To celebrate my second novel’s first anniversary in paperback, I’m giving away two copies through a Goodreads raffle that ends 12 October, 2015.
That’s right. Only one more week to enter. Want the details? Here they are, and I’ll even throw in an excerpt:
11/2015 Update: The giveaway is over, but I’m keeping the excerpt for posterity, and the book is available for a mere $4.99 here: Flight Plan on Amazon
Making New Friends: An Excerpt from Flight Plan
The plane’s small galley opened over a bar into another seating area with two facing couches. Naomi almost fell over Carl when she followed him back there. Carl abruptly stopped and bent over to look at something on the floor, and Naomi barely caught herself on the counter in time to avoid him.
The man Naomi had only heard so far, the one named Justin, had mentioned something about zeroing out back here, whatever that meant. If that was him, lying there on the carpet like a lump, then ‘zeroing out’ evidently meant passing out cold.
“Can I help?” Naomi asked.
“No, I’ve got him.” Carl carried Justin to one of the benches, then retreated to the opposite side and hunched over to face the floor. His hands were so tightly clenched together that the knuckles were white.
Naomi considered follow-up questions and went with, “Is he okay?”
That one should pull Carl back from whatever emotional edge he was teetering on. Caregivers were predictable that way, and even if Carl had lied about everything else, Naomi was sure she hadn’t been wrong about that. It took one to know one.
Carl sighed. “Okay is a relative concept with Justin. So is normal. What do you want from me? I’m busy licking my wounded ego here. If you can’t be grateful, can you be elsewhere?”
He couldn’t have picked a better way to hurt Naomi’s feelings if he’d tried. Selfish child, whispered the memory of Mam’s voice. Naomi’s throat went tight around her next words. “I wanted to apologize. Jaybird didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. She couldn’t know the insult would hit you so hard.”
“Let her apologize for herself, if she wants. It isn’t your job.” Carl put his head in his hands. “Sorry. That was an awful thing to say too. Please do me the favor of leaving me alone.”
The odd phrasing left little room for discussion. Naomi turned to leave, but when Justin moaned, concern made her hesitate. “Are you sure he’s okay?”
Carl sighed again, more heavily this time. “And he calls me nosy. Yes, I’m sure, but that won’t satisfy you, will it? Go on, rub your curiosity bump until it stops itching.”
Since Carl wasn’t watching, Naomi stuck out her tongue at him before she knelt beside Justin. The man looked normal enough. He was broad-shouldered and wiry like a gymnast, on the short side of average height, with dark wavy hair and Caucasian features under sun-browned skin. The stubble on his throat was scratchy and thick, his skin was moist and hot, and his pulse thudded along fast and shallow.
Naomi checked for signs of injury. Justin’s left leg was impaired severely enough that she would’ve suggested corrective surgery, not that anyone had asked her. The damage wasn’t recent, though, and the odd cuff on the man’s ankle served no obvious purpose. It definitely wasn’t a splint.
She sat back on her heels.
“Unconscious with elevated pulse and fever doesn’t worry you?”
“Not yet. If he starts shivering, or he doesn’t wake on his own by the time we land, then I’ll panic.”
“Whatever.” She was hardly in a position to argue. She toyed with the odd splint-like device. “What’s this on his ankle? It isn’t rigid enough to be a brace. And it isn’t a bond cuff.” She knew what those looked like. “Those don’t have buttons and switches.”
Carl’s warning came a little too late. Naomi fell back from the bench as its occupant abruptly disappeared. Her rump hit the floor, and a slight breeze warned her just before something landed on her feet. Static tickled her legs.
“Shit.” Plastic crunched. The panel under the bench developed an elbow-sized dent. “Shit.”
Invisible Justin cursed the whole way to the rear of the cabin. A pocket door slid open to reveal bathroom fixtures and slammed shut again. Naomi looked back at Carl.
“A relative concept, you said,” she said, fighting down giggles. “That’s what you meant? That’s his normal?”
“I did warn you,” Carl said mildly.
Intrigued? Tempted? (I hope so!)
That link again: Flight Plan on Amazon