Anastasia sighed as she rolled out of bed. After the silent exchange with Viktor, she’d try not to draw attention to herself. The factory was abuzz with chatter about Viktor and the party once the day had gone back to normal. She just couldn’t bring herself to be as excited about the party as the others were. With all she had endured over the course of the war, a party just didn’t hold the same charm it once had for her. She greeted the others on her way out as she trudged to the bus stop. Always the same cycle. She yearned for the days when she attended parties with her husband, sister, and brother-in-law. She yearned to have her Andrei back with her. What she wouldn’t give to feel his arms around her again. She always felt safe there. She shook the thoughts from her head as the bus pulled up to the stop.
The girls in the factory were all talking about the party again today. Tanya was back on wondering how she attend the party on Viktor’s arm. He hadn’t been seen in the factory since the incident, but Anastasia had an inkling that he was probably somewhere in the building. Lana had kept to herself; Anastasia wondered if she was worried someone would out her for almost killing Tanya. The days she worked always went by so slowly, but at least it kept her busy. It gave her less time to dwell on how much her life has changed.
They all turned to look at the man who had just entered the room. Chief Director Stepanov was standing there, surveying everyone in the room. No one made a single sound. They all waited to see what he was going to say. Anastasia figured it had to be about the party and all the rumors going around.
He smiled at each of us. “I’m sure you know by now that in next week, I’ll be hosting an all-day party. My son, Viktor, needs a companion for the party, and I think one of you’d would be perfect for the job.”
The girls started whispering to each other. Tanya leaned over and whispered excitedly to Anastasia. “I’ll get my chance to attend the party!”
Anastasia smiled and shook her head at her friend. She didn’t bother getting her hopes up over the news. There were other girls in the factory much prettier than she was, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to spend the day in a man’s company. Wouldn’t that be a betrayal to Andrei? Wouldn’t that be too soon after his death? She’d let the other girls have their fun.
“In three days’ time, Viktor will announce who he has chosen to accompany him to the party. Now, while I know you are all excited, I still expect you to get your work done in a timely fashion. There will be no delays in our production. Do I make myself clear?”
The girls all answered in acknowledgement.
After Chief Director Stepanov left, the noise level of the factory rose as everyone talked about the announcement. Anastasia noticed that the only woman who seemed uninterested in the announcement was Lana. She went right back to work, ignoring all the chatter going on around her.
Assistant Director Yakov shouted above the noise. “Back to work, now! I don’t want to hear a peep out of you. I want to see you all working.”
Anastasia’s lips twitched up when she saw Tanya rolls her eyes before getting back to work. She felt eyes watching her, but as she glanced around, she didn’t see anyone looking her way. Her nerves flared up, and unease twisted her insides. She just hoped that it wasn’t Yakov. She knew she had put a target on her back with him yesterday, so she needed to keep her distance if she wanted to keep her job at the factory.
As the end of her workday neared, Anastasia observed Viktor as she walked around the factory watching as her coworkers finished up their daily tasks. When their eyes met, she dropped her head and cleaned up her work area. As soon as she was done, she headed right for the door, ready to head home.
Ahead of her was the lonely figure of Lana. Without thinking, Anastasia sped up to match Lana’s stride.
“Why did you do it?” The question left her lips before she even had the chance to stop herself.
Lana kept walking, not even acknowledging her new travel companion. The two walked in silence for some time.
When Lana realized that Anastasia wasn’t going to give this up, she sighed, sour look ever present on her face. “She’s too naïve, doesn’t understand what the war has done to some of us. Life’s just a fairytale to her.”
Anastasia lets her words soak in. “I know it seems that way, but she’s suffered more than you realize.”
Lana scoffed. “If you say so.”
Stamping down the urge to roll her eyes, Anastasia continued. “She lost all her brothers in the war. The shock of it killed it her mom, too. She’s working her to help support her and her father.” Anastasia’s thoughts wandered to her sister Katya for a moment. “I think that cheerfulness is the only thing that gets her through the day sometimes.”
Lana was silent, her features softening. For a moment, Anastasia thought she’d broken through to Lana.
The sour expression set itself back, and Lana responded, “We’ve all made our sacrifices for the war.” She speeds off, cutting off any reply Anastasia could make.
Anastasia sighed, something she felt she did a lot of lately. She waited for the bus to arrive, thinking over the events of the day. She’s exhausted by the time she walks through the door. After a small meal of rations, she readied herself for bed.
Odd dreams plagued her. Pieces of scenes played through her head. She danced with Viktor at a party, her dress the same as the one she saw in the shop. When she looked back up at Viktor, Andrei stood in his place.
Anastasia woke up in a cold sweat. She wasn’t sure what the dreams meant, but it left her with a sense of great unease.
About the Book
When life already seems bleak, the Russians send her deeper into Siberia.Aircraft mechanic Katya Morozov longs for her beloved Mikhail, a Russian naval officer, to return from war. But when an unwanted work assignment takes her far from her home into remote Siberia, Katya faces threats—perhaps because she and her father were engaged in covert protection for persecuted Christians.
A chance encounter with charming test pilot, Yuri Sokolov, turns into more than a passing acquaintance…igniting the flames of a conflict between Katya’s faithfulness to Mikhail and her growing attraction to the enigmatic pilot. Will messages from a mysterious woman in the woods give her the wisdom and strength she needs?
Yuri, who has hidden battles of his own, must likewise make a decision—does he follow his dreams or pursue the lovely mechanic who has captured his heart?
To Love a Falcon, a retelling of the Russian fairy tale “Finist the Falcon,” takes readers into the intrigues of Russian operatives, the stark landscape of Siberian winters, and the courage of those who risk death for faith and love.
About the Author
Nancy C. Williams grew up on “Nancy Drew” books…and occasionally still tells people her middle name is “Drew,” just to get their reaction. Following in the steps of the intrepid sleuth, Williams is an adventure enthusiast who loves hiking, snow-skiing, taking photos, sharing a good laugh, and enjoying a good mystery. She’s a history buff, too, with an affinity for antiques and fascinating stories from the past. These days, blogs and novels are at the top of her “fun stuff to-do” list. She’s serious, though, about serving Jesus Christ…as a prayer warrior and writing for God’s glory, striving to encourage others on their spiritual journeys. When she’s not writing, look for her on the Appalachian Mountain trails with her beloved husband and mini-schnauzer.