'M.S. Watson! Where is Frost??!'Well do I have news for you! Frost will be available for preorder as of today at 2 PM AEST (check the time difference for your region/country). What does this mean for you? It means that Frost is finally on its final stages of being written and formatted, the final strings are being pulled together and any fans of the Iris x Xanthias pairing will love what I have in store for Frost!
Frost is like a car that has been left to rot in a paddock, got picked up and redesigned into the most powerful machine in the world. Like this machine, Frost has the scars of Ice but puts these experiences to use to become even better! (Or so I hope at least!)
We see some new faces, old faces and some tear-filled eyes - but that's where I end that! For more you're simply going to have to read it for yourself! The details will be as follows:
Trilogy: Poseidon's Girls.
Author: M.S. Watson.
Price: 0.99 USD.
Preorder date: 15th October 2014. 2 PM AEST.
Release date: 31st October 2014. 2 PM AEST.
In other news.
The Clarity Star will be a duology. I've been planning it recently and I have decided to release this little snippet. It will be split over two books, with the potential for more later if I decide that there's more to tell. I doubt it at this stage, but then again nothing has been set in concrete as of yet! I'm aiming for a 2015 release for the first book. Keep an eye on this space for more information as I work towards writing something completely different from my Poseidon's Girls trilogy and Glass Bones standalone.
Finally, the sneak peek!
Please note: If you haven't read Ice, book #1 of the Poseidon's Girls trilogy and do not wish to spoil any of it, please do not read the following book excerpt until you have done so. I hereby do not claim any responsibility for anyone who spoils the book for themselves by reading the following book excerpt as I have provided adequate warning.
If you've read through this article to this point you're probably excited to see what I have in store for you as a reward. As part of the preorder of Frost I am posting the first chapter of the book as a teaser for more to come. For anyone who is into book reviews, contact me in the comments or by the contact form on my website in order to receive a free copy of the eBook in exchange for an honest and thorough review. I'm looking for people who are willing to help me improve my writing, not to hinder it or give me only two words. So without further ado, here's the opening chapter of Frost!
‘The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.’
My first thought was that I was going to be sick. The second, almost instantly replacing that first thought, was what the bouncing meant.
‘Sis! Sis! Hey Si- Oof!’
I crashed into my sister, knocking her back against the mattress as I squeezed her tight. She coughed and spluttered, but I didn’t relinquish my hold on her. It had been little over a month since she had left, fleeing the danger of Cronus’ presence in our hometown, Beaufort, South Carolina. After escaping from hell - otherwise known as Tartarus - under his son, Hades’, rule he had come back searching for revenge on those who had put them there: Poseidon, Zeus and Hades. As part of his vengeance, he enlisted the help of Medea’s three descendants and come after my sister and me, knowing that we were important to Poseidon and his wife Amphitrite.
After capturing our adopted parents, Chris and Nevada, Cronus had fled after being injured and outnumbered by Poseidon and his brothers. Ever since, Lainie had been living away from home with Poseidon and Amphitrite, while I chose to remain behind to guard our adopted parents with my life. Not that they hadn’t tried to convince me. It was tempting. I was simply convinced that I was bound to protect them. After all, they had taken us in while we were young and vulnerable. Since Lainie had left, school had finished and she had missed out on prom. I was surprised she hadn’t shown up of her own accord. Looking at her now, though, it seemed as though the smaller things like school finishing and prom were behind her. A squeak escaped her and she tapped me on the back.
‘Uh … Can I breathe now? Please?’ She gasped when I released her, leaving her to collapse against my bed. I never realised exactly how much I missed her until I saw her there, in the flesh.
‘What? Why are you even here? How-’
‘Wow, calm down sis,’ she cut me off. ‘I’ve only been gone for what? A couple of weeks?’ She looked amused as she sat up and took me in. She looked so different. She no longer wore an inch-thick layer of make-up and short skirts. Right then she was modestly dressed in a beautiful yellow t-shirt and jeans, her hair flipped over her shoulder in a way she never would’ve been caught dead in just a couple of weeks ago. My jaw dropped. She rolled her eyes.
A moment of silence passed between us before she hopped up from the bed and walked over to the windows. She pulled the curtains aside and opened the windows, one by one, and took a deep breath.
‘I missed this,’ she admitted. ‘The salty air, the oxygen without water in the way. It gets a bit annoying when you spend weeks breathing it.’ I nodded and climbed out of bed as she opened the doors to the porch. ‘The views aren’t anything like this in Japan.’ I raised my eyebrows. Since when did my sister - glamorous, spoilt Lainie - ever go to Japan? I would have thought London at least. She turned to me with her hands on her hips, taking in my wrinkled pyjamas and bed hair.
She sauntered to the door, shaking out her hair in a way that added volume to its length. She looked over her shoulder at me and grinned. ‘Be downstairs in five minutes. Chris is making pancakes, the way he used to before the promotion.’ She was talking about his job as the head of the police department. I wondered why he was off work, but then I realised: Lainie was home after disappearing for ‘Latin school.’ He would turn the world the opposite way to see his daughter after never having the chance to say goodbye. With a nod, I sent Lainie on her way and locked the door to get changed.
One look in the mirror told me that my hair was beyond salvaging, so I stuffed it into a messy bun and changed into a passable violet dress. When I was satisfied that I had cleaned up my appearance enough, I made my way downstairs and found all three - Lainie, Chris and Nevada - seated at the dining room table. A massive stack of pancakes and fresh waffles sat on the table in front of them, untouched until I approached the only empty seat. Lainie took one glance at me before she finally sat her phone aside and filled her plate with as many pancakes and waffles as it could hold. Within seconds - before I even managed to be seated - she had scoffed them down, apparently unaware that she hadn’t placed any maple syrup or cream on them.
‘I’m glad to see they gave you a decent appetite,’ Nevada commented, smiling at Lainie. She started to place some onto her own place while she spoke. ‘It’s about time you ate. You were lacking in something, but you look happier now.’ She smiled at Lainie again, but this time it was wistful and tinged with her sadness of Lainie leaving. Lainie cleared her throat a moment later, startling Nevada from her unintentional stare. She offered an apologetic expression before turning her gaze downward in embarrassment, her fork toying with some pancakes and maple syrup. I scooped some whipped cream onto my plate as Chris took Nevada’s silence as his turn to speak.
‘Your mother is -’
‘Don’t call her my mother,’ Lainie barked suddenly, her eyes liquid fire. Chris’ mouth snapped closed with sudden ferocity his teeth gnashed together. He seemed to want to speak but Lainie refused, using her power of persuasion to force him into silence. Her gaze was dark, her jaw grinding as she tightened her power around him. ‘She is not my mother. She never gave birth to me. She took care of me, but it was forced. She will never be anything except for Nevada, the foster carer to me.’ Chris’ face began to lose colour, turning pale. Nevada reached for her husband’s hand and gasped.
‘Chris? Chris! You’re so cold!’ She felt his forehead with the back of her hand, her eyes bulging. In an instant she had her phone in hand, ringing emergency services. I looked across to Lainie as Chris began to sway on his chair, losing consciousness.
‘Lainie,’ I hissed. ‘Lainie, stop it! You’re going to kill him.’
Something changed in her in that moment, snapping her back to herself and she gasped. The tension recoiled, her power dimming until Chris gasped and grabbed the edge of the table. His arms were shaking, his breathing harsh and fast. Nevada rushed over to him, dropping the phone in her haste and she lowered herself to his level. As she fussed over him and he regained his breath, I used my power of time manipulation to stand and move to the phone on the other side of the room. I bent, lifting it to my ear before time snapped back into its rightful place.
‘Hello? Hello, Mrs Glass?’ the operator said, their voice a monotone.
‘This is Iris Glass,’ I replied. ‘The situation has been worked out. I apologise for the inconvenience.’ The operator’s voice filled the receiver but I hung up and placed the phone aside, leaving it on the bench. When I turned back to Chris and Nevada, Lainie was gone. Meanwhile Nevada was still at Chris’ side, his skin having regained its colour.
‘You need to go to a doctor,’ she insisted. He waved her off.
‘Nonsense,’ he said. ‘I just choked.’
‘You weren’t eating anything,’ she pointed out.
‘You don’t need to be eating to choke,’ he countered. ‘Look, it’s fine. If it happens again I will go to the doctor, okay?’ Her lips pressed together in a thin line but she nodded reluctantly.
‘Fine,’ she huffed. ‘But if you choke again, you’re calling your own ambulance.’ Chris cracked a grin, seeing through her false bravado. I couldn’t stay any longer while they got sappy with each other, and so I left. I walked outside and stood on the porch, breathing in the scent of the ocean. It was particularly strong, a sign I had learnt over the past month that Amphitrite was near. I stretched as I walked along, the floorboards weathered and creaky under my feet. When I rounded the porch and was facing the backyard, I stopped walking and looked down at where Lainie was bundled.
Her legs were drawn to her chest, hair spilling over her shoulders and onto her knees. With her back against the wall, her head was tilted down. Around us the wind began to blow gently, in a way that enabled her salty scent to waft toward me. She had definitely changed. She looked up as I approached, the floorboards creaking as I sat to her left. With my arms on my knees, I pulled the dress down to cover my crossed legs. Red rimmed her eyes as she watched me, my fingers toying with some loose threads along the seams of my dress.
‘I really didn’t mean to,’ she whispered. Heartbreak echoed in her voice, making her seem lonely. I placed my arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. She was my sister, as beautiful as ever even if she had changed. She had just lost her temper, that was all. I nodded with understanding.
‘I realise that,’ I told her. ‘Don’t worry, he’ll be okay. You will, too, so long as we try different methods of controlling our powers while we’re angry.’She shook in my arms, the shock of the situation laying into her like a sucker punch at full strength. Sympathy ran through me and I smoothed her hair, its frayed strands messed around from her haste. In areas it was darker than I remembered, but that wasn’t surprising given she now spent so much time in the ocean. She was nowhere near the sister I remembered, she had changed so dramatically. She took a deep breath, as though preparing herself for something and turned to face me.
‘How has Ryker been since I left?’ she asked, eyes wide and hopeful. I knew what she wanted from him, to be saddened by her sudden disappearance and demand that she come home, but if anything he had flourished in his relationship with not-so-new girl, Isabella. After somehow being burned alive in our school’s pool, Isabella was still recovering from her injuries, but her flaws had only made Ryker love her more. I was surprised Starden was still with my sister after knowing how in love she was with Ryker, understanding that she was only using him to lure Ryker’s jealous side. It hadn’t worked, but it didn’t stop her from letting Starden loose.
Some things never change, I reminded myself, confused as to whether to be relieved that my sister was still slightly the same, or annoyed that she was ruining Starden’s life for her own greed. I bit my lip and looked up at her, fiddling with my fingers as I thought about how to answer her. If I told her he missed her, she would do anything to get rid of Isabella. Yet if I told her he didn’t, it would start World War III and being yelled at for jealousy. Eventually, though, my silence answered for me and she groaned, casting her gaze to the porch overhead.
‘And Starden?’ she prompted. I knew she would ask about him next, her secondary option. I shrugged and pulled at some lint that had stuck to my clothes.
‘Same as the day you left,’ I told her, knowing very well that she would understand. He was so head over heels that the thought of going a day without her brought him to his knees. He had been showing up on rare occasions around town, appearing to be the closest thing to a real life zombie if ever I saw one. She bit her lip, and I knew she was considering how wrong it was to continue leading him on. In a single moment, though, her face smoothed of any sad thoughts and she turned to me with a brilliant smile.
‘I know how to get Ryker,’ she half-shouted. She jumped to her feet and began walking around to the front steps. I rushed after her, barely making it to her before she crossed the street in the direction of the docks. I grabbed her arm and spun her to face me, the force leaving fingerprints on her skin.
‘I know that you still have feelings for him,’ I told her, ‘but you can’t continue meddling in his life and ruining Starden’s! It’s not fair on either of them, and it’s not fair on you! Let him go! Can’t you just accept that he has Isabella?’ She narrowed her eyes, teeth bared menacingly. Thunder rumbled in the clear blue skies and a cold wind whipped against me, barely even touching her. I locked my muscles and stood my ground.
She bristled. ‘NO! I won’t let him go! Don’t you see how much I’ve put into getting him back, from her? Don’t you see how much of a waste of time she is? She is scarred for life - literally - while I am beauty incarnate. Why would I let him ruin his life by deciding to be with such a disgusting thing?’
I narrowed my eyes at her, using my power of time manipulation to cancel out the breeze she’d cast. ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You might not see it, but everyone else does. He is perfectly happy loving a scarred girl, and in my opinion that is love in its truest form! He isn’t with her for her looks, her popularity or her money! He is in love!’ Lainie threw up her hands and stalked past. I refused to allow her to leave so early though. ‘How do you think Starden feels? He knows you’re using him, and for what? Just to dump him in favour for someone else later on? Come on, Lainie! Where is your humanity?’
She turned on her heel and glared at me, pushing me back by my shoulders with both hands. ‘Humanity? Humanity? Do you really want to talk about humanity? Well, here’s some news sister: we are not human. Not completely, at least. We turn into mythological creatures, for Christ’s sake! We have no real concept of so-called “humanity!” You’re only kidding yourself if you think there is. No, this is our life. Life’s not meant to be fair, so we have to try and make our own happiness. My love is Ryker, but I stay with Starden because when I feel empty inside, connecting with him is the only way I can feel some semblance of happiness. I can’t let Starden go before I have Ryker, because I know I won’t be able to cope with the loneliness, the pain. I can’t!’
Silence fell between us, interrupted only by the slight calls of seagulls and the occasional boat that crept through the waters. Eventually Lainie seemed to calm slightly, easing her powers away from the skies, the wind and the seas. Her power of persuasion was terrifying, but with my power of time manipulation I knew I was strong enough to cancel out anything she threw at me. Still, it did very little to calm the nervousness I felt flying through me, a sensation similar to the dread of butterflies in one’s stomach.
‘Lainie, I-’ I started but trailed off as laughter filled the air. A sparkling sailboat crawled alongside the docks, but didn’t stop at one as it glided by. It was chillingly similar to the boat Lainie and I had been on only a few months ago. One that had been targeted by Poseidon in an attempt to persuade Cronus into believing that Lainie and I meant nothing to him but only succeeded in putting us in hospital and our family in danger. I shuddered, a cool chill tracing its freezing fingertips down my spine.
The boat came closer until it was almost aligned with the docks where Lainie and I stood, revealing four people that neither Lainie nor I really needed or wanted to see. Music blared and sun tans were in the process as Isabella and another blonde girl our age baked on the decking. Ryker had bent over Isabella, her burns in full view as she lay there, his hands massaging her back as he applied tanning lotion to her. When I saw the fourth person - tall, dark and handsome - sitting beside the blonde, my heart gave a small and painful thump.
Xanthias had his eyes shut, bare and pale chest in full view as he kept below the shade of an umbrella. The blonde gave another shrill laugh and punched his side playfully, earning another painful jolt in my heart.
Xanthias and I hadn’t spoken in the time that Lainie had left with Poseidon and Amphitrite. He and I had kissed on the evening that Cronus had chosen to harm our family, shortly after he had almost been killed by Cronus’ hell hound in an attempt to save me. Ever since, I had only seen him a handful of times, and never alone. He always turned away first, fleeing my presence as though I was poison. These days, I wondered if I really was.
‘IRIS! LAINIE! HELLO!’ Isabella had spotted us, pulling away her sunglasses so she could meet our gazes with a wide smile. She waved dramatically, swinging her arm over her head. Her sudden yell drew the attention of the others, earning Lainie a cold shoulder from Ryker and an icy glare from Xanthias. He tapped the glass window behind his head and yelled something I couldn’t hear, then the sail boat groaned and picked up speed. I gave Isabella a small wave as the boat sailed away.
‘How’s lover boy?’ Lainie asked, knowing very well the situation due to our unwelcome reception. I shrugged.
‘As you said,’ I pointed out, ‘life’s not meant to be fair.’