Kiss of Frost won Best Book of 2011 in Romance – Young Adult Romance.
Logan Quinn was trying to kill me.
My Spartan classmate relentlessly pursued me, swinging his sword at me over and over again, the shining silver blade inching closer to my throat every time. A smile tugged up his lips, and his ice-blue eyes practially glowed with the thrill of battle…
I’m Gwen Frost, a second-year warrior-in-training at Mythos Academy, and I have no idea how I’m going to survive the rest of the semester. One day, I’m getting schooled in swordplay by the guy who broke my heart—the drop-dead gorgeous Logan who slays me every time. Then, an invisible archer in the Library of Antiquities decides to use me for target practice. And now, I find out that someone at the academy is really a Reaper bad guy who wants me dead. I’m afraid if I don’t learn how to live by the sword—with Logan’s help—I just might die by the sword…
Praise for Touch of Frost
“An intriguing start to an exciting new series!” —Award-winning author Jeri Smith-Ready
Logan Quinn was trying to kill me.
The Spartan relentlessly pursued me, cutting me off
every single time I tried to duck around him and run
Logan swung his sword at me over and over again,
the shining silver blade inching a little closer to my throat
every single time. His muscles rippled underneath his
tight long-sleeved T-shirt as he smoothly moved from
one attack position to the next. A smile tugged up his
lips, and his ice blue eyes practically glowed with the
thrill of battle.
I did not glow with the thrill of battle. Cringe, yes.
I brought up my own sword, trying to fend off Logan
before he separated my head from my shoulders. Three
times, I parried his blows, wincing whenever his sword
hit mine, but the last time, I wasn’t quite quick enough.
Logan stepped forward, the edge of his sword a whisper
away from kissing my throat before I could do much
more than blink and wonder how it had gotten there to
And Logan didn’t stop there. He snapped his free wrist
to one side and knocked my weapon out of my hand,
sending it flying across the gym. My sword somersaulted
several times in the air before landing point down in one
of the thick mats that covered the gym floor.
“Dead again, Gypsy girl,” Logan said in a soft voice.
“That makes twelve kills in a row now.”
I sighed. “I know. Believe me, I know. And I’m not
any happier about it than you are.”
Logan nodded, dropped the sword from my throat,
and stepped back. Then he turned and looked over his
shoulder at two other Spartan guys who were sprawled
across the bleachers, alternately texting on their phones
and watching us with bored disinterest.
“Time?” Logan asked.
Kenzie Tanaka hit a button on his phone. “Forty-five
seconds. Up from thirty-five seconds the time before.”
“Gwen’s lasting a little longer at least,” Oliver Hector
chimed in. “Must be the Wonder Woman T-shirt finally
adding to her awesome fighting skills.”
My face flushed at his snide tone. Okay, so maybe I
had worn my favorite long-sleeved superhero shirt this
morning in hopes that it might bring me a little luck,
which I seriously needed when it came to any kind of
fight. But he didn’t have to mock me about it, especially
not in front of the others.
Oliver grinned and smirked at me. I crossed my arms
over my chest and gave him a dirty look.
Kenzie looked at the other Spartan. “I think it’s cool
that Gwen likes superheroes.”
Oliver frowned. He didn’t like Kenzie sticking up for
me, but he didn’t say anything else. I didn’t know what
Oliver’s deal was, but he always seemed to go out of his
way to annoy me. Maybe he thought he was being
charming or something. Some guys at Mythos Academy
were like that—they thought being total jerks was supercool.
Whatever. I had zero interest in the Spartan that
way. Oh, Oliver was cute enough with his sandy blond
hair, forest green eyes, bronze skin, and lazy grin. So
was Kenzie, with that glossy black hair and those dark
eyes. Not to mention the obvious muscles the two of
them had and the lean strength that was so evident in
their bodies. The only problem was that the two Spartans
weren’t Logan Quinn.
Logan was the one that I was interested in—even if he
had already broken my heart back in the fall.
Thinking about my stupid, hopeless, unreturned feelings
for Logan soured my already grumpy mood, and I
stalked across the mats toward my sword.
The gym at Mythos Academy was about five times
the size of a regular one, with a ceiling that soared several
hundred feet above my head. In some ways, it was
completely normal. Bright banners marking all the various
academy championships in fencing, archery, swimming,
and other froufrou sports dangled from the
rafters, while wooden bleachers jutted out from two of
the walls. Mats covered the floor, hiding the basketball
court from sight.
But then there were the weapons.
Racks and racks of them were stacked against another
wall, going up so high, there was a ladder attached
to one side to get to the weapons on the top
rows. Swords, daggers, staffs, spears, bows, and quivers
full of curved, wicked-looking arrows. All of them razor
sharp and ready to be picked up and used by the students,
most of whom took exceptional pride in showing
off their prowess with the sharp, pointed edges.
The weapons were one of the ways in which Mythos
Academy was anything but normal.
I reached for my sword, which was still wobbling
back and forth, reminding me of my old piano teacher’s
metronome slowly ticking from side to side. I reached
down, but before I could tug the sword out of the mat a
round silver bulge on the hilt snapped open, revealing a
narrowed, angry eye.
“Another bloody defeat,” Vic muttered, his displeasure
giving even more bite to his British accent. “Gwen
Frost, you couldn’t kill a Reaper to save your bloody
I narrowed my own eyes and glared at Vic, hoping he
would get the message to shut up already before Logan
and the others heard him. I didn’t want to advertise the
fact that I had a talking sword. I didn’t want to advertise
a lot of things about myself. Not at Mythos.
For his part, Vic glared right back at me, his eye a curious
color that was somewhere between purple and
gray. Vic wasn’t alive, not exactly, but I’d come to think
of him as that way. Vic was a simple enough sword—a
long blade made out of silver metal. But what made the
sword seem, well, human to me was the fact that the hilt
was shaped like half of a man’s face, complete with a
nose, an ear, a mouth, and a round, bulging eye. All put
together, it looked like a real person had somehow been
encased there in the silver hilt. It all added up to Vic,
whatever or whoever he really was.
Well, that and his bloodthirsty attitude. Vic wanted
to kill things—Reapers, specifically. Until we’re both
bathed in their blood and hungry for more! he’d crowed
to me more than once when I was alone in my dorm
room practicing with him.
Please. The only things I could kill with ease were
bugs. And even then only the tiny ones. The big ones
crunched too much and made me feel all guilty and
icked out. Doing the same to Reapers of Chaos, some
seriously bad guys, was totally out of the question.
“What are you going to do when a real Reaper attacks
you?” Vic demanded. “Run away and hope he
doesn’t chase after you?”
Actually, that sounded like an excellent plan to me,
but I knew Vic wouldn’t see it that way. Neither would
Logan, Kenzie, or Oliver, since the guys were all Spartans,
descended from a long line of magical, mythological
warriors. Killing things was as natural as breathing
to them. It was what they’d been trained to do since
birth, along with all the other kids at the academy.
For the most part, the guys at Mythos were either
Vikings or Romans, while the girls were Valkyries or
Amazons. But tons of other ancient warrior types attended
the academy, everyone from Samurais and Ninjas,
to Celts, to the Spartans in front of me.
Killing was definitely not natural to me, but I’d been
thrust into this twisted world back at the start of the
school year. That’s when I’d first started attending Mythos,
after a serious freak-out with my Gypsy magic back at
my old public high school. Now the academy—with all
its warrior whiz kids, scary Reaper bad guys, mythological
monsters, and an angry, vengeful god—was a place
that I just couldn’t escape, no matter how much I would
have liked to.
Especially since there was a goddess counting on me
to do something about all the Bad, Bad Things out there
in the world—and the ones hidden here on campus too.
“Shut up, Vic,” I growled, tugging the sword free of
I felt Vic’s mouth move underneath my palm like he
was going to give me some more backtalk, but then he
let out a loud harrumph and his eye snapped shut. I
sighed again. Now, he was in one of his moods, which
meant I was going to have to cajole him to open his eye
and speak to me again later in the day. Maybe I’d turn
on the TV in my dorm room and see if there was some
kind of action-adventure movie playing. Watching the
bad guys get theirs always seemed to bring Vic out of
one of his funks, and the bloodier the movie, the better
he liked it.
“Who are you talking to, Gwen?”
Oliver Hector’s voice sounded right beside me, and I
had to clamp my lips together to keep from shrieking in
surprise. I hadn’t heard the Spartan come up behind me.
He gave me a look that said he thought I was a complete freak, then shook his head. “Come on. Logan
wants you to practice shooting targets next.”
I looked around, but Logan had disappeared while
I’d been talking to Vic. So had Kenzie Tanaka. They’d
probably gone to get an energy drink out of one of the
vending machines outside the gym, leaving me alone
with Oliver. Great.
Even grumpier than before, I stalked behind Oliver
over to the other side of the gym, where an archery target
had been set up. The Spartan headed for one of the
weapons racks while I kept going toward the bleachers.
The four of us had dumped our bags on the bleachers
when we’d first come into the gym at seven this morning.
I’d only been going to Mythos a few months, and I
hadn’t had the lifelong warrior training that the other
students had. Now, I was struggling to catch up, which
meant schlepping over to the gym every morning for an
hour’s worth of work with Logan and his friends before
my regular classes started.
Out of all the kids at the academy, the Spartans were
the best warriors, and Professor Metis had thought that
they could whip me into shape in no time flat. It wasn’t
working out that way, though. I just wasn’t warrior material,
no matter what some people—goddess included—
I slid Vic into his black leather scabbard and laid him
flat on one of the bleachers, so he wouldn’t fall off. I’d
already dropped the sword enough times today. Then I
reached into my gray messenger bag for a mirror and
brush, so I could pull my hair back into a tighter, neater
ponytail, since it had come undone while I’d been sparring
I squinted at my reflection in the smooth glass. Wavy
brown hair, winter white skin dotted here and there
with a few freckles, and eyes that were a strange shade
of purple. Violet eyes are smiling eyes, my mom had always
said. I thought of how easily Logan had kicked my
ass while we’d been training. Nope, I wasn’t smiling
about anything this morning.
When I was done fixing my hair, I put the mirror and
brush back into my bag and threw it onto the bleachers.
In the process, my bag hit Oliver’s and knocked his to
the floor because I was just that kind of total, uncoordinated
klutz. And of course the top of his bag popped
open, and all kinds of stuff spilled out, tumbling over
the mats. Pens, pencils, books, his iPod, a laptop, some
silver throwing daggers.
Sighing, I got down on my knees and started scooping
everything back into the bag, careful to use the edge
of my sleeve so as to not actually touch anything with
my bare fingers. I had no desire to see into the inner
workings of Oliver Hector’s mind, but that’s what
would happen if I wasn’t careful.
I managed to get everything back into the bag except
for a thick red notebook. A couple of the metal rings
had been bent out of shape, and they snagged on the
fabric every time I tried to slide the notebook back into
the bag where it belonged. I just didn’t have a long
enough sleeve to bend all the metal down, and I couldn’t
get a good grip with the soft cotton anyway. Exasperated, I took hold of the metal with my sleeve, so I
wouldn’t scrape my skin, then grabbed the bottom of
the notebook with my bare hand.
The images hit me the second my fingers touched the
A picture of Oliver popped into my head, one of the
Spartan leaning over the desk in his dorm room and
writing in the notebook. One by one, the images flashed
by, giving me a condensed, high-def version of Oliver alternately
doodling, drawing, and scribbling furiously in
the notebook. After a few seconds, the feelings kicked
in, and I started experiencing Oliver’s emotions, too. All
the things he’d felt when he’d been writing in his notebook.
The dull boredom of doing class assignments, the
annoyed frustration of trying to understand some of the
complicated homework, and then, surprisingly, a soft,
dreamy fizz that warmed my whole body—
“What are you doing? That’s mine,” Oliver snapped
in a harsh voice.
I shook off the images and feelings, and looked up.
The Spartan stood over me, his features tight and pinched.
“Sorry,” I snapped back. “I didn’t think a guy like
you would be so protective of his notebook. What’s in
here that’s so supersecret? A list of everyone you’ve slept
with? Let me guess. You don’t want me to know who
you’ve been hooking up with. You want to tell everyone
yourself because that’s what all the guys at Mythos do—
brag about their stupid conquests, right?”
Oliver’s face actually paled at my words. Seriously.
He just went white with shock. For a second, I wondered why, but then I realized he must have heard about
my psychometry—about my magic.
I wasn’t a warrior like the other kids at Mythos—not
exactly—but I wasn’t completely without skills, either. I
was a Gypsy, a person gifted with magic by one of the
gods. In my case, that magic was psychometry, or the
ability to touch an object and immediately know, see,
and feel its history.
My Gypsy gift, my psychometry, was actually cooler—
and a little scarier—than it sounded. Not only could I
see who had once worn a bracelet or read a book, no
matter how long ago it had been, but I also could feel
that person’s emotions. Everything she’d been thinking,
feeling, and experiencing when she’d been wearing that
bracelet or reading that book. Sometimes everything
she’d ever felt, seen, or done over a whole lifetime, if her
attachment to the object was strong enough. I could tell
if a person had been happy or sad, good or bad, smart
or dumb, or a thousand other things.
My magic let me know people’s secrets—let me see
and feel all the things they kept hidden from others and
even themselves sometimes. All their conflicting emotions,
all the sly things they’d done, all the things they
only dreamed about doing in the deepest, blackest parts
of their hearts.
Maybe it was dark and twisted of me, but I liked
knowing other people’s secrets. I liked the power that
the knowledge gave me, especially since I didn’t have
any of the wicked cool fighting skills the other kids at
Mythos did. Knowing other people’s secrets was sort of
an obsession of mine—one that had almost led to me
getting killed a few weeks ago.
It was also the reason I held on to Oliver’s notebook
now. I’d totally expected the boredom and the frustration
I’d sensed. Those were both emotions I’d felt many
times before when I’d touched other kids’ notebooks,
computers, pens, and all the other ordinary, everyday
objects they used to do their schoolwork.
But that warm, soft, fizzy feeling? Not so much. I
knew what it was though: love. Or at least like—serious
like. Oliver had a major, major crush on someone,
enough to write about that person in his notebook, and
I wanted to know who it was. Since, you know, secrets
were my own form of crack.
I concentrated on the notebook again, on that soft,
fizzy, hopeful feeling, and a hazy image started to form
in my mind, someone with dark hair, black hair—
“I said that was mine,” Oliver growled, yanking the
notebook out of my hand and breaking my connection
The half-formed image abruptly vanished, along with
that warm, fizzy sensation. My fingers grabbed for the
notebook, but I only came up with empty air. Another
second, and I would have seen who Oliver’s mystery
crush was. But the Spartan held the notebook up out of
my reach, then grabbed his bag and shoved the notebook
inside it. He was in such a hurry that he ripped the
side of the bag’s fabric. Oliver glanced up at me to see if
I smirked at him in the same cocky, knowing way he
had smirked at me a few minutes ago, when he’d been
making fun of my T-shirt. Oliver’s face darkened.
“What are you two doing?” Kenzie asked, coming
out of one of the side doors and drinking from a bottle
of water in his hand.
“Nothing,” Oliver muttered, shooting me another
I rolled my eyes and ignored him. Since coming to
Mythos, I’d almost been run through with a sword and
mauled to death by a killer kitty cat. Dirty looks didn’t
faze me anymore.
“Where’s Logan?” I asked.
“He’ll be back in a minute. He said to get started
without him,” Kenzie said, his black eyes flicking back
and forth between me and Oliver, wondering what was
Oliver turned and stalked down to the other end of
the bleachers, taking his bag along with him. Kenzie
gave me another curious look, then went over to Oliver.
The two of them started talking in low voices, with
Oliver still glaring in my direction.
The Spartan was clearly angry at me for touching his
precious notebook and teasing him about who his mystery
crush might be. Whatever. I didn’t care what Oliver
thought about me. Besides, he’d started it by making
fun of my T-shirt. I might not know how to sling a
sword, but I could throw verbal daggers with the best of
After about a minute of talking, Kenzie and Oliver
broke apart. They both headed toward the archery target, and Kenzie gestured for me to follow them. Apparently,
I hadn’t pissed them off enough to make them forget
about the rest of our training session. Too bad.
Sighing, I got to my feet, ready to show the Spartans
that I sucked just as much at using a bow as I did at
swinging a sword.