Followed by Frost
Clever to the point of being devious, seventeen-year-old Smitha knows how to get what she wants and how to avoid what she doesn’t. But when she scorns the wizard Mordan’s affections, he curses her to be as cold as her heart. Followed by snow clouds and abandoned by warmth, Smitha is cast from her village after her perpetual winter kills not only the new spring crops, but her neighbors’ only son.
Drawn to her enigmatic mortality, Death himself offers Smitha a chance for relief: escape with him into the world beyond. But life is all Smitha has left, and even when pursued by angry settlers or hunters seeking game, she can’t give it up easily.
When a prince from the Southlands tracks down Smitha and begs her to end his country’s drought, Smitha realizes her curse can be used for good, even when it makes her every breath painful. It is through the Southlands that Smitha seeks redemption—but will her regrets for the past and her unexpected love for a man she cannot touch be enough to warm her heart, or will Death forever still it?
First 150 words:
I have known cold.
I have known the kind of cold that freezes to the bones, to the spirit itself. The cold that stills the heart and crystallizes the blood. The kind of cold that even fire fears, that can turn a woman to glass.
I have seen Death.
I saw him near my home, his dark hair rippling over one shoulder like thick forest smoke as he stooped over the bed of the Hutches’ only son. I saw his amber eyes as he tilted the rim of his wide-brimmed hat to greet me. I saw him kneel before me with his arms wide, and heard him whisper, Come with me.
I have known cold, the chills with which even the deepest winters cannot compare. I have lived it, breathed it, and lost by it. I have known cold, for it dwelled in the deepest hollows of my soul.
And the day I broke Mordan’s heart, it devoured me.