Kady Winter

Kady Winter is a long-time screenwriter and new novelist. Under this pen name, she writes stories designed to take you on a journey to past and/or faraway lands, where adventures unfold, hearts entwine and magic just might happen.

Kady recently finished her first novel, GOLDEN APPLES, which won the Virginia Romance Writers’ “Fool for Love” contest in the YA category and is one of two finalists in the Orange County Romance Writers’ “Orange Rose” contest, also in the YA category. Since the novel is still some time away from being published, Kady has written a short story, SILVER MOONLIGHT, to give her readers a flavor for her writing. It’s available for free at her web site,www.kadywinter.com.

When Kady’s not writing YA historical fantasy, she’s Lynne Moses, writing screenplays; writing and directing theatre; writing/directing/producing short films and, with her husband, Ben Moses, producing documentaries.  They’re co-founders of the independent film production company Appleseed Entertainment.

GOLDEN APPLES

In pre-Civil War Missouri, 14-year-old Abby Stafford’s heart freezes when she loses her beloved foster family and woodland home in one blow…and rebels when her mystical guardian returns her to the care of her powerful, slave-holding father—who abandoned her at birth.

At 18, she devises a scheme to escape her father’s control. As a newborn, she gained a supernatural ability from a wolf’s dying breath, and now it will help set her free.

But Abby’s plans are thwarted as her heart begins to thaw. Worse, she must refuse the young man she’s melting for—he’s the one who killed her foster brother.

Excerpt

Abby threw herself against a wall, her hands clutching her head. She was in the woods again. She could taste the bitterness of blood in her mouth and smell the damp moss and burned gunpowder. She was clinging to Gil, hearing his last, gurgling breath. Four years of numbness, of building up layers of soft batting around her heart, all vanished in the moment she locked eyes with Harry McKenna—and now she couldn’t breathe.

Harry appeared from around the corner and came striding toward her. “Miss Stafford!”

Abby looked up. He’s so handsome! Time had fleshed out Harry’s gangly limbs. His thighs were now thick and strong, his chest broad. Even as her heart quickened, she cursed herself for admiring anything about the one man she vowed to hate forever.

Determined not to show him any sign of weakness, Abby stood upright and thrust her chin forward, though her lower lip still trembled slightly. “Mr. McKenna.”

Harry slowed as he neared her. “If you will forgive my boldness, I see that you’re as affected by seeing me as I am by seeing you.”

Abby lowered her eyes. She had certainly not expected such direct honesty. In fact, no one ever spoke to her as an equal. The slaves were obligated to be deferential, and thanks to her social status and cool demeanor, so was everyone else. Except her father, of course. I’m clearly his to command as he pleases.

Harry continued, softer now. “I know it was you that day in the woods.”

Abby’s composure dissolved. She looked around desperately for help she couldn’t name. Harry stepped closer.

“Your eyes have haunted me ever since that day. I thought I had gone crazy. Everyone told me it didn’t happen. But it did. You were there. Tell me you remember!”

“Of course I remember.”

Harry threw his head back and cried out. “I knew it!”

Tears welled in Abby’s eyes as she pushed past him, lifting her skirts to flee.

Harry grabbed her arm. “Who was that man? Why was he beating you? Why has no one spoken of his death? You don’t know how these questions have tortured me.”

She stopped, drawn by the chance to finally talk to someone about that terrible day, even if it was the very person who brought her such misery. She stared straight ahead, unwilling to look at him.

“Gilbert was eighteen, but he was no man. What he was, was the sweetest…most innocent creature God ever made.

“What do you mean?”

“He was simple-minded…but gentle as a lamb”

“Then why was he attacking you?”

“He wasn’t attacking me. He was just upset.” Her voice lowered. Speech suddenly took enormous energy. “Our mother—rather, the woman who raised us—had just died.”

Harry hung his head. “Oh, Abby.”

“I was trying to calm him when you killed him.”

He looked up at her, his eyes begging her forgiveness. “I’m so sorry.”

“That’s what you said then too.”

Harry blinked slowly.

“Poteet told everyone his heart had given out; which, in a way, it had,” she added.

“I didn’t know.”

She turned toward him slightly. “I know.”

“But you hate me anyway.”

With a sigh, Abby’s shoulders sagged. “I would, if I could feel anything for you.”

Suddenly feeling depleted, she began to leave again. But after a few steps, turned back toward him. “I’ve learned it’s better I don’t feel anything for anyone.”

As she walked away from Harry, Abby’s heart ached at the realization that for once she had been right and Poteet had been wrong.

After all this time, I still love no one…and no one loves me.

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