Only 12 more days until the release of A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS, which means this is our second-to-last Temptation Thursday. After that, you’ll be able to read the story in its entirety. WOOT!
Tonight I’m super excited to introduce you to Anna, Darius’s love and the one and only chink in his very significant armor.
I picture Anna like this (that’s actress Ana Sophia Robb);
Anna is quiet and serene, determined to carry on her family’s duty of protecting and supporting the Keepers. Despite the fact that she has a heart problem that makes her physically fragile, Anna has an iron will, the kind of strength that doesn’t require her to prove it or wave it around. Instead, she’s simply unflagging in her determination to support the Keepers, whether through new weaponry, a safe haven, information, or a hot pot of tea.
Anna is the only one who can calm Darius’s during one of his temper tantrums, and though he rebels against the determination that puts her in danger, she makes it clear in a uniquely-gentle Anna way that it isn’t up for discussion.
I hope you enjoy this excerpt of A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS, featuring Anna (and a little bit of Darius). And don’t forget to check out the Be Tempted Ipad giveaway, featuring a NEW IPad (the one just unveiled yesterday – consider it a contest upgrade!), Victoria’s Secret goodies, signed books, gift cards, and MOAR!
“Father is in the laboratory. He’s a bit frustrated with the
progress on one of his newest inventions.” She looked at Dar-
ius. “Perhaps you’d like to take Griffin down while Helen and
I prepare tea?”
Darius nodded, his eyes soft, and Helen marveled that he
could look so different by virtue of the fact that he was gazing
upon Anna. His affection for her changed his features com-
pletely. Or rather, he seemed to come more fully into them, as
if his everyday countenance, the one that was angry and smug
and sarcastic, was a mask he only let drop in the company of
“Will you be all right?” Griffin asked, turning to Helen.
She smiled. “Of course.”
He gave a small nod of his head. As Helen watched him
descend the stairs after his brother, she couldn’t help wonder-
ing at the look in his eyes. She appreciated his protection, of
course, but she was not sure if she wanted to be looked at in
the way Darius looked at Anna. As if she were fragile. A thing
to hold gingerly, as one holds a delicate rose, careful not to
bump its silken petals lest they should spill to the floor.
“Well!” Anna’s voice interrupted her thoughts. “I daresay
you’ll know how I feel soon!”
Helen’s cheeks grew warm. “I don’t know what you mean.”
“Of course, you don’t.” Anna grinned, and Helen caught
the first glimpse of something clever and sly in it. She linked
her arm with Helen’s. “Come. We can talk all about it while
we get the tea.”
Other than her parents, Helen had had little company
over the years. She was only now beginning to sense how
very alone she had been. Anna’s offer of friendship was a
lifeline, and though Helen was unused to being touched by
strangers, she allowed herself to be pulled from the room,
unable to stop the smile that sprang to her face as Anna told
her of the difficulties she had suffered due to Darius’s over-
“He’s simply maddening!” she said, letting go of Helen’s
arm to cross the kitchen. She made her way to the kettle,
steaming angrily atop the stove. “The way he behaves, you
would think I’m about to fall over dead any moment.”
“Why does he worry so?” Helen asked.
Anna sighed. “My heart has a small irregularity,” she said. “It
gets bored beating to the same rhythm day after day, you see.”
Helen shook her head. “I don’t understand.”
“Well,” Anna hesitated, reaching into one of the upper cabi-
nets for a tin of tea before continuing. “It skips a beat now and
then, and sometimes it speeds up so that I’m short of breath.”
“Does it hurt?” Helen asked, moving toward the counter
where Anna spooned tea into the cups.
Anna stopped for a moment, looking into the distance as if
the answer to Helen’s question lie against the faded paper on
the far wall.
“Not exactly.” She laughed a little, turning her gaze to
Helen. “It rather feels like I’ve been running too fast. I can
feel it beating in my chest, and then my face feels very hot as
if I’m coloring from embarrassment. But no.” She shook her
head. “It doesn’t hurt.”
“Is it . . .” Helen paused, searching her mind for an appro-
priate word. “Is it dangerous?”
Anna turned to Helen, placing a hand gently on Helen’s
arm. “You’re wondering if I’ll die from it.”
It was not a question, and Helen was surprised at the ache
that formed in her own heart at the idea of something happen-
ing to Anna. Yet, Anna deserved the same truth she seemed to
give to everyone else.
Helen nodded. “I suppose so.”
Anna’s smile was kind. “You needn’t worry. The doctors are
still learning about my condition, but I’ve had it since I was born
and have managed just fine.” She poured the steaming water into
the waiting teacups and turned back to place the kettle on the
stove. When she spoke again, it was under her breath. “Darius has
to understand that I have obligations equal to my love for him.”
Helen tried to hide her surprise at the boldness of the con-
“He worries that something will happen to you?” Helen
asked. “Because of your heart?”
“Among other things. And I understand it. I do.” Anna set a
saucer of sugar and a small dish of lemon on a silver tray. “But
my family has been in service to the Dictata for centuries.
They’ve suffered an assortment of hardships, yet they’ve all
done their duty, as I will do mine.”