Captive of Fate

Captive of Fate by Lindsay McKenna Read Free Book Online

Book: Captive of Fate by Lindsay McKenna Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lindsay McKenna
her, and then returned his attention to the unseen helicopter. Alanna stood beside him, listening to the rising crescendo of noise. The hut seemed to tremble as the helicopter lifted off into the impenetrable fog and darkness. She touched her lips, recalling his soulbranding kiss. My God, she had never been kissed like that before.
    “Will they make it?” she asked after long, agonizing moments, her voice sounding strained.
    “I don’t know, ma’am.” He scratched his head, turning away and going back to his assigned work. “Man, they’ve gotta be crazy, if you ask me. Choppers only fly by sight. Major Cauley had better have radar eyes, and the colonel better hope he still has the luck he had in Nam.”
    Alanna turned, stunned. “They really could crash?” she asked, her voice painfully hoarse.
    “Sure. They’re flying completely blind. I’ve ridden in enough choppers to know that it takes a crazy Marine pilot to go up in weather like this. They fly on gut instinct when all else fails.”
    Alanna felt dizzy, and she leaned against the wall. No, this couldn’t be happening. Matt Breckenridge was too vital, too alive to die on some unknown jungle mountainside. Oh, God, she prayed, be with them. Guide them in. Don’t let him die. Please, don’t…
    “Ma’am?” the radioman asked, coming back over to her. He touched her arm. “You look like you might faint. Come here, sit down for a moment.” With concern in his voice, he continued, “I’m sorry, I spouted off about things I shouldn’t have. They’ll be all right. You wait and see. Can I get you some water?”
    Alanna shut her eyes tightly for a moment. “No—no, I’m okay.” She mustered a broken smile, looking up at his youthful features. “I’m—I’m not used to all this kind of excitement. A civilian,” she explained lamely.
    He shrugged and smiled. “Yeah, I guess you kinda have to get used to military operations. I’m not saying that what the major is doing is commonplace, but we’re trained for emergency situations. And if anyone can pull it off, those two can. You know they did a lot of flying together in Nam?”
    Alanna shook her head, only half-listening to the Marine corporal’s conversation. Her thoughts revolved around the fact that military personnel were trained to accept sudden, unexpected situations as easily as breathing air. It was so different from her peaceful, neatly organized life. Until now. She wrapped her arms around herself, feeling suddenly chilled. Conflicting emotions raged within her. Matt’s kiss…her body thrilled to that memory even now, and she felt giddy. Paul’s kisses had never inflamed her as Matt’s did. And to make it worse, Matt was the man who had caused Tim’s death. She hung her head, utterly bewildered.
    As the radio crackled to life, she jumped. It was Major Cauley’s voice coming in loud and clear, reporting the spotting of the green flare. Alanna rose, giving the chair back to the Marine. She stood close, her hand covering her mouth in anticipation as she heard Matt’s voice come over the airwaves. Her heart accelerated a beat, and she felt frozen to the spot. He was calling out the air speed and miles. He made a terse remark about how close the tall mahogany trees were to the helicopter as they slowly began their careful descent. She clutched her hands together as they moved below tree level. What if they had miscalculated the distance to the village? One rotor blade smashing into a tree would surely cause them to nose suddenly into the ground.
    “I see it!” Cauley announced excitedly. “The red flares!”
    Alanna took in a deep breath, grateful for Cauley’s triumphant discovery. The radioman looked up, grinning happily.
    “See, I told you so.”
    “Yes, you did, Corporal. I’m glad you were right. What about them getting back down here?”
    “We’ll follow the same procedure at this end.”
    The radio chatter ended, and Alanna hung around the radio, occasionally looking out

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