Love in the no-fly zone…
Distraught over the loss of her brother in a fighter jet accident, Tinklee Pinkerton decides to follow in his footsteps and prove the tragedy wasn’t his fault. But when she’s chosen as the first woman to fly the Air Force’s F-35, her plan for a life that revolves around work is thrown off course by a handsome, mysterious stranger…
Thanks to Locke’s seductive British accent, sweet nature, and one too many beers, Tink is soon inspired to throw caution to the wind and herself into his arms. She thinks maybe love can heal after all—until she discovers Locke is her superior officer. Tink has no problem risking her life in the air, but with everything on the line, is she brave enough to risk her heart on the ground?
“I can see that you’ve been terribly hurt,” he said with a soft, understanding expression.
There was something in the way he spoke—I’m not sure if it was the tone of his voice or the genuine expression of care on his face, but it made me feel protected from my demons. I wanted to talk to him.
I opened my mouth to tell him about Colin, about the jet, about everything, but stopped myself. This was ridiculous. I barely knew him. I pressed my lips together with a silent reprimand and reached for another beer in the cooler. I wasn’t sure how many I’d drank, but there were a lot of empty bottles on the ground and my cheeks were beginning to numb.
“Besides being a great punching bag, I’m a decent listener.”
“I lost someone very close to me and very suddenly,” I confessed. My voice cracked as I admitted the truth out loud to someone other than my own reflection in the mirror. “It’s been rough.”
Shit. I definitely had too many beers.
I shook my head. I wish. A break up would’ve been easier.
I nearly choked on the lump that immediately formed in my throat. I dropped my head down and nodded once. A few seconds of silence passed. He slid down the chaise toward me.
I was, too. I stared at my bottle, ready to crumble. Damn it, I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t open this wound I struggled to keep sealed up. It was too much of a risk. I needed my head in place for tomorrow.
“Thanks, but I can’t talk about it.”
He took the beer from my hand and placed it on the table next to us.
“I’m a firm believer that life will never give you more than you can handle,” he said and leaned toward me. I glanced up into his eyes. “You seem like a survivor.”
The words stung like someone had poured a carton of salt into a large gaping wound. In a sense, he had. He’d called me a survivor. I was a survivor, but Colin wasn’t.
“Well, looks are deceiving,” I muttered and looked to the side.
His hand touched my cheek and directed my face to look at him. I forced myself to meet his eyes. He held my stare, imploring me to hear him. It was ironic that a total stranger believed in me more than I believed in myself.
The back of my eyes burnt, I needed to change the subject before my heart dove into a tailspin. I shifted my leg and a pain jolted through foot. I hissed.
“Here let me take a look,” he said as he scooted forward. I bent my knees closer to my chest. My foot was red and it hurt, but medicating with alcohol dulled most of the pain.
“It looks wicked.”
He lifted my foot into his hand as if caring for a wounded bird. Delicate. Gentle. His touch spun my world into another universe. He looked at me with a mixed expression of shock and desire. His grip—the strong, lithe fingers and muscular forearm—tightened its hold.
For a moment, I sat frozen in silence, not breathing, only hearing the pounding of my heart. I wanted to pull away. No one had touched me like this since college, before Colin’s accident. And even then, no one had touched me, especially my foot, like that before. Apparently, I’d been missing out.
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JAMIE RAE is a New Adult and Young Adult author. She writes with one goal in mind–create stories with a positive message that will stay with the reader long after they’ve finished reading.
Jamie is an avid reader and loves discovering stories with a great hook, though she will not eat, sleep, or speak until she reaches the end. The Harry Potter years weren’t pretty!! Convinced that her Hogwarts letter was lost in the mail, she keeps a watchful eye for owls hoping her children will have better luck!
In her other life, Jamie Rae is an orthodontist, and literary agent. She keeps her heart overflowing with love as a mother of three and has perfected the art of nomadic living as a military spouse and Air Force veteran. Jamie has a passion for critters of all shapes and sizes and you can often find her sneaking them into her own home or volunteering for rescues.