When Riana’s plane crashes in the mountains of Montana, she doesn’t expect to get rescued by two gorgeous men who sweep both her and her daughter off their feet…literally. Though she’d planned to move to a big city, Paradise has everything she could possibly need to make her new business thrive—spring water, plenty of sunshine to grow the herbs needed for her potions and most of all, kindness. Plagued by strange dreams as long as she can remember, Riana can now put a name to the town she dreams about so often.
Gunter and Clay don’t take many things seriously until they meet the beauty who they rescue from a plane crash. What’s not to like when they meet the beautiful Riana? She’s their mate. However, they find they don’t like the fact that she’s new to the town, wary and suffering from something she refuses to talk about. Can their love and understanding heal her and keep her in Paradise or will she run yet again?
Riana sat next to her daughter, the teen’s hand gripped tightly in hers. The plane pitched and yawed as they bounced through the air. She wasn’t sure, but she thought she’d heard the pilot or navigator say something about ice on the wings. That wasn’t a good thing, was it?
The flight attendant—there was only the one on such a small flight—rushed from the cockpit wearing a worried expression. She stumbled down the aisle, bumping into empty seats as she went.
If Riana believed in superstitions, she probably wouldn’t have booked a seat on this flight. Her friend kept telling her that it just hadn’t seemed natural that the plane had forty seats, but only a handful was full. Still, she’d been desperate to get out of town and start new somewhere else. She had her things in storage and a friend to send them to her once she found a place to set up shop. She only hoped this would be the last time.
“Put your seatbelts on, please,” the flight attendant said as she smiled down at them. She was doing her best not to look panicked, but failing miserably. “We’ve hit a bit of turbulence and the captain wants everyone and everything secure.” With one last glance toward Riana’s daughter Holly, the flight attendant stumbled off to tell the other ten or so passengers the same message.
Turbulence wasn’t causing this horrible ride. Though she sat a good fifteen feet away from the cockpit, she’d always had exceptional hearing, and she could hear the captain and his cohorts on the radio calling a mayday. The plane was going down.
Riana squeezed her eyes shut, held on to Holly’s hand in a death grip and, when most people would have prayed, she berated herself. Leave it to her to pick a flight that would crash. Leave it to her to run from whatever imagined terror she ran from every few years to get killed in an iced-over plane. She should have stayed in Boston. At least her feet had been on the ground.
She felt Holly’s hand in hers and it gave her comfort to know they were together. As horrible as it seemed, having her daughter die with her was better than leaving her to a flawed system that would only tear what was left of her life apart. Riana regretted that her daughter would never have the opportunity to grow up and have a family of her own.
Tears streamed down her face when she realized that now she would never find out who she was. The name on her tombstone would read Kelly O’Connor. She hadn’t wanted that. It wasn’t as though it was a bad name. It wasn’t. It just wasn’t hers. When they found her very cold, very alone and very pregnant sixteen years ago, the state of Maine gave her that name when she woke up with no memory
The state had tried to name her Kelly. She wrinkled her nose. The name never fit. She had never liked it and it didn’t sit well with her. When she was no longer a ward of the court, she told everyone to call her Riana and never looked back.
The plane pitched again. The jarring would have knocked them from their seats had they not been wearing their seatbelts as the flight attendant suggested. The one, remaining engine sputtered and she heard one of the pilots curse, then say, “Put your heads between your legs and kiss your asses’ goodbye, you two. Like it or not, we’re going down.” After that, was a series of frantic maydays presumably called over the radio as the plane hurtled toward the ground.
“Relax, Holly. Try not to stiffen up. You get more injuries when you stiffen up.”
“I know, Mom,” Holly said with a sigh. “They’ve been showing us stuff like that in school in health class.” She made a face. “They show the grossest movies with blood all over the place. They show us how drunks rarely get hurt in a collision because they’re passed out and limp. I’m trying to relax, but I don’t know how well I’ll do.”
“You’ll do fine, baby. We’ll be all right. Remember we heal faster, for some reason. If the crash doesn’t kill us, we’ll be fine.”
Riana knew Holly knew that bit of information. What scared her about that was, if they crashed in the middle of nowhere, which they most likely would, the two of them could freeze to death or starve before help arrived.
It was amazing how quietly the plane went down. It skimmed over the tops of the trees for a while before it finally slowed enough to slip through the branches of the tall, old trees. Strong branches held them aloft for a bit before the plane began its not-so-slow descent.
Four of the passengers that had been behind her, went tumbling forward toward the cockpit. Figures. She half snorted. The idiots wouldn’t listen to the attendant and wear their seatbelts, now they would die. Riana shook her head. A loud screeching noise accompanied a big jerk and she saw one of the wings pass by her window. Reflexively, Riana turned to look out through the uncovered glass across the aisle and saw nothing.
After what seemed like forever, the plane came to a shuddering halt and she breathed a sigh of relief. For a plane crash, this wasn’t too bad. After all, she could hear the pilots talking and the idiots who hadn’t worn their seatbelts were a bit worse for wear, but they weren’t dead. Hell, Riana didn’t even think they were bleeding.
“Shit! We’re headed over the cliff,” one of the pilots exclaimed just before the plane jolted abruptly.
After a split second of what felt like weightlessness, the plane hurtled to the ground again. Riana couldn’t help it. She stiffened up.