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High Flyght: The Flyght Series, #3

High Flyght: The Flyght Series, #3

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High Flyght: The Flyght Series, #3

ratings:
4/5 (1 rating)
Length:
269 pages
4 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Nov 8, 2019
ISBN:
9781940599731
Format:
Book

Description

A sister betrayed. A discovery of contraband. Can she save her family or will she crash and burn?
 
Vivian Kawabata won't rest until she reverses her family's unfortunate lot. Still fuming over her brother's betrayal, she struggles to rustle up a few more eligible men for her anemic relationship network and a medic for the crew before someone dies on her watch. But she thinks her luck is finally beginning to change when they uncover her conniving brother's stash of valuable superhero seeds.
 
Hoping the plant's mysterious powers can buff both her crew and her bank account, she races to turn the crop into cash. But when her alluring ex, Ken, returns, managing her bedroom threatens to steal her focus. With old wounds reopening, jealous competitors, and dangerous side effects, Vivian fears for her life… and her heart.
 
Are she and her newfound network doomed, or can she finally chart a course for success and love?
 
High Flyght is the third book in the far-flung Flyght Series of sci-fi reverse harem romance. If you like clever heroines, sexy men, and fast-paced action, then you'll love S. J. Pajonas's captivating universe.
 
Buy High Flyght to unleash an interplanetary surprise today!

 

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:
Nov 8, 2019
ISBN:
9781940599731
Format:
Book

About the author

Stephanie (S. J.) is a writer, knitter, Capricorn, Japanophile, and USA Today Best Selling author. She loves summer, downtempo beats, yoga pants, foxes, owls, dogs, sushi, pasta, and black tea. She lives outside NYC with her husband, two great kids, and her dog who always wants to play. When it comes to her work, she writes about everyday women and uncommon worlds. Find her online at https://www.spajonas.com


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High Flyght - S. J. Pajonas

1

The sharp stomp of my boots echoes off the pristine white walls as I make my way to my mother’s hospital room.

Jinzo’s head turns at each door, checking the room numbers as he keeps me from running ahead and disturbing everyone on the floor.

233, 235… He mumbles. Glancing at me from the corner of his eye, he hesitates. Are you going to be all right?

All right? I ask, my voice rising. All right? What do you think?

He slows down so he’s walking right next to me.

I think I wasn’t sure an hour ago when you got the call. I mean, I’m still getting to know you and everything. But now I realize that icy silence is not what I thought it was.

I stop dead in my tracks, and a nurse scuttles around us.

"I… am… so pissed off, it’s not even funny. We left funny on a deserted planet and flew away ten years ago. That’s how angry I am."

Jinzo runs his hand over the short hair on his head and sighs.

I don’t like being lied to, I tell him and proceed down the hall.

Technically, Jinzo begins, running up to me, "it’s an omission. Your father has been radio silent for weeks, right? So try not to be too mad at them. They’re only trying to protect you."

Jin — I begin, ready to tear his head off.

He rests his hand on my arm. They’re being stupid parents. My mother and father do this to me all the time, too. And I’ve been as angry as you are right now.

My anger cools ever so slightly.

I’ll treat you to coffee and a croissant after this?

I huff a breath out of my mouth and marvel at how he’s figured me out already. Do you think you can cool me off with caffeine and sugar? Am I really that easy?

He places his hand on the small of my back and moves me along.

No comment. I do not wish to incur the Wrath of Vivian today.

We pass a nurses’ station and come to room 243. A curtain is pulled over the door entrance, swaying in a light breeze. The smell of cherry blossoms knocks me back, and I inhale sharply.

Mom.

Hello? I call out as I move the curtain aside and walk into the hospital room.

My skin crawls as I take in the hospital bed, the screens on the wall displaying her vitals, and Mom’s pale face as she turns towards me.

I leave Jinzo in the doorway and cross the room to her.

Any residual anger melts away as Mom’s lips twitch into a smile, and my father stands up from the chair next to the bed.

Hey, Mom.

She lifts her hand from the bed, and I swoop right in to hold it in mine. Her skin is withered and papery, and I can see why. The bruises on her left hand where the IV is inserted show she’s been here for a while. Hospital air is as dry as the desert.

Vivian, what are you doing here? Mom asks, and her eyes dart to Dad. Nuno, I told you not to bother her.

He shrugs. It was time.

I’ve been calling you both now for weeks, and no one has responded to me. I glance from Dad to Mom. How long have you been in here?

Dad sighs as Mom presses her lips together. She’s been in and out of the hospital since we moved into Tomu’s apartment. First, we thought she had food poisoning. Then it was her blood pressure. Now her heart is showing signs of stress.

Stress.

I nod, my head bouncing to a slow beat. I’m sure my own blood pressure is off the charts, and some nights I barely sleep, which only makes the situation worse. But I’m young and can handle it. Mom is not a spring chicken anymore.

Mom… I coach my voice to give her a smile by imitating her from my childhood. You have to be well or who will take care of Dad?

Dad laughs, and Mom smiles. Mission accomplished.

I glance over my shoulder. Jinzo is hovering in the doorway and waiting for a signal that he can come in.

Dad takes three long steps forward with his hand extended. Hi there. I’m Nuno Kawabata, Vivian’s Dad.

I squeeze Mom’s hand and let go so I can stand like a respectful daughter.

Jinzo Lee. It’s nice to meet you.

Narrowing my eyes, I examine their body language. Dad is relaxed, a good sign after all he’s been through. Jinzo is feeling a little stiff, I think. His shoulders are higher than usual, and his legs are locked straight. He’s here to support me, but I suspect he’s been eager and nervous to meet my parents. He’s wearing something casual yet tailored today, nothing shabby. Over the last two weeks, I have become impressed with his style and wardrobe. He doesn’t skimp on clothes, but he isn’t flashy either.

I hold my breath as he approaches my mom in her bed.

Damn. This is not good. Mom’s manner is cold, frosty even. One reason she never added to her own relationship network was because of the stigma of stealing another woman’s man. She and Dad are childhood sweethearts, and she never had eyes for anyone else. Mom saw the OEN broadcast, and she knows about Jinzo and Cressida.

What does she already think of Jinzo before he even opens his mouth?

Ms. Kawabata, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been unwell. He reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out an envelope. I blink a few times to cover my surprise. I didn’t know he had anything. My family sends their wishes for a fast recovery.

Mom’s eyebrows climb into her hairline as she takes the envelope. I’m curious enough to stand next to her and read over her shoulder.

It’s a personal note from Jinzo’s mother, Hera. Ms. Kawabata, all of us at Lee Shipyards wish you a fast and full recovery. We can’t wait to meet you, your husband, and Vivian in the near future. I’ll be in touch soon to inquire about your health and make plans to host you here. All the best, Hera Lee.

Lee Shipyards, Mom whispers. She bites her bottom lip as she replaces the card in the envelope.

Considering that I only just found out last night that Mom was in the hospital, and it’s still before lunchtime, it’s incredible that Jinzo pulled this gesture out of thin air.

He smiles and rocks back on his heels. See? Now you have to rest up because there’s still so much more to look forward to.

My dad stares straight through Jinzo, and my chest aches. Mom is here in this hospital because she had already given up. She let the stress of losing the farm and Tomu, my asshole brother, get to her. She didn’t turn her hurt to anger like I did. She let it fester and try to kill her.

But Jinzo is right. There is so much more to look forward to in this life. Even if we lose the farm and the property, I can still build something new for my family. I can give my mom grandkids, a new business, and a new way of life. It doesn’t have to end here.

I step away from Mom’s bed with a smile. Now, I want to have you out of here soon, Mom. There’s lots to do. Marcelo was just asking about you this morning. He’d love it if you got more involved with the selection process for my relationship network, and we can’t have you working out of a hospital bed.

Mom slips the card from Jinzo’s mother onto her lap and clears her throat.

Gentlemen, can I speak to Vivian alone, please?

Uh oh. My scalp crawls with tingles as Dad shoots Mom a deathly stare. But he won’t argue with her.

Jinzo, let’s go get a cup of coffee, he says, jerking his head at the door.

Sure. Jinzo’s eyes dart between Mom and me. Ms. Kawabata, he says, inclining his head. I’m sure I’ll see you again soon.

It was nice to meet you, Jinzo, Mom says, and I believe her. Something in her voice is pleased. Her eyes, though, are sharp when they focus on me.

The door closes behind the men, and I shift back and forth. Mom runs her fingers along the length of the envelope from Jinzo’s mom.

I break the silence. I really wish you had contacted me sooner. I’ve been worried sick these last few weeks.

I got your messages. She sighs, closes her eyes, and leans her head back on the bed. After that news segment on OEN, I just… I just couldn’t do it anymore.

Do what?

Everything. She opens her eyes and looks at me. I went through my whole life, staying out of the gossip rags, building lasting relationships, and raising you to be the face of this business. Then I see you flirting with Ken Mata and embarrassing our whole family on one of the trashiest newscasts this side of the Duo Systems?

I swallow hard, and my upper lip breaks into a sweat.

Mom. I wasn’t doing anything salacious. I was talking to a friend.

Friend? I asked you to go to Mr. Mata to get the Amagi into Flyght, not to date him again. I didn’t even think the two of you talked to each other anymore.

I open my mouth once and close it, thinking back on our original conversation, the one we had with the entire family present. Mom is right. She never told me to get back together with him.

I haven’t been. Well, I hadn’t been. I… I thought you’d be pleased with him now. I clear the frog in my throat and wish that I had a glass of water. Out the window, the day is bright and sunny. The trees are turning brilliant shades of flaming red, burnt orange, and buttery yellow. I would give anything to be outside right now. Ken has built a successful business. He’s eager to start our relationship again… and… I want to tell her about how he’s going to support my illegal side business, but I should keep that a secret until I’m sure I can pull it off.

And?

And I think he’s willing to chip in to repurchase the farm. Maybe? Well, if he’s a part of my relationship network, I could convince him.

A breeze brushes against my cheek, and I tuck my hair behind my ears.

Mom shakes her head. We don’t need his money. Vivian, you have to break it off with him.

Movement catches my eye, and I glance behind me to see Jinzo’s shoes under the curtain. Great.

I reach out and squeeze Mom’s hand. Mom, I don’t know what you have against Ken. I’ve never understood it. And three years ago, I was too weak to say no to you. But now? I shake my head. Whatever it is, it can’t be that bad. He wants to help, and I want to let him back in my life. I let go of her hand. If you want to help Marcelo out, he’s looking for two more men for me. But I’m making the final choices, not you.

Mom is silent, her stare darting out at me from the corners of her eyes.

Now, you rest up and get the hell out of here. I lean in and kiss her on the cheek. I’m surprised she doesn’t pull away.

I raised a strong and dedicated young woman, she says as I turn away. A little foolish, though.

I laugh and wave before parting the curtains.

I never said I was perfect. I get the last word as I close the curtain on her.

Jinzo is standing there, eavesdropping with two coffee cups in his hands. He follows me out the door, and we close it behind us.

For a second there, I thought she was talking about me, he says, handing me the coffee. What’s she got against Ken?

I have no idea, really, except for her highbrow attitude. I’ve never understood why my parents told me to break up with him. Though now I’m beginning to suspect that there’s something more here I don’t know about.

We walk away from her room, and I glance around for my dad.

Where’s Dad?

Getting something to eat in the cafeteria. Do you think we should look into why your parents didn’t want you to marry Ken? I mean, it seems a little suspicious.

Maybe? I wave him off. But they just didn’t like his family. It was elitism at its finest.

Jinzo hums. What’s he thinking?

I look away from him as we pass the nurses’ station, and I recognize one of the men paging through patient charts on the wall screens. His hair is full and twisting in a hundred directions, and he’s grown more of a beard since the last time I saw him. It’s Tomu’s downstairs neighbor, the one who caught us tossing the apartment.

My head swivels to watch him as we walk past.

Are you… are you dating anyone? pops into my head along with his name, Gus.

I get one more look at him before he fades from view and we turn a corner. Yeah, he is handsome. I could see myself dating him. But a nurse? I’m not sure if that’s the best choice for another companion. I flick on my wristlet and scroll through my messages while we wait for the elevator.

Augusto Correa forwarded me that message about my brother, the one left by Mr. Sumo at Gus’s apartment. Correa. I recognize that last name. Is he related to Lady and Lord Correa? The military couple we just brought to Ossun? I save his contact details to my address book and turn off my wristlet.

Don’t worry about my mom and her paranoia, I say as we board the elevator. She gets no say anymore in who I date or marry. She’s allowed to advise, and that’s it.

Okay, Jinzo agrees. Let’s get lunch and then make our way back to the Amagi to prepare for tonight.

You picked up the shovels this morning?

I smile at the old woman trying not to eavesdrop on us. She probably thinks we’re planning a murder.

Yep. We’re all set.

Great. Because there’s a box my brother buried in a field, and I’m going to find out what’s inside of it.

2

Six days of watching this place, and I feel like I know where every blade of grass is. Jinzo hugs his knees to his chest as we sit on the hill in the waning daylight and wait for our opening. If only the bank had given you permission to enter the land whenever you felt like it. Then at least my butt wouldn’t be sore from sitting on rocks for days.

I sigh. The bank only let me come back the one time. They seem to be awfully strict about it, probably because they don’t trust me.

He smiles at me. Probably.

I tuck myself up next to him and rest my head on his shoulder.

It’s been a good week for us. Between late-night sexual encounters and meals together alone or with the rest of the crew, I have grown to enjoy his company. He’s direct, funny, and sweet. He knows when to stand up for something and when to back down. He gets along well with Skylar, Lia, and Carlos. And seeing his interactions with my parents, I’m pleased with my choice.

The only problem?

His ex. Cressida Briar-Stevenson, heir to the wealth of Avenal. I swear to all the gods, if she contacts me again, I will scream and smash something. The woman is desperate to get Jinzo back, even though he has refused her time after time. We’ve both been ignoring her since we returned to Ossun. Ai is now filtering all my calls, but sometimes a message slips through, and then her beautiful face is in front of me telling me what a skank I am for stealing her man.

Get over it, woman!

It’s only a matter of time before she shows up on my ship, and I’m going to have to ask Lia to take care of her. I’m not much of a fist-fighter.

So… Jinzo draws out the word into a sigh. When can we expect Ken?

His shoulder tenses under my head, so I pull away to look at him.

He rests his chin on his knees. I just want to be ready. I’ve had you all to myself, so I want to make sure I’m not stepping on toes.

This is a new echelon of feelings for me. The ache in my chest is faint but persistent. He doesn’t want to step on toes, and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Well, anyone I care about.

I’m sure we’ll work it out. I replace my head on his shoulder, and he relaxes. Just remember that this is all new to me, and I’m bound to screw things up.

Don’t worry about it, he says, tilting his head to mine. This should be the last thing on your list of worries.

He starts and sits forward, and my heartbeat rushes.

It’s time. He points out at the road about two hundred meters away.

A security car crawls up the property on the road’s shoulder, light beams stretching away into the land beyond the low fence. My land. My land. A team of low-flying drones buzz in and out of the perimeter fence, taking video and looking for any strange activity. With the sun set, their lights can’t be missed.

They’re thorough, Jinzo whispers. Every time I’ve been here, they’ve randomized the search pattern. But they won’t return for about an hour. He stands up and offers a hand to help me up. I slip my cold fingers into his, and he pulls me close to lay his lips on my neck under my ear.

We both hum with the connection, as brief as it is. I didn’t realize I had missed these little loving gestures until I had them back in my life.

He pulls away with a smile. Let’s go.

We sprint down the hill and hide in the trees at the road’s edge until a car passes and the way is clear.

I have the map that Sonia Kopack gave me in my pocket, but I memorized the way days ago.

Willow tree, I direct, angling to the right and ducking under the wire fence. Jinzo’s strides are long, and his backpack rattles with the collapsible shovels and water bottles bouncing around inside.

We both duck under the yellowing leaves of the willow tree.

Which way is the town? Jinzo looks left and right, and I turn around to orient myself.

That way. I point off into the distance and press my back into the tree. Ten meters in this direction.

Jinzo pulls out his datapad, and we walk away from the tree together, watching the meters tick up from Point A to B.

Do you see the rock? I ask, looking around our feet. I’m loathe to turn on a flashlight and lose my night vision.

We both turn around a few times, searching the ground. The dry grass crunches under my boots, and the breeze rustles the fields of wheat only a stone’s throw away.

It’s here, Jinzo calls out. We only missed it by a meter.

He drops to his knees and rips the dead grass from around a large stone, almost a boulder, sticking out of the ground.

Yes. I jump for joy. The directions said the rock would point the way, about five paces from the mark. I sigh. What does that even mean?

Look, Vivian. It’s hard to see in the dark, but Jinzo’s hand sweeps up an indentation in the rock that peaks in an arrow shape. He stands,

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