Spider and Frost
Author: Jennifer Estep
Publisher: Jennifer Estep
Release Date: September 26, 2023
Series: Elemental Assassin and Mythos Academy crossover novella
Genre: Urban fantasy
“I’m going to kill Finn,” I growled. “Slowly. Deliberately. Painfully. Really take my time. Really make it hurt.”
A disbelieving snort echoed out of my phone, and the woman on the screen shook her head, making her shaggy blond hair fly around her shoulders. Despite my ominous threat, she laughed, which made her blue eyes sparkle and her rosy skin glow.
Detective Bria Coolidge, my baby sister, smiled at me. “As much as I hate to admit it, Gin, the situation isn’t Finn’s fault,” she said. “Not this time—”
Bria’s voice cut off, and she disappeared from the screen. A moment later, a man popped into view, with Bria hovering behind him. With his walnut-brown hair, green eyes, and tan skin, the man was as handsome as my sister was pretty, and the two of them made a striking couple.
Finnegan Lane, my foster brother, peered at me through the phone screen. “You cannot possibly blame this little snafu on me,” he said in an indignant tone. “Like Bria said, it’s not my fault that some sort of rockslide is blocking the road. Or whatever is holding up traffic.”
“No,” I replied. “But it is your fault that I’m stuck here at the train station by myself. You’re the one who told me to go ahead and leave the hotel and that you, Bria, and Owen would meet me here.”
“Hey, don’t blame me because your significant other just had to have blueberry muffins this morning,” Finn replied. “Why, I would say it’s entirely Owen’s fault that you’re at the train station alone. Not mine—”
His voice cut off, and he too disappeared from view, much like Bria had done a minute ago.
When the phone stilled again, another man was staring through the screen at me. The early-morning sunlight brought out the blue highlights in his black hair, as well as his violet eyes and tan skin. His nose was slightly crooked, and a white scar slashed across his chin, but the tiny imperfections only added to his rough, rugged appeal, and I thought he was the handsomest man I’d ever seen. Then again, love could make anyone biased, even a bitter, jaded assassin like me.
Owen Grayson, my significant other, grimaced with guilt. “Finn’s right. I was the one who wanted to get some blueberry muffins from that great little café we ate at yesterday.”
He held his hand up, revealing a large white paper bag dangling from his fingers before slowly lowering it again.
“On the bright side, I got enough muffins for everyone, along with some whipped cream cheese. I know that’s your favorite, Gin.”
Some of my annoyance faded away, and a smile crept across my lips. Blueberry muffins slathered with cream cheese were one of my favorite breakfast treats, and it warmed my heart that Owen had remembered that small fact and gone out of his way to get me said muffins, even if it was keeping us apart right now.
“What am I supposed to do?” I asked. “The train is leaving in fifteen minutes. There’s no way you all will make it to the station by then—”
The loud shriek of a whistle drowned me out.
Bria, Finn, and Owen might currently be stuck on the side of the road, but I was standing smack dab in the middle of the Pine Crest train station. A few days ago, the four of us had left Ashland to take a much-needed vacation and escape the myriad problems and clever criminals that populated our violent, dangerous city.
Finn had had his heart set on exploring Pine Crest, a charming little town tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina that catered to skiers in the winter and tourists in the summer. Distance-wise, Pine Crest wasn’t all that far from Ashland, but in some ways, it might as well have been a completely different realm.
Instead of run-down, graffiti-covered buildings, colorful storefronts filled the downtown area, which boasted everything from cafés and bakeries, to antiques shops and bookstores, to artisan workspaces where you could learn how to blow glass, sculpt clay, and carve wood. In addition to shopping, we’d spent the last three days at the Pine Crest Resort, taking advantage of its luxurious spa and gourmet restaurants. Even though it was late March, a winter storm had recently swept through the area, leaving behind cold temperatures and plenty of snow for some late-season ice skating and sledding.
This morning, we were supposed to take a scenic train ride from Pine Crest over to the nearby town of Cypress Mountain. In addition to the beautiful scenery, the trip also featured a stop at a historic train depot, where lunch would be served.
The train ride was the grand finale of our trip, one last chance to relax before we drove back home to all the usual problems waiting for us in Ashland—demanding underworld bosses, old enemies lurking in the shadows, new rivals rising up and trying to take us down.
Fighting for my life was practically a monthly occurrence for me, Gin Blanco, the notorious assassin the Spider. Now that I had finally defeated Mason Mitchell, my evil uncle and the head of the Circle, the secret society responsible for much of the crime and corruption in Ashland, I was the official, undisputed queen of the city’s underworld. We’d only been gone a few days, but I was sure that a dozen new problems and even more enemies were already waiting for me back home.
But right now, I only had one problem: the fact that I was here, and Bria, Finn, and Owen were stuck elsewhere.
About the Book:
New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Estep delivers an epic team-up featuring beloved characters from her Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series and her Mythos Academy young adult series. This crossover novella, Spider and Frost, mixes magic and mythology in an action-packed adventure. Perfect for fans of Ilona Andrews, Jennifer L. Armentrout, and Rick Riordan.
WHEN AN ASSASSIN . . .
My name is Gin Blanco, and I’m on vacation. Sort of. As the assassin the Spider, it’s hard for me to completely relax, but I’m determined to enjoy a scenic train ride and a nice, quiet lunch before heading back home to Ashland.
My plans change when Gwen Frost boards the train. The girl says she’s heading back to Mythos Academy, the fancy private boarding school, but I can’t shake the feeling that Gwen is hiding something—and is in far more trouble than she realizes.
. . . MEETS A CHAMPION
My name is Gwen Frost. I might have saved the world from Loki, the evil Norse god of chaos, but I’m still chasing down Reaper villains. It’s all part of being the Champion of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory.
I’ve been assigned to protect some mythological artifacts that are being transported via train to Mythos Academy, but some Reapers are hot on my trail, and they’ll do anything to recover the artifacts—and kill me.
Also on the train is Gin Blanco, who claims to be the owner of the Pork Pit barbecue restaurant. My psychometry magic keeps whispering that there’s more to her than meets the eye, although I can’t tell if Gin is a friend, an enemy, or something else entirely.
Note: Spider and Frost is a 28,000-word crossover novella between the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series and the Mythos Academy young adult series. It is told from the points of view of Gin Blanco and Gwen Frost.
Spider and Frost takes place after the events of Last Strand, book 19 in the Elemental Assassin series.
Purchase links (ebook only):
Amazon Kindle: https://amzn.to/3JCF7Zi
Barnes & Noble: https://tinyurl.com/2bd4wjxd
Apple Books: https://apple.co/3wOCps3
Google Play: https://tinyurl.com/3u8het3e
Spider and Frost will be included in the print books of Stings and Stones, an Elemental Assassin short story collection that is coming out in fall 2023.
About the Author:
Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.
Heart Stings, novella #19.5 in her Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series, will be released May 9.
Jennifer is also the author of the Galactic Bonds, Section 47, Crown of Shards, Gargoyle Queen, and other fantasy series. She has written more than 40 books, along with numerous novellas and stories.
In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys hanging out with friends and family, doing yoga, and reading fantasy and romance books. She also watches way too much TV and loves all things related to superheroes.
For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit www.jenniferestep.com or follow Jennifer on Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon, BookBub, and Twitter. You can also sign up for her newsletter.
Author contact links:
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Jennifer_Estep (@Jennifer_Estep)
Newsletter signup: http://www.jenniferestep.com/contact-jennifer/newsletter/