Nova (The Renegades #2)

By: Rebecca Yarros

To Chase—

There is nothing better in this world than hearing you laugh…

Except maybe seeing you smile or squeezing you tight.

You are a gift for which I am eternally grateful.





Chapter One

Landon

Dubai

This place was surreal, a tiny slice of winter inside an eternal summer. Lights shone down, making the man-made snow inside Ski Dubai glitter, and giving me a twinge of longing for the crisp, clear skies over the Colorado Rockies. Aspen would be opening later this month, but we were half a world away in the Middle East and weren’t even due back stateside until Christmas.

I caught sight of the cameraman coming down the slope behind me and increased my speed. Most days I had no problem with cameras in my face 24-7, but today it was pissing me off. Maybe it was because we’d just finished our live show a couple of days ago, or maybe it was everything that happened—the incident that had nearly killed one of my best friends and put another one into police custody. Hell, maybe it was the inability to so much as piss without the cameras following me into the bathroom, but I just wanted a few moments to myself.

Shifting my weight, I took the curve along the run, careful to watch the bite against my snowboard as I hit the icy patch just off the edge of the lift track. The entire run took me a matter of seconds, and it sure as hell wasn’t going to help me prep for Nepal, but it was better than nothing, especially considering it was ninety degrees outside.

“I almost forgot how fast you are,” Paxton said as he skidded to a stop next to me.

“I’ve practiced a few times this week. I’m not as rusty as I feared.” I shrugged. We’d been docked in Dubai with our Study at Sea program for the last five days, and I’d been here almost every day. It had been my only opportunity to use my snowboard since we left Miami three months ago, and there was no chance in hell that I was passing it up.

“Want to go again?” Pax nodded toward the lift as the cameraman finally made it to the bottom of the run. Good thing we’d be doing most of the Nepal filming from the helicopter and GoPros, because this guy was never going to be able to keep up with me.

“How much time do we have?”

He lifted his jacket sleeve and checked his watch. “About an hour. Enough time to get in another run. Leah starts to freak if we’re not on board two hours before departure, so this has to be my last one.”

“Yeah, well, that’s what happens when you’re busy making out with your girlfriend in Istanbul and miss the ship.”

A slow smile spread across my best friend’s face. “Yeah, well, it was more than worth it. What do you say? One more?”

I looked up the hill at the separate runs Ski Dubai offered and nodded. “Yeah, may as well, right? I’m not getting this chance again for a few weeks.”

We headed over to the short lift line and waited our turn, sticking out like sore thumbs in our custom gear against the rented navy and red suits everyone else wore.

I was more than aware of the camera behind us but did my best to ignore it. This whole documentary—International Waters—was for Nick, and nine months of having a camera in my face was nothing compared to the rest of his life in that wheelchair. The movie would carry his name with equal billing as the rest of us Originals—those who had started the Renegades—and would put him on the map with his phenomenal ramp designs and stunt setups. So cameras it was.

“Hey, Nova,” a girl ahead of us said with a soft sigh in my direction.

“Hey, princess,” I answered with a wink. “You having fun?” I ran her face through my mental black book, wondering if I’d ever hooked up with her.

I felt the strength of Paxton’s eye roll next to me. He hated my habit—and had no problem voicing that opinion.

“Oh yeah! It’s nice to have a little something cold to bundle up for. It’s been so hot everywhere else we’ve been, right?” The blue-eyed girl batted her overly made-up eyes at me.

“It has,” I said. She’s on the ship with us.

“Well, it’s good snuggling weather,” she said with a bite of her lower lip, then waved as she got on the lift ahead of us.

“Don’t start,” I warned Paxton when I saw his mouth open.

He shook his head, and we walked forward for our turn.

“I got the confirmations on the Nepal trip,” he told me as we sat on the lift chair.

“Yeah? It actually worked out with the school stuff?” We’d been trying to set up a ski trip to get some snow time in preparation, but since we’d been everywhere around the Mediterranean and Africa the last three months, there hadn’t been a lot of opportunities for the white, fluffy stuff.

Our trip to Nepal—the one ride I was focused on for the documentary—all hinged on our school schedule, just like everything else this year.

The chair jolted forward, and we were on our way up the man-made incline.

“It comes during the week of the optional shore excursion. So it’ll cost us a week in India, but we’ll swing it. We have ten days total, and we’ll have to write papers on it to make up for the lost cultural excursions.”