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Laynie Portland, Retired Spy

By Vikki Kestell


Laynie Portland has masqueraded as Swedish citizen Linnéa Olander for close to two decades, the last seven years as the companion of Vassili Aleksandrovich Petroff, a reputable Russian scientist, former officer of the KGB and, at present, senior technology advisor to the Secretary of the Russian Federation’s Security Council. What Petroff doesn’t know is that, during her time as his woman, Laynie (Linnéa) has ferreted out and fed her handlers a treasure trove of political and technological intel.

Living with Petroff has been difficult, lonely, even brutal: Petroff is a man with a pathological need to control every aspect of Laynie’s life. As Petroff’s jealous rages worsen, Laynie petitions her agency to pull her out. She is told, however, that she is too well-placed to decommission; she is too valuable an asset where she is.

But Laynie is desperate: She knows how close to the edge she stands. She has acted the part of Linnéa Olander too long and her ability to maintain the façade she presents to Petroff is fragile at best. A single misstep could blow her cover—yet she soon learns that someone, someone in her chain of command, would rather risk her death under Petroff’s hand than lose the value and prestige her intel engenders.

Faced with no viable alternative, Laynie runs.

Petroff views Linnéa Olander’s disappearance as a personal affront. In his eyes, Linnéa’s disloyalty is the ultimate act of betrayal, and he swears to find and punish her. Simultaneously, Laynie’s Marstead superiors brand her as a rogue agent, a loose cannon who can no longer be trusted—and, in response, the “retirement package” they order for her includes a short walk off the deck of a ferry into the black, icy rollers of the Baltic Sea.

Pursued by both the Russians and her own agency—the very people she once trusted—how will Laynie escape? Will no one help her? Will the God in whom her sister Kari trusts extend his protection over her life?

But why would he do that, Laynie asks herself, given the life I have lived?


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