivist. By the time they reached the chapel, she’d almost won them over. Then Mr. Condescending here stuck his oar in, and if she hadn’t handled him right, she’d probably have lost her job.
Teeth gritted, Harriet had thanked him for his interest and told him politely that he was mistaken. Intimidating and so tall she had to look up to see his face, he made her think of the Norman conquerors who’d built the castle. He was all muscle, sex, and sin—but his stubborn assertion that the chapel had been a temple sparked her temper.
Her mouth had watered when she’d first seen him, but his cavalier attitude infuriated her. If her employers hadn’t been watching, she’d have told him exactly what she thought. She’d have regretted it later—maybe—but her temper had helped her survive ever since as a young girl she’d dragged her mother to the women’s shelter.
There he went with that dazzling smile again. He had to be the most handsome man she’d seen in… Well, forever. His masculine essence—sandalwood and exotic spices—wrapped warm tendrils around her heart. Her breasts perked up beneath her blouse, and they ached for his touch.
Her favorite bra suddenly felt so tight it abraded her nipples like sandpaper, and an unfamiliar tingling started in her cunt. Why did her anger evaporate, just because he smiled? What sort of fool woman caved just because a man had the most kissable lips ever? Lips she wanted to taste…repeatedly. Not that having such a tempting mouth made him less condescending. She paused, seeking the right riposte to tear him to shreds.
He stood up and held out his hand. “Pleased to meet you. I’m Blaxton de Ferrers.”
His voice—a deep, masculine rumble that made her want to beg him to say her name—thrilled her more than his smile. This man just kept getting better, but she’d come here to confront him, not drag him over the table and kiss him until they ran out of breath.
Something wild, almost primal, stirred inside her, but she wasn’t the sort of predatory female who encouraged strange men into her bed. Apart from one disastrous night with Martin, she was practically a virgin. Afterward, he’d told his friends she was frigid, and they’d christened her “the ice queen.” She’d squared her shoulders and stood tall—half an inch short of six feet—and ignored them. But her dating confidence had sunk to zero. After that she’d channeled her anger into her studies rather than sex.
Today her body went into sensual overdrive and demanded— Hell, she wasn’t sure what she wanted, but it was all bound up in Blaxton de Ferrers, aka Mr. Condescending.
He told her quietly, “It’s polite to shake someone’s hand when they offer it.”
She kept her hands firmly on her hips. Where did this jerk get off, reprimanding her about her manners? He took condescending to a whole new level, but he’d picked on the wrong girl when he’d heckled her. “Not when they damn near cost me my job. I needed to make a good impression, and you took over like you knew everything there is to know about this place. And heads-up, Mister. It’s rude to stare at my breasts.”
He grinned again. His smile melted her heart and warmed her soul. “Actually, I was staring at your name tag. Harriet’s a pretty name. It suits you.”
Talk about open mouth and insert foot. Harriet blushed and wished she’d said nothing. And hang on… De Ferrers? The family who once owned this castle? Someone once told Harriet she was part cat—always curious, always asking questions—and she supposed they’d been right.