Authors: Tia Fanning
Tags: #Erotica, #Paranormal Romance
Resplendence Publishing, LLC
Resplendence Publishing, LLC
Oriana and the Three Werebears
Copyright © 2009, Tia Fanning
Edited by Jessica Berry
Cover art by Celia Kyle
Electronic format ISBN: 978-1-60735-033-0
Warning: All rights reserved. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
Electronic release: May, 2009
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and occurrences are a product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, places, or occurrences, is purely coincidental.
Rules of Darkness (Book One in the Rules Series)
Ticket Me More
Taken With the Enemy
Rules of Fire (Book Two in the Rules Series)
Red Ribbons and Blue Balls (Red Garters, Snow and Mistletoe Anthology)
Examine Me More
Rules of Separation (Book Three in the Rules Series)
Oriana Ricci pounded her fist upon the small plane’s instrument control panel.
Once, twice, three times. Nothing changed.
...bam, bam, bam...
“Please, God. No.”
Despite her desperate pleas to the good Lord, all her flight indicators continued to die. Gauge needles plummeted, electronic screens blanked out, and lights flickered and dimmed. It was as if some invisible force flipped the switches and turned the damn plane off.
“Shit! Shit! Shit!”
First the radio, and now this.
Despite the loss of power to the control panel, she was still in the air—thankfully. But who knew for how long?
She needed to land. Now.
The terrain of the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge spread out beneath her, and she was smack dab in the middle of its vast wilderness. Thanking God, the universe, and her late father’s foresight for purchasing an amphibious aircraft that could land on both land and water, she glanced out the window, hoping, wishing, and praying for a safe place to put down.
If she could land, she could check the plane and try to figure out why her controls gave out. Though she was no aircraft mechanic, her father had been a wealth of knowledge in her youth. He’d imparted some basic maintenance and repair when he had taught her how to fly the damn plane.
“God, I hate
She hated the cold. She hated the rain. And there seemed to be a never-ending cycle of both in the Kodiak Archipelago. Who could appreciate the beauty of the place when one was miserably cold and wet all the time?
“I should have left.”
Though it was the middle of summer, it was averaging, what? Between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit? To think, she could be somewhere hot right now:
It was all she had left to remember her father by. The plane and his business—which specialized in transporting passengers and delivering supplies to the few remote towns and villages located on Kodiak Island, as well as the other near-by surrounding islands located in the borough.
Suddenly, the engine began to sputter and the plane pitched.
This can’t be happening.”
She had to find a place to land. Right now.
“Don’t stall, don’t stall, don’t stall...” she chanted. She just needed an open field. Or a bay inlet. Even a lake. Any lake. “Please, God.”
Her prayers were answered moments later.
In her panic, she dove down toward the body of water—too fast. Struggling for control of the aircraft as the engine kicked in and out, she managed to get the nose up and the wings somewhat level just as the small plane touched down. She bounced along the water’s surface like a skipping stone.
It seemed an eternity passed before the hopping motion finally smoothed into a glide.
Shocked to still be in one piece, she coasted toward the shore, relief steadily sinking in the closer to she got to dry ground. Unfortunately, the engine choked and faltered, then followed by a loud pop, ceased all together. The plane slowed to a stop, falling just short of its goal.
Well, at least disaster was adverted. She was alive.
However, as she sat back in her seat and released the breath she’d been holding, she scanned the endless landscape, wondering how long she would stay that way.
Three long days had passed.
The morning sun hid behind a wall of mist and clouds. Though it was drizzling again and her muscles fiercely ached, Oriana kept walking, desperately searching the brush for wild berries—or anything edible.
She had tried over and over again to fix the damn plane, but she couldn’t find anything wrong with it. No transportation, no radio, no cell phone signal... no
. She had eaten the last morsels of her protein bar the night before.
Oriana wrapped her arms around her torso, trying to ward off the chill and soothe her protesting stomach, which was clenching painfully with hunger. She was damp, she was cold, and she was tired. Afraid of missing an opportunity for rescue, she hadn’t really slept since making her emergency landing.
How had she ended up like this, starving and wandering aimlessly, lost and alone in the middle of a wildlife refuge? Had she become so jaded, so arrogant, that she had failed to be prepared for the worst?
She should have known better. When Oriana was young, her father had always preached about being prepared, drumming it into her like she was some damn Boy Scout and he was her troop leader. She should’ve heeded the lessons. Had she done so, she wouldn’t be stumbling around the forest like some pitiful woodland creature foraging for food when there was none to be found.
Her father used to always tell her to take a week’s worth of food and water with her whenever she had to venture away from civilization, and to pack equipment that would come in handy in the event she found herself without food or shelter—like matches, a fishing poll, a sleeping bag, and a tent.
But she hadn’t listened. After her father died and she inherited his one-man business, she removed the extra emergency supplies her father always stowed out of the small aircraft so she’d have more room for cargo. The only thing she bothered to keep on board was her first-aid kit and flare gun.
A lot of good that flare gun was when there was no one around to see it.
If only I had been making a food delivery when the plane gave out.
Instead, she had been returning home from dropping off a group of hikers at one of the remote wilderness lodges.
With every long day that had passed, and with every step her weary body took, her hopes for rescue diminished. Though it galled her independent spirit and instinct for self-preservation, she had to contend with the reality of the situation...
She might very well die out here.
Jack McMathan punched in the proper key code followed by the enter button, sending the weekly security report off to their government clients. Satisfied, he leaned back in his cushy leather chair. It was only
, and the rest of the day was his.
Watch TV or work out?