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Authors: Viola Grace

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Flight and Fantasy

BOOK: Flight and Fantasy

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Title Page

Wingless Annanya has been working on a flight suit for the grand exhibition, but meeting a handsome prince throws a wrench into the works. Can a woman raised amongst a species with wings ever find true happiness with a man who can soar when she can’t? Hell yeah.

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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Flight and Fantasy

Copyright © 2011 Viola Grace

Cover art by Martine Jardin

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.

Published by eXtasy Books

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Flight and Fantasy


Viola Grace

“She went this way. Get her!” Feet pounded past her hiding place and kept going.

Annanya hid under the skimmer, flat on her back with no clearance between her breasts and the transport.

Since she would be stuck there for a few minutes at least, she looked at the open panel right above her head. There was sparking damage from a short so she reached up and began to rewire the ship.

Running into Cabre with Nasha had been trouble, but when her friends started in on mocking the
wingless wonder
, nothing could stop them. They fashioned a pair of wings out of garbage and were trying to pin them on her when she struggled away from Cabre’s cronies and hid under the skimmer.

She froze when she heard footsteps return. “Sir, have you seen a wingless woman here?”

A deep voice almost made her jump out of her skin. She hadn’t thought there was anyone in the repair bay. “No. Nothing so exotic as that.”

Cabre’s voice was tight, “Sorry to disturb you, sir. I will look elsewhere.”

“That would be wise. The owner is fussy about those who surround his skimmer.”

She could see Cabre’s feet as his heels snapped together and he departed the repair bay. The other feet did not go anywhere.

“Miss? You can’t have much room under there and the skimmer can’t fly right now, so you are stuck unless you choose to come out and converse with me.” The boot tips were pointed at her and she couldn’t help but admire the deep burgundy gleam of the polish.

“Just give me a minute to finish these repairs and I will be right out, sir.” Since Cabre had addressed him as sir, it was a safe bet that she was under the skimmer of a noble.

The last couplings were managed with the wire cutters and crimping pliers she kept in her corset. Some girls packed it with tissues, she put tools in.

Annanya sealed the panel and scooted slowly out from under the skimmer. She was sure that she had grime on her cheeks and hands, but when she saw the owner of the skimmer her stomach dropped to her tailbone. “Your Highness.”

She scrambled to her feet and gave a curtsey with her short skirt. Her tights were bagging at the knees, her corset was bulging with tools and her blouse was a silvery grey. She was not at her best to meet royalty.

He touched her chin and lifted it so she was looking into his unbelievably blue eyes. “You recognized me.”

“Of course, Your Highness. I read the news and follow the flickers.” She shoved her white blonde hair out of her eyes. It had escaped from her braid once again.

“What is your name, little mechanic?”

She blushed. “Annanya Fennor.”

“It is odd to see one of your kind this far from the city. How is it that you come to be so far from the Orion Rest embassy?”

“I was raised here, your highness. I was found as an infant and taken in by the Fennors. They tried to find anyone who knew who or what I was and were unsuccessful. So, they raised me with their own.”

“I see. Unusual circumstance for an unusual woman.”

“If I may ask, sir? What are you doing here?”

He grinned, sending her heart tripping at nine times its normal rate. He was handsome, with his golden hair waving from his forehead to that chiselled chin and those devastating eyes. She could have fallen in love with just his looks if he hadn’t also been a philanthropist and polite, even to her in her wingless condition.

“My shuttle had a malfunction over your fair town and I decided to land before I killed myself. I didn’t know that there was a festival going on, or I would have gone to the magistrate to arrange the repairs.”

She smiled softly, dazed by his presence before she realized what he was talking about. “Well, your skimmer is fixed, but there was a problem with rodent infestation. You may want to watch where you park it.”

He was chuckling while he spoke, “You fixed it while you were hiding under it?”

“I needed to have something to do with myself and I had all my tools with me.” She patted the corset that was standard wear for a proper lady, but hers was stained with grease.

“I will pay you for that bodice.” He reached into his pocket and withdrew a purse. “Also, I will reimburse you for the repairs.”

She blushed. “Your Highness, it isn’t necessary. I destroy more clothing than I can count, and the repairs kept me calm. Also, you did drive off one of my pursuers so for that I owe you.”

He tilted his head and ruffled his midnight wings. “Why were they after you?”

“I am wingless, they are not, they enjoy tormenting me, knowing I have only one means of escape.”

“I see.”

She was afraid he did.

“Will you attend the great mechanical exhibition in Morcroft next month?” There was something in his eyes that was inappropriate for his station, and hers.

“I had planned to, yes. I have an item to exhibit.”

He took a few coins out of his purse and pressed the purse itself into her hands. “Show that at the main tent and they will bring you to me. I would enjoy a conversation on how you gained your mechanical skills.”

She looked down at the heavy purse with the royal seal on it and bobbed another quick curtsey. “Thank you, Your Highness.”

“Call me, Denaric. I will see you at the display. It is shaping up to be quite the interesting event.” He bowed to her and kissed the back of her grubby hand before winking and waving for her to make her escape.

As she crept out of the repair bay, she tucked the purse into her corset, feeling the warmth of his crest while his skimmer hummed to life behind her. Her repair was solid and he would make it wherever he was going.

She was taking her money right to the supply shop to get the final component for her project. Her father had offered her bits and bobs from his workshop, but she needed the canisters to help the hydraulics run.

She giggled as she dodged the sight of her pursuers and ducked into the supply shop. Time would fly until the great exhibition, and soon, so would she.

Vahsha watched her pack up her creation. Annanya loved her sister, the only one of the Fennor siblings who didn’t pick on her. “I can’t believe it works.”

It was the ninth time her sister had said that and Anna grinned. The test flight had occurred in the middle of the night, with only Vahsha as a witness. “I know, but it does and I want to display it at the exhibition. Father is bringing his new harvester so I will be down the centre from him. No one will know we are related unless he tells them.”

Vahsha ruffled her dark grey wings and frowned. Her matching dark grey eyes were sober. “Father is not embarrassed by you. He and mother love you very much.”

Anna wrapped a final tarp over her creation and looked at her sister. “I know it. And I also know that having a wingless wonder in the family brings aspersions to Father’s bloodline. If that can be avoided, I am all for it.”

“And since Nasha is coming, you need to be on your guard. I understand.” Vahsha helped her tie the tarp firmly in place. “It is odd to me that she would go in the hopes of finding someone better than Cabre, but she always was greedy.”

“We both know she hopes to marry nobility, but with her looks, settling for Cabre would be the wiser course.” They both giggled.

Nasha entered the workshop and frowned. “Are you ready? Father is waiting.”

Annanya winked at Vahsha and hauled the small cart out of the shop. Her father helped her load the whole thing into the wagon so she would be able to drag it around the exhibition.

“Come on, brainy, it is time for us to begin our journey to Morcroft.” Vorlar Fennor smiled fondly at her and waved for her to mount her horse. Nasha couldn’t ride, her wings were too fluffy and tickled the horses.

That was the reason Nasha gave anyway. Annanya suspected that her eldest sister was afraid of the beasts.

Snowflake was Anna’s favourite mount, his ebony colour and red eyes gave a charming contrast to her own paler colouring. He pranced under her as she settled in the saddle, but calmed at her touch.

With her father and sister in the wagon and her mount eager to get started, they began the eight-hour journey to Morcroft.

Her registration ticket in her hand, Anna hauled her creation into the secure area for storage before their display. The registrar gave her wingless back a strange look, then read what her invention was and smiled. “Many of your kind have tried this. I have never seen one work yet.”

She merely nodded and put her cart into the security-laden area. Anna checked and double-checked that all of her components were secure before she left them. Nothing would interfere with her part of the exhibition.

There were a dozen guards watching the dormant exhibits. This was the prime inventor faire of the year. The discoveries unleashed here could be sold throughout the stars. It was quite a moment for the inventors and investors alike.

With her duties discharged, she went to seek a meal. Everywhere around her, folk took off and landed with casual ease. The heights of the surrounding cliffs were alive with bars, taverns and hostels. The grounders had to make do with the tents pitched on the edges of the exhibition space. Food, drink and rest were not the best or most comfortable, but being on the ground meant a lower class indeed.

A large pavilion was arranged with the colours of the royal family fluttering in the breeze. She pressed a hand against her corset and felt the bag beneath the fabric. She needed only to present it to the guards and they would take her to the prince.

Her hand trembled as she thought of him and she quickly pushed those images of his black silken wings aside.

Anna tilted her head and an upward glance showed her Nasha and her father sitting on one of the lower balconies. They looked down and her father waved while Nasha pretended not to see her. Smiling to herself, she sought her own element. The grounders.

Broken and single wings filled the dining hall with a few wingless patrons sitting at well-worn tables. She sought familiar faces and grinned when she found one. When the elder with two broken grey wings waved her over, she joined him and held up two fingers followed by one fist when the barkeep looked over.

“I did it, Tenyen. I managed to come up with a workable solution.”

“Greetings to you, Anna. Are you sure?” He leaned back to let a waitress clear his plate and deposit two beers.

“Yes. I have tested it.”

“Do you think it will work in the exhibition?” His bright blue eyes twinkled.

It was a common thing that the most grand of machines would not work on the day. She winked. “It will. I even packed spare parts for it.”

“I look forward to seeing it. What did Vorlar bring this year?”

She smiled at the waitress as her own meal was delivered. “He has a harvester for some of the more delicate crops. What did you bring?”

“A seeder. It is completely solar as well.”

She applauded him. “Bravo. How is Mitia?”

“She despairs being married to an inventor, but she has been doing so for the last thirty-nine years. You would think she had learned by now.” He toasted her with the beer she had ordered.

“Some women are slow learners. Any of our regular crowd here this year?”

He scratched his head. “Tomas, Nukidial, and of course the Vekkor brothers.”

She nodded. “No sign of Garthol?”

“His wife just had a baby.”

“Ah.” She dug into the stew and tore off chunks of bread to douse in the gravy. She ate and they chatted for twenty minutes when the interior of the grounder’s tavern fell quiet.

Someone had walked up behind her and Anna was afraid to turn around.

Tenyen got to his feet and bowed. “Your Highness. How nice to see you here.”

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