The Final Formula Collection

Now Available!

Final-Formula-Omnibus-3D-Opposite-Hand-800 Cover reveal and PromotionalThe Final Formula Collection is an ebook bundle containing the first three titles in the series: The Final Formula, The Element of Death, and The Blood Alchemist.  As an added bonus, this bundle also includes two brand new short stories.

The Lich’s Lab takes place between the last chapter of The Final Formula and the epilogue. The story is told from Addie’s point of view and shows how she and Ian came to their working agreement.

A Christmas Formula is set a week or so after The Blood Alchemist.  In this one, Era and Cora tell the story of their first Christmas with Addie.

 

 

You can pick up a copy at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | Apple

 

Why a bundle?

I’ve put this collection together as a way to attract new readers with a bundled deal, plus it gives me another title to advertise.  With a series, it doesn’t make sense to advertise any book except the first one, and I can only throw that book out there so many times before folks get tired of seeing it.  That said, I don’t like to ask fans to re-buy books they already own just to get the new short stories.  So, I’ve made the short stories available to newsletter subscribers.  The sign up form is in the side bar on the right.  As an added bonus, you’ll get an alternative POV scene from The Final Formula.  (For more information on newsletter sign up, check out my post here.)

 

Now for a little teaser…

 

The Lich’s Lab

Chapter 1

I stood on the threshold and peered into the mausoleum, wishing I had a flashlight. The multiple holes in the ancient roof let in surprisingly little sunlight. I had hoped that coming here in the middle of the day would be different, but the small room was just as creepy as it had been after dark. The rare bright beam of sunlight only made the shadows deeper by contrast. I remained where I was, letting my eyes adjust until I was certain that all the dark corners were empty.

I returned the rusted bolt to the hasp beside the door and stepped inside. My gaze traveled around the room, reassuring myself that the vaults were closed. I had watched them slide open once, and prayed I wouldn’t witness it again. The dead creeped me out. Terrified me, if I was completely honest. But I didn’t have the luxury of running away. I had to face my fears if I was going to make things right—and making things right was now the only thing that mattered.

I took a deep breath, the scent of decaying leaves and damp stone filling my nose. Memories stirred, reminding me of my first visit to this place, but I pushed them away and forced myself to walk deeper into the mausoleum. I stopped before the open sarcophagus in the center of the room and crossed my arms. The flat black stone seemed to absorb what little light made it through the roof, but I didn’t need the light to know what lay inside. The stone box didn’t hold a body; it held a stairway to the crypt below.

The silence was unsettling. Neither the birds in the large cemetery outside these stone walls, nor the sounds of the city beyond the cemetery’s iron gates broke the quiet. I didn’t think it would bother me so much if the tomb was empty, but I knew it wasn’t. He was watching me. I could feel it.

Heart thumping in my ears, I leaned forward, peering inside the sarcophagus. No light shown in the room below. Without a flashlight, there was no way I was going to venture down there. Not into total darkness.

“Ian?” I had meant to call out, but my voice was little more than a whisper. Even so, I hugged myself tighter and listened.

A faint clink sounded from below. Was I hearing things?

“Ian, it’s Addie.” My voice was louder, echoing a little in the unadorned space. It seemed too loud to my quiet-adapted ears. Then I remembered that he didn’t know me by that name. “I mean, Amelia.”

Silence.

“I want to make you an offer.” I cringed as I said the words. It was the last thing I wanted to do, but I was desperate. At this point, I would make a deal with the devil to fix what I had broken. I just hoped that wasn’t what I was doing.

Leaves rustled in the corner, and I turned toward the sound. I didn’t see anything. Perhaps it had been an animal or the wind.

“Ian, can you hear me?” I pressed on. “I’ll brew you the Final Formula in exchange for your lab.”

The Final Formula? The voice seemed to come from directly behind me.

I whirled with a gasp, only to realize that the voice had been in my mind. My eyes had adapted to the darkness, and I could see that the room was still empty. How did he do that?

I turned to face the open sarcophagus once more. “The Elixir of Life.”

Something rasped and light flickered in the crypt below. A candle had been lit.

Come. We’ll talk.

“We can talk here,” I said.

Consider it a test.

Or a trap.

I braced my hands on the edge of the sarcophagus. Light illuminated the room below. I could make out the red area rug that covered the stone floor. What happened if I joined him in his crypt and he extinguished the light? Trapped in total darkness with a dead man. A lich. A walking corpse with his consciousness still intact. But Ian Mallory wasn’t just a lich, he was also a necromancer—and an alchemist.

“Why do I need to be tested?”

Because it amuses me.

“At least you’re honest,” I muttered. I eyed the stone steps a moment longer, then hopped up to sit on the edge before swinging my legs over. What did I have to lose?

I started down, keeping one hand on the wall to maintain my balance. My legs were shaking so badly that I feared I might fall. This had to be the single stupidest thing I had ever done. When I reached the bottom, I stopped and surveyed the area around me.

The room resembled a library with its floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, loaded with hard-backed books. A pair of wing-backed chairs flanked a small empty table. A candle and an open book had occupied the table the last time I was here, but both were gone now. The light came from a pair wall sconces I hadn’t noticed before. Otherwise, the room was empty.

“I’m here.” I spoke softly, but the sound was still loud to my ears.

Indeed you are. Warm air brushed the back of my neck at the same time the words entered my mind.

I turned and just managed to bite back a scream when I found a tall form in tattered robes standing directly behind me. I backpedaled until my butt thumped into the empty table.

So which is it? he asked, ignoring my reaction. Addie or Amelia?

I took a deep breath in an effort to regain my calm. “Addie. I don’t really know Amelia.”

He appeared to cock his head, though it was hard to tell beneath the hood he wore. I was grateful for the hood. I didn’t want to see his face.

“I have amnesia,” I explained. “I don’t remember the person I was.” And in all honesty, I preferred to keep it that way. “Are you interested in my offer?”

One skeletal hand emerged from his sleeve and tugged at the opposite sleeve as if straightening it. Not that the effort made any difference to the decaying robe he wore. I suspected he was trying to creep me out.

It was working.

Why do you want my lab?

“I don’t have one of my own.”

He made a raspy snort-like sound that echoed around the room. Goosebumps rose on my arms as I realized that he had made the sound with the rotting remains of his body and not whatever magic he used to speak.

Don’t you work for the Elements?

“Is that what Neil told you?” Neil was my former colleague. He had befriended me, then betrayed me to everyone I cared about.

Has he played his hand?

“Yes.” Neil had also been working with Ian. Or rather, using Ian. “He has the Final Formula. Hasn’t he been back to tell you?”

No.

“That was almost two weeks ago. Perhaps he doesn’t intend to share it with you.” I assumed that was how Neil had gotten Ian to help him.

Ian regarded me in silence, and I feared I had said too much. Perhaps taunting him with Neil’s betrayal wasn’t a good idea.

“But I’m willing to give you the Formula.”

The Elixir of Life in exchange for my lab. He took a step closer. Do you think me so gullible that I would give up the only source of sanity I have left because you offer me life? He leaned toward me. I am an alchemist and a necromancer. Life cannot be brewed.

I stood my ground—mainly because I was backed against the table with nowhere to go. “I’m aware of our limitations. I’m not offering you life, I’m offering you youth.”

What?

“Eternal life and youth. You’ve achieved immortality—”

I’ve done nothing. His cold tone stopped me.

“Oh.” I understood. “You didn’t do this to yourself.”

Clearly, you know nothing about necromancy.

“Why would I?”

I thought you were an alchemist.

I gritted my teeth. “Are you interested in getting your body back or not?”

A pause. Tell me more.

“The Final Formula has powerful regenerative properties. I’ve taken it. I’m forty-two years old.”

He dropped into silence again, watching me. I wished I could see his expression—or rather, I wished he had an actual face so I could read his expression. I also hoped I was right about this. I had never used the Final Formula on the dead. In truth, I had only used the Final Formula on me.

What about parts that are…missing?

My breath caught. “M-missing?”

You really don’t know anything about necromancy.

“You could enlighten me.”

Let’s just say that something was taken from me and used to imprison me here.

“A body part.” I remembered the jarred hearts on the shelf back in his lab, and suspected I knew which one. “No offense, but necromancers are twisted.”

You don’t know the half of it.

His easy agreement wasn’t reassuring.

So, how about it? Can your potion free me?

“It will regenerate your body. All of it. That’s all I know. You’re on your own with the necromancy.”

Fair enough. He offered me his hand: yellowed bone held in place by shriveled tendons and dried muscle. A few remaining scraps of flesh were visible near the wrist. You have a deal.

“I’ll take your word for it.”

Shake, Addie.

I steeled myself, then reached out and took his hand. Icy bone caged my fingers, and I made the unpleasant discovery that there was still a square of flesh on his palm. It was rough and dry like an old ball glove left in an attic for a few decades.

I pulled back with a gasp, swallowing hard to keep from vomiting.

Ian made a strange huh-huh-huh sound, and I realized he was laughing. Squeamish, aren’t you?

“I don’t like dead things.”

You’ll get over that.

I doubted it, but I didn’t contradict him.

8 comments

  1. I haven’t recd your newsletter and am waiting almost patiently for the rest of the lich’s lab. Please an update? Or chap 2 or?

  2. Bonnie

    Is there a way to receive past newsletters? An archive or something?
    Just wanted to tell you I finished reading The Final Formula today and really enjoyed it. The mix of characters and their attributes was very well done. Can’t wait to read more!

    • Hey, Bonnie. Thanks for reading! No, sorry, I don’t keep the old newsletters. They’re usually just news of a recent release or a limited time sale.

  3. Brandy

    Rather sucks for those of us that bought the books earlier as individual items and didn’t get the short stories 🙁 Is there somewhere on the site that you have just a list of the books & stories in order??

    • I agree, that’s why I shared the short stories with my mailing list. (But that wasn’t clear in my post, so I added more information about that above.) If you’re interested, please let me know. Also, you can find a list of the books under the books tab at the top of the page.

  4. Marilyn Parrett

    Becca, I have enjoyed this series of your books, and after I’ve read the rest of the books (I need book 5), I’ll start on another one of your books. I was totally surprised that the FFS was located very close to my old stomping grounds. I was thrilled to see Cincinnati and the surrounding areas (Hueston Woods near Oxford), in your books. I was born in Hamilton, and grew up in Monroe. I still have some family in the Cinn/Dayton areas. We have only been to Ohio twice in the past 8 or 9 years, for funerals. Will you write other books that are located in SW Ohio? That part of Ohio is rich in history. It’s not hard to realise I will always miss my home state. I know you live in that area, but I won’t ask you to tell us the town or city you live in.
    I love your books. I have enjoyed every one of them, and I’ll be sad when these are completed. I can’t wait to see what you are working on now. God Bless!

    • Thanks, Marilyn. Glad you’ve enjoyed the series so far. No, I don’t live in Cincinnati, but we visit often. 🙂 My next series will be a steampunk fantasy set in the late 1800s on the Ohio & Erie Canal–so central Ohio, from the river to the lake, is the setting in the next series.

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