Read Online Books/Novels:
Tacker (Arizona Vengeance #5)
Author/Writer of Book/Novel:
I am not okay.
Fifteen months ago, my life was turned upside down when the plane I was piloting went down. Injured and trapped in the wreckage, I had to watch my fiancée die a painfully slow death, which is something that can really mess with your head.
Since that day, I’ve had little desire to do much of anything. Except play hockey, that is. Because that is the one place where the bad memories are banished and I can escape my pain.
But off the ice, I’m spiraling out of control. Losing the grip on my life and putting myself and my career in danger. Now, thanks to a string of bad decisions, I’ve been ordered to complete therapy in order to stay on the team.
The problem? Nora Wayne, my beautiful and somewhat unconventional therapist. I can’t buy into the brand of happy clappy crap this woman is feeding me. What could she possibly understand about the type of loss that I’ve suffered? How does she know anything about finding happiness after losing the most important person in your life?
Turns out, I’ve got a lot to learn, and she’s just the person I need to break through those walls I’ve erected.
I am not okay.
|Books in Series:|
|Books by Author:|
“Three Three December,” I say into the headset. “I’m having some issues with the primary attitude indicator. I’d like to climb a bit.”
I glance over at MJ. She always used to snicker when I’d say “attitude” indicator. Most people think it should be “altitude,” but no… it’s called an attitude indicator. She thought that was hilarious.
How many times has she sat in the copilot seat of my Cessna 335, glancing out at the world with pure joy on her face? She loves to fly as much as I do, but she’s always content to let me have the controls. Though she loves being up in the air, she’s never had a desire to pilot.
I’ve never seen her look scared before, and it causes my anxiety to skyrocket. She doesn’t even look back to me, her eyes squinted and peering through the windshield, trying desperately to locate the horizon.
The radio crackles, then the controller replies, “I’ll be able to issue a higher altitude in two miles. Copy?”
“Roger that,” I reply, resolving to hold steady for that long. I’m at twenty-six-hundred feet, flying through fog as thick as pea soup. My attitude indicator—perhaps the most important instrument on my dash that shows my plane’s orientation relative to the horizon—is fritzing out. Without clear skies, I can’t find the fucking horizon and I’m at risk for spatial disorientation. My request to climb to a higher altitude is to get us above this mess.
Get us to safety.
I don’t risk taking my hands off the yoke to grab MJ’s for reassurance. So instead, I say, “Hey… think you’ll let me take a little peek at the dress?”
It’s the reason for our trip. We’re flying from Dallas to Houston for the last fitting of her wedding dress. Then, in two short weeks, we’ll be married.
MJ—short for Melody Jane—and what I’ve called her since I first met her in Dallas, tears her gaze away from the foggy air surrounding us and gives me a quick glance. “Not a snowball’s chance in hell.”
I don’t dare look at her, only able to see the sharp twist of her head from my peripheral vision. But I grin, loving her sass even in the face of true danger.
“Cessna 121 Papa Papa,” the controller says over the radio. “I’m going to have you make a slow left turn heading southeast, then climb to seven thousand feet. You should have seven miles visibility but some light rain.”
“Roger,” I reply, glancing down at the attitude indicator. The horizon line sits flat, telling me I’m flying straight as an arrow. I hope to fuck it’s working correctly now because I’m going to have to rely on it heavily in just a moment.
This time, I do take a moment to look at MJ, and she slowly swivels to meet my gaze. This left turn is all going to be dependent on that indicator leading me through the fog.
“I love you,” I say solemnly. Not a goodbye. Just a reaffirmation.
“I love you, too,” she replies, and I start to turn the plane.
Terror clutches me so hard I can’t breathe. I come flying out of my nightmare, soaked with sweat. My mouth is wide open, but no scream comes out. I never screamed as we were going down, but MJ had. It had been loud, piercing, and filled with horror. I can hear it vividly ringing in my ears right now, even though my nightmare didn’t progress far tonight.
Sometimes, I relive the entire crash.
Sometimes, it will only be a loop of MJ’s last moments alive. She hadn’t been killed instantly. We’d both been trapped in the wreckage, and I had to watch her die a long, torturous death. That was the worst nightmare I repeatedly suffer.
Scrubbing a hand over my face, I wonder what time it is. I don’t have a clock, and I don’t wear my watch to sleep. My phone is plugged into a charger on my bathroom vanity. The only thing I have in my bedroom is an inflatable air mattress covered with a fitted sheet, a fleece blanket, and two pillows.
Judging by the dark gloom with a bluish cast coming through the blinds, I’d guess it was on the verge of dawn. I’m exhausted. If I lay back down, I might be able to drift off to sleep. However, the thought of falling into a vortex of plane crash terrors doesn’t appeal to me, so I roll off the mattress, careful of the cast on my left wrist. I have a slight fracture to the scaphoid bone, compliments of my idiotic choices of drinking and driving two weeks ago. I’ve got another few weeks in the cast, although maybe I can talk the doctor into taking it off sooner.
Pushing up to my knees, then my feet, I make my way into the small bathroom across the hall. This apartment complex is a dump, and I’d rented a small one-bedroom when I moved to Phoenix in September after having been picked up by the Vengeance in the expansion draft.