It’s a sunny day. Fluffy white clouds in a blue sky. No turbulence jostles us again. We couldn’t have asked for a better day to fly. It’s perfect, except for the sense of foreboding.
The engine stutters. It’s not precisely wrong, but it’s not precisely right.
“Carter? What’s happening?”
It’s not unprecedented. Engines make noise. They’re mechanical. It happens. I check the gauges. Nothing. It’s a small plane, but top-of-the-line. Well-maintained. I checked it over, tip to tail, when I arrived at Heathrow. Nothing was out of order then.
Nothing should be broken now.
Another stutter. This one’s bigger. Fuck.
The fuel gauge swings down toward empty, ticking by line after line.
My entire spine chills. That’s a malfunction. That’s a fucking problem. We’re dumping fuel on a delay, out over the ocean, almost like…
Someone planned for this to happen.
Fuck. Is that what my handler was calling about? How would she know something is wrong on the plane, thousands of miles away? I reach for the landing gear controls.
They try to engage. They fail. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
What’s happening is that the landing gear are stuck halfway open.
Worse, I don’t trust the navigation equipment.
The paper map in the panel above my head resists coming out, but I force it. Open it. Check my bearings one last time. Trust them one last time.
Angle the plane in a slightly different direction.
Off the flight plan, but toward the only land within range on the map.
What the hell is going on? I’ve logged over half a million nautical miles. This has never happened before. The plane drops. A few hundred feet before I can steady it. June gasps, clapping a hand over her mouth.
And then the engines cut out.
It’s silent in the sky. Wind skims over the fuselage. My heart pounds in my ears. I ignore all of it.
Because we’re going down.
There’s nothing to keep this plane in the air.
Not a prayer in the world could keep us flying without engines.
“We’re going to land.” It’s the truth and nothing but the truth. There are no other choices. It’s land the plane or die. “Brace yourself.”
“No,” she breathes.
It’s only a whisper of breath, but I hear it. I feel it, brushing over my skin. I’m tuned in to her. Into the plane. Adrenaline floods my veins, making me tuned into the fucking universe. And every single signal is telling me that we’re fucked.
A patch of green in the ocean comes into view. It looks impossibly small. Too small to land on, much less reach, but as we hurtle forward, it gets larger. Becomes an island. The island I saw on the map.
Our only chance at survival.
About the authors:
Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of dangerous romance. Her books have sold over one million copies. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, sweet dogs, and evil cat.
Amelia Wilde is a USA TODAY bestselling author of steamy contemporary romance and loves it a little too much. She lives in Michigan with her husband and daughters. She spends most of her time typing furiously on an iPad and appreciating the natural splendor of her home state from where she likes it best: inside.
Amelia is a USA Today best selling author from northern Michigan. Be her friend!