Their virgin princess, p.16
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       Their Virgin Princess, p.16

         Part #4 of Masters of Ménage series by Shayla Black
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Page 16


  “You feel nice. So much muscle. ” Alea sighed as she leaned against him, her fingers running over his torso as if she wanted to touch him all over.

  Adrenaline had already given him a hard-on. He did not need her making it worse. “Baby, I need you to focus. ”

  Lan pushed the curtains aside that separated the main cabin from the back. He had his backpack in his hands and tossed it on one of the chairs, rifling through it as he spoke. “The hostess is dead. Someone whacked her over the head with something heavy, maybe a pan. It’s not pretty back there. Lots of blood. I doubt she’s the one who drugged us. Since I don’t think we have a stowaway, that leaves the pilot. He hit her a couple of times. I checked the whole back, but couldn’t find the fucker.

  Fuck. “Where is he? We need to find him. ”

  “He’s in there. ” Cooper hitched a thumb back toward the cockpit. “He’s dead. ”

  That was bad news. Could Cooper fly the plane? He’d only handled small aircraft with propellers before.

  “Who’s dead?” Alea asked, her head coming up from Dane’s chest. “Dead is sad. No one should be dead. Except for Khalil. He was an asshole. ”

  “What’s wrong with her?” Lan asked. “Coop, maybe you should have a look at her. ”

  “She’s just a lightweight,” Dane shot back. “Coop needs to fly the plane. ”

  Alea gasped and tried to step back. “Am I on drugs again? Did I take drugs?”

  “It’s fine. ” Dane pulled her closer, unwilling to let her get very far. She raised her arms and gave him an ineffectual push, trying to put distance between them. But the struggle was short-lived, and she finally let him hold her. “Someone drugged the wine. You didn’t have much. ”

  “I can’t relapse. Can’t go back there. Can’t. ” Tears streamed down her face.

  She was talking about the shit her captors had addicted her to. “We’ll take care of you, baby. Don’t worry. ”

  “Dane, we have bigger problems,” Cooper said. “The pilot poisoned himself, but not before he also killed the radio and all the electrical equipment, then dumped most of the fuel. ”

  Cooper’s words landed like a bomb in the cabin, diving toward the earth even now.

  “Are you telling me that we’re over the Indian Ocean and we don’t have any fuel?” Dane asked.

  “I don’t know where the fuck we are. I don’t know how long we’ve been in flight. I don’t have a fucking longitude or latitude. I don’t have a goddamn radio to call for help because that dead fucker made sure that we’re going to go down without any hope of sending out a distress signal,” Cooper said between clenched teeth.

  Dane pushed down his burst of panic. He had to take things in hand or the others might fall the fuck apart. “Cooper, we’re not in trouble because you’re going to fly the plane. ”

  “You know I’ve never flown anything like this,” Cooper replied. “And it’s not really flying since we’re going to be completely out of fuel in about five minutes. ”

  “Then you’ll glide us down. ” Landon seemed to have picked up on Dane’s calm vibe. “We have a couple of minutes. What are our options? Do you see any land where we can set down? Should I look for parachutes?”

  “Parachutes won’t work,” Dane replied, settling Alea into a chair. He didn’t want to leave her alone, but this was getting damn fucking serious. This plane and everyone in it was going down. He had ten minutes tops to formulate the best plan for their survival. “The pressure against the door will make it impossible to open until we get closer to the water. Our best bet is to try to find a place to put the plane down. Coop, I need you in that cockpit. If we’re lucky, maybe we’re not far off the coast of Indonesia or one of its islands. Go look. ”

  Cooper nodded and disappeared again.

  “I don’t even have a cell signal,” Lan said, looking down at his phone.

  “Cell towers don’t cover great swaths of water, man. But we all have apps on our phones that could be helpful. Everyone try to waterproof your phones. And save as much battery life as you can. Lan, get every bit of food you can find in back in case we aren’t rescued immediately. We’re going to need water. And see if there’s a life raft. ”

  “What’s happening?” Alea asked a bit more lucidly, pushing her hair back with trembling hands.

  His first instinct was to coddle and protect her, tell her not to worry and to go back to sleep, but she was more than a pretty doll. She was a brave woman, and he was going to need every available hand and resource if they had any hope of getting out of this alive.

  Dane sank to one knee and took her hands in his. “Our plane has been sabotaged, and we’re crashing. We need to do everything possible to mitigate the damage and find a way to survive. I need you to focus. ”

  She nodded, genuine tears running down her face, but he watched as she visibly straightened her spine and gathered her strength. “Okay. The cushions are floatation devices. There should be an inflatable raft. ”

  “The pilot took a knife to it,” Lan said, tossing a big yellow thing into the cabin. “It’s useless as a raft, but we could build a desalination unit with it. If we can find some land. I tossed the clothes out of this case. I think it was the hostess’s. It’s now holding water bottles and a bunch of snacks. Hope you like crackers, peanuts, and pâté. What the fuck is pâté made of?”

  He didn’t have time to teach Landon about the art of fine cuisine. “Anything we can use to fish?”

  “I’ve got land!” Cooper shouted.

  Dane shoved down his relief. It wasn’t over yet.

  “I’ll find something. ” Lan moved quicker, running to the back of the plane again.

  Alea stood just as the plane jerked and the engines died. She staggered, and the truth hit him. No more fuel. They were coasting now, and that could be very bad because they were dependent on a lot of factors they couldn’t control, like the wind, the current, and their speed.

  Alea lurched toward the cockpit just as the plane started to take a nosedive. It almost immediately corrected with a jerk, then tilted the opposite direction. She tumbled, but Dane threw an arm around her waist, hauling her close. She stiffened but calmed, then stepped through the door with a gasp.

  Damn it. The body. Cooper had shoved the pilot to the floor and now occupied his seat, his hand on the yoke. The pilot had definitely poisoned himself, as evidenced by his blue lips and the empty cup he clutched in his hand. Dead eyes stared up into nothingness.

  Why the fuck would the pilot kill the hostess and himself, then sabotage the plane and leave him and the others alive?

  “Alea, come on. You don’t need to be here. ” Dane urged her toward the door. The last thing he needed was for her to freak out.

  “I’m fine. ” She pulled out her phone, all business. “This isn’t my first dead body. Cooper, how can I help? Do you need latitude and longitude?”

  “Yes,” Cooper said. “Can you get that?”

  “Alea, baby, there’s no signal,” Dane pointed out. She wasn’t thinking.

  “I don’t need a signal,” Alea insisted. “The magnetic poles work just fine without a satellite signal. Zero-seven and thirty degrees north by one hundred thirty-four and thirty east. I think we’ve crossed past the Indian Ocean and into the western Pacific. We’re way off course, probably somewhere near the Philippines. It looks like there are lots of little islands out there. ” She seemed to notice everyone staring at her. She shrugged a little. “What? I liked taking geography and I’m really good at memorization. ”

  Damn. She sounded competent. Dane looked out over the horizon. Sure enough he could see little tiny dots of green and gold in an endless sea of blue.

  “I don’t know how far away that is. ” Cooper wiped away the sweat dotting his forehead. “We started at about thirty-five thousand feet. Damn, it’s been so long. My father made us all learn how to fly cropdusters, but they were little prop planes. I had a little training in the Navy, b

  “What’s the wind like, tail or head?” Alea asked. “I’m sorry. I should be able to feel it, but I’m still a bit woozy. ”

  Coop visibly calmed as Alea spoke, as though focusing and doing his level best to save her. “It’s a tail wind, baby. It’s at our back. Do you know anything about flying?”

  She nodded. “I do. I took lessons when I was a teenager and I studied hard. I always did. In a glide, we’ll lose four to five thousand feet a minute. We’re light and have a tail wind. We’ve got around six or seven minutes. We’re going to go past those patches of land, but like I said, there should be other islands in the region. Get us close, Coop. Even if we hit the water, we’ll swim. At least I hope I can swim. ”

  Damn, his girl was smart even when she’d been drugged. A ridiculous pride surged in his chest. “She’s right, Coop. You can do this. And Lea, don’t you worry. Even if you’re still weak, we’ll get you to safety. I can swim with you on my back if I have to. ”

  It would be rough, but if Coop could get them close to land, they could survive. Because they damn straight wouldn’t last in the open ocean. This was warm water. Sharks. Every Navy man knew the story of the USS Indianapolis. She went down in the Central Pacific during World War II, and three hundred were lost in the sinking. The remaining nine hundred or so went into the water. During the next four days, almost six hundred men were consumed by sharks.

  These were the waters below. No fucking shark was going to take his crew. They were going to live, goddamn it.

  First, he had to hope that Coop could actually land the plane and keep it from breaking apart. Even if he set down on the water, they could all survive if the crash was controlled and they got to land fast.

  Six minutes. He had six minutes.

  Dane put a hand on Alea’s shoulder. “I’m going to help Lan. You keep Coop on the right path. I’ll be back in a minute. ”

  Her face turned up, and he saw a strength there that blew him away. “We’ll be good. Get my suitcase. I’m ridiculously organized and I pack for everything. I have a first aid kit and some other helpful things, including a box of protein bars. I wasn’t sure I could find them in Australia. It’s the Louis Vuitton roller case. ”

  Well, of course. She would stave off Armageddon while wearing designer heels. “Will do, baby. ”

  He jogged back, determined to find that bag. Even if they dumped it in the ocean, if it was close enough, he could dive and find it.

  Toward the back, he discovered that Lan had made a little mountain of crap on the floor. He’d pulled out wires, blankets, a small tool kit. Yes. He’d filled a backpack with extra water bottles and found enough odds and ends to build a desalinization port if they ran out of water.

  The wire they could fashion into hooks and weapons. The sea would provide protein if they had the tools to get it. He knew enough about plants and herbs to know what to eat and what to avoid. They had the tools. They just needed the chance to survive.

  He walked through the curtain and toward the back. Lan had decimated the food station. He’d taken everything except the ceramic mugs. Mistake. Ceramic made great knives. They all had a few, but it never hurt to bring more. And he’d left a pot. They would need that. The heavy plastic of the useless life raft would mean nothing if they didn’t have a damn container. Potable water would be their first goal. The bottled stuff wouldn’t last.

  Lan walked through, carrying the luggage. He had all of their cases, including Alea’s Louis Vuitton bag. “I shoved some extra blankets and pillows into those. ”

  “Good. Did you find the flare guns?”

  Lan nodded. “I wrapped them in plastic. They should be safe from the water. ”

  The plane dipped, now at a steeper angle, nearly sending him careening forward. Closer to the ocean. The phantom of the Indianapolis played through his head. He couldn’t let his men die. God, he couldn’t let Alea die.

  “No matches,” Lan said, bracing himself against the wall.

  The plane lurched again, the sensation causing Dane’s stomach to roll. Faster and faster, they were going down.

  “Suit up,” Dane barked.

  If Coop set them down flat, keeping the nose up, they would float for a brief time. They could get the door open and get to land.

  Dane could feel the force of the descent pulling them down, threatening to tear the plane apart. The whole aircraft shuddered. But Coop managed to bring the nose up again as he and Lan gathered all the stuff and shoved them into whatever packs and suitcases they could find.

  “Get ready,” Dane shouted.

  He grabbed the nearest backpack. All military guys carried them, big, weighty duffels with arm holes. He tossed one to Lan. “I’m going to try to pry the door open. When the water’s two feet below, we start tossing out whatever we can’t carry. It should float and if it doesn’t, well, we know how to dive. ”

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