Funding for the expedition ran out weeks ago. Imogene lay in the bitter snow. Her team was gone. The food was gone. She was too weak to move.
But she’d been so close!
She curled into a ball, hot tears fogging her goggles. It was over.
The cold crept into her snowsuit. It bit her fingers. Imogene would let it take her. Better to die a victim of a mystery she could never solve than to live as a failure.
She closed her eyes and waited.
Warmth like nothing she’d felt in months spread over Imogene’s body. That happened with hypothermia. Or perhaps she was already dead.
She opened her eyes and gasped. The room was well-lit. The air smelled of cinnamon and clove. Piles of fur blankets weighed Imogene down. She shoved them off and sat up quickly.
“Careful, dear,” an old man said from the corner. “My wife found you in the snow. Not a safe place to nap, I have to say.”
“Where am I?” Imogene demanded.
He smiled. “My home. My name is Nicholas. I believe, in your own way, you’ve been looking for me.”
Tears sprang to Imogene’s eyes. Her lip trembled. “I have.”