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Flight By Renee MacKenzie

Chapter 1

 

 

 

Summer 1983

 

The lopsided headlight cast an upward beam as the motor scooter rounded the corner from Princess Anne Road and pulled up beside the lighted marble fountain.

Kate stared toward it and clasped her library book tighter to her chest, unable to look away now that she’d finally come face-to-face with the woman she’d been watching for months.

The young woman’s smooth, tanned legs easily balanced the scooter, and she sat with her torso erect. She wore her thick, dark hair pulled back in a ponytail, leaving her face unframed and her neck exposed. The illumination coming from beneath the surface of the fountain reflected onto her skin, a rich mocha with a touch of cream. Kate’s eyes met hers, and the playfulness she found there made her heart race.

“You go to school here,” the woman said.

Kate nodded.

“Get on, rich girl,” she said, patting the seat behind her.

“Get on?”

“Unless you’re scared.”

“Scared of what—a little scooter?” Kate’s short laugh was drenched in nervousness.

“Or of me.” She gave Kate a challenging look, a smile that came as much from her eyes as it did from her full lips.

“You’re not wearing a helmet.”

“Don’t have one. Come on. I promise to keep you safe.” Teasing danced in her dark eyes. “Safe and sound.”

Kate climbed on behind as gracefully as possible. Her library book jabbed into her thigh until the woman relieved her of it and tossed it into a small wire basket on the front of the scooter.

I can’t believe I’m doing this, Kate thought. She never did anything spontaneous. Still, it wasn’t as if she were being impulsive; she’d thought about it a million times. And she’d given herself permission to meet the woman if ever she had the chance.

“Pick up your feet. I don’t want you to scuff up your rich-girl shoes.”

Kate lifted her feet and situated them beside the driver’s. “They aren’t rich-girl shoes,” she said over the rumbling of the engine. All she had to do was look at the other cars in student parking to be reminded that she and her Plymouth Arrow did not fit in at Lillian Wilde College. “I only came here because I got a scholarship.”

“Ah. What’s your name, smart-girl?” the woman asked.

“Kate.”

“I’m Lana.” She gunned the scooter, and Kate held on tighter.

Five minutes later, Lana switched off the engine and they coasted to a stop behind the darkened marina. The only sounds were their breathing and the gentle lapping of water against the boats.

“You aren’t scared of the dark, are you?” Lana asked.

Kate shook her head. Even with the engine off, she felt phantom vibrations from the scooter.

Lana swung her left leg over the seat, shifted her weight, and pivoted around to face Kate. The moon off the water gave just enough light for her to see Lana’s gaze drinking her in.

Kate swallowed hard.

“Scared now?” Lana asked.

“No,” Kate lied.

When Lana rested her hand on Kate’s leg, the heat surged up her thigh and into her gut, as intense as an electric current. For a second, Kate thought they’d been hit by lightning, but there wasn’t a cloud in sight. Kate touched a smudge on Lana’s neck. “You have something smeared here.”

“Must be paint. I’m an artist.”

“Oh wow. That’s cool. I’ve seen you around a lot. Do you live near the college?”

Lana gave a dazzling smile. “Enough about me.”

She ran a finger along Kate’s arm, and Kate marveled at how their skin tones contrasted. The tanned finger that caressed Kate’s pale forearm sent a shiver through her. She imagined how they would look embracing, Lana’s dark hair entwined with Kate’s blonde.

Lana leaned forward, brushed her lips lightly across Kate’s, and returned to linger. Kate had never been so aware of her own mouth—its outline, its every nerve ending. Its hunger.

“Is this okay?” Lana’s question warmed Kate’s cheeks.

“Yes.”

Her lips found Kate’s again, and Kate repeated her consent. “Yes.”

Lana’s tongue teased Kate’s mouth, and Kate’s lips parted to allow it in. Lana flicked her tongue against the edges of Kate’s teeth, and Kate felt it like a caress over her entire body. When Lana’s tongue probed Kate’s mouth, Kate gripped Lana’s arms and pulled her closer.

Lana pulled away slightly. “Have you ever been with a girl before?”

Kate hesitated. She didn’t want her inexperience to turn Lana off. She looked into the brown eyes and whispered, “No.”

Lana held her gaze. “But you’ve thought about it?”

Kate smiled. “A lot.”

Lana trailed kisses along her jawline and down her neck. “I want to kiss and touch every inch of you,” Lana murmured.

“Yes, please,” Kate begged.

“But not here, not now.” Lana kissed her nose. “Think about this. About me. Give me your phone number, and when I call you, you’ll see me again only if you’re sure this is what you want.”

“I’m sure now,” Kate said.

“Then you’ll be even surer tomorrow.” Lana pivoted around to face forward and started the scooter. “Hold on tight.”

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