THAT MAN 6 (The Anniversary Story)
Scorchin’ hot Blake Burns and his tiger Jennifer are back in this page-turner sequel to Nelle L’Amour’s bestselling THAT MAN series!
And things are hotter than ever when they fly to the Maldives to celebrate their tenth anniversary. What can go wrong, does go wrong. Beginning with a death-defying emergency landing.
Will they survive being alone on a deserted island? Without food, sex toys, or Wi-Fi in the middle of a monsoon? Be prepared to laugh, cry, and swoon as your favorite book boyfriend swoops into superhero mode —That Man!—and battles the life-threatening forces of nature to protect his tiger and save their marriage.
“Blake, are we there yet?”
My gorgeous husband chortles. “Jesus, tiger, you sound like one of our kids.” Wearing aviator sunglasses and a headset, he turns to give me a saucy grin.
“Oh my God, Blake! Get your eyes back on the dashboard.”
“Instrument panel,” he corrects. Whatever it’s called, it’s a dizzying array of monitors and dials. Thank goodness, he does as I’ve asked.
“Chill, baby. I’ve got this. According to the GPS, we’ll be landing in two hours.”
What! Two hours! I don’t think I can take more of this. Besides being somewhat claustrophobic, I’m not a great flyer. Trust me, being in this small, one-engine plane hasn’t been a picnic. Not for a minute! Butterflies flit around my stomach. A swarm. The sooner we get there the better.
I don’t know what possessed my husband to take up flying and become a certified pilot. Wasn’t flying me into the stratosphere with his insatiable cock enough? The bigger question is what possessed me to let him fly us to the Maldives for our tenth anniversary and agree to be his co-pilot? The answer to the first question: he was out of his mind. The answer to the second: I was out of my mind!
To celebrate our special anniversary, Blake wanted to go to a place where we could relax and get away from our everyday craziness. We don’t live an ordinary life. It’s one of glamour, glitz, and hard work. Every minute is scheduled. He’s the high-powered head of Conquest Broadcasting while I’m in charge of their children’s network, Peanuts. Besides our all-consuming jobs, which require long hours, countless meetings, black-tie events, and out-of-town business trips, we’re the parents of two rambunctious children—Leo, age 8, and Maeve, almost 5. We’re constantly juggling our careers and parenthood. Somehow, we’ve found the time to take the kids to school, go to all of Leo’s little league games and Maeve’s ballet recitals, as well as spend quality time together as a family that includes Friday night Shabbat dinners with his entire family and my parents, weekends at local attractions like the zoo and museums, plus fun-filled vacations to Disneyworld, New York City, SunValley, and other places. Blake and I have also managed one other thing: to spend quality time in our bedroom. While we have a fantastic marriage that’s rooted in equality, mutual respect, and our deep-seated love for one another, it’s where Blake exerts his control and I totally lose it. And love every minute.
To be honest, I would have been totally happy staying home—there’s no place else I’d rather be than with my two amazing kids—but Blake wanted to fly to an island. To have some special alone time together just for us. He came up with the bright idea while fucking me over his desk. It’s nice that we work in the same building and that he runs the company and makes the rules. Or bends them.
There’s a boatload of islands he could have flown us to. Some almost in our backyard like Catalina or those outside San Diego. But, no, Mr. Adventurer had to choose one that was almost 10,000 miles away from our house in Santa Monica. Twenty hours of flying time. You can do the math—we’ve been in the air for eighteen long hours. An eternity!
It’s actually been a two-fold trip. On the first leg, we flew in a glamorous chartered Gulfstream 650 that felt much like being in the presidential suite of The Four Seasons with its sleek leather and teak furnishings, marble floor, state-of-the art kitchen, and steam-shower bathroom. Blake co-piloted the plane for several hours while I slept under the covers of a yummy Egyptian cotton comforter in a comfy bed.
That plane, however, could take us only as far as Sri Lanka. There we switched planes. Or more precisely, we traded our deluxe jet in for this turbo prop plane, one that could land on the small, narrow runway of the private island we’re staying on.
The prop plane is nothing like the luxurious, spacious Gulfstream. It only has six seats, including ours, and we’re lucky it has a toilet… a porta-potty of sorts. Ugh! Blake brought so much luggage along that it takes up almost all the space of the aircraft. So, I’m stuck in the cockpit serving as his co-pilot.
Not a good flyer to begin with, I’ve been in freak-out mode ever since we took off from the airport. Blake, in contrast, has been like a kid on an amusement park ride. Starting with a “whoo hoo” as we took off.
“Tiger, seriously. Just relax and enjoy the view.”
Sitting next to him, I force myself to look out the window and cast my eyes down, avoiding the rotating propeller, which adds to my unease. Fifteen thousand feet up in the air, I can see a lush island below—tops of palm trees and verdant terrain surrounded on all sides by miles of the green-blue Indian Ocean. All crystal-clear thanks to my recent Lasik surgery, something Blake convinced me to have because I was forever losing my eyeglasses. With no buildings, vehicles, or roads in sight, the island seems to be deserted. Unfortunately, the breathtaking view does little to calm my nerves. My stomach bunches. I feel queasy.
Suddenly, a rumble thunders in my ears. I whip my head around and face Blake.
“Fuck!” he shouts out, terror flickering on his face.
“What’s going on, Blake?” My voice is in a panic.
“There’s something wrong with the engine.”
“Oh my God! Are you serious?”
Hardly the answer I want to hear. The engine continues to rumble. My heart leaps into my throat. It’s beating at a gazillion miles an hour.
“Oh my God,” I repeat, my voice now frantic.
“Put on your life jacket!”
I fumble for the yellow vest that’s stored under my seat. Slipping it over my head, it takes me two tries to fasten it because my hands are shaking so much. I pull down on the tabs to inflate it.
“Blake, what about you?”
“I can’t let go of the control wheel.”
Pushing it forward, he clutches the U-shaped handles so tightly his knuckles turn white. He curses again as the plane begins to wobble. My stomach lurches. I may throw up. I clamp my mouth shut, biting hard on my bottom lip, so I don’t.
“See if you can radio someone.”
In my panicked state I push the emergency call button. “Blake, all I get is static.”
“Shit. Try the satellite phone.”
Even more panicked, I do again as I’m asked. Nada! “Blake, I still can’t get through.” I turn to look at my husband. I’ve never seen a more intense expression on his face. His jaw is tight, his lips pinched, his eyes unblinking. Fear, like none other, claws at me.
I look out the window again. “Blake, what’s that liquid pouring out of the wing?”
“What!” His eyes train on the fuel gauge. “Shit! We’re leaking fuel!”
“Oh my God!” Our situation has just gone from bad to worse. Way worse! We’re not going to last in the air!
“Blake, what are we going to do?” I spit the words out, panic gripping my insides.
“Tiger, hold on. I’m going to attempt to land this baby.”
Hold on to what? The only thing I want to hold on to is my life. A nauseating mixture of terror, regret, and sorrow swishes through my veins. We’re going to die! Crash into the shark-infested water and drown. Or crash land on some remote island and die in a fiery explosion. Anyway I look at it, our lives are over. And I’ll never see my treasured family again. Our two beautiful children… Our beloved parents…His precious grandma…Her big-hearted husband Luigi… Or all our wonderful friends… Libby, Chaz, and so many others.
“Blake, I’m so scared!” I choke out.
“Be brave, my tiger!”
I’ve had to be Blake’s brave tiger many times in my life, but this isn’t one of them. I start to sob as the wobbly plane begins to lose altitude.
“Close your eyes, baby!” Blake orders, his voice commanding and intense.
With tears streaming, I do as he asks, squeezing my eyes shut. So tightly they hurt. The truth is, I don’t want to see our ugly demise.
“C’mon, c’mon, c’mon,” I hear Blake mumble. The plane shakes violently. A warning siren sounds. My stomach lurches again as we plummet. I hold my breath and lose all sense of time. Then suddenly, a thunderous thud makes my stomach somersault and my heart do cartwheels.
All I can hear are ear-splitting screams. The screams are mine, and as they pierce the air, I know they won’t save us.