Smart and Sexy

“I have to get there quickly. Like yesterday quickly.”

“As in hijack-a-pilot quickly?”

“I didn’t hijack you,” she said with a primness that made him want to laugh — if there’d been anything remotely funny about this situation. “You were going anyway,” she said in the same old refrain.

He slid her a long glance.

She broke eye contact again.

“Okay,” he said, deciding to bite. “So what is this ‘something’ you have to get quickly?”

She put her nose to the window. “Are we almost there?”

“Done talking, are we?” he asked dryly.

She didn’t answer.

Yeah, apparently, she was done talking. She’d definitely omitted plenty, leaving out a whole bunch of her story, including how the hell she’d gotten herself roughed up and by whom.

Not his problem, he reminded himself, even if just looking at her invoked Superman tendencies. He was going to Mammoth for some desperately needed R&R.

And a ski bunny.

Nothing else, including saving damsels in distress.

With that thought, he began landing preparations. He reduced power and lowered the flaps, controlling the nose, maintaining altitude, but in yet another unwelcome turn of events, the landing gear didn’t lower.

Unbelievable. He flicked the switch again, prepared to adjust the trim at the drag to stabilize the nose again, but nope, the landing gear definitely did not lower. “Shit.”

“What is it?” she asked.

He looked into her lovely, terrified face. How to tell her they might be coming in for a landing on their belly? “Come here.”

“Why?” asked his suspicious little hijacker.

There was no sugar-coating the insanity. “We have a little problem.”

“That’s an oxymoron when you’re in the air.”

He let out a mirthless laugh. “Yeah. Listen, the landing gear didn’t lower.”

Her mouth fell open.

“I need you to fly the plane while I go crank it down manually.” Crank, kick . . . whatever it took.

The color drained completely out of her face. “Ohmigod. Without the landing gear, we can’t land. Right?”

“Sure we can, we just do it on our belly. Not nearly as smooth though, trust me.”

She swallowed hard. “That’s nowhere close to a little problem.”

“Compared to falling out of the sky, it is. Get over here, Princess.”

“Can you really fix it?”

“Yeah. I’ve seen a guy do it once or twice.”

“Omigod!”

“I’m kidding! Yes, I can fix it. If you get over here.”

“Noah–”

The plane shuddered. More turbulence. Perfect. “Now, goddamnit.” To help her along, he snagged a fistful of the front of her sweatshirt and yanked. With a gasp, she flew toward him, and something slid out of her front pocket, clattering on the floor.

A large, fat pen.

A pen that probably, if shoved up against him, would feel like a gun. He stared down at the thing until it rolled beneath the seat.

“You’re kidding me.”

The truth was written all over her face. “I–”

“You’re kidding me.” He couldn’t believe it, didn’t want to believe it. “A pen? You held me up with a pen?”