Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Purple Sword Publications
Date of Publication: 5/6/2015
Number of pages: 167
Word Count: 66,020
Cover Artist: Traci Markou
Personal tragedy convinces half-werewolf Alexa York to get away to the town of McCormick, Pennsylvania where she's charged with protecting Dr. Aiden Joss, physician to the supernatural community. Not only does she need the money, she needs the distraction. Unfortunately, she gets it in spades when Joss's personal issues and a myriad of dangerously sick patients make her new job nearly impossible.
A mysterious disease is running its way through the New York Order of the Amazons and leaving bodies in its wake. The same warrior who had chosen her clan over Joss has asked for him help. Even though the disease is real, Alexa has reason to believe his ex's sincerity is not.
Given the other numerous problems she has to deal with that are outside of her job description, Dr. Joss might be the biggest threat to his own safety. But, protecting him comes first. That’s difficult to do when his efforts to find an antidote put everyone in his remote clinic in danger, including Alexa.
Available at Purple Sword
Excerpt: Chapter One
I stood on the porch of Dr. Aiden Joss’s luxurious home irate as hell. Someone was supposed to meet me at the airport in Philadelphia. I ended up having to take a cab because all of the rentals were booked from the only airport about twenty-five miles from the small town of McCormick, Pennsylvania. The taxi driver must have mistaken me for an oil baron with the fare he charged. He ended up having to leave me at the front gate because the intercom was busted. Thankfully, being a human hybrid had its advantages. After tossing my duffle over the ten-foot wall, I followed by leaping over. Some security.
The downpour turned my black, wavy hair into thick tresses snaking down my neck and upper back. Sadly, my duffle bag was just as pitiful as I looked, since it wasn’t waterproof. I’d exercised more care when picking out my purse and laptop bag.
The front door opened. A tall, bulky man who looked like he missed his calling as an NFL linebacker stood against the golden glow of the interior. His face was criminal-hard, though something in his dark eyes said otherwise. He wore a white shirt and jeans with a brace around his left knee. He blinked.
“Oh, boy.” He hurried to unlock the storm door and let me inside. “You must be Ms. Alexa York.”
I struggled getting past him with my wet duffle, carry-on and my drenched clothes clinging to my cold body. “I am. I take it the phones don’t work around here.”
He took my stuff and set it aside. “The power has been flickering all night. They just got the lights back on about three minutes ago. The phone is Internet, so when the power goes out, everything goes out.”
I unzipped my sodden jacket. “I get it. No phone, no phone calls. Which is why I was stuck at the airport.”
He sighed. “Again, my apologies, ma’am. With so much going on, I only had a chance to worry about one thing at a time.”
I glanced at him before answering. So much going on? The house was quiet and not a soul in sight. What could’ve possibly had him too busy to pick me up when he knew I was coming? Heck, I was here to be his replacement while he was on the mend. If he didn’t want me here, forgetting me at the airport or not sending a car to pick me up worked in his favor.
He offered his hand to me. “My name’s Sammy. I’m Dr. Joss’s med tech and assistant.”
“Med tech?” I looked him up and down. “But I thought you were his—”
He chuckled. “I’m really his assistant. I’m only his bodyguard when I have to be. And given the kind of world that lies beyond those gates, I find myself playing the latter more often.”
I closed my eyes and sighed. “I’m sorry if I sounded a little crotchety, but—”
Sammy waved a large hand. “No need to apologize. I’d be a lot more than pissed had I been in your shoes. Speaking of which, let me show you to your room so you can get some dry clothes on.”
Snorting, I glanced at the puddle forming around my duffle. “Dry clothes, huh. That would be nice.”
“No worries, Ms. York. I’ll find you something.”
“It’s Alexa, by the way.” Those close to me called me Lex. We weren’t there yet.
My room was upstairs on the second floor along with five other bedrooms. Every piece of furniture was stained pine and sitting against light blue walls. Thankfully, I had my own private bathroom. When I looked out the bathroom window, light was coming from the woods somewhere behind the trees where it shouldn’t be.
I sure hoped Dane had told me everything I needed to know about this so-called mission. I would hate to learn something the hard—painful—way. Though that would never be his intention, I also knew his idea of what information was important to know was different from mine.
Had it not been for Wesley Dane, a full-blooded werewolf friend of my family, I wouldn’t be here to play bodyguard for one of his closest friends. It wasn’t the thousand dollars a day, tax-free money for my services that had brought me here. I needed the distraction more than anything.
“So, how much do you know about me?” After snuggling into a thick, warm robe I found hanging on a hook, I dried off my hair with a towel and opened the bathroom door.
Sammy was still there, though keeping his distance by waiting in the hall. I thought it was weird, but whatever, seeing as this was more his house than mine. “Enough,” he replied. “You’re half-werewolf, which is extremely rare. You’re also married, which means either your husband, who’s a full-blood, or Dane is going to tear Dr. Joss apart if anything bad happens to you. Although, that sort of defeats the purpose of you being the doctor’s bodyguard.” He half-smiled.
“Are you expecting me to be torn apart?”
“No.” He chuckled. “But I expect you’ll be put through the wringer.”
The End? Really?
Many authors look forward to typing those words "The End" at the end of their manuscript. The story is over, all loose ends (for the most part) are resolved, and the hero and/or heroine are happy for now. I've always imagined my favorite authors sitting back with a huge smile on their faces and thankful that Fate is on their side, as they've met their ferocious deadline.
The end has never been "The End" for me. That doesn't mean I don't so things like celebrate my accomplishments in some minor way. I always treat myself to a few days of rest before I start that next story or I have that dessert I normally don't eat. After slaving over a book that has most likely taken me from an emotional high to an emotional low and back to that high again, I deserve something to regain my sanity, right?
For me, even though "The End" has come, it doesn't mean I stop thinking about a story. Thousands of questions bombard me. Do I want a sequel? Do I want to make this a series? Do I want to leave it at one book and explore a spin-off world? Stricken, though you might think it’s a first book, is actually a second book in my Alexa York world. Stripped was published by a different publisher back in 2009 (I think), so this second book is a long-time in the making. That wasn't planned—I swear. And if you're really curious, there was another book that featured Alexa York that was released back in 2006, which was my very first contracted book. That one is in the process of being rewritten for submission to my publisher for a re-release (fingers crossed my editor likes it). Let's face it. I'm Alexa York's biggest fan girl. If all goes well, there will be a fourth book, too. In fact, I'm in the process of writing a story for Alexa's sister Genevieve that will also be an urban fantasy with romantic elements. And thanks to Stricken, I'm toying with the idea of a spin-off series.
You see? There's really no true "The End", as I suspect is true with other writers, too. Ideas are always churning and molding in our brains until we finally have a chance to put fingers to the keyboard. Series like Women of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong took thirteen books. Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series is another one. Kim Harrison is still forging ahead with The Hollows, thank goodness, though I'm a few books behind and desperately need to catch up. How long has Harry Dresden been around? Woohoo!
Sure, there comes a time when an author has to put "The End" on a series. But as long as readers keep reading, it'll be a while before we authors truly stamp "The End" on our books. As a reader, too, I’m extremely grateful for that.
Thanks for indulging me!
About the Author:
Author Marcia Colette didn’t discover her love for reading until her late teens when she started reading John Saul and progressed to works by Bentley Little, Stephen King and Laurell K. Hamilton. Her reading tastes convinced her to write paranormals where curses cause people to shift into spiders, psychotic and telekinetic mothers are locked away in attics, and murderous doppelgangers are on a rampage. Let's not forget about the hunky werecheetah coalitions who live throughout North Carolina. As long as she can make it believable, that's all that matters.
Born and raised in upstate New York, Marcia now lives in North Carolina with her mom and beautiful daughter. They’re not raising zombies in the backyard. There aren’t any hellhounds living in the den, only a rabbit and a cockatiel. So where she gets her ideas is as much a mystery to her as anyone else.
The best place to find her--when she's not stirring up trouble--is on her blog where she loves connecting with readers.