Authors: Candy Caine
Christmas with a Stranger
Arrow Publications, LLC
CHRISTMAS WITH A STRANGER
In the wee hours, two days before Christmas, graphic artist Allie Benson-a young African-American living contently with her boyfriend-is awakened by a distress call from her boss. Knowing she possesses a pilot's license, he asks her to fly to Maine to pick up Roy Colby, a stranded potential client, and bring him back to Manhattan. She imagines Colby, the owner of a chain of stores, to be a middle-aged guy with a paunch, so she isn't prepared for the handsome, blue-eyed man waiting at the airport. When the plane develops engine trouble, she's forced to make an emergency landing. Rescue is prevented by a snowstorm, and they take shelter in an abandoned shack. After spending a stolen night of bliss, the two are rescued. But will they ever be able to return to their lovers at home and forget one another?
Copyright © 2011 by Candy Caine
All rights reserved.
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Warning: This e-book contains sexually explicit content, which is only suitable for mature readers
CHRISTMAS WITH A STRANGER
The persistent ringing of the phone jarred me out of a sound sleep. Wesley stirred next to me. Not wanting the phone to waken him, I rolled over and fumbled for the receiver. Without warning, Wesley’s arm shot out and grabbed my breast. I swatted it away as I tried to talk. He could be so annoying sometimes.
“Allie, are you awake?” Even in my half comatose state, I recognized the voice as Joe Brown’s, my boss at Brown, Wyckoff, and Jones Advertising Agency. I mouthed, “Stop it!” to Wesley, who decided to ignore what I was telling him and fondled me anyway.
“No. I'm sleeping like all normal people do at this hour after drinking and raising hell at the office Christmas party.”
“Jump into the shower and throw on some clothes. I need you to do an enormous favor for me,” he instructed.
“Come on, Joe. It’s five a.m. on a Saturday. That’s my day off, in case you’ve forgotten. Besides, Christmas is the day after tomorrow, and I still have to wrap my Christmas presents.” Okay, the last part was a white lie, but I needed my sleep, not that I’d get any now that Wesley was pawing me.
“I wouldn’t ask if it weren’t important, Allie.”
“So is my sleep.”
“Roy Colby of Helper Stores has an appointment with Tom to discuss the possibility of signing on with us. I don’t have to tell you what his business could mean to our firm.”
“That’s all very nice, but couldn’t you have waited to tell me this wonderful news at a more humane hour…say some time after noon—tomorrow?”
“That’s not the reason I called. You’ve got to pick him up at the Bangor Airport. His flight to New York was cancelled at the last minute.”
“As in Maine?”
“That’s where I’ve heard Bangor to be.”
“Because you’re a pilot.”
“That’s just a hobby, not what you hired me for.” Boy, did I ever regret having told him I had a pilot’s license.
“Please, Allie. I need you to do this for me. Listen, I’m begging you.”
“Oh, stop your groveling. I’m up already....”
“I knew I could count on you.”
“Never again. Especially this early in the morning. Promise?”
“I promise. And Allie…Thank you. Now get going!”
No sooner had I put the phone down, Wesley was straddling me.
“Look, Wes, I gotta go. Joe needs me—”
“Joe always needs you to do something. Your job always seems to come first, lately.”
“Hey, that’s not fair.”
“Then prove it!” He tried to persuade me by rubbing his cock against my sex.
“Big baby!” I chided as I straddled his back with my legs.
With his morning hard-on, he slammed into me like a jackhammer. To tell the truth, it felt good, and I really wished I had more time. We both climaxed quickly. Wesley pulled out of me and proceeded to go back to sleep, while I went to take a quick shower and dressed. I left a note on his night table explaining where I'd gone, promising to be back late afternoon. Then I called ahead to make sure the plane I usually rented was available and ready to go.
At 5:45 a.m., the traffic on the road was light, and I was able to get to JFK in thirty minutes. My two-seater prop was parked on the tarmac waiting for me. To most people it looked like a large remote-control toy plane. But, to me it was a roundtrip ticket to heaven. I loved flying. You might say this love was passed on through my genes. My great grandfather was a Tuskagee Airman during WWII and had the honor of being one of the first African-American fighter pilots. Flying always gave me a feeling of exhilaration akin to nothing else and allowed me to leave that crazy rat race we called life for a couple of hours. And today was no different.
I found the flight to Maine refreshing. The few cobwebs of sleepiness which had lingered during the ride to JFK had been blown away. I was now fully awake and enjoying the beautiful, clear skies. My mind drifted off to Wesley. We’d been living together for almost two years now and would eventually get married. It seemed to me we had a wonderful kind of love—the type you can build a future on.
I landed at Bangor and proceeded to the accommodations counter to have Roy Colby paged. Having never actually seen him before, I merely assumed with all his accomplishments that he was an older man. I never expected he’d be the youthful man who approached me. Tall and well put together, his broad shoulders filled the well-worn leather biker jacket he wore. His thick, wavy, black hair was cut short, but his eyes were what grabbed me. They were the deepest shade of blue I’d ever seen, like the endless heaven I’d just flown through. In short, I found him to be one of the most attractive men I’d ever seen. I hoped that neither my facial expression nor my accelerated heartbeat gave away my innermost thoughts. All he carried was an expensive-looking leather attaché case and an overnight bag.
“You’re the pilot?” he asked. I heard the unmistaken surprise in his voice.
I nodded, half-expecting his response. First off, most people expect a man, not a woman.
Secondly, I looked quite young. Hardly anyone took me for twenty-five when I wore makeup. Now, standing before him with my hair tied up in a ponytail without a drop of cosmetics on my face, I could just imagine what was going through his mind. He seemed momentarily lost in thought. I wondered if he had gotten cold feet and didn’t want to chance flying with me. However, that wasn’t the case, for he ended the silence by saying, “Let’s get rolling, then.”
I smiled and led the way outside to the plane. There wasn’t a long wait to take off because the air traffic was still light. I expected him to make a comment about the size of the plane. He didn’t. Perhaps he was used to taking puddle-jumpers. Better for me.
We gained altitude. The visibility was still good. From the corner of my eye, I watched him admiring the beauty the sky offered. He wasn’t much of a talker. I didn’t mind that one bit, for I’d rather concentrate on the flight. As we left the Maine airspace and were entering New Hampshire, we hit a bad pocket of turbulence. In a small plane like ours it always felt like an amusement park ride whenever the plane bucked. Many people got airsick. I stole a quick look at him to see if he was affected. Luckily he didn’t seem to be. I was relieved. I hated it when people got sick on the plane.
The even hum of the engine was suddenly interrupted by a sputtering noise. The sound immediately sent shivers down my spine. Whoever inspected this plane must have done a lousy job—if they inspected it at all. But, I had no time to dwell on that now, because the instrument needles began to flutter. Something was terribly wrong. Then I noticed the needle on the oil gauge had dropped considerably. A knot of fear formed in my stomach as the inside of my mouth dried, making it difficult to swallow as I thought of the implications.
I contacted the control tower of the nearest airport. I saw Roy’s face blanch as I reported our trouble. I needed to land and wanted the emergency vehicles alerted.
“We’re going to crash, aren’t we?”
“Not if I can help it,” I said, motioning him to be quiet.
“Yes, my coordinates are...oh, dear Lord! Brace yourself, Roy!” I shouted as we began to rapidly lose altitude. There was no time to make it to an airport. We had to make an emergency landing!
“Look for a small clearing!” I shouted. “We have to put down!”
It was almost useless. All we could see were miles and miles of endless trees.
“There! There’s a spot on the left!” Roy shouted over the noise of the plane and the loud banging of my heart.
“I see it! Now all we need is a small miracle.”
I headed towards the clearing, fighting with the steering and praying for that miracle. The noise was deafening. As I saw my whole life pass before me, I thought of Wesley. Now I wished I had said goodbye earlier. It looked as if we were on a collision course with a thousand trees. Then I saw a patch of snow. And right after that…nothing.
When I finally regained consciousness, Roy was standing over me. I had no idea where I was. The last thing I remembered was heading for the clearing. There was a look of concern on his face along with some minor cuts and bruises.
“Good, you’re awake,” he said, smiling. “How do you feel?”
I touched my forehead. It hurt. After removing my hand, I noticed some blood. “Like I just came out of a clothes dryer,” I said, which made him chuckle.
I tried to get up, but collapsed as everything began to spin around me.
“Here, let me help you,” he said as he gently lifted me up to a sitting position leaning against an ejected seat. “You’ve got a beauty of a bump on your forehead.”
I locked onto his scent, a manly mixture of aftershave and perspiration, surprised at the sensations I was feeling being so physically close to him. Those feelings were reserved for Wesley. Then I caught sight of the plane. The heap of twisted wreckage looked more like an accordion than a plane. We both were damned lucky to be alive.
“Were you able to radio for help?” I asked, hoping a search party was already on the way.
He shook his head. “The radio was damaged in the crash. I’m afraid it’s inoperable.”
“Damn! We needed that radio!” I winced at the pain in my head.
My outburst and pain-ridden expression brought a fresh look of worry to Roy’s handsome face. I regretted it almost immediately. I tried to reassure him and perhaps myself, as well, by adding, “Don’t worry. The airport controller probably has a search party out looking for us this very moment. We’ll be found soon.”
“Only if it doesn’t snow,” he said. “Look at the sky.”
He was right. It did look like snow—and lots of it. The sky was completely covered by threatening clouds, and we were stuck in the middle of nowhere. Crashing was bad enough without the complications of an impending snowstorm. The odds of surviving were going down rapidly, while the possibilities of freezing to death were rising. We had to get help soon.
Roy must have read my thoughts. “At least we have shelter.” He lifted me gingerly and carried me to a small, abandoned shack he’d found nearby while I was unconscious. Inside were few amenities, but it was better than nothing. He set me down on a small cot. Using the plane’s first aid kit, he cleaned my cut. From where I lay I could see a few cans of soup and beans stacked on a shelf over the small sink. It didn’t look like there was much more in the way of food. And that was probably the good part, because it was getting mighty cold.
Roy went outside to gather some wood to build a fire. The temperature was dropping rapidly and neither one of us had more than the jackets we wore. I felt the cold dearly, for every bone in my body ached. But along with the ache from bruises was another kind of sensation. One I didn’t want to have. I should be thinking of Wesley. Yet, I found myself drawn to the tall, handsome man with whom I was stranded. I was well-aware such an attraction could be dangerous. Even so, I found him extremely disturbing in every way. When he was near me, I was acutely aware of the fact I was a woman—and he, a man. Fortunately, sleep overcame all further thoughts.
While I slept, Roy returned and built a fire in the dilapidated fireplace. It gave warmth, but not nearly as much as we needed.
“How’s your head?” Roy asked his eyes full of concern.
“The Merry-Go-Round is slowing down somewhat.”
Grinning, he said, “I’m glad your sense of humor’s still intact. How’s about something to eat?”
“I’m starving.” I hadn't eaten anything all day.
He found a beat-up aluminum pot and tried to warm beans over the fire. It wasn’t much, but it took the edge off our hunger.
We spent the rest of the evening talking. Gone was the reticence he’d shown on the plane ride. Perhaps, he now felt more comfortable talking to me, or perhaps he thought we might not be found. Then, again, I thought of another reason. Perhaps because I was an African-American, I might be more inclined to understand his humble beginning. Whatever the reason, he told me how his thriving business got its start.
“I was a poor kid who got lucky. My dad was a mean drunk who luckily died from cirrhosis before he seriously hurt us. After his death, I quit school and took a job as a clerk in the original Helper Store to help my mother keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. I caught the old man’s eye and got one promotion after another. Eventually I bought the store from John Helper and scraped enough money and loans together in order to add another. Both were successful, and I soon expanded further until I had a chain of stores across the country.”
“That’s wonderful. It sounds as if you’re living happily ever after.”
“Not exactly. I learned that money corrupts and can cost you the very happiness it brings.”
“Though I’d been successful in business and became a multi-millionaire, it cost me my marriage.”
“I would think all that money would entice a woman to stay, not leave.”
“I put a great deal of time into my work. My wife grew to resent it. I tried to be home more, but the business tore me away. We fought over it constantly and the final breakup was far from pretty. I learned the hard way and promised myself not to make the same mistakes again, allowing Carol, the woman I’m now seeing, to keep me on a short leash. What about you?”
“My life is far from exciting.”
“How can you say that? You’re a pilot, for starters.”
“Flying is only a hobby. I’m actually a graphic artist. Getting you to New York was a favor.”
“Is there a guy waiting for you at home?”
“Yeah—a terrific guy,” I added quickly.
I shook my head. “Still in the discussion stage.”
Was that a look of relief I read on his face? No, of course not. He had someone waiting for him back home as well. Before I could give it another thought, my attention was drawn to the window. It had begun to snow. The rapidly falling flakes were large and thick. Trepidation filled the pit of my stomach with ice. I knew, as long as it continued to snow like this, no search party would be venturing out. The wind had picked up and its eerie howling didn’t have much of a soothing effect on my psyche, either.