Sloane Wentworth needs a second chance. When her husband dies, she goes from a soccer mom to a single mother in a heartbeat. She makes him a deathbed promise to seek her fortune and a guy named Joe on Cape Cod.
Sloane finds herself harassed and hounded by the press over her late husband’s white-collar crimes, losing her job, reputation, and friends. She wants an escape. Maybe a Cape Cod visit is just the thing. Unknown, however, is the role Joe plays.
Sloane is no damsel in distress, but her ship is sinking fast. Perhaps Cape Cod’s promises and sea winds will blow good fortune her way. She throws caution to the wind and charts a new course. But will the tide carry her and her young son to a safe harbor? Or will they go down with the ship?
Labor Day Weekend, Saturday afternoon, 2011
“Ready to get high?” Seth grinned and shook his head, biting back a wolf whistle. His smile grew as he watched the willowy Sloane Somersan join him. She was a fox, looking hot in her crop top and barely there, shredded denim cutoff shorts. He could see the pockets peeking below the miniscule hemline, knowing they couldn’t even hold a tissue.
“Always,” Sloane replied in a dry tone. “By the way, your play on words is way lame.”
Seth held back a laugh. Sloane was all business but threw him an are-you-kidding-me look as she climbed into the cockpit of his twin-engine Piper Cherokee 140. She withdrew her medical certificate and logbook from her crossbody bag, stowed the purse, and began inspecting the cockpit instruments as required by the preflight checklist. He nodded. Sloane had always disagreed with checking the cockpit first, believing a walkaround should be first and then the cockpit check.
He grinned. “Are we ready to roll?”
She sent him a look of disgust. “Only in your dreams, Captain F-P—”
She inclined her head toward him, batting her eyelashes. “Flight Police. You’re policing me to see if I’m following the stupid preflight checklist, and as you can see, I am—even if it doesn’t make sense. More importantly, it’s inefficient.”
He looked her in the eye, cocked his head, then very deliberately batted his eyelashes and winked—at her. “Their circus, their monkeys.”
She shrugged. “So, monkey see, monkey do. Capisce.”
Seth underscored his small win with a grin. “To answer your question, no, I’m not air traffic control. I’m just your everyday flight instructor doing my job. Making sure you do yours—correctly.”
Sloane responded with an airy tone and a wave of her hand. “Don’t mind me, I’ll just continue to conduct the prescribed preflight inspections as, uh, as prescribed.” Her gaze swept over the control panel again, checking the instruments, pedals, gauges, switches, and other flight controls. “Cockpit check complete.”
Seth followed Sloane out of the plane to verify her observations. She proceeded with her walkaround, checking everything on the aircraft from the nose to the tail per the prescribed checklist. Then she nodded her satisfaction with her inspection, proving she knew her stuff. In short, she executed the walkaround—precisely—as the instructions required.
She turned to him with a smile and declared her inspection complete. “You’re not getting rid of me—aka flunking me—that easily. This bird is flightworthy.”
Seth responded with his own smile. “Affirmed check complete.”
With a tilt of her head, she said, “Now, we’re ready to roll, Commander.”
They boarded the aircraft again, and Sloane prepared for takeoff going through the required maneuvers. She scanned the terrain to see if any other flights were arriving or departing. “Visual check complete.” She initiated the departure sequence, providing the squawk code. “Ground, Cherokee 3339, at small tower, request taxi and go, runway 33 left.”
Ground control replied, “Cherokee 3339, proceed runway 33 left, hold for takeoff.”
Sloane began to taxi toward the runway, parking at the end of the run and awaiting clearance. “Ground, Cherokee 3339, runway 33 left, holding for takeoff.”
Seconds later, Ground came through. “Cherokee 3339, runway 33 left, cleared for takeoff.”
Even though Seth was Sloane’s flight instructor, supervising her through takeoffs and landings and guiding her through the maneuvers in the air, she always seemed to chaff at his supervision. Clearly chomping at the bit, she revealed her eagerness to soar solo.
As he walked her through the steps for takeoff, he had to smother an admiring smile and tamp down the rise in his groin. But he would have had to be born blind not to notice the rigid set of her jaw as if counting to ten in her head. Her smooth even features betrayed nothing—much—but she had a tell, a tiny tic. If not for that, he might not have noticed her irritation. Sloane, so ready, poised to soar. Wonder if she’d be that eager to fly into my bed.
He cleared his throat. “You got this, Sloane.”
Sloane said nothing, stoically keeping her focus on the flight, not him. He didn’t like that…wasn’t used to it. Normally female students developed crushes on him. Nothing that lasted and nothing he pursued until after they were no longer a potential sexual harassment lawsuit. He liked his independence. Didn’t want to be tied down. Keep it fluid.
“You’ll be flying solo soon. But for now, keep in mind that I’m ultimately responsible for this flight. For you.” He repeated that, although he’d said it several times before.
“Whatever. I get it. I hear you. Yadda, yadda, yadda,” she said, confirming his earlier thoughts.
As Sloane followed the flight plan, Seth led her through several routine procedures—simple straight-and-level flying and the climb-descent processes. Sloane had already mastered the go-around maneuver, which in his opinion, was a must-know procedure. Then he upped the ante leading her through a more challenging set of performance exercises involving maneuver planning, situational awareness, as well as division, diversion, and focus of attention. Any weakness in execution would likely be due to her lack of understanding, her deficiency of fundamental skills, or his failure to instruct sufficiently. However, he knew she was adept in those areas. Sloane was set to fly solo for sure.
She sure lifts me. He glanced at his crotch and mentally groaned. Keep it professional, buddy. She’s your student.
Sloane had been doing great, so Seth decided to show her a new maneuver. Each time he introduced something new, he usually broke it into easy-to-learn chunks, but this time, he felt she was beyond ready for more. He had witnessed increased smoothness in her flight control applications, and she demonstrated a higher ability to sense the airplane’s altitude and orientation.
“Okay. Today we’re mixing things up. Ready?”
She grinned. “Aye, aye, Capitán.”