Hi everyone! My stop on the Frost tour is today, and author Kate Avery Ellison is going to share something special! You guys get to read a deleted scene from the book. Cool, right? Also, there’s a giveaway, so make sure to enter! You can follow the rest of the tour by clicking the banner above.
In the icy, monster-plagued world of the Frost, one wrong move and a person could end up dead—and Lia Weaver knows this better than anyone. After monsters kill her parents, she must keep the family farm running despite the freezing cold and threat of monster attacks or risk losing her siblings to reassignment by the village Elders. With dangers on all sides and failure just one wrong step away, she can’t afford to let her emotions lead her astray. So when her sister finds a fugitive bleeding to death in the forest—a young stranger named Gabe—Lia surprises herself and does the unthinkable.
She saves his life.
Giving shelter to the fugitive could get her in trouble. The Elders have always described the advanced society of people beyond the Frost, the “Farthers,” as ruthless and cruel. But Lia is startled to find that Gabe is empathetic and intelligent…and handsome. She might even be falling in love with him.
But time is running out. The monsters from the forest circle the farm at night. The village leader is starting to ask questions. Farther soldiers are searching for Gabe. Lia must locate a secret organization called the Thorns to help Gabe escape to safety, but every move she makes puts her in more danger.
Is compassion—and love—worth the risk?
From Kate & Deleted Scene:
Frost went through several extensive revisions to reach its final version. At first, believe it or not, Frost was going to be a short story about a girl who rescued a paranormal creature and harbored him in her barn. It was supposed to be a sort of novelette-length prequel to another book series I’m planning, but I quickly realized that Lia Weaver had her own story to tell, and that this story belonged in a series of its own.
This excerpt is from one of the earliest versions, before I decided the story would take place in a snowy wasteland, so the Frost itself is missing from this version. I used “placeholder names” for the characters—Shelly instead of Lia, Kyle instead of Jonn, and Andrew instead of Cole (I hadn’t quite decided on the “feel” I wanted from the names at that point in time), but I’ve changed them to the final version names here so it makes more sense. The characters are a little different—Cole is more earnest and puppy-dog sweet and Jonn was more infantile from his injuries. Ivy is absent entirely. Lia’s character is mostly the same, though, because I had her figured out from the beginning. Perhaps she’s a little tiny bit harsher than her final version self.
It was the kind of cold that made all your bones feel brittle, and your hands ache. The ground was frozen, no snow yet, but the sky was gray and heavy with the promise of it.
I stood on the stoop of the farmhouse, one hand shading my eyes against the sunset and the other twisting my apron into a knot. The yard surrounded me and the house, and the forest surrounded the yard like a wall of dark green. And beyond the forest, the mountains enclosed us like a fist.
I was a prisoner in an ever-expanding ring of circles, each its own wall designed to keep me in.
The wind fanned my face. I could smell the charged lightning and see the mark of the coming storm in the weird yellow light.
It had sprung up quickly, unexpectedly. That’s the way things were here. The weather could change in a moment, and with the weather, your life.
The storms were dangerous, because with the storms came the Screams. A shiver ran through my whole body at the thought.
My brother’s voice was like the creak of an old door. I went into the house and stood in the living room. His head appeared at the top of the stairs, peering down at me.
“Jonn—” I said, soft. I didn’t like to upset him.
“Is it a storm?” He asked. He was my age, but you’d never know it from his worried tone. He sounded like a child, uncertain.
I sighed. I didn’t like to worry him—anxiety made his condition worse. But I couldn’t lie, either, so I nodded. “It’s a storm.”
It would be our first since our parents died. My chest squeezed tight at the thought, and I pressed one hand over my heart. Outside, I heard the yard flags flapping in the wind. I went to the door again and looked out.
The fields stretched out to the forest wall like an old woolen blanket, their uneven furrows prickled with the dying stalks of harvested crops. Autumn had finished; winter was upon us.
This was the beginning of the White Months. This was what we’d prepared for.
But I didn’t know if we were ready.
My chickens squawked nervously at the fence, and I roused myself from my stupor, going to herd them into their hut. My heart stammered in time to their fluttering wings as I glanced again at the sky. The storm clouds had advanced, their bellies dark and flashing. A swath of gray swept the horizon—the coming scourge.
There wasn’t much time until it was here.
I looked up.
My neighbor Cole hovered at the end of the road, his white-blonde hair like a scrap of cotton against the glowering sky. He jogged towards me while I locked the henhouse, stopping a few feet from my back. I could hear his breathing, tense and labored like he’d run all the way from the village square, nearly a mile.
“Storm’s coming,” he said quickly, and I resisted the urge to snap at him. I’d lived my entire life—nearly nineteen years now—in this house, and the storms came every summer in the worst of the heat, and every winter just before the snow fell. I knew a storm was coming. But I didn’t respond. My tongue felt too heavy with fear to lift.
“Lia?” He repeated, reaching for my sleeve. His fingers brushed my wrist, freezing me in place and igniting a fury in me. “Did you bring in the horses—?”
“I’m not an idiot,” I snapped, turning in time to see his expression go neutral. But I could read the hurt in his eyes anyway, and immediately I felt bad for taking out my anxiety on him.
Cole was just trying to be helpful. He was always trying to be helpful in his clumsy, puppy-dog way. He still seemed more boy than man to me, and I suspected he always would.
“I thought you might need some help,” he said.
My chest tightened with an unexpected stab of grief in the midst of my worry about the storms. This was the first storm I’d weather alone, without my mother and father. They’d passed just after the end of summer, killed in the forest on their way to the city to sell vegetables.
“Thanks,” I said, and the words weren’t enough with the risk he was taking—but when were words ever enough? The silence between us became thick and hard, and I pushed past him for the house.
The first tendrils of lightning touched the horizon, followed by a growl of thunder. My heart beat fast, and I knocked my boots against the stoop out of habit even though there wasn’t snow yet. I stepped inside, but Cole hovered at the door, his eyes on the threshold.
“Lia,” he said. “There’re no blossoms on your stoop.”
My breath escaped in a hiss. I’d forgotten.
Without the blossoms, we were unprotected in the worst of the night. The Watchers were worst in the storms, everyone knew that. The blossoms kept the Watchers away. Swear words floated in my mind, but I didn’t speak. Our eyes met, and he held up both hands. “I’ll get them—”
“No,” I said. “There isn’t much time. You need to get home. I’ll go.”
Cole looked like he might argue with me, but I whirled and went to the kitchen for my cloak before he could say anything. I didn’t have time to debate about this.
My hands shook as I grabbed a sack and my blue cloak from the hook by the cupboard. I faltered as my eyes fell on the cutting knife, but I left it.
It would not protect me from the things that prowled the woods.
Thank you so much for sharing this!
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