I mentioned on the front page of my site that I'm working on a contemporary romance novel (among others), and since I'm a few chapters in, I thought I'd share a quick peek. I hope you'll let me know what you think!
Chapter One (Part 1)
More lights flashed in her eyes, exploding around her in a blur of white that nearly blinded her. Sierra held her hand up in an attempt to shield the next onslaught, but the paparazzi was relentless. They trailed her until she reached security and were unable to follow.
Finally time to rest. To forget about the privacy she’d traded for a life pretending to be someone else.
The flight attendant greeted her with a broad smile, escorting her to her seat in first class while gushing over Sierra’s latest movie and pelting her with questions.
How was it working with Logan Morrison?
Was he really that handsome in person?
What her best part about playing Marie Antoinette, and was she interested in returning for the sequel?
Sierra was too exhausted to tell the perky attendant that there could be no sequel without Marie’s head. She sank down into the plush seat and propped her feet up on the rest.
From across the aisle, the whispers began, two elderly women who’d noticed her. Their voices grew louder as they attempted to convince each other to ask for Sierra’s autograph.
Ordinarily, Sierra would smile and graciously grant their wish, but tonight, she couldn’t fake what she wasn’t feeling. Instead, she pulled her eye mask down and lowered her seat, clearly letting everyone know she wasn’t interested in conversation.
The hum beside her dissipated, and she welcomed the roar of the engines as the plane began its journey down the runway. Minutes later, the tires bounced as they left the asphalt, and the ascent toward Sierra’s vacation began.
Two long weeks in the mountains, surrounded by nothing but wilderness, peace and quiet, and no cameras. Just five more hours, and she’d be in heaven.
The aboard-flight solitude lasted an hour before someone tapped Sierra on the shoulder. “Ms. Patton?”
Sierra lifted the edge of her mask to peer at the owner of the squeaky voice interrupting her attempt to sleep. A little girl with a blonde ponytail and braces grinned back at her.
“C-could I take a picture with you?” She held out her phone while an anxious-looking woman hovered in the background, clearly ready to protect her daughter.
With an inward sigh, Sierra peeled off her mask and fluffed her hair. “Absolutely. What’s your name, honey?”
“Arabella, but everyone calls me Bella. You’re my favorite actress. Was that really you singing in The Lion’s Heart? My brother said it wasn’t, but I think it was.” Without asking, Arabella crawled up into Sierra’s lap and took a cheek to cheek selfie with her phone.
After setting her on her feet, Sierra thanked her for her kind words. “And yes, that was really me.”
Arabella’s eyes widened. “You’re so pretty, and you can sing, too. I’m going to be an actress one day. I already have an agent and everything. I was on a cereal commercial. Have you seen it?”
Before Sierra could answer, the captain interrupted in a solemn voice. “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re having some technical difficulties, and to be on the safe side, we’re being rerouted to the nearest airport. Don’t worry. We’ll get on the ground safely and have you back on your way in no time.”
Arabella’s mother hustled her back to her seat, and Sierra straightened hers, making sure her seatbelt was fastened. She spent most of her life traveling, and this wasn’t the first reroute she’d experienced, but the older ladies beside her clutched their arm rests with one hand and made the Sign of the Cross with the other.
“I’m sure it’s going to be fine,” Sierra tried to reassure them.
Both women turned as one to look at her with identical faces. “You think so?” They spoke as one.
“I’m sure. This has happened several times to me while traveling. It’s a bit of an inconvenience, but everything always works out.” Watching as their frowns eased away, Sierra offered to sign their napkins, and they immediately lit up, segueing from trepidation to animation.
The plane took a sharp dip, and everyone gasped. Sierra’s stomach pitched, and she casually looked out the window so as not to alarm the twins across from her.
It looked like the aircraft was coming in at a sharp angle. A flight attendant scurried past her, and Sierra’s uneasiness grew. While it was true she’d experienced minor technical issues onboard a plane, this was the first time the attendants seemed concerned.
A sharp bank to the left resulted in screams emanating from behind the first-class curtain. The captain tried to reassure everyone once again, but no one was listening. He spoke louder, letting everyone know this could be a bumpy landing, and the pandemonium increased.
The words “crash position” caused a cacophony of wails and prayers as the oxygen masks dropped from overhead. Sierra dug her nails into the palms of her hands and bent low.
Maybe this was how it would end for her. She guessed going out on top wouldn’t be a bad thing, but there was still so much she wanted to do. Of course, everyone felt that way. She doubted one person behind her or beside her wanted these to be the last moments of their lives.
And she certainly wasn’t special because she rode in limousines and vacationed in exotic locations. At a time like this, money and fame didn’t matter.
The plane pitched and bumped again, and from the corner of her eye, Sierra could see lights out the window. They were close to the runway, and while a part of her wanted to be relieved, another part, the one that always served her well in dangerous situations, warned her that the worst was yet to come.
My thoughts, experiences, challenges, and goals. Right here. At least once a week or so. Oh, and opinions, too. Those will definitely come in. Join me!