The whole serial story to celebrate To Love a Falcon by Nancy C. Williams can be found here:
- Nancy’s (Part 1)
- Joanne’s (Part 2)
- Denise’s (Part 3)
- Rebekah’s (Part 4)
- Mine (Part 5–here)
- Edwina’s (Part 6 on November 12, 2023)
Thoughts of her wardrobe consumed her as Anastasia worked, ate, walked the many blocks home, and lay in bed staring up at a black ceiling.
All of her fine clothes from “the good years” had long since been reworked into skirts, blouses, or even undergarments. One of her roommates had saved her wedding dress—a lovely white and silver confection that would be far too large for Anastasia. But it could be taken in… Zoya had offered, but she couldn’t do it. If something happened to it… no. She mustn’t.
Even if she chopped up her old but well-preserved velvet coverlet into a decent dress, she’d freeze at night, and for what? One inconsequential party? Then again, Viktor had shown kindness when Yakov would have stripped her of her position. She shouldn’t shame him with a shabby, threadbare dress.
Her hand slid over the coverlet.
Despite the darkness, she could just see the lovely sapphire blue velvet shimmering under the lights at the party. She’d have to make a dress like that last for ages to make the loss of the coverlet worth it. Perhaps she could find another piece of cloth to sew onto the top of the coverlet—something less luxurious and more practical.
Then again, when would she have time to design and sew a party dress? It took days or weeks to make one, especially after working long hours at the factory. She was tired. Maybe Zoya or Irina would have an idea—some way to create something that only required a few stitches to hold it in place. Then she could unstitch it and resew it to her coverlet.
But the next morning, when she laid out that plan, her friends shook their heads. “We aren’t Greeks in ancient times. We can’t just wrap fabric around us and call it a dress.”
They were right, of course. But Zoya had an idea. Both women helped her snip off the top of the coverlet and Zoya rolled it gently and carried it away with her.
The factory buzzed with speculation as to who the chosen woman was, but Tanya had arrived subdued but still pleasant and pleased for her friend. “It’s you, of course. That’s why Assistant Director Yakov took you away yesterday. I should have realized. Congratulations! What will you wear?”
All Anastasia’s frustrations tumbled out, broken up only by repeated apologies for not telling her friend about Viktor Stepanov’s decision. “My roommates and I are trying to make a dress, but all I have is an old coverlet to make them from. Zoya says she has a plan. I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you. I was stunned, and—”
“You saved me! Of course, he chose you. It is the logical choice.” Tanya lowered her voice and worked quickly as the foreman walked past, his eagle eye out for any misbehavior or slacking. “At least I can trust you to pay attention and tell me everything. If Lana had been chosen—not that she would be—then things would be very different. We couldn’t hope to hear anything.”
“Be kind to her, Tanya. She’s hurting just as we all are.”
Yakov rounded the corner, and both women busied themselves to hide their conversation, but when Anastasia looked straight ahead, she saw Lana watching her. Oh, no…
Worse than waiting for the day of the party was not knowing what was happening with her dress. She didn’t have the cloth, which made doing any work on it impossible. Even when she got home from work the night of the party, it wasn’t there. A note on the table told her to bathe, do her hair—everything. She must be ready to step into the dress the moment Zoya walked into the house with it.
With her hair braided, rolled, and pinned up into the most elaborate hairstyle she’d worn in a decade, her underthings on—even her shoes!—Anastasia paced the floor, growing more nervous every minute. Chief Director Stepanov had promised to send a car precisely at seven o’clock. She must be ready and here it was a quarter till!
Zoya breezed in with five minutes to spare, a river of velvet dripping over her arms. “Here, quick! Step into it. I will do up the buttons. If it’s too tight, we can take out a seam. Baba says she put an extra row of stitching in just in case.”
Of course, Zoya had taken it to her baba. Why hadn’t she realized? The woman was legendary with a needle—had been seamstress to some of the most important dignitaries in Russia before the war. Now, she mended to supplement her meager income. Tears threatened. “It’s so—”
“No crying! You’ll spoil your eyes. There… It’s snug, but you can move, can’t you?”
Anastasia twisted, bent, and stretched. “Yes. It is a bit tighter than I’d prefer, but it fits well with the style…” The understatement should have been insulting. Zoya’s baba had draped and stitched the fabric until she looked like a rippling pool in the moonlight. It hurt to even consider covering such a lovely dress with a coat, but she had no choice. She’d be sick from exposure if she didn’t.
With a kiss of thanks to Zoya and Irina both, Anastasia ran down the many flights of stairs to the street, ready to wait for the car. It could be there at any moment, and it wouldn’t do to make the man, whoever he was, wait.
The night air tried to break through her coat’s defenses, but the sturdy wool fought back. Just as a car slowed half a block down, a bicycle raced past, spraying dirty water all over the front of Anastasia’s coat. The cyclist stopped, walked back to apologize and gaped at her.
She opened her mouth, tried to speak, and shook her head as if incapable of responding. The car pulled up and her eyes widened further. Just as the driver stepped out to open a door for her, Lana jumped on her bicycle and raced down the road.
Gone. With destruction in her wake. Again. How would Anastasia ever explain? Should she even go? The dress might have survived the deluge, but she couldn’t walk into a party like this with a filthy coat! Perhaps the driver would relay a message. Perhaps…
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To Love a Falcon by Nancy C. Williams
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.