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Broken Flyght: The Flyght Series, #2

Broken Flyght: The Flyght Series, #2

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Broken Flyght: The Flyght Series, #2

ratings:
3/5 (2 ratings)
Length:
240 pages
3 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Oct 4, 2019
ISBN:
9781940599717
Format:
Book

Description

Fallen heiress, ship's captain, entrepreneur — Vivian will do whatever it takes to restore her family's empire, even if it means sacrificing her own happiness…

 

With her ship secure and her old boyfriend back in good graces, Vivian Kawabata only needs one thing to move forward: money. Money, though, is hard to come by when you're an infamous disgraced heiress. Vivian's only move is to enlist the help of her matchmaker, Marcelo, and find another wealthy man to add to her relationship network. He not only has to be a master in the bedroom, but he must be a pro with ships, too. Her ship needs a mechanic before they start taking on real clients for Flyght, the lucrative ship-sharing startup.

 

On their way to Rio to follow the trail of Vivian's deceitful brother, Marcelo presents Vivian with two eligible bachelors, Sean and Jinzo. The vetting process is rocky from the start; Sean is stand-offish and distant, and Jinzo doesn't make a good first impression. Despite this setback, Vivian is determined to make something work because if she's doesn't, she's dead in the water. 

 

After their first romantic escape, Vivian is knocked backwards by her feelings for Jinzo (first impressions aren't everything). But he's not as eligible as he first seemed to be, and the realization throws her whole world into chaos and a new possible scandal. Every decision Vivian makes puts not only her own future on the line, but that of her crew and her family. Will she play it safe, or risk everything - including her heart?

 

Broken Flyght is the second book in the Flyght Series of sci-fi reverse harem romance. If you like action-packed space operas and a universe full of twists, then you'll love S. J. Pajonas's interstellar adventure.

 

Please note: THIS SERIES MUST BE READ IN ORDER. It is a true series and plot elements carry through every book, from beginning to end. You will miss too much by reading this series out of order or skipping around. The Flyght Series is complete at six books. This is also a slow-burn RH series that contains profanity and sexual situations.

Publisher:
Released:
Oct 4, 2019
ISBN:
9781940599717
Format:
Book

About the author

Stephanie (S. J.) is a writer, knitter, amateur astrologer, Capricorn, Japanophile, and USA Today Best Selling author. She loves foxes, owls, sushi, yoga pants, Evernote, and black tea. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing or spending time outside, unless it’s winter. She hates winter. Someday she’ll own a house in both hemispheres so she can avoid the season entirely. She’s a mom to two great kids, one feisty dog named Lulu Ninja Assassin, and lives with her husband and family outside NYC. When it comes to her work, expect the unexpected. She doesn’t write anything typical. Find her online at http://www.spajonas.com. 

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Broken Flyght - S. J. Pajonas

https://www.spajonas.com/duo-systems/

1

It’s time to confess. I can’t hold back this secret any longer from the crew, and the longer I keep quiet, the more anxious I get. I am entrusting these people with my life and my safety. We’re partners in this adventure, and they deserve to know.

I swallow hard, and my neck sweats as three pairs of eyes stare up at me. Wait. Make that four. Hedwig, the brown chicken, has wandered into the room as well.

What’s up, boss? Carlos, our resident tech expert in all his sixteen-year-old glory, hesitates as he assesses my mood. You look a little pale.

How long have I been standing here trying to talk myself into this?

Probably too long.

Vivian? Skylar interrupts, insistent. Spit it out. We’ve only got an hour before we reach Customs.

Our ship, the Amagi, is racing through the fabricated wormhole between the Californikos System we just left and our home, the Brazilianos System. Soon, we’ll be at the end jump ring and on our way to sit in line and be inspected.

Time is ticking away, Vivian.

Okay, I say, more to myself than to those watching. Okay. So, I believe I’ve come up with a way to solve our cash flow issues.

Marcelo, my relationship broker, the man who is here to find me husbands and consorts of my own, raises his eyebrows. This is his signature expression. We discussed a few options the other day. What did you come up with?

I blink as I remember what we talked about, breeding designer animals. Lia, the person I put in charge of our current pig shipping situation, and all-around helpful crew mate, would love to breed designer animals I’m sure, but…

It’s nothing we spoke of already.

My nervousness has tied up my tongue, and I don’t know how to start. Then the condiments on the table catch my attention. I jump forward to grab Dad’s hot sauce and hold it up.

You want to make hot sauce and sell it? Skylar’s eyebrows match Marcelo’s now. She’s dubious.

Not just any hot sauce, though. You see… I take a seat across from them. I used to think my dad made all of those trips to Rio for fun, you know? Backpacking with friends. Getting drunk without my mom around. But… but it turns out he was a lot more adventurous than I gave him credit for.

I set the bottle down on the table, and Lia’s eyes grow wide.

There’s something in that hot sauce, right? It’s spiked?

I nod slowly. Before I left Ossun, Dad took me out into the woods and dug up a box full of seeds he’s been collecting for the last ten years. Seeds he discovered on Rio, in the jungles. And guys? I laugh, letting the chuckle turn rueful. You would not believe what some of these seeds do.

I watch Skylar out of the corner of my eye, and her cheek flinches. There’s only one person in this room I need to accept this idea one-hundred percent, and it’s Skylar. She’s my cousin, she’s family, and she’s my best friend. She and I are in this together for the long-haul. Everyone else is temporary.

Her cheek twitch turns to a lopsided smile. Like what? Are we talking like… She waves her hand in the air. Uppers, downers, and enhanced sexual drive? Stuff like that?

Wellllllll… I drag out that one word until it’s long enough to stretch back to Palo Alto.

Her smile falls. What then?

I make eye contact with Marcelo. What if I told you you could take a pill and de-age to your thirties?

Marcelo sits back in his spot and folds his arms over his chest.

What if I gave you a piece of candy that allowed you to read someone else’s mind? I ask Carlos. His mouth drops open.

What if I concocted an oil that when you used it in a bath, you could shapeshift into a cat? Or a bird? Or another person, I ask Skylar. She guffaws. But I turn to Lia.

I have the perfect tea for you to drink before bed, and when you sleep, you’ll dream of what will happen the next day. I tap on the table. And it will all come true.

You’re joking. Carlos shakes his head.

You don’t know Vivian like I do. When she’s this tongue-tied and nervous, she’s not joking, Skylar says, her voice breathy and light. Uncle Nuno hit the jackpot?

I’m suddenly transported back to our family holiday parties, my dad standing around with the other dads and husbands, drinking hooch, and saying, Someday I’m going to hit the jackpot. Just not this year. They all laughed and toasted each other.

Shit. Have they all known about this hobby for years?

Sky? It’s the fatherlode of jackpots.

Carlos whistles, and Lia shakes her head.

So, like, I could shapeshift into another person? That would make undercover work so much easier. Carlos’s face brightens.

I hold up my hand. I haven’t figured out how it works yet, so don’t quote me on that. There’s a lot of information in the database I have to sift through.

Carlos’s eyes narrow. What database?

One my dad made. It’s on Hecate —

It’s on the duonet? he interrupts.

Uh, yes? I think so?

His eyes narrow further. You have no idea what you’re talking about, do you?

I shrug, trying not to roll my eyes. Look, I really don’t understand how any of that stuff works.

Let’s get something straight. The duonet is where all the data goes between servers on all the Seven Worlds and more. Hecate is what we use to access it, okay? Hecate is not the duonet. It’s a gateway to it. He stands up. This is red-level, classified shit here. Nothing should be on the duonet.

It’s password protected! I feel I need to defend Dad here who is even more clueless about technology than I am.

Carlos shakes his head. Not good enough. If what you’re saying is true —

It is true, I insist.

Then we have to secure our data. No one should know about this but us. Athens Industries owns Hecate. They have a monopoly on the tech, but I can maneuver around that.

I’m about to remind him that a good half of the ship runs on Athens Industries code between the systems and Ai. But I’ve seen his den of technology.

What can you do? I ask.

Run my updates a whole lot faster. I’ve been trying to wean us off Hecate for six months. But I’m pulling the plug now, today. He heads off to his den. Come see me when you’re done! We need to download your data off the duonet!

The room falls into silence after his departure. Well, Carlos is in, I say.

I’m in too. Skylar rubs her hands together. This sounds like a juicy venture. So, what are we talking about here? Drinks, sauces, teas?

Marcelo side-eyes her. Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, I want to know what you’re thinking and what you have for plans already.

I explain how I found everything, what most of the seeds do, and how I asked Ken Mata, my ex-boyfriend and head of Flyght, for help. Skylar’s smile falls when I mention Ken. She told me to stay away from him, and I asked him for help. But her tune changes when I mention the Diamond Flyght license he’s granted us.

Yes! She pumps her fist. I knew we’d get it eventually!

That’s great news, Marcelo says. He leans forward, ready to ask more, but Skylar interrupts him.

Diamond. Level. I bet we can pick up some fancy clients within a day. No more pigs for you, Lia.

Lia has been silent, in and out of the galley, for most of the conversation. She catches my attention when she places a cup of steaming coffee in front of me. I swear that she’s better at being a grandfather than my own grandfather was.

You look tired, she says, shrugging.

I can only imagine how I look. I’ve barely slept in the last four days. My voice is hoarse, and my eyes are made of sand. I keep trying to blink life back into them, but there’s nothing left to give.

I’m exhausted, but I can’t sleep. There’s too much going on in my head.

I can see that. Can I get you anything else?

Nothing but your opinion. What do you think of this?

Me? Lia presses her hand to her chest.

Yes, you. I glance at Marcelo, but he’s quiet and staring into space. Skylar is peering into Dad’s Happiest of Hot Sauces bottle like it has secrets just waiting to pop out and reveal themselves.

Well, I love the Happiest of Hot Sauces. She waves to Skylar and the bottle. And I think lots of other people would like it too. But don’t you think it’ll be dangerous manufacturing and testing these strange things? Selling them?

Well, I figured I’d test them on myself. I shrug and Marcelo grunts.

Captain! Lia gasps. You’re our only source of income. What if you kill yourself? What if these seeds do awful things to you?

The sixteen-year-olds are the only ones speaking sense around here because all I can think is, So what? It’s not like I have a death wish or anything. But I’m already up against major odds.

Well… I shrug. I’m not going to test them on anyone else but myself, so that should answer your question.

Lia stares at me for a full five seconds. Somehow I knew that was the answer you were going to give. She throws back her head with a laugh. "Captain, I won’t tell you not to do this. If the other things are anything like the hot sauce, you’ll make a million credits easy."

I sink farther into my seat. I need three point three million credits, Lia.

Then I guess we better get started soon. She backs out of the room with a smile and a wave. She wants me to be careful, but ultimately, she approves.

Skylar slips the bottle of hot sauce into her pocket as she stands up. Sounds like a great plan, Viv. Let me know when you need some beta testers. She winks at me.

You’re okay with this? I thought you’d disapprove.

Me? Disapprove? I’m no longer on my mother’s ship. Her smile is wicked and sends shivers down my spine. I feel like her years of being careful are over. She’s always been a little reckless, but she kept on the conservative side to please her family. Now, with no one here to rein her in, Skylar is a force that cannot be contained. Man, your dad is one resourceful guy. She shakes her head. My dad hates risk, barely leaves his house. He makes great pie though.

Her wristlet chimes at her.

Gotta go. Need to prep for arrival.

Once she’s gone, it’s just Marcelo and me. And Hedwig. She’s pecking at something over in the corner.

I have to give you credit where credit is due, Ms. Vivian. You said you would do anything to buy back your family land.

I raise my shoulders a bit.

You also said you were boring and predictable. He laughs. I happen to think you’re pretty far from. Ken Mata is really going to back this venture?

Yep. My nervous fingers immediately give me away.

And you’re going to start dating again?

Yeeeeeeeep. I break into a silly smile when I see his approving grin. I missed him, and I think… maybe… he missed me too.

Marcelo nods his approval. He will be a great first addition to your network. Do you think there are other women?

This question catches me off guard. Hmmm, no, maybe? I don’t know. I pop my lips as I think.

Go on, he insists.

When we spoke, he seemed… lonely. Like he’s been apart from others.

Marcelo nods. I’ve heard the same. He won’t be an easy consort because he’ll have his own business, but I’m sure you’ll make a good pairing. How will he be with other consorts?

He says he’ll be fine with it. I shrug, hoping Ken will stick to his word.

I guess we’ll see. I’m making arrangements for your first date, back home in Sagae. He’s a native of Sakata City. I hope you’re ready for this.

I gulp down the coffee Lia gave me and nod to Marcelo.

I’m ready and raring to go. Let’s get through Customs and drop off these pigs. We have work to do, and I need an engineer, or I’m never growing these seeds.

2

This trip through Customs is sketchy as hell.

Mendelson, Gai Reis’s ‘man’ in Customs, chews his gum and leans against the supports, his arms crossed and staring at me. His uniform collar is undone, and his pants sag at his ankles, two sizes too big.

I expected men in uniforms from the Shipping and Trade Regulation Authority, pressed and dressed for success. This doesn’t seem right.

You’re new, he says. It takes an exceeding amount of willpower not to roll my eyes at him.

No shit. Are you going to count and inspect the pigs or what? I’m irritated and grouchy from the lack of sleep, and I want these pigs off my ship. I caught one of them ransacking the galley ten minutes ago when I went to give Carlos everything he needed to download Dad’s database, and I haven’t been very forgiving since.

Nah, he drawls, turning his wristlet and checking the time. Got fifteen minutes to kill, though, so we should chat.

Or maybe you should just get the hell off my ship if you’re going to stand around and scratch your balls.

You open the cryocontainer? Touch it or fiddle with it in any way? He gestures to the cube on the other side of the bay.

Nope. But now I wish I had. The manifest stated that it was seed stores and pig sperm. I never verified it.

Should I have?

I cover my uncertainty by checking my own wristlet as well — no new messages except the few from the Ossun Entertainment News blow-up. As I look at the interface, I pay attention to the Hecate logo in the bottom left (an H with a ring around it, much like Rio’s rings) and try to understand what Carlos said before. Hecate is the interface. The duonet is where all the data is. Can Carlos build his own interface? I bet he already has.

Okay, Mendelson says, wandering away from me. He approaches the container and casually inspects it, glancing at each side as he strolls around it.

I try not to watch and pretend to access something on my wristlet while keeping him in view through my upper lashes. I’m not sure what to think of him or his preoccupation with whatever’s in the container. Is he hoping he can steal it? Is he worried I’ve already looked inside? Or am I being paranoid?

I close my eyes and lean my head back against the wall while I wait. I just want to go to bed.

Mendelson! You done? someone from the airlock calls. I can’t see his face, but he sounds annoyed.

Mendelson’s head jerks up from among the pigs. He accesses his wristlet and nods.

All done, boss! he calls back.

My body relaxes as he approaches me, his demeanor much more professional now that his boss is on the other side of the door.

You’re cleared to go. The contract will need to be timestamped within five days. Mendelson nods once at me and strides from the cargo bay into the airlock. The airlock door cycles closed and locks.

Now, it’s just the pigs… and the cryocontainer.

I amble over to it. I had my misgivings about bringing it onboard when we took delivery of the pigs, but the whole exchange seemed to be standard procedure for Gai Reis’s employees. I wasn’t given the option to deny it.

I stalk around the outside of the cryocontainer, dragging my palm across the top. Despite not seeing anything out of the ordinary nor alarming, a thought niggles at the back of my brain. Whatever’s in the box, it’s important.

I step away.

It’s also none of my business, right?

Captain! Lia’s voice bounces off the bay, startling not only me but the pigs as well.

Shit. I jump back and cover my heart with my hand.

Sorry! she calls out from the balcony. Didn’t mean to startle you! She trots down the stairs and straight to me. Are we done with Customs?

We are. The pigs will be gone soon. I yawn and stretch. I need sleep immediately.

I have good news. Lia’s smile is wide, breaking her soft face into two half moons. I’ve sold Stella, and I got a great price for her too.

Excellent. I suppose this is good news, though I’ll be sorry to see her go. She was a part of the family farm, the family farm I’m in a desperate race to save.

The ducks laid eggs, too, so I made a sweet egg custard and put it in the fridge.

Ohhhh, that sounds lovely. Okay, the news is getting better. I don’t remember the last time I ate.

"And, the best news of all, I’ve figured out what other animals we need on board. Sheep."

I bounce my head side to side. Okay, sure. Sheep. Why not?

I got a deal on four Merino sheep. Two are runts of their litters, one was born blind, and the other is stubborn as a mule, but I think they’ll all do well in our space farm.

I have to pass her statement through my head a few times before I fully understand her reasoning here. Runts will be smaller and better for the tighter space. Blind? Sure. It’s not like the poor thing will wander off the ranch. And stubborn? Well, that could be a problem.

The broker wouldn’t let me buy them all without making me take the stubborn one too, she whispers, leaning closer. She smiles and rocks back on her heels. "The sheep can also be milked, and I can shear them too for the wool to sell. I’ve done

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