USA Today Bestselling Author
His next flight becomes a fight for his life …
and the life of the two pilots.
Colton is helping out on a training session in Greenland, currently in midair. The copilot is a woman he knew intimately and had planned to reconnect with, only life never seemed to give him that window. His flight turns into a nightmare as the engine blows, and he, along with the two pilots, are forced to abandon the bird and jump into the Arctic Ocean.
Kate Winnows might not have been overjoyed to see Colton as her only passenger, but she’s darn happy he’s here when all hell breaks loose. She’d never forgotten him. Had hoped to reconnect but, like him, her life was busy, finding each of them all over the planet. Now she needs him to help her save her reputation, her job and possibly her life … again. And, if she can make it happen, she wants a second chance to show him what he means to her.
Especially when they find out the crash was no accident but just the tip of the iceberg in a case involving blackmail, drugs and … murder.
I was holding my breath from the beginning of this book, right off the bat we’ve got the plane Colton’s on going down. The pilot he doesn’t know but he does know the co-pilot Kate. Love the way Colton just takes charge to be sure they all get out. Hypothermia is a real issue.
This is a favorite scene.
Just ten feet above the water he quickly unbuckled his chute and dropped it. Kate had hit the surface on his left, and George had splashed down on his right. He was in between them. Closing his legs, he slammed into the water and kicked hard to resurface.
Breaking through the ocean, he checked on the others. George was closest and still struggling. Colton headed toward him first. “Stay calm. I’ll cut your lines.” With his knife, Colton cut the buckles, pulling the lines away. “Can you swim?”
George nodded. “Just not well.”
“Try to float,” Colton said. “I’ve got to get Kate.” And he headed to where Kate was, trying to undo her buckles. Once everything got soaking wet, it was that much harder to maneuver. He knew her fingers would start to freeze soon, faster if she panicked.
He called out to her, “I’m here. Calm down. Control the panic.”
She took several deep breaths, and he could see the fear in her eyes as she looked at him. “Tread water gently,” he said. “I’ll cut you free.”
Then he quickly got her buckles cut and helped her get out of the harness. “Can you swim?”
She nodded and started to strike out hard. “Don’t swim too hard or too fast,” he said. “You’ll burn up your energy. Hypothermia is our demon to beat.”
She shot him a look.
George still struggled. Colton’s SEALs training kicked in, and he put George into an assisted floating position. With Kate at his side, he told George, “Stay strong. The boats are coming.”
George’s teeth were already chattering. “I didn’t expect to go out like this.”
“You’re not going out like this,” Colton said fiercely. “Fight. We just have to stay afloat until they get here.”
They floated, looped together, trying to preserve their strength and heat.
“What happened to the plane that caused the fire?” Colton asked after a moment.
Kate shook her head. “Explosion in the left engine. None of our diagnostics gave a reason. It was all fine, and then it wasn’t.”
“A bomb?” he asked.
“Possibly,” George said, “but it easily could have been a damaged fuel line. I don’t know. But something caused it to explode, and now nothing will be left for the military to discern what happened.”
“Sounds like you guys have enemies,” Colton joked.
“Yes,” George said, his teeth still chattering.
Colton hated to say it, but George wasn’t doing well. “George, you have to hang on. The boats will be here in a few minutes. Tell me about this enemy you’re talking about.”
“I’m supposed to testify against two coworkers— two pilots,” he said. “They were smuggling drugs.”
Colton’s breath gushed out in a whoosh. “Wow,” he said. “Didn’t see that coming.”
“Yeah, I know,” George whispered.
Colton looked over at Kate to see a hard look in her eyes. “Did you know about it?”
She nodded. “Yes. Both men have been removed from active duty and are awaiting trial.”
“Of course they are,” Colton said. “Court-martialed and the military police are involved, right?”
“Yes, on both counts,” she said. “The military trial isn’t for another four months though.”
“Right, and, if they can get rid of George, then, of course, they walk free.”
“Exactly,” George said. “And I’ve got a sorry-ass feeling they’ll be right about that.”
“Do you want to see them walk free?” Colton asked, as he tried to keep George floating and fighting for his life, while Colton kept an eye on Kate. “I can hear the boats, George. Stay calm.” But George wasn’t answering. Colton gave him a shake and smacked him hard on the cheek.
“Did you hear me, George?”
“I don’t want to hear you,” he said. “I’m so cold.”
“Soldier, buck up!” Colton snapped. “That’s an order.”
George’s eyes flew open, and he stared up at the blue sky. “One of these days those orders can’t be followed.”
“It won’t be today, dammit,” Colton roared. “Stay awake, soldier. You can hear the boats. They’re here.” He twisted George’s head so he could see the approaching cruiser.
“Oh, wow,” George said. “You were serious.”
“I saw them up above,” Colton said, “but we still have to get somebody from the cruiser to us.” Colton looked over at Kate. She was desperate to hang on but fading.
Nobody could keep this up for long, so Colton knew it would be close. “If you can’t stay on the surface,” he said to her, “you let me know.”
She just glared at him. “Like hell,” she said. “George needs to be rescued so those two assholes who did this don’t get away with it.”
“Are they the kind of assholes who would do this?” Colton asked.
“Who knows? But, if this was sabotage, George is likely the target.”
“What about you?” Colton asked. “Do you have any enemies?”
“Not that I know of.”
George gave a broken laugh. “Your ex-boyfriend would do this, Kate. Remember? He said he would make sure you paid.”
“It was one of the reasons why I was okay to fly with you,” she said, a weak attempt at a joke. “We were both targeted.”
Colton swore. “How come I didn’t get any warning to not fly with either of you?”
“Because you were tossed on at the last minute,” she said, “but it’s not like we could have warned you anyway. But I’m sorry you’re involved.”
“I’m not involved, but I am caught up in it. And I’ll be damned if I’ll let either of you die. We have a rescue right here, right now.” He could see men getting into a Zodiac. “Come on. They’re in the Zodiac. We’ve got minutes to go. That’s it.”
“Too late,” George said, his voice slurred. “So cold. C-Can’t feel anything.”
“You’ll feel it all soon enough,” Colton said urgently. “It’ll hurt like shit when the blood starts moving back through your body.”
“Maybe it’s better this way,” George murmured, his eyes falling shut again. Colton reached over and smacked him hard. George groaned again but didn’t open his eyes.
Colton looked over at Kate.
“Don’t waste the energy on me,” she said. “I’m still here.”
But she was failing. He could see it. Her feet and arms were moving much slower, and her body was sinking, then popping back up again. He knew that, somewhere in the next few moments, she would go down and not pop back up again. He could hold out for another five or ten minutes, maybe fifteen, but that would be his max too.
Dale Mayer. Colton (Kindle Locations 95-151). Valley Publishing.
Once at the base where they were headed, Colton and Kate face a lot more than just recovering. There’s an investigation to be done, and Colton is to do a training course with Troy but all their personal stuff went down with the plane.
Lots of suspense, intrigue, and a romance that blossoms once again.
I really can’t wait for the next book in this series, the lead in has me more than a little curious.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.