Bobbi Jo Bentley stiffened as the pilot of the turboprop tipped the nose straight down, and stepped on the gas like a kamikaze pilot on a suicide mission. She was so scared, she almost peed her pants. She white-knuckled-the armrests as she hung on for dear life, bracing her feet on the metal bar across the base of the seat in front of her as though she’d be able to stop the plane.
She’d never flown on anything so small before. When she’d boarded the plane and saw only eight seats, she thought it was adorable. She’d even been accommodating when the attendant asked the four passengers to even out the sides, explaining it was to balance out the plane. She had no idea what that meant, but she sure did now. And when the plane began to bounce like a rubber ball through the thick clouds, she could no longer feel her fingers from holding on so tight.
Bobbi Jo shut her eyes tightly and prayed, asking God to tell her mother she was sorry for sassing her before she’d left. Nausea roiled in her stomach. She swallowed hard and prepared for the worst, the sound of her heart pounding in her ears like a jackhammer splitting the roadway. Images of their servants, Rosie and Clay draped over her casket, crying hysterically flashed through her mind like a sound bite, and then the plane dropped like a rock onto the runway. The wheels screeched, rubber burned, and the plane stopped dead like they’d hit a brick wall. That’s when she knew she was dead and she was in heaven. She sat very still except to cover her face with her hands. She didn’t want to see the blood.
And then, as though she’d been struck by lightning she heard the voice of Jesus speak in a southern drawl. “You doin’ okay over there, little lady?” She opened her eyes and turned toward the voice only to see the most amazing emerald green eyes she’d ever seen staring back at her and she knew it had to be heaven. And if this is what it was like, hell, she’d didn’t mind one damn bit.
His husky voice matched his perfectly sculpted body of male perfection now standing in the aisle by her seat. He was huge—and by huge, she didn’t mean . . . well, never mind what she meant. But this cowboy was better than hot. “Bring it on, baby,” she heard herself say.
Thankfully, he didn’t comment, and she hoped that it was because he probably thought she was still in a state of shock from that landing.
“You looked mighty scared over there when that plane was a rockin’ an a rollin’. I wanted to jump over the seat between us and hold your hand, but the attendant gave me one of those looks.”
Bobbi Jo didn’t respond right away, still unsure if she was dead or alive. Lowering her head, she glanced down at her hands to see if they looked solid or if she could see through them. Realizing she wasn’t dead, hearing his voice again seemed to wipe away her fears altogether, and right now, she was beginning to think this was her lucky day.
“Well thank you, mister. That was right nice of you.” She slowly unbuckled her seatbelt and held onto the seat in front of her to stand, her knees in a weakened state, certain it was from talking to this gorgeous hunk of a cowboy . . . and possibly, that horrific landing. Either way, she was good. He gestured for her to exit her row ahead of him.
She slowly eased her way into the aisle, with him right behind her. He apparently noticed her wobbly walk and closed the gap between them, reaching out for her arm.
“I’m not gettin’ fresh little lady,” he said, “but you look like you’re about to faint so I’m just gonna hang onto you.” His arm tightened. “You don’t fly much, do you?”
“Not through them thick clouds, I don’t,” she said. “That whole time I kept thinking I was about to meet my Maker.” He laughed when she continued. “Unless I really am dead and you’re Him.” His lips creased into a wide grin.
“Hell no, darlin’. I can assure you, I’m not good enough to be him!”