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Turbulence, p.19

Turbulence, page 19



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  A time for no regrets.

  Vaguely she felt him shift position and heard a nearby drawer open, but she was too caught up in the sensation of his hand against her breast for her to think about what he might be doing.

  A heartbeat later, his hips settled against hers and he slid home. She met his every move, his every thrust, until they’d established a rhythm that began slow and sure, then escalated to an urgency that carried her to heights she’d never experienced before.

  Hanging on to the remnants of her control, she arched to meet him at the same instant he shuddered with his release. A swirl of heat and pleasure surrounded her as she slowly drifted back to earth.

  MICKY WASN’T SURPRISED when Dana immediately fell into a deep sleep. She’d been utterly exhausted before they’d come to his house and she’d clearly spent her last reserves of energy. He was running low on steam himself and it took sheer determination to straighten the twisted top sheet and pull it over them.

  It wasn’t cold in the room by any means. Dana’s skin still reflected an afterglow that gave him immense satisfaction. In fact, he was sure he’d find scorch marks on the mattress in the morning, but no matter how warm they had been and still were, he thought she’d prefer being covered when day broke.

  Of course, he’d prefer otherwise. Watching her sleep, seeing the steady rise and fall of her breasts with each breath she took was a new experience for him. Normally he didn’t linger in his date’s bed, but he could no more tear himself away from Dana than he could purposely crash his plane.

  Gazing down at her, he maneuvered their bodies so that her head rested comfortably on his shoulder. At least, he thought she was comfortable. She mumbled something, nuzzled her nose against his skin, then smiled. A second later, she edged her knee across his thigh and sighed.

  Oh, yeah. She was comfortable all right.

  He’d always been a morning person, and welcoming the dawn with Dana in his arms would make it extra special. Just as he’d known from his first flight that he was hooked, he knew from this encounter that he wanted to wake up with her more than once or twice.

  He inhaled her scent and let his fingers enjoy the softness of her skin. It had been a dream come true to hear her say that she wanted him as much as he wanted her. Where they went from here was still a big question, but one thing was certain. Dana was fire to his kindling.

  No one, not even Jillian, had come close to creating the same fire that he and Dana had created. He’d be a fool to think there was another woman out there who could do the same.

  Tentatively he tried on the idea of seeing Dana on a regular basis, of eventually adding the responsibility of the wife and family he’d once dreamed of to his already full life. The image still fit tight, but not enough to send him running in the opposite direction.

  His thoughts traveled beyond the next few days. He wanted to show her autumn in Texas, when the trees dropped their leaves and the air carried a hint of wood smoke from October bonfires.

  He pictured her bundled in a coat, her skin kissed by the frigid air as snow fell on his parents’ ranch. He looked forward to watching her experience spring in Texas, when the grass turned green and the breeze turned warm.

  But what did he have to offer her? Although his accountant was pleased that the Flynn Charter Service ledger for most months showed black figures instead of red, he was a man who worked long hours to make that happen. Would she be satisfied with a life where they were apart more than they were together?

  Wait and see, his conscience advised him.

  He would, he decided. He’d rushed into his relationship with Jillian and look where it had ended. A pilot didn’t just hop in his plane and take off; he made preparations and conducted preflights to be certain that everything would work without a hitch. To ignore those rules as they pertained to his personal life spelled disaster.

  Now wasn’t the time for life-changing decisions, though. It was too easy to make a wrong choice when emotions and feelings ran high, and he couldn’t imagine them running higher than right after mind-blowing sex.

  It wasn’t sex, he corrected himself. They’d made love, and to call this experience by any other name would cheapen it.

  For now, he’d enjoy the treasure in his arms and in his bed and not think beyond the immediate. Later, when life in Turning Point turned back to normal, he could figure out what direction to take.


  Dana groggily acknowledged the pain before she shifted her head to ease the cramp. Funny thing, but her pillow seemed rather hard, and as she bumped her forehead against a bony chin, she realized why.

  Micky had been her pillow.

  “Hey, there, sleepyhead,” he said with humor in his voice.

  “You’re awake.”

  “Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed,” he returned cheerfully.

  She moaned. “Oh, God. You’re one of those.”

  “One of what?”

  “Those hopelessly happy morning people.”

  His chest rumbled with his chuckle. “You’re not, I take it.”

  “Not until I’ve had a couple of cups of coffee. I don’t suppose the electricity is back on yet?”

  “Sorry. We’ll have to go to the school gym or the command center.”

  The pinkish hues of daylight streaming through his bedroom window suddenly registered on her foggy brain. Holding the sheet to her breasts, she bolted upright. “What time is it?”


  “Damn! We were only supposed to be here a few hours. What will Mitch think?” She almost scrambled out of bed to find her clothes, but realized she’d have to give up her sheet and she felt too self-conscious to do that.

  “He’ll think that you got a good night’s sleep when he sees how great you look this morning.”

  Warmth stole across her face. He knew as well as she did that if she appeared more alive this morning than ever, it wasn’t due to hours spent snoozing. Once they’d started, they simply hadn’t been able to satiate their need for each other, and so, by unspoken agreement, they’d worked on depleting Micky’s supply of condoms. Technically they’d only used three, maybe four, but each time had been as powerful as the one before.

  Her body was definitely tuned in to his frequency.

  “We should report for duty,” she said.

  He slid the sheet down to her waist, then leaned over her to kiss her breast. “We should.”

  A rush of desire ran through her and she melted inside. “We’ll be late.”

  “We’re already late,” he pointed out before he gave her other breast equal attention.

  She couldn’t stop her body’s response. It seemed pointless anyway, since this could easily be the last time they’d be alone.

  “We are, aren’t we?” she asked, already primed to receive him as he rolled her on top of him. “Another few minutes won’t matter.”

  “Now, darlin’,” he drawled. “I’m hoping for more than a few minutes.”

  She nibbled on his ear lobe, pleased to hear his grunt of pleasure as she took him inside her. “Then we should take this slow and easy?”

  He closed his eyes and groaned as she demonstrated. “Yeah. Just like that.”

  “Ah, so you like my plan of action?”

  He caressed her body until she thought she’d spontaneously combust. “I wouldn’t change a thing.”


  MICKY WATCHED DANA as she and Florence inventoried their stock of medical supplies. It had only been a few hours since they’d dragged themselves away from his house.

  When they’d arrived at the station, they were relieved to discover that Jesse Boone and Amy Sherwood had shown up shortly after Micky left with Dana. Dana had felt guilty about being gone so long, but when they learned that Amy had been called back to Courage Bay for a family emergency, Micky assured her she’d be doing the work of two now.

  Dana had replaced her torn and wilted uniform for a clean one, and looking at her across the room now sent a fres
h wave of desire bursting through Micky. He’d never felt this way about anyone before, not even Jillian, and he’d been close to marrying her. In the light of day, the strength of his desire for Dana was almost frightening, but he couldn’t deny it.

  As a man who thrived on adventure, Micky loved charting new territory. Once he had, he appreciated the results of his efforts, but the rewards simply didn’t hold the same fascination as the quest.

  This time, it was different.

  Dana was different.

  He’d suspected a fire would blaze between them, but he’d thought it would burn brightly for a while and then gradually die. Never had he imagined that his need for her would grow stronger with each encounter. When he hadn’t been making love to her, he’d been dreaming about it. Just when he thought it couldn’t get any better, it had.

  It worried him that he felt this way about her until he realized that their circumstances had played a huge role in their hunger for each other. They’d barely been out of each other’s sight since Tuesday morning, and together they’d survived life threatening situations. But Micky knew that once life settled back into its normal routine again, the bond they’d forged would gradually weaken and they would drift apart.

  No other woman would ever compare to Dana, but the best thing to do was to enjoy the days they had, then move on. He couldn’t lose sight of the fact or forget that this was nothing more than one of those idyllic weeks that he would remember for the rest of his life.

  You really don’t believe that, do you?

  No, he admitted. The best thing wouldn’t be to simply enjoy the time they had left together. The best thing would be if Dana stayed for longer than a few days, because he hated the thought of her leaving.

  “Good news, people.” Mitch stood in the doorway of the first-aid station, his face wreathed in a giant smile. “For those of you who don’t know, I heard from Cheryl Tierney last night. She’s fine.”

  Micky saw Dana’s relief. “Did she say what happened?” Dana asked.

  “Details were sketchy because we didn’t have a good connection, but apparently our local vet, Noah Arkin, saved her.”

  “Thank God,” she breathed as she grabbed Micky in her excitement to hug him. “Isn’t that wonderful?”

  If Mitch had raised his eyebrows over her reaction, Micky didn’t notice. He only had eyes for Dana. “Fantastic,” he said.

  “What about Nate?” she asked.

  Mitch managed a grin. “My gut says he and Jolene are okay. He’d better be, otherwise Dan will have my hide.”

  Dana laughed. “He will at that.” After giving Micky a smile that raised his blood pressure, she returned to help Flo with the inventory.

  Micky felt Mitch’s gaze rake over him. “It appears you two worked out your differences,” the older man commented.

  “You could say that.”

  “I doubt if I can justify keeping her here past Saturday. Sunday at the latest, depending on the flights out of Corpus.”

  Today was Thursday. He had two or three days to work Dana out of his system. Somehow, he didn’t think forty-eight to seventy-two hours would be long enough.

  “Her chief’s already threatened me with bodily injury if I steal any of his people away from him.”

  “Oh, yeah?”

  Mitch nodded. “But then I think I could take him on. To have Dana in the county would be worth it, wouldn’t you agree?”

  Micky couldn’t ask her to stay for him, but if Mitch did…“Absolutely.”

  “Then again, a woman like her isn’t the sort who’d relocate on a whim.”

  “No, she isn’t,” Micky agreed.

  “She’d need a job. Not much call for a full-time fireman in Turning Point, though.” Mitch stroked his chin. “Although there are towns nearby that might have openings. Do you think she’d be interested in making a permanent change?”

  “You’d have to ask her,” Micky said. He and Dana hadn’t actually talked a lot last night, but he didn’t intend to share that with the fire chief.

  A commotion down the hallway drew his attention. To his surprise, Sam’s mother and a man Micky didn’t recognize stormed toward him—Crystal’s current love interest, Micky suspected. The fury on her face was directed at Micky, although he couldn’t understand why.

  “You.” Crystal pointed her finger at him, eyes blazing. “What have you done with my son?”

  “OH, DEAR.” Flo shook her head as she stared at the group standing near the door.

  “Who is she?” Dana asked, studying the blonde in tight-fitting capri pants and a spandex top that revealed every voluptuous curve.

  “Sam Brewster’s mother, Crystal. She’s one of those women who’s always chasing after a dream, except Sam’s the one who suffers when things don’t pan out.” Flo shook her head. “It’s a blessing she only has one child, but between you, me and the fence post, she doesn’t deserve him. From the looks of things, you’d better get over there to help Mitch keep Micky from blowing a gasket.”

  It was obvious as Dana hurried to obey that Micky indeed was boiling inside and struggling to contain himself. Micky and Crystal were too deep in their discussion to notice she’d joined them.

  “I don’t know where you got the idea that I had anything to do with Sam’s disappearance,” he said.

  “You must have,” Crystal insisted. “Sam’s always talking about you. How Micky says this or Micky says that. You’re the reason why he doesn’t want to leave Turning Point. Didn’t he say anything to you last night?”

  “I haven’t seen him since before supper,” Micky said. “He didn’t act like he had anything on his mind then.”

  “I told about our plans around eight. When he didn’t come back to the gym to sleep at ten, I assumed he was with you.” She glared at him. “Again.”

  “What’s wrong?” Dana asked.

  Micky faced her. “Sam’s disappeared.”

  “Oh, no. How?”

  “He ran off,” Crystal snapped. “That’s how. And it’s all because that child refuses to leave town. I finally got my lucky break to sing in Nashville and Sam is digging in his heels. It’s okay with me if he doesn’t want to go, but he also refuses to live with my aunt.”

  It all made sense. “So he ran away.”

  “He’s just hiding to aggravate me,” Crystal retorted. “And I’m sure that Micky knows exactly where he is.”

  “I do not.” Dana could almost hear Micky grind his teeth as he spoke.

  “Did you check with his friends?” Mitch asked.

  “Of course I did. No one’s seen him.”

  “And he isn’t at home.”

  Crystal rolled her mascara-rimmed eyes. “I’ve already gone through the place. When I find him, he’s going to be in big trouble. George, here—” she smiled at the fellow beside her “—wants to be on the road by five o’clock, and if I miss this opportunity…”

  Dana looked at George. A short, stocky man in a cowboy hat with a rhinestone belt buckle and beady black eyes in an otherwise striking face, he didn’t appear particularly concerned by the eleven-year-old’s disappearance. Dana would almost bet that the opportunity he had waiting for Crystal wasn’t the lucky break she was expecting.

  Crystal turned to Mitch. “I want you to send out a search party.”

  “That’s a job for the police, not the fire department,” Mitch answered calmly. “Have you reported him missing?”

  “I thought he was with Micky,” she reminded him. “If he’s not here, then he’s probably at Micky’s hangar.”

  “It’s locked,” Micky told her. “He couldn’t get in.”

  For the first time since she’d stormed into the room, Crystal appeared uncertain. “He couldn’t?”

  Micky shook his head. “Everything’s padlocked and I have the only key.”

  “He could climb the fence.”

  “Not with barbed wire at the top.”

  Crystal burst into tears, although Dana didn’t know if she wept over the possible loss
of her son or her singing opportunity. “Then where is he? I was so sure he was with you or that you knew where he went.”

  Micky exchanged a worried glance with Dana. “I’m sorry, but I didn’t know he was missing. And when I spoke to him early last night, he didn’t say a word about going anywhere other than the school.”

  Crystal took the white handkerchief that George pressed into her hand and dabbed her eyes. “Why can’t he understand that all I want is to make a better life for the both of us?”

  Dead silence fell. Either words failed everyone, or no one believed her. Dana suspected it was the latter.

  “Maybe you should talk to the police,” she interjected. “I’m sure Mitch will let Micky look for him.” She raised a brow at Mitch, who nodded.

  Crystal blew her nose loudly. “All right.” She sniffled. “I’ll talk to the cops. If you find Sam, I’ll be at home.”

  She turned and walked out with George.

  “That woman,” Micky fumed. “The best thing for Sam would be to run away.”

  Dana watched the pair disappear down the hallway. “I think she’s sincere about bettering her life—” Micky scoffed, but she continued as if he hadn’t interrupted, “But she obviously doesn’t show good judgment.”

  “It doesn’t matter how sincere she is,” Micky stated firmly. “Sam is gone and I have to find him.”

  Dana wondered if he realized how telling it was for him to insist on locating the boy himself. Whether Micky admitted it or not, Sam meant a great deal to him.

  Flo joined their small circle. “Dana should go, too. Sam isn’t the type of kid to just disappear. He might have needed a cooling-off period once his mother told him about packing up for Nashville, but he wouldn’t stay away all night unless he was in trouble.”

  Micky nodded. “I agree. Sam probably went somewhere to think, but to not come home last night or this morning…” His voice trailed off.

  Dana glanced at Mitch for his approval. “Go ahead,” he told her. “Flo should be able to handle things here until you get back. Otherwise, I’ll call you.”

  Minutes later, Dana climbed into Micky’s truck with the medical kit that she and Flo had restocked from their supplies. “Any ideas on where he might have gone?”

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