Winter Soldier by Mackenzi Lee

Winter Soldier by Mackenzi Lee

Author:Mackenzi Lee [Lee, Mackenzie]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Disney Book Group
Published: 2023-02-07T00:00:00+00:00

Rostova guides their chopper into a shaky descent onto a helipad in Longyearbyen, the sky pitch-black and the coast of Svalbard a knuckled smudge. The arctic winds and the helicopter blades raise dusty ice from the snowbanks that line the runway. Rostova cuts the engine, and the whir of the motor is replaced by the sound of the gale battering the sides. Frost is already building up along the windows when V slams his metal arm into the door, wedging it open long enough for both of them to climb out.

As they cross the tarmac, Rostova clamps a hand over her fur hat, pinning it in place. V pulls the hood of his coat farther over his face. The fur lining tickles his cheek. He had assumed Rostova’s insistence on both of them dressing in four layers minimum before they left was old paranoia left over from the battlefield, but they haven’t even made it off the helipad and he is already sure he isn’t wearing enough to keep warm. The wind burns his eyes, but the night is clear enough to see the spill of stars overhead. It feels like it’s been forever since he saw the sky. He’d never felt as close to it as he had tonight, sitting among low clouds in the chopper.

“You’ve flown before,” Rostova had said, laughing as he’d stared down at the snowy fjords, his face so close to the window he had smudged the glass.

“I don’t remember it,” he had replied.

Rostova leads the way to the end of the helipad, where a jeep is parked. The headlights flash in greeting. The tires are thick, their treads clotted with muddy snow. As Rostova tugs at the frozen passenger-side door, the driver leans over the seat and shoves it open for her. V, prepared for his own door to be stuck too, almost rips it off its hinges with his bionic arm.

A gasp of dusty air from the car’s heaters envelops V as he settles into the back. His coat sticks to the fraying leather seat as he slides across it. In front, Rostova strips off her gloves and presses the backs of her hands to the vents.

Beside her, the driver turns the key, and the jeep’s engine coughs to life. “Isn’t there a code phrase we’re meant to exchange before you let me drive you away?”

Rostova rolls her eyes. “If ever you have need of my life,” she says, raising her voice to be heard over the engine.

The driver pulls off her own hood, revealing a mop of curly blond hair and a wide, gap-toothed smile. “Come and take it. You look much better now.” She taps just below her own right eye, mirror to Rostova’s missing one. “You were always cross-eyed before. The patch helps a lot.”

Rostova reaches over the console, wrapping an arm around the driver’s neck and pulling her into a hug. “Good to see you, lapochka.”

“What do I call you now?” The driver throws all her weight behind the gearshift and the jeep rolls forward, snow crunching under the tires.


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