Authors: Marion Ueckermann
Tags: #christian Fiction
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
COPYRIGHT 2015 by MARION UECKERMANN
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or Pelican Ventures, LLC except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
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Contact Information: [email protected]
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version
Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com
Cover Art by Nicola Martinez
White Rose Publishing, a division of Pelican Ventures, LLC
PO Box 1738 *Aztec, NM * 87410
White Rose Publishing Circle and Rosebud logo is a trademark of Pelican Ventures, LLC
First White Rose Edition, 2015
Electronic Edition ISBN 978-1-61116-455-8
Published in the United States of America
This book is dedicated to Taya Weiss,
an incredible woman who touches the clouds.
Taya, you’re an inspiration.
is everything great about inspirational contemporary romance in a snack-sized read. Ueckermann’s novels always take my heart on an adventure that lingers long after the last page. I look forward to where her heroes and heroines will take me next!
~ Nancy Kimball, author
Marion Ueckermann crafts an engaging story filled with faith, hope and the joy that comes from conquering one’s fears and claiming a second chance at love. This sigh-worthy romance is threaded with breathtaking imagery of the Norwegian skies and a peek into the fascinating world of wingsuit flying. Readers will fall in love with Ueckermann’s smooth prose and vivacious characterization.
~ Heidi McCahan, author
Marion’s latest release is packed with high-flying adventure, mutual misunderstandings, and sweet romance all set against the beautiful, authentic backdrop of Norway. As Kyle and Anjelica learned to trust God in all circumstances, I got another look at what it means to place my life—every aspect of it—in His hands. This compelling short story is a must-read.
~ Grace Olson, author
Who are these that fly along like clouds, like doves to their nests? ~ Isaiah 60:8
Anjelica drank in the beauty of the surrounding mountains that hugged the dark blue waters far below. The climb had been worth it. As usual. She could never get enough of the view across the fjord. Beside her, pockets of snow filled the gaps between flat gray rocks.
She stepped up to the edge, closed her eyes, and inhaled deeply. The butterflies in her stomach were determined to be the first to take flight. Standing at the exit point—whether a precipice, skyscraper, or aircraft’s open door—was one of the scariest moments. She could turn away and fail or step forward into moments of death-defying adventure. Despite her anxiety, this was Anjelica’s favorite place.
She raised her arms and leaned over the rock. Her body dropped through the air before she stretched her limbs like a bird. As the wind wrapped around the shape of her wingsuit, she began to fly.
Visions of the week ahead filled her mind. She exhaled slowly. Her helmet warmed inside at her breath. She had to calm her thoughts—focus on the flight was paramount to success. For the next few minutes, she and the currents would wage war against gravity and error.
Determined to improve on her previous time in the air, Anjelica raised her head. She bent her body at the waist and looked ahead, slowing her rate of descent and forward momentum.
A streak of red whizzed past her. Erick Thuesen. Show off. Anjelica would have shaken her head and raised a fist at him if she didn’t risk going into a deathly spin toward earth. She had to remain focused. Usually his antics made her smile, but Erick wanted them to make her heart soar.
Not going to happen. Been there before.
Irked at his lack of focus on their training, the amused expression never made it to her face today. They didn’t have time for foolery. The world record attempt was little more than a week away. He should try to stay in the air for as long as possible, not see how fast he could make it back to solid ground.
This was their last jump before the team gathered in Stryn, then headed down to Oslo where they’d join not only the larger team from Kjerag, but teams from all over the world.
Although she couldn’t wait to start training with the international wingsuiters, Anjelica didn’t relish the thought of the day’s road-trip that lay ahead, or the testosterone environment she’d be plunged into for the next week. Not everyone in this high-flying community felt this sport was for the fairer sex.
With a wide grin, Kyle Sheppard turned to his seven-strong team and rubbed his hands together. “This is going to be sweet.” Flying the fjords of Norway had been his dream for too long. “I wonder who’ll fly lead in the formation, be the star at the top of the tree?” He handed his passport to the customs officer at Oslo Airport. Not even his exhaustion from the twenty-seven hour journey between New Zealand and Norway could extinguish his excitement. This would be a high to beat all adrenaline highs.
God willing, Friday they’d break their record set in California last year by eleven—one hundred and eleven wingsuiters flying in formation.
As part of Norway’s National Day celebrations, May seventeenth would see a tree-shaped formation high in the Oslo skies, bringing not only a summer Christmas reminder to Scandinavia, but a new Wingsuit World Record validated by The Guinness Book of World Records.
“I know you’re vying for the position, Sheppard, however, I’m hoping it won’t be a star, but an angel at the top of the tree—a blonde, Nordic one.” Luke Maskil’s grin matched Kyle’s as laughter erupted from the rest of the team. Luke waggled his brows. Mischief twinkled in his eyes while the promise of a good time ahead plastered his face.
“Lukie-boy, you do know this country offers more than just leggy blondes?”
Luke smacked Kyle’s cheek with a few friendly taps. “Lighten up, Sheppard. Why always so serious? You have to appreciate the finer qualities a country has to offer. There’s more to this life than just flying the lines.”
Kyle feigned surprise. “Really?” He retrieved his passport, stuffed it inside his jacket’s top pocket, and grabbed the handle of his suitcase.
He’d drawn a line more crucial than those he flew—one he would not cross. It was far less dangerous to fall from a cliff or a plane, than to fall in love.
He turned his head and spoke over his shoulder. “I guess I’m having too much fun flying high to concern myself with things down below.”
Luke patted Kyle’s back. “Keep saying that, Sheppard. Maybe one day you’ll actually believe it. But I’m telling you, as your friend, that you can have fun in the air
on the ground.”
Perhaps Luke was right. But it didn’t matter. Wherever they travelled, Kyle chose to ignore the beauties that gravitated toward him—women attracted only to his exciting career and good looks. Adrenaline groupies.
Will I ever find someone who really cares about who I am, what I believe in?
He’d never find his soul mate on this earth.
God would have to send an angel from heaven. Even divine intervention seemed an impossible task, for it wasn’t often that angels and shepherds met.
Kyle smiled. But when they did, miracles happened.
The large green garden that overlooked the Oslofjord at Hotel Refsnes-Gods stirred pleasant memories for Kyle. For a moment, he was back in Perris, California and the green field dotted in an array of colors. He couldn’t wait for morning. The same lawn he stood on now would be filled with colorful wingsuit pilots from twenty-three different countries.
Kyle loved the first day vibe as the buzz of languages rose into the pre-dawn air.
The organizers had booked all sixty-one rooms in this centuries-old hotel. They couldn’t have chosen a more idyllic location for the participants to stay.
He looked at the weathervane up on the spire of the hotel’s left wing and prayed the metal structure showed the same favorable conditions for the rest of the week. A movement from his bedroom window on the top floor caught his eye.
“Bro, this place is awesome,” Luke shouted as he leaned out of the open window. He raised his hands to the heavens. “Whoop…”
Kyle shook his head and smiled. Crazy Kiwi. He wouldn’t put it past Luke to want to jump out of that window and fly. With Luke Maskil as his roommate, his hands would be full. Kyle wouldn’t have it any other way though. Luke was his best friend. But ever since Kyle had sworn off women, Luke felt the need to be his wingman, too. He’d intensified his efforts to set Kyle up with someone.
“Sheppard…” Luke waved his arms in the air. His upper body balanced in mid-air two floors above the ground.
“Yeah?” Kyle sent a quick prayer to heaven as he jogged up the tree-lined path that led to the hotel entrance. Last thing they needed was Luke falling out the window and being eliminated from the event due to injuries.
“You’d better hurry, the welcome party’s about to start.”
Kyle checked his watch. Seven o’clock. He’d lost track of time. “Be right up. Wait for me.”
If weather conditions permitted, he was really going to enjoy these long days, especially when he and Luke travelled west and north to fly the fjords after their record-breaking event on Friday.
As Kyle opened their hotel room door, Luke swung around. “That was fast.”
“Well, you said to hurry. Mind if I jump in the shower first? I won’t be long.”
Luke had claimed dibs on the shower when they arrived. Kyle didn’t mind. He was glad to have an excuse to go for a walk and have some time alone to talk with God.
“I’d have a problem if you didn’t, Sheppard. I can smell you downwind.” His face broke open in a wide smile. “And it smells like you’ve been chasing sheep.”
Kyle pulled off his T-shirt and threw it at Luke. It hit his friend full-face before falling to the floor. “Yeah, right. If I’ve been chasing sheep, it’s because I’ve a wayward flock to look after—all seven of you.” Kyle waited for a comeback.
Instead, Luke grabbed the television remote from the bedside table, flopped onto his bed, and flipped through the channels.
“And what do you think you’ll be able to understand?” Kyle asked.
Luke grinned, gaze fixed on the leggy model making her way down the catwalk. “Don’t need to understand. Just need to see.”
Kyle shook his head at his friend. He stepped into the bathroom, took a shower, and then rummaged through his bag for a fresh shirt and jeans.
He and Luke headed downstairs.
Meeting the other participants tonight was important. The conference room buzzed with old friendships being renewed and new ones forming.
They lined up at the buffet table and an array of food. Plates loaded, they mingled. It was great to catch up with old friends, but those who had lost their lives to the sport were noticeably missing.
“I can’t believe it. Look who’s here.” Kyle pointed across the room toward the familiar blond head. “Erick.” He made his way through a sea of men. Luke followed.
“Erick Thuesen. How long has it been?” He grasped the tall Norwegian’s hand.