Thursday, July 16, 2020

#NewRelease #SlowBurn #99pennies #EnemiesToLovers - Long Flight Home by Cassandra Cripps

Title: Long Flight Home
Author: Cassandra Cripps
Genre: Slow Burn/Enemies to Lovers Romance
Release Date: July 16, 2020

I live my life by rules – too many fucking rules. But, it's the only way. I messed up once. I slept with the wrong girl.
Never again.
The rules are my life, my guide. Until she walks in, and one by one, they all crumble.
She doesn’t slowly creep her way in like a worm. No, she soars in, like an eagle, refusing to be ignored and digging her claws into my heart. Leaving me vulnerable, wanting more.
Wanting her.

Home. Happiness. The words used to mean something.
Until that night – over a decade ago. When they were stolen from me and my parents forced us to move.
Now, I'm back in Alaska, flying bush planes for Homer Air. And, I'll fight every step I take until they are real again. The only problem is the reclusive fisherman whom I can’t stop thinking about, despite us fighting every time I see him.


11 Years Ago, July 4
“Where could she be?” My mom's muffled voice reaches me from inside my closed room.
Sitting up in bed, I roll my eyes and fling the plaid blanket off, ready to storm out of the guest room and announce that I am actually here. That's right. I'm turning over a new leaf. In bed by ten every night, no arguing, cussing in front of my parents, or complaining. I am a regular, law abiding, rule following teenager. At least for this vacation. There is no way in hell I'm jeopardizing my freedom and spending the rest of my summer grounded. I have too many plans that all involve being outside for that shit.
“It's after midnight. This isn't like her at all.”
My feet hit the cold floor and I'm halfway standing up when I see it. My older sister's bed. Untouched. Well, I'll be damned.
“I'll get the car and drive back through town,” my dad reassures her. “I saw a bookstore and a couple coffee shops that might still be open with all the people out there. I bet she lost track of time.”
Uh-huh, sure. I shake my head. That is exactly where my perfect sister would normally be. But, since school ended for the summer, she hasn't been acting like herself. She's probably just freaking out because this fall starts her senior year of high school, then ivy-league college, and adulthood complete with whatever prestigious job she chooses off a gold platter.
Snorting, I grab my ripped jeans from earlier today and pull them on over my sleeping boxers. A slight smile tugs at my lips as I remember tricking Bryan into sneaking into the school pool during a hockey game last fall to go skinny-dipping before running off with said boxers. He'd probably blow a load if he knew I wore them to bed every single night since then.
Easing the door open, I pull my shoulders back and stroll into the living room. My mom paces back and forth, her face sick with dread, while my normally stoic father runs his hands through his hair before grabbing the keys off of the small dining table.
Damn, they've never been this worried over any of my many escapades. Pushing that thought from my mind, I stand straighter and march up to them.
“I'll help find her.” I don't give them time to argue the point as I shove my feet into my Vans, grab my skateboard and head out the door of the small cabin.
The towering view of Mt. Marathon looms in front of me. Hundreds of trained athletes might have raced up and down that mountain earlier today. But tomorrow, she's mine.
With that thought, I drop my board, put one foot on top, and shove off.
Even after midnight, the streets are still packed with partiers celebrating the Fourth of July. How my dad thinks he is ever going to drive through this mess is beyond me. Stopping at an intersection, I survey the small town of Seward. If it was me, where would I go? A full on smile bursts onto my face. The beach. Where all the real parties go down. Fuck, yes. Now, I have a valid excuse to head there.
In no time, I hop the curb to the sidewalk separating the beach from the rest of the coastal town and slow down. Beach is perhaps the wrong word. More like a giant rock filled coastline. But, the lack of sand is no deterrent for anyone here, least of all me. Dozens of small fires dot the area, despite the lingering sun, with numerous little one and two person tents huddled around them. My pace inches to a crawl when I have to dodge more plastic cups and broken beer bottles than people.
I could ditch the board and walk. But, I'm short for fifteen. The board adds a few precious inches. And, I don't want to stand out any more than I have to in a place that is obviously meant for adults only. The couple getting it on near the coast and a few others attempting to skinny-dip in the frigid bay further reinforces that fact. Instead, I weave in and out of the throng, searching for my sister's bright red hair.
A high-pitched giggle/squeal catches my attention. I know that sound, like nails on a chalkboard. Taking a deep breath, I follow the pretentious laughing, blocking out all other noises until I'm standing in front of a tall fire with three single-person pup-tents arched around it. Two young men recline beside the fire, each nursing a beer. No women. No sister.
I'm about to push off when I hear the muffled squeal again – from inside one of the tents.
“Well, shit,” I mutter, kicking up my board and grabbing it with one hand while I leave the sidewalk and march up to the closest guy.
He's tall with long, light brown hair and broader shoulders than any of the guys at my school, even the hockey players. With the slightest hint of stubble on his face, I put him to be around twenty and not too bad looking. But, that's not the reason I'm here, even though he's eyeing me up and down with every measured step I take.
A groaning from inside the tent catches my attention.
“A red-headed chick in there?” I ask, pointing with my free hand, double-checking.
He nods.
The strong, silent type. My gaze dips past him to the broken skateboard at his feet. He's a skater, too. Fuck me now. Suppressing a moan, I remind myself why I'm here and stroll past him to the small tent.
“Yo, sis,” I declare, giving the orange canvas a good shake.
“Seriously?” her high-pitched voice shrieks. Yep, it's definitely her.
“You're welcome for finding your ass before Dad does. You got ten minutes, so wrap it up. Literally, make sure you wrap that shit up.” I laugh at my own joke and turn around, not waiting for her response. I might be young, but I'm in high school now. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what she's doing in there. And nothing is making me open that door. That is a sight I never want to see.
Spotting an open cooler on the ground, I snag a beer, pop it open, and take a swig before anyone can stop me. I plop down between the two guys and stare at the fire. If she can have fun, so can I while I wait. The bitter liquid assaults my taste-buds, but I swallow it anyway. It's not my first time drinking, but this is much worse than the liquor Jimmy always brings to the skate park.
“Have anything stronger?” I brave, holding up the bottle.
The second guy reaches into his vest and produces a small flask.
“Score.” I smile, as he unscrews the lid, takes a drink, and passes it.
The liquid burns down my throat, warming my stomach as I pass the metal flask to the first guy, Skater Boy.
“Sweet board,” he states, before taking a long drink and passing it back.
“Thanks. I just changed the tires to fifty-nine Hurricanes. They get a lot better grip. What happened to yours?” I take another swig before chasing it with my beer and hold out the flask.
“He fell attempting a sick grind down at the harbor,” the second guy, with shorter dark brown hair that hangs just below his eyes, laughs. His large hands reach for the bottle, touching mine. His fingers are calloused, rough sliding against my smooth hand.
Something warm tightens in my belly and it's not from the alcohol.
“If you're still here tomorrow afternoon, maybe you'll catch me at the skate park. I'll show you how it's done,” I smirk, turning back toward Skater Boy. For a tiny town, they have an amazing new skate park right by the beach that I want to hit up after climbing the mountain looming in front of us.
“Think you can show me a thing or two?” His voice has turned deeper. Even with the booze dulling my senses, I see him scoot closer. He leans in.
Instinctively, my hand shoots up.
“Take a step back, dude,” I warn, glancing up and down his muscular physique, all the way down to his worn converse sneakers. Not the chunky DC's most of the skaters in my school wear. Definitely not a high school guy's body. “How old are you?” It shouldn't be the first question I ask in this situation, but it's what pops out.
“Twenty,” he leans even closer.
“Yeah,” I turn away from him, disappointed that I'm correct, “and that makes me jailbate. I ain't looking to get anyone in trouble tonight.”
“I won't tell if you don't.” His hand reaches out and touches my arm. His touch is warm and gentle, delicately stroking my skin.
Closing my eyes, I try to think. But, I'm so sick of being good. I want to let loose, have fun, and just give in. And damn, does it feel so good.
His hand glides up my bare arm, leaving me acutely aware that I'm still in my sleeping tank top. No bra. Just a thin, nearly see-through tank top. Somehow, I forgot my flannel. I don't even know his name. Yet, that makes it even more delicious, as though the rules don't matter if we remain strangers.
His hand continues moving, up my shoulder blade and down my torso before his fingers skirt the edge of my camisole. Dipping below, they touch the subtle contours of my bare flesh. Butterflies roll in my stomach as all of my muscles clench. His fingers dance around my new belly button piercing.
“Damn, girl,” he breathes, closing the distance between us as our lips meet. His thin lips are deceivingly smooth. The kiss, gentle and not nearly long enough, as though asking for permission.
I push my stranger on, leaning into his kiss, spurred on by his reaction.
His hand continues to glide in circles around my torso, slowly inching higher, taking my shirt up with it, until he cups my breasts that I know are too large for a girl my age. His lips meet mine once again. Soft and gentle, sending more waves of heat flowing through my body in rhythm with the waves lapping against the shore behind us.
My bottle falls to the ground, forgotten. I'm about ready to turn and climb on his lap when I feel a warm breath on my neck from behind me. The second stranger's rough lips nuzzle my tender flesh before nibbling right behind my ear. His stubble scrapes against my heated flesh, drawing a moan from my lips. One of his coarse hands slides up the back of my shirt as the other reaches in front, gripping my thigh and spreading my legs wide open. His touch is firm, hard, as he sinks his teeth into my neck, sucking on the tender flesh. So different from the stranger in front of me. Yet, so, so good. Soft groans slip from my lips as my muscles seem to simultaneously flex and relax.
Holy shit.
This cannot be happening.
Two guys – men – at once. Not the inexperienced boys from school that don't have a clue what they're doing. No, my two strangers know exactly what to do. I wiggle between them as their hard bodies press firmly against me from both sides, pinning me in place between them.
As the second guy sucks on the nape of my neck, Skater Boy dips down and trails a line of tender kisses along my exposed torso. His tongue circles my simple, silver ring.
I should stop them. But, their four hands running rampant along my body feel so good. I have never felt this alive, this weightless, as they move and contort me, each seeking the best spots and striving to be the next one to draw a moan from my lips.
Instead, I reach my arms out, running one hand through Skater Boy's long hair, urging him lower. My other arm reaches behind me, gliding along the second stranger's firm torso. His hand leaves my thigh long enough to grab my wrist and drag my hand down between his legs. Holy fuck. His bulge is hard. And large. As my fingers glide over the mound above his jeans, a carnal sound tears from his throat, causing him to buck beneath me.
The rip of a zipper draws my attention. I glance up to see a male head pop out of the tent opposite us. The one my sister is in. But, that thought never crosses my mind. The only one that does is that this is the single most handsome face I have ever seen. Long, dark, wavy hair, dark tan skin, and honey-colored eyes that are locked on me.
“Eee,” my sister squeals from inside the tent, “see, I told you I could get it up.”
Suddenly, he is ripped backward, back into the small tent.
My stomach rolls as all traces of desire flee. Glancing down, I shudder.
“Fucking awesome,” I mutter.
My shirt barely covers the important bits, pulled up enough that just a little under boob shows with both straps pulled down off my shoulders. Both guys continue to kiss and caress my flesh, unaware that my mood has changed. I close my eyes and try to return to that fleeting weightlessness. But, it doesn't come back. Instead, images of his eyes burn into my skull. But, he is in there. With her.
“Sorry, boys,” I groan, standing up and righting my clothes, “maybe another time. But, thanks for the drink.”
Grabbing my skateboard, I slip around them as another wrestling inside the tent catches my attention. A moment later, my sister practically falls out, hair and clothing a little disheveled. At least she's dressed. I should be happy. But, she is dressed nearly identical to me, baggy jeans, Vans, and I swear that is my favorite Guns-N-Roses T-shirt. Not something she would ever consider putting on until this summer started.
“Let's go,” I retort, not even bothering to glance back.

Cassandra cusses like a sailor, is addicted to tattoos, hardcore music, and chocolate. Her kids believe that she is an actual vampire. Oh, and occasionally, she has been known to write a book or two when not busy in her garden. 

Her novels straddle the line between taboo romance and romantic suspense. With themes as complex and varied as the author herself, they are sure to leave you on the edge of your seat.


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