Frost Fire (Frost Series #6)

BOOK: Frost Fire (Frost Series #6)
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Frost Fire

 

Bitter Frost #6

 

of Kailin Gow’s Frost Series

 

 

 

 

 

kailin gow

 

Frost Fire

Published by THE EDGE

THE EDGE is an imprint of Sparklesoup Inc.

Copyright © 2011 Kailin Gow

 

All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the permission in writing from the publisher except in case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. Do NOT post on websites or share this book without permission from copyright holder. We take piracy seriously.

All characters and storyline is an invention from Kailin Gow. Any resemblance to people alive or dead is purely coincidence.

 

For information, please contact:

 

THE EDGE at Sparklesoup

14252 Culver Dr., A732

Irvine, CA 92604

www.sparklesoup.com

First Edition.

ISBN 13:
978-1597489034

DEDICATION

 

 

Frost Fire is dedicated to the men and women who keep us safe everyday by risking their lives for us.  

 

 

Prologue

 

 

A
ll was darkness. The winds whipped and chilled; the skies were endlessly black. A few stars glinted and gave to the land a semblance of light, but these pale shining creatures were not enough to give more than a shadow of light to the land. The air was cold and frosty; Rose could see her breath transform into a cloud before her. This was not the pleasant cool of the Winter Lands – in which one always felt as if one had been pleasantly warmed by hot cocoa before venturing out into the snow – but a desperate, despairing freeze. The trees were aching for sunshine to give them life and strength; the flowers, one by one, began to wilt. They knew they were doomed.

 

The Twin Suns of Feyland had been extinguished. The Dark Hordes had done their work. Although they all – the Summer and the Winter Fey together, under the banner of the Midnight Knight, The Red Wolf, and the Summer Breena – had managed to banish the Dark Hordes once more, burying them deep within the earth, trapped in a magical gorge, the evil that they had done remained: both suns of Feyland had gone out, plunging the eternally beautiful land into blackness. Those who survived used what magic they could muster to make fires – lighting torches alongside roads, setting blazes throughout the cities to illuminate the darkness, but it wasn't strong enough. The world was made up of endless night, now, and day was darker than the evenings, which at least had the faint brightness of the twin moons. There was mostly blackness, only cold, only the harsh certainty that the survivors could not go on like this much longer. They had strong magic, but even the most powerful of magic would only keep the fires burning so long.

 

In the night, they could no longer tell the difference between Winter and Summer. Snow or fruit-trees, pines or bougainvillea flowers – the darkness had made them all indistinct. The wars that once had been fought over territory seemed so petty to Rose now: o
nly in the darkness
, she thought,
did we understand the truth:
there was not one Winter and one Summer, but a single Feyland that suffered beneath our feet. She stood on the mountainside with the others, looking out over the villages at their feet.

 

Shasta was staring out silently, Rodney at her side. Rose watched intently as Shasta's harsh cheekbones glinted in the starlight. Her eyes were dark and blazed with an ancient fire. Rose could see her pain, her regret. After all, had Shasta not caused this? Everybody by now had heard the story of Shasta's dishonor, Rose knew: she had colluded with the Pixies to bring forth the Dark Hordes in order to distract the Winter Court from her forbidden love-affair with Rodney, convinced that she was bringing into Feyland a minor distraction, nothing more. She was the one who had spoken the ill-fated spell that brought the Dark Hordes. She was the reason the suns no longer shone. Rose knew that Shasta carried this knowledge around her everywhere she went; her guilt enveloped her like a shroud. Shasta made no effort to cast the blame upon another, nor did she try to explain the selfish enormity of her actions. She merely stood in silence, accepting responsibility for what she had done, convinced that she – like the rest of them – would find a solution to the troubled darkness of Feyland or die trying. When she had first fallen in love with Rose's brother, Rose had been wary of her: she had found Shasta arrogant and cruel, all too willing to serve her own ends without regard for others, to act on impulse. She had found her a threat, and mistrusted her accordingly. But now Shasta was calmer, more mature. Her suffering had made a woman out of her – her girlhood was gone.
Was that what it took to be as strong as Shasta? That much suffering?
Rose was seventeen, not much younger than Shasta, but she felt as if she was separated from Shasta by a great gap: the gap Shasta had forged through her pain. When she was younger, Rose had always envied Shasta's womanly charms from a distance – but now Rose's envy had gone. Shasta's maturity had come at a price.

 

Standing with them too was Logan, the Wolf Prince. His chest was broad; his eyes were dark with sorrow. His hair had grown long; even in human form he betrayed the power and strength of the Wolf she knew lived within him.
How handsome he looks!
Rose
couldn't resist thinking it, even as she tried to push the thoughts from her mind. He loved the Princess Breena – everybody knew that! They had even been engaged when Princess Breena became Queen Breena, defeating the traitor Wort and his Summer fey glamoured pixies. Although she had chosen to marry the Winter Prince Kian instead, leaving Logan bereft and heartbroken, his long-standing love for her was legendary. Many whispered that he would choose to spend his life alone rather than even trying to love another: he would fall at her feet until the day he died. Rose knew all too well that to therefore notice his handsome bearing was to risk her own heartbreak – when she was but a girl, Rodney had laughed at her wide-eyed crush – but no matter how hard Rose tried she could not bring herself to ignore his rugged beauty.

 

“So, Shasta,” Rodney broke the silence, moving towards his love and encircling her in his arms. He held her close, and Rose saw Shasta close her eyes and part her lips, exuding a deep and melancholy sigh. “What's the plan, then? Where do we go from here?”

 

Logan took a step forward. His gait was awkward, even uncomfortable. He looked like he didn't much want to be here. Certainly, Rose knew she didn't. Shasta and Rodney – so powerful in their love – were a forbidding couple to be around: it was impossible to be near them without feeling excluded by them. Rodney may have been Rose's own flesh and blood, but the moment he was around Shasta his demeanor changed. Shasta became his world, and even Rose – his own sister! – started to feel invisible. How much worse must Logan – recovering from his own heartbreak – feel watching them? Rose sighed as she watched Logan attempt to mask his pain.

 

“I have a plan,” Shasta said softly. “I always do.” She smiled sadly and Rose could see a flash of the old, self-assured Shasta in her. “Delano told me...”

 

“Delano!” Rodney exclaimed. “After the way he betrayed you and tricked you into bringing the Dark Hordes into the world – you'd trust
Delano
to...”

 

“Hush, Rodney,” said Shasta quickly. “It's not like that. You know as well as I that, whatever his past faults may have been, he served us well and bravely during the last battle. He fought on our side – did his best to atone for his past acts!”

 

“Please, Shasta!” Rodney held her tighter. “Don't be so naïve. Delano only helped us to help himself – he knew that unless we worked together the pixies and the fairies would be wiped out forever. The second he doesn't need us anymore he'll go back to being our enemy. You can't trust a word he says.”

 

“The Queen Breena has made a treaty with him,” said Shasta. “One which he will, I think, obey. Breena understands the pixie plight better than any other queen in recent memory; he trusts her – he even, dare I say it, loves her.”

 

At this Logan's eyes grew dark with pain.

 

“Delano felt guilty about what he did,” said Shasta. “He didn't want to destroy Feyland any more than I did. He said he would be here with us now, if he could. Helping us return the Twin Suns to Feyland. But he knows that the magic we used was an ancient type – operating according to ancient rules. He knows that only the ones who cast the spell to bright forth the Hordes –Rose and I – can return the sun to Feyland again.”

 

Rose blushed at the mention of her name. It was true that she had no idea what the potion Shasta had demanded of her was for – but that didn't matter. Magically speaking, she was just as responsible as Shasta for unleashing the Dark Hordes; it was Rose's responsibility, as much as hers, to fix the problem they had created. And Rose knew it.

 

“I trust your judgment, Princess,” Rodney knelt down, kissing Shasta's hand. “I am your knight, my love. I will do what you wish me to do, and go wherever you wish me to go. I made an oath to be with you until the end of my days, and I meant it...”

 

He leaned in to kiss Shasta, but she pulled away abruptly. “You made that oath to an honorable, brave Princess,” she said mournfully. “Not to a coward who destroyed her own land...”

 

“I made that oath to my Shasta,” said Rodney. “And my Shasta you remain. I swore to love you for all time – nothing you do or have done could ever change that.”

 

At that, she softened, melting into his kiss. Their lips met; they wrapped their arms around each other. Logan coughed and shifted uncomfortably. He looked up at Rose and they traded glances. Rose sighed with compassion. She knew that seeing Rodney and Shasta together reminded him of his recent heartbreak; she knew that he was thinking of
her
. Irrational jealousy reared up within her. Rose longed instinctively, to comfort him – to ease his suffering. But she could not rid herself of the gnawing envy in her heart. After all, Breena was not the only woman in Feyland. She was lovely, no doubt – and she was a fine Queen – and yet...what made her more special than other girls, more worthy of being loved by Logan?

 

Rose smiled sadly. When she had first noticed Logan's handsome gait, she had been a mere girl, capable of little more than awkward sighs and swoons. But she was a woman now – seventeen, older than Breena had been when she had first entered Feyland. She had known kisses before – she closed her eyes for a moment as she thought of Alistair, of those long-vanished lips upon her own – and she knew her own mind.

 

Rose sighed inwardly. Logan was the most handsome man she had ever seen – certainly better-looking, she thought, than the pale and wintry Kian whom Breena had chosen. And certainly good-looking enough to have his pick of any of the girls in Feyland, even if he did decide to get over Breena. Yet Rose was off-limits, she knew – the kid sister of Logan's best friend. Woman or not, she thought with irritation, to Logan she would always be the wide-eyed girl she had been when they met.

BOOK: Frost Fire (Frost Series #6)
7.49Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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