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Stricken
Series: The War Scrolls, Book One

Author: A.K. Morgen
Genre: Urban Fantasy Romance
Cover Designer: Deranged Doctor Design
Release Date: March 8, 2016

It took only four months to bring the angels to their knees…

With a virus ravaging the fallen angels on earth, mankind’s symbol of love and hope is at risk of extinction.
Centuries ago, a group of angelic warriors known as The Fallen risked everything to save themselves and carve a future for their kind. Hope slips away as The Fallen and their kin are cut down by an ancient menace, LaMorte Nera—and no one saw it coming.
Only one immortal can save them, and only one mortal can stand in his way…When Nephilim warrior Killian St. James sets out on a quest to find a cure, he and his blade-brothers discover nineteen-year-old Aubrey Carter—a human with a past as dark as it is mysterious—cowering in an abandoned house in the heart of Memphis, Tennessee.
The corrupted races are chasing her, and Killian is determined to find out why…
But neither he nor Aubrey are prepared for their attraction to one another, or for the frightening truths lurking in the shadows. The painful childhood memories Aubrey has buried hold precious answers. Answers that threaten to tear Killian’s world apart.
With her life hanging in the balance, Killian must choose between the future of The Fallen, and the human girl he’s pledged to protect.

Demons are rising, and this time they plan to win the war for dominion once and for all.
“Dude, come on!” Dom boomed.
Aubrey jumped, startled.
Killian noticed.
“Keep it down,” he barked.
Dom grunted, lifting a middle finger in the air. His eyes didn’t leave the television screen.
Killian frowned, his gaze narrowing on Dom.
“It’s fine,” Aubrey said before he could open his mouth to fuss at his brother. “Really.”
Killian hesitated a moment before turning back to her. “If he gets too loud for you, you can tell him to shut up.”
“He’s fine.” Aubrey smiled a little. “It reminds me of how things used to be, you know? Aaron and his friends were always so loud when they played video games. I’d forgotten what that was like.”
“You never played?”
Aubrey shook her head. “I preferred books. I still do.”
“Ah. Well, you’re welcome to browse my shelves if you need something to read,” he offered.
“Thanks.” Aubrey hesitated. “I’ve snooped a little. You have eclectic tastes.”
Killian shrugged. “I like variety.”
“Me too.”
They fell silent for a moment, watching Abriel and Dom battle on the screen. Aubrey had no idea what they were playing, but it looked like some sort of war game. People were running all over the place, weapons strapped to their bodies. Smoke drifted up from various places on screen. Mangled bodies littered the field where one of their characters ran, a grenade in his hand.
She shivered and turned away, only to find Killian watching her once more.
“Do you want them to turn it off?” he asked.
“No, that’s fine,” she said. “I just…do you guys honestly enjoy this kind of stuff?”
“What stuff?”
“War.”
“I don’t think anyone enjoys war.”
“So why play?”
“It keeps us sharp.” Killian shrugged.
“Oh.”
“Does it bother you?”
“What? War? Or war games?” she asked.
“The games.”
She thought about it a moment. “Not really. I guess I just don’t see the point to them. Isn’t the world violent enough already? There’s so much death and destruction. Why add to it unless you have to?”
“I think it makes humans feel safe,” Killian said.
Aubrey’s eyes widened.
“As you said, there’s so much death and destruction.” He turned his body toward her, leaning in. “Feeling like you have some measure of control over that makes it seem a little less overwhelming to most humans. And since your people can’t control what happens outside of their homes, they bring it inside, try to figure it out the best way they can.”
“I guess. I still don’t get it, though.”
“I know you don’t,” he said. Emotions danced through his eyes, so quickly she couldn’t catch them. But his gaze warmed her, and made her ache too. As if she craved something from him she didn’t quite understand. That same vast, bright thing that had called to her in the elevator so many days ago. His gaze locked with hers. “That’s not necessarily a bad thing.”

Tell us a little about Stricken. How did you come up with the idea?

Stricken is an urban fantasy about angels, demons, and a lethal virus killing anyone with angel blood. Killian St. James, an angelic warrior, and his two brothers are searching for a cure when they find Aubrey Carter, a human with angel blood who’s being hunted down by infected shapeshifters. Killian isn’t sure why she’s being chased, but offers to help her find out. The more he learns about her, the more he realizes that her past might just hold the answers he’s seeking. Because he’s falling for her, this presents all sorts of problems for him and for her, leading him to a choice between the future of his people and her life.
One of the Dead Sea Scrolls, called the War Scroll, strategizes the war between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness. While reading through it one day, I started wondering what if… and the idea for Stricken came. A conversation with friends prompted the inclusion of the virus, and the story just grew from there.
Who is your favorite character in the series?

I really like Killian. He’s very noble, fighting for the future of a race that doesn’t necessarily like or accept him. He tries to do the best he can with what he has, and sacrifices a lot along the way. He’s also protective of Aubrey, but recognizes her strength. He’s very much an alpha, but he can be very sweet, too.
What was the hardest part about writing Stricken? What was the easiest?

The hardest part was all of the research! I had to learn about virology and demonology and theology, not to mention mythology and folklore… it was a long process. But it was fascinating, so I’m definitely no complaining. The easiest part was the evolving relationship between Killian and Aubrey. They’re both reserved and self-contained, and a little beyond believing in HEAs. It was fun getting to challenge that belief for the two of them.
If you could save the life of any one fictional character who would it be and why?

I’d save Gunn from Angel! I loved his character. J. August Richards actually fake proposed to me as Gunn on Twitter once after I said I would totally marry Gunn. So, you know, we can’t get fake hitched if he’s not alive! Can I also save Hershel from The Walking Dead? I miss him.
How much research went into the story?

There was quite a lot of research involved. I had to learn about things like virology and engineering viruses and how they spread and mutate. And then I had to learn about demons and how and why the angels Fell and put all these complex ideas and pieces together in a cohesive manner. It was an exhaustive process.

Tell us something about the series we don’t know.
When I first started writing Stricken, Killian was Fae, and then a vampire, and then a Fae again before I finally decided on Nephilim. He’s evolved a lot as the story has evolved.
Tell us something about you we don’t know. What do you do for fun?

I’m a huge hockey fan. If the Blackhawks are playing, I’m screaming at the t.v. My Border Collie refuses to come into the living room if I’m watching them. I think he’s slightly terrified of how insane I get. When they won the Stanley Cup in 2010, I dislocated my hip celebrating. My doctor still laughs at me about it.
What else can we expect from you?

In addition to the War Scrolls series, I’m currently finishing up the Teplo Trilogy, which is for my adult readers, and All Over You, a companion of sorts to the All Falls Down duo. I also recently finished Flame, the third book in the Ragnarök Prophesies series, so hopefully that will be on shelves soon.
A.K. Morgen is the Amazon Bestselling author of the Ragnarök Prophesies series. She lives in the heart of Arkansas with her childhood sweetheart/husband of twelve years, and their five furry minions. When not writing, she spends her time hiking, reading, volunteering, causing mischief, and building a Spork army. Ayden graduated summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Forensic Psychology in 2009 before going on to complete her graduate degree in CJ and Law. She currently puts her education to use in the social services and CJ field.
Ayden also writes New Adult and contemporary romance under the penname Ayden K. Morgen.

 

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