Champagne romance (roman.., p.1
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       Champagne Romance (Romance Novel), p.1

          Suellen Smith / Actions & Adventure / Romance & Love / Western
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Champagne Romance (Romance Novel)
Champagne Romance



By: Suellen Smith



Published by Suellen Smith at Romance Novel Publishing



Copyright 2012 Suellen Smith

Amazon Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

CHAPTER 1



“Here’s to champagne cocktails and chocolate covered studs!”

The quiet laughter and tinkling of four champagne flutes vibrated throughout the atmosphere of the elite restaurant as tuxedoed waiters scurried about giving their chic clientele the service they expected. In the center of the room sat four fashionable dressed young women under the twinkling chandeliers. They drew the attention of every mature male that wasn’t nearsighted, farsighted, or partially blind. Heads swiveled as each male patron strained his neck to peek among the marble statues, lime green palms, and fresh colorful flowers that graced the crisp white tablecloths. Each gentleman was trying to get a better glimpse of the four hot chicks that were toasting and roasting. Most weren’t even trying to be discreet. Even the waiters were not too busy to be immune by each lady’s physical attributes, charm, and beauty.

Troy Slater was no exception. He glanced up at precisely the moment the redhead chose to cross her shapely long limbs. Troy leaned back slightly in his chair and shifted to get a better view of those legs and the one they called Swan. He liked what he saw. The redheaded bombshell with the lanky legs wore a silky black nylon held-up by only a skimpy piece of a black lacy garter belt. The creamy white thigh beyond the black silk looked smooth and touchable.

“Isn’t that right, Slater?

Troy’s black eyebrows snapped together in a stormy piecing scowl. To the skinny young man’s credit with the bowtie and glasses, he held Slater’s gaze steady. Slater wondered cynically if he’d ever had a “hard on”. He reached in his pocket for a cigarette and reluctantly turned his attention back to business.

Swan tucked a wayward lock of her strawberry blond hair behind her ear as she fiddled with the crystal stem of her champagne cocktail. It was her birthday. Her three best friends had flown into Denver, Colorado from Newport Beach, California. Swan was on a modeling job for a trendy ski magazine in the frosty city. Her close friends had come to help her celebrate as they never missed each other’s birthday.

Swan looked around the table at her three devoted companions thinking how very fortunate she was to have such fabulous friends as that had not always been the case. There was Madeline, an upper class, bored, suburban housewife, Katherine (Kat), a divorcee always looking for a rich Mr. Right, and Lillet, a devoted mother of two who worked as a local talk show hostess on TV. Last, was the birthday girl, Suzette Swan Swenson, a current metropolitan survivor in the world of runway and modeling---and one of the last surviving virgins could be added as well.

Suzette Swan Swenson was named after her maternal grandfather, Libourne Swan---but, just “Swan” quickly became her trademark in reference to her long crane neck in the professional world of modeling. She modeled all over the world. She had a face and figure that belonged in every man’s dream fantasy and probably was.

Swan’s skin was flawless--like porcelain. Her eyes were aqua with a black ring circling the iris. Long dark sooty eyelashes lined the edge of each eyelid that were almost too big for her oval face and high cheekbones. Her hair was the color of sunshine--shiny and golden---not blond, not red, but a natural strawberry reaching past her creamy shoulders with soft flaming curls that framed her face. Her curvy figure was perfect for runway modeling with generous “B” breasts, hips that flared slightly, and straight shapely long legs that seemed to go on forever. Her famous white neck looked smooth and kissable as did her rosy heart shaped lips. Although her face and figure were flawless--she was not. Life always has a way of playing jokes on mankind and sadly she was not an exception.



CHAPTER 2



Swan hugged her long winter coat close to her slim lush body as she exited the plush hotel of her temporary lodgings. She pulled the fluffy fox collar up around her face to help shield it from the blast of winter wind coming off the Rocky Mountains. She was grateful that her elderly friend had given her the fur coat that was now considered vintage. Winters in Colorado could be vicious. Today was not an exemption. She had finished doing an “ad” layout using the majestic purple mountains outside of Denver. It was for Indigo Elite an “in” magazine that caters to the rich and famous. It was not unusual for her to fly all over the world to arctic climates for her modeling assignments. So, she was generally well prepared for cool wintry changes, but that didn’t make the nippy frosty air any more enjoyable.

At the present, Swan was concentrating on holding her coat closed with one hand and hailing a taxi with the other. It was obvious that she was going to the Denver airport as she stood between two small “carry on” pieces of generic black luggage. She was thrilled to finally be going home and excited that she would not be working during the Christmas season. At the present, she looked forward to landing at the John Wayne Airport in Orange County California by late evening. If she used her imagination, she could already feel the hot sun penetrating her entire torso and the warm sandy beach between her toes, which was only a few short steps from her posh condo that looked across the deep blue Pacific Ocean to the Island of Catalina.

Finally, a yellow cab appeared and pulled to the curb. Swan climbed into the roomy back seat as the driver loaded her luggage, slammed the cabby trunk, and zoomed off to Denver’s metropolitan airport. She gave a sigh of relief knowing that her destination was almost complete.



CHAPTER 3



Slater had been in Denver for the past few days closing a deal to merge another company with Global Genetic Research Incorporation. He started his successful business over four years ago. It was a flourishing research firm that was located in scenic Newport Beach, California where he had established his permanent home. His impressive four- story business building was surrounded by sunny ocean palms and overlooked the Pacific. It had been a very lucrative venture, which in turn had made him a wealthy man. Today, he was looking forward to returning home tonight as he was impatiently awaiting the challenges that this new merger would entail.

Because Slater completed his business transaction much sooner than he anticipated, he was now headed for the Denver airport. He usually flew his own small private jet, but due to a fuel gauge problem, he opted for safety and booked a round trip ticket from Newport to Denver before he left yesterday.

Slater enjoyed flying his own aircraft with his own capable hands. That way, he could always be in control. Slater liked being in control. Maybe, that was why he ended relationships long before the “M” word came up or maybe he always deliberately chose the party girls that knew “the score”. Besides, sexy and buff at thirty-three, he enjoyed his bachelorhood status and unattached freedom.

This evening, eager to avoid the inclement weather and predicted blizzard, Slater had managed to get an earlier flight back to California. It would give him more time to spend at his ranch in Malibu north of Los Angeles over the weekend. Slater’s ranch was his get-a-way, his private lodge. He shared it with no one, not even his mistress when he had one.

Slater stepped out of the sleek limo and pulled the sheepskin collar of his leather coat around his coal black hair. His baby blues looked up at the gathering dark clouds overhead and knew there was no doubt that Denver would soon be covered with sleet and snow by evening. His only hope was that he would be out of there before the airport authorities decided to close the metro jumbo jet runway.

After battling a small crowd of passengers, Slater felt fortunate to finally board Flight 330. It was the last flight out of the chilly mountain city and it was fairly full. He headed for a seat at the back of plane where no one was sitting, put his bag in the overhead, stretched out his long legs, and pulled his Stetson over his eyes signaling other passengers to find another seat.

Swan was the last passenger to enter the 707. The cabby had taken a “short cut”, which turned out to be a “long cut”. She was grateful to finally be boarding. She didn’t want to spend half her winter vacation in the Denver airport. She headed to the back of the plane. It was supposed to be the safest spot on any airline jet and that made it extremely desirable in this yucky winter storm that seemed to be gathering in the atmosphere above them.

Swan laid her fox fur over the double-seat opposite of the “cowpoke” in his sheepskin duster. Funny, she would have pegged him for an urban cowboy if it weren’t for his well-worn western boots. A quick judgmental assessment told her he eluded pure sexuality---just the type of macho man she purposely tried to avoid.

Swan wore her most comfortable dress for this night flight ride home. It was a mid-knee, button to the waist, warm black cashmere with only a tiny ink black string bikini, and no bra for comfort. She didn’t think anyone would notice. She was wrong.

Slater rarely missed anything going on around him. It was probably due to his Rambo days as a Navy SEAL. It was a survival instinct. It also acted as a homing device for the feminine female population and right now, it had definitely “kicked in”.

Slater eyes roam lazily beneath the rim of his Stetson over the dynamite redhead that was reaching into the overhead compartment. He let his baby blues linger on her full round globes with the tips that jetted out from the soft fabric. Her nipples were larger than most. He liked that. As if sensing his scrutiny, she turned her back to close off his view of her tits, but that gave him a better view of her ass. He liked that, too--round and curvy.

All too soon, the sexy redhead sat down and proceeded to buckle in for the night. Closing his eyes, Slater found himself wishing that Gorgeous Red were snuggling up to him in a comfy warm bed at this very moment. He sighed, adjusted his thoughts, and tried not to think about it.

Outside the airliner’s cabin, the ground crew was in the frantic process of de-icing the plane’s body, wings, and engine. The metal exterior was only given a quick once over as the pilots needed to get the flight airborne before the impending weather kept it grounded. That was unfortunate as they sat on deck for another twenty minutes before being cleared for an open runway.

The 707’s take off was uneventful in spite of the icy sleet that was now coming down quite rapidly. Swan watched out the airliner’s small window as the runway evaporated beneath them and the commercial jet cut through the inky darkness quickly becoming airborne to the desired altitude. She finally sighed a small sigh of relief and began to settle down as a miniature yawn tugged at her rosy lips.

Swan was soon sleeping soundly with her trim feet encased in warm mukluks tucked under her and the fox fur tucked cozily around her. The past few days had been extremely demanding. So, now exhaustion was settling into every bone in her body. The nap, however, was brief. Thirty minutes later, Swan was dreaming peacefully when suddenly she found herself wide awake. Something had awakened her. She had flown enough to know that something was different! She listened for any unusual sound. There it was---the plane engine seemed to be making a funny choking noise as though it were coughing and missing out. Her instincts told her that something was dreadfully wrong!

Swan made a quick glance at the cowboy across the aisle. He was wide awake and sitting up straight, tense, and listening as though he also knew that the massive motor did not have the normal smooth hum. His body language did not reassure her.

Abruptly, the bottom of the plane started vibrating with a rubbing bumpy noise as though they were landing on extremely rough terrain. It was not a good omen. A nightmare of terror immediately erupted as the plane began rocking back and forth. Overhead compartments started popping open. Luggage began to fall. Objects flew through the air. A toupee flew overhead, which might have been hilariously humorous at another moment in time.

Swan observed the chaos in slow motion as something dangled in front of her nose and landed softly in her lap. She stared uncomprehendingly down at the oxygen mask that lay there. She watched disconnected and disoriented as other panicky passengers were desperately trying to put on their oxygen masks. Finally, she tried to follow their example.

The screaming of shrill voices began to permeate throughout the cabin as passengers comprehended the great peril that was descending upon them. Swan watched as windows began to crack and fracture into a million tiny particle puzzle pieces. A deafening ripping sound suddenly was accompanied by a blast of cold artic wind as the jumbo jet began to shake and tear apart. That was followed by a loud booming noise as the tail of the 707 was sliced off by the powerful Colorado pines and departed from the rest of the ill-fated Flight 330.

The 707 tail of the jet airliner continued to travel and plunge downward through the Colorado forest with the momentum causing it to hurl another quarter of a mile across the mountaintop until it finally came to an abrupt halt. That disaster was followed by a sudden burst of lethal flames from far away as the rest of Airliner 330 plowed into the side of the sub-zero icy mountainside. A dark mushroom cloud of smoky propane blossomed high above the tragic towering inferno. Accompanying the jet’s fiery blast was burning black debris that persisted to float unrelentingly until early the next morning. Finally--there was nothing, but an eerily cold silence as Mother Nature seemed to puff a silent benediction over the final resting place of those that did not survive.



CHAPTER 4



Slater fought for consciousness. It was essential that he was aware of his surroundings in order to survive. He was trained to know that it could mean the difference between life and death. He woke up with an excruciating pounding headache and what felt like a bruising black eye. He had his fair share of those to know that he was probably right. He just hoped the other guy was in worse shape than he. It better have been one helluva party to have such a booming head. Squinting through one good eye his fuddled mind began to clear and focus. What he saw in the dim light looked like a war zone. It was then that the horrific nightmare of the crash began to intrude back into his memory. Blackness began gaining momentum again as he began losing consciousness for a second time, but not before a mocking smile pulled at the corner of his lips as he realized that once again he had cheated the Grim Reaper.

The next morning arrived much too soon. As Slater began regaining another round of consciousness yet again, this time his brain jumped to total alertness. His light blues blinked several times before they began to focus. He scanned his surrounding and glanced up at the hazy sun. It was probably late morning. He looked at the date on his watch and was relieved to know that his blackout had only lasted more than a few hours and not days.

Cramped cold muscles screamed for stretching. Devastation was all around him. Slater knew he was surrounded by death. He could feel it. He could smell it. However, all he saw was a cavernous yawning hole where the long passenger cabin of the plane should have been. The tail ceiling of the plane was in tatters, hanging and flopping in the icy chill of the Rocky Mountains. Five of the overhead compartment doors had popped open-three on one side, one and half on the other---, leaving some clothing and occasional squeaking hinge behind. It was an eerily silence. No life, no people, only a pile of fox fur in the corner of the plane opposite of him. His eyes sliced back to the heap of fluffy red pelts. Nothing appeared to be moving.

With stiff fingers Slater slipped off his seatbelt. Every muscle screamed to stay put, but he willed his body to ignore it. He had suffered worse---much worse actually. In spite of a black eye, cut on his lower chin, some bruised, perhaps cracked ribs, and a sore ankle, he was able to shut out the pain and focus on a possible dead redhead under the furry blanket. He knew the odds of survival were not in her favor.

Slowly, Slater peeled back the fox fur. Red’s face was as white as parchment paper. Bright red blood trickled down from a large blue bruise and bump at her right temple giving her the ghoulish look of a vampire. She wasn’t dead; he knew death, but her breathing was very shallow indicating severe trauma. He reached under the warmth of her fur and clinically searched her body for any broken bones or additional bleeding. Finding none, he covered her back up and would attend to her comfort later.

Slater evaluated their possibilities for survival. It was grim, depending on how long before the search planes found them, IF they found them, IF the pilot had had time to make contact with the air controller, IF he could find food, IF they could stay warm enough, and IF another snow storm did not completely bury them. Those were a lot of “ifs”. He had been in more difficult grim circumstances in his life time, but not much.

An assessment of the situation confirmed the worse. The tail of the plane had been severed from top to bottom landing slightly on its side. Passenger windows were covered on one side with ground snow, while the other side of the windows let in light. All were cracked, one looked fine, but on closer inspection, Slater realized it had no glass at all.

Slater began filling the empty window with nearby scattered clothing. He glanced over the rest of the broken tail. A few empty seats remained, some dangled by twisted metal and two were still in tack--the last two. Cushions were scattered about and some luggage managed to remain in the cabin’s tail.

The door to the restroom behind the seats at the rear was closed with the sign on the latch indicating, “Occupied”. Slightly amused, Slater shoved the door with his shoulder. It gave way on the third heave. It was surprisingly intact. If someone were in there at the point of impact, they had departed rather unpleasantly.
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