Excerpt: Voo Do Love Me!
"We're going to crash!" the pilot yelled. "Everyone prepare for the worst! God bless you all!"
That was the last thing we heard before the oxygen masks fell from the ceiling. Each of us grabbed a mask in an attempt to save our life.
Mr. Hamilton or James, my boss and my current boyfriend, sat to my right. He also owned the newspaper where I worked.
"I love you, Kes," James whispered, looking terrified.
Tears filled my eyes as I stared into his blue eyes then stroked his hair. "I love you, too. If we don't come out of this alive—"
"I know." He wiped a tear from my cheek, then helped me put on my mask before taking one for himself. He held my hand and I closed my eyes, awaiting impact. Since we'd been in many near-death situations before, we knew to stay calm, even though my stomach thought otherwise.
Ben Casey, in the event that his last name really was Casey because he was a CIA agent, sat to my left and after putting on his mask, grabbed my other hand and moved it to his lap. I could feel the men grasp hold of my hands for all they were worth, both trying to keep me for their own. We all shook in fear as the plane took more of a nosedive. People screamed and cried, but there was nothing we could do about the inevitable, except to pray.
Given my past brushes with death, I knew it was my time to die. There were no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Death was imminent and I thought back over my life, trying to focus on something positive.
Just twenty-four hours earlier, I had no idea I'd even be on this plane or on another CIA mission with Ben. I was planning to take my new team to New Zealand to document the aboriginal tribes for our quarterly pithy section of the newspaper called 'Extreme Travel.' We'd been planning the trip for weeks, and although James couldn't go with us to New Zealand, we were trying to make it a great story.
James and I had spent the previous evening at my new apartment, which was a real steal. He was a gorgeous man, with six-pack abs, muscles rippling everywhere, the most beautiful straight white smile I'd ever seen, light blue eyes and medium brown hair. Standing about six inches or so taller than me, he had a killer slightly British accent that just made me melt.
I, on the other hand, had slightly wavy shoulder-length dark red hair with green eyes, and although I stood about five-foot-five, I was kind of on the tiny side. My name was Kes, which rhymes with 'mess' and means 'chubby baby.' However, I'd been careful not to live up to my name. My hair was currently back to my natural color of dark red, and was in the process of growing back to a more normal length for me—just below my shoulders. I'd had it dyed black and cut short when I was in Zimbabwe a bit over a month earlier.
That evening, James and I were getting cozy on the couch when a knock at the door interrupted us.
"Ignore it," James griped in his sexy slightly British accent. He was so hot. "I'd rather be alone with you on your last night."
I couldn't be rude. "I have to answer it. I can't let someone stand out there."
"We're on the third floor of an apartment complex. It's not even cold in the hallway."
The knocking continued, so I ignored James and stood up, then crossed the room. As I opened the door, I saw our friendly personal CIA agent, Ben, staring at me with a smile.
"Red!" That was his nickname for me because of my hair. "I was hoping you'd be home."
Ben was a knockout and should've been a model. He was about James' height, had bright blue eyes and blond hair, and the whitest and straightest teeth on the planet. I could tell he worked out because every muscle in his chest was well defined under his tight shirts. Every time I was around him or even heard his name, I'd have to fan myself because my face would go bright red, or so I was told. He was very sexy, but the type of man I wanted to get away from because his stare went right through to my soul.
As an aside, Ben was the same man who was currently holding my hand to my left while on the plane. I thought I'd die, not only from the upcoming plane crash, but also from being in his immediate proximity, which is why I had to put my thoughts elsewhere.
"How did you find out where I live?" I asked Ben back at the apartment the night before the plane ride.
"I know everything, remember?" He took my hand and kissed the back of it with his eyes on mine the whole time.
I felt my face burn, knowing it had gone bright scarlet.
"May I come in?" he asked, staring at me with those piercing eyes.
I ushered him inside my apartment and James stood to meet him.
"I didn't know you were here," Ben said to him. The three of us had helped overthrow the government of Zimbabwe a month or so earlier, and the country was doing much better since our trip.
"I see that." James stared at my hand to imply the kiss by Ben. "You do know Kes and I are dating now, right?"
"James, my friend, of course I know that. I even have pictures of the two of you together." Ben pulled an envelope out of his coat pocket and opened it to show James and me doing grocery shopping together, the two of us kissing at my car at work, and even going into my apartment together.
James grabbed the pictures from Ben and studied them. "Have you been spying on us?"
Ben removed his coat and laid it on the back of a dining room chair. "Just keeping up with my friends." He took one glance at my face. "Uh, James, you haven't done your job that we agreed on."
James glanced at me, then looked down at the pictures and handed them back to Ben. "No, because…well, it's a long story."
"What job?" I asked.
Both of them stared at me, probably because I was fanning myself as usual around Ben.
Ben checked his watch. "I have twenty minutes, James. Fill me in."
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," he said. "Things are going to stay status quo until she's married."
"Until who's married?" I asked.
"Why?" Ben asked, facing James. They both seemed to be ignoring me.
"Ask her pit bull," James said.
Ben's expression turned confused. "Why would a dog care if you two were, well, friendly?"
"It's not what you think." James walked over to the couch and plopped down.
In front of the couch sat a coffee table and a big television, but behind that was a huge picture window, overlooking a gorgeous lake. My apartment was situated just west of Denver, in the middle of the Rockies, and the rent for just this place in the complex was cheap. Since it was mid-November, the first snow of the season had started and it was beautiful against the light of the moon.
Within seconds, the wind blew in my apartment, even though the windows were closed and locked.
Ben looked around the room, then up at the ceiling, his hair blowing in the wind. "What's going on?"
My friendly ghost Agatha appeared at the ceiling and flew within inches of Ben's head. As he ducked, she tried to swipe at him again.
"What's that?" he screamed, his hands on the top of his head.
"Oh, that's Agatha," I said. "I don't think she likes your intentions."
James leaned back on the couch and sipped a soft drink. He grabbed the remote and propped his feet up on the coffee table, and then turned on the television. "That's her pit bull." After turning the volume way down, he started to channel-surf. He was so calm compared to Ben, who was clearly upset.
Ben ducked from the swooping. "Can you get rid of it?"
"No," I said. "Agatha always wanted to live in this beautiful apartment, so she moved in here years ago. She's letting me rent it as long as she can take care of me. Keeping me innocent is one of her self-imposed jobs." I moved to the couch beside James and picked up my can of soda on the coffee table. "She also helps with the rent because the management knows it's haunted and can't get anyone to rent the place."
After she swiped at Ben's head a few more times, I looked up. "He got the message, Agatha."
She changed from her form of being wind and turned into a plain old ghost, with ethereal blue light around her. Being an older, dumpy sort of woman with her hair up in a bun, she dressed in clothing worn in the thirties or forties. Ben, whose face was pale, just stared as Agatha moved by the couch where James and I were seated.
"A ghost, huh?" Ben asked, walking closer as he ran his hand through his hair.
"Yes," Agatha said. "Now, did you wipe your feet before you came in here?"
"I don't think they're dirty." He glanced at the bottom of his shoes. "I took the elevator to the third floor, so I think I'm safe."
"That's fine then. Now take a seat." She pushed him into the chair near the couch and he fell with a thud.
Ben stared at the apparition in front of him. "Kes, I think it's time we had a talk about this problem you have."
"What problem would that be?"
"You know…" Ben started to whisper. "The ghost that haunts your apartment?"
Ben really had issues, but this time, I wasn't sure I blamed him.