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Excerpt: Crisis on Flight 101 (2003)



It was just as he rolled his chair backward to seat himself in front of the computer that he heard a rustling sound behind him. Whirling around, instantly alert, Shane was just quick enough to see a tall, slender figure clothed in a black shirt and slacks with a black knit cap emerge from behind the open door and streak through the doorway. Without hesitation, Shane lunged after the shadowy figure and managed to catch up just as it attempted to open the door to the main hallway.

Recognizing instantly that he was considerably bigger and stronger than the figure that he now grasped by the shoulders from behind, Shane shoved the intruder against the wall and used his body to pin the figure there while reaching down to immobilize his hands. It was then that Shane realized with a shock that the intruder was not a "him" but a "her." The faint aroma of perfume, along with the slender wrists and hands and slight figure, told him that he was dealing with a female intruder. More confident now that the intruder would not escape his grasp, Shane whirled her around to look at her face.

"Andrea?" he gasped, as the familiar face of his postdoctoral research associate peered back at him from under the black knit cap that hid her golden blonde tresses.

"What the hell are you doing?" he asked angrily. "What's going on here?"

Her blue eyes stared back at him like two cubes of ice. Her taut face, tightly pressed lips, and firmly clenched jaw told Shane that she was not about to say anything.

After holding her securely for a few moments, with their faces only inches apart, and Shane's dark stare attempting to burn through her stone fašade, he stepped back and wrenched her roughly away from the wall. Holding her arms behind her, he began marching her back to his office. His mind was a confused jumble. Here he had taken prisoner the woman who had very recently provided the warm and tender loving that had been such a welcome solace from his breakup with Sarah and the tragic loss of his close friend. Yet, now, he didn't know who she was or what this was all about.

When he had closed the door behind them, and sat Andrea down in the wooden chair at the far end of his desk, Tony reclined in his chair, strategically placed between Andrea and the doorway. Feeling securely in control, Shane began his interrogation.

"Andrea...talk to me! Whatever it is, I'll try to understand," he began, not knowing where he was heading.

With her permed blonde hair now wet from perspiration, Andrea was able to conceal her expression by looking down and letting the curly wet strands obscure her face. Frustrated by her silence and lack of reaction, Shane reached over, grabbed her by the chin, and jerked her face upright so that he could look into her eyes. Still as cold as ice, Andrea stared back with a grim determination that Shane could not believe. Was this the same person who had shared his bed and soothed his soul barely twenty-four hours earlier? Surely, he couldn't be that bad a judge of character. Surely, the real Andrea was buried there. If only he could reach her.
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