Air-crash Savant Miranda Chase and her NTSB team enjoy a quiet evening…but it won’t last for long in this brand-new technothriller coming on March 10th.
“Oh, c’mon, Jeremy, ask a real one. We all know Miranda’s favorite plane,” Holly chided him.
“My F-86 Sabrejet,” Miranda answered with an easy certainty that she at least knew this one answer. For twenty years she’d flown the old jet and knew it as well as the back of her hand. She liked its familiarity. Just as she liked the familiarity of this house. She’d grown up here.
She knew all its ways. The way the old wood creaked when the Pacific Ocean storms roared over Vancouver Island and slammed into the San Juans. The way the air didn’t smell of the sea, but rather so fresh it seemed as if no one had ever breathed it before.
The high-vaulted living room with its beach cobble hearth, dark beams, and Douglas fir walls could seat twenty comfortably, four as it did now, or be cozy for just one as it usually was.
It was slightly uncomfortable having visitors to her island, thereby decreasing her favoritism for her house over her jet if one were to expand the parameters to “favorite place at this moment in time.”
No, not uncomfortable. Merely…unfamiliar. Yes, that was a better way to think of it. Even though it was only Friday night and the rest of the chill March weekend loomed uncertainly ahead. Despite the new descriptor, she remained uncertain of her preparations to entertain them.
“Ehhhh!” Holly made a rude sound like a plane’s stall-warning buzzer. “So not on, Miranda. It’s not your Sabrejet.” Holly’s Australian accent was even thicker than usual as she sipped her second beer of the evening.
Before Miranda could respond that she knew her own mind—which she wasn’t always sure of, though she was this time—Jeremy raised his hand.
“Wait! I know. I know!”
“Don’t have to raise your hand, buddy.” Mike winked at Miranda from his armchair near the fire. He sat as neatly as ever—a slim, elegant man with short dark hair, a dress shirt, and custom-tailored slacks.
Miranda sat on the sofa with Holly. Actually, she sat on the sofa whereas Holly slouched so low she was almost horizontal—her feet on the coffee table, sticking her toes out toward the fire. Her socks didn’t match.
“It’s any plane that hasn’t crashed,” Jeremy proudly announced his answer.
While the others laughed and nodded, Miranda considered. The four of them were the lead crash investigation team for the National Transportation Safety Board. Yes, any plane that was fully functional was a very good thing.
But still, she liked her old Sabrejet very much.
“Jeremy’s favorite site investigation tool?” Mike called out.
Miranda had no idea why.
Holly whispered to her, “Can you figure him picking out a single favorite tool?”
“Oh,” Miranda understood the joke now but had learned that laughs that came too late were better not laughed at all.
Jeremy always had a bigger field pack than the other three of them combined.
“That handheld military-grade thermite torch he used to slice evidence out of the old DC-3’s wreckage,” was Miranda’s estimation. He had been particularly enamored of its ability to melt quickly through steel though it was no bigger than a two-D-cell flashlight.
“His hammer,” Holly suggested. “The one he actually offered to that colonel who wanted to bust up his phone for constantly giving him bad news of more planes that had carked it.”
Jeremy Trahn blushed brightly enough that it could be seen by the firelight.
“No, his program for reading Cockpit Voice and Data Recorders, even if he isn’t supposed to have one. He secretly wishes he was James Bond,” Mike ribbed him.
“No,” Holly shook her head hard enough to flutter her rough-cut blonde hair over her shoulders. “He wishes he was Q, Bond’s equipment geek.”
“No,” Jeremy spoke up a little hotly, “but he wishes you both had fallen into the ocean and been eaten by orcas on the way here.”
“You’d have been fish food right along with us.” Mike accurately pointed out. He had flown the three of them out to her island in Washington State’s northern Puget Sound for the weekend.
Holly was the one who’d suggested the spring solstice was a good excuse for a party. Though this March was chilly enough that “spring” didn’t come easily off the tongue yet.
“Whale food,” Jeremy corrected, then mumbled, “Would’ve been worth it.”
There was a brief silence in which the only sound was logs shifting in the fireplace. Miranda watched the curious turbulence patterns as the sparks rose up the chimney.
“What is your favorite tool, Jeremy?” Because now she was curious.
He looked down, and she was afraid that she’d somehow embarrassed him even further than Mike and Holly had.
Then he reached for his shirt pocket and pulled out a pen.
“A pen, mate? Fair dinkum?” Holly turned to Mike. “Have you ever seen him even use a pen? Everything in the world is on his tablet.”
Mike just shook his head.
Miranda could remember three instances. They’d been together as a team for almost six months, yet three was all she could recall.
“You gave it to me on the first day I joined your team. It’s everything I ever dreamed of.”
“Miranda’s pen?” Mike scoffed.
“Being on Miranda’s team,” Jeremy said softly.
Holly, who never looked touched, looked touched. She turned to Miranda.
“He’s so damn sweet,” she whispered, but loudly enough for everyone to hear. “Can we keep him?”
Miranda didn’t know why she wouldn’t. He was an exceptional airplane systems specialist despite his youth.
“Holly’s favorite soccer team?” Mike asked in a sudden, bright tone, completely changing the mood.
“The Australian Matildas,” they all called out in unison. Their four Matildas baseball hats were all lined up on the mantel.
This time Miranda was fairly sure that her timing was right when she joined in on the laughter.
Coming March 10th