A classic novella from #1 New York Times bestselling author Fern Michaels originally published in the anthology In Bloom.
A heartwarming novella from #1 New York Times bestselling author Fern Michaels that explores the complex relationships between mothers, daughters, and sisters and the power of telling the truth . . .
After years spent traveling the world as a flight attendant, Gracie Walden is ready to stay a little closer to her roots, starting with two weeks at home in Amarillo, Texas. But there’s unexpected turbulence between her mother, Ella, and her older sister, Hope—and it will lead to a revelation that changes Gracie’s life in amazing ways . . .
Release date: April 25, 2023
Publisher: Zebra Books
Print pages: 103
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Though there was a long list of responsibilities involved in prepping for overseas flights, she was diligent in her duties, which included checking equipment, learning how to use a defibrillator, and performing CPR. She was trained to handle the situation if a woman went into labor. And she had even been trained in how to handle the death of a passenger or, heaven forbid, a member of the crew. Fortunately, no one had ever died on one of her flights, though she once had to assist in delivering a premature baby boy to a young woman traveling alone with a toddler. It was a frightening experience, but Gracie’s instinct and professional training had kicked in, and when they touched down in Dallas, both mother and baby, as well as the toddler, were fine. When she walked down the aisle to inform the passengers they had a new baby on board, she was filled with pride from helping bring a new life into the world, and they’d clapped vigorously for her and the doctor who, luckily, had been on the flight.
Now that she was head flight attendant, once all the passengers were seated, Gracie would explain and demonstrate the emergency procedures and inform the passengers about the length of the flight, something most of them already knew. She would also inform the passengers that if there was a headwind, the time in the air might be greater, also explaining what to do should the aircraft encounter turbulence. Once they were airborne, the captain would repeat her instructions. After he was finished, her work began. Working in first class was simple. She enjoyed making her guests comfortable so they would have the best flight possible.
Before commencing her duties in first class, Gracie would walk through the plane, looking for anyone who feared flying. Long experience allowed her to identify such passengers in an instant, and she took extra care to see to it that their every need was met in the hope of easing their fear. Her older sister, Hope, didn’t like to fly, so she had a bit of knowledge about fear of flying. Many of her fearful passengers found themselves able to relax after she distracted them. Being able to help them was extremely satisfying. She had always been a people person, never met a stranger, and could talk for hours if the situation called for it.
Her mother often told her that she should have studied law, since she had the ability to speak so eloquently and endlessly. Her sister Hope was a talker, too. When they were together, they could yak, as her mother referred to it, for hours on end. Hope worked as a nurse anesthetist and had the same passion caring for her patients as Gracie had for seeing to her passengers’ needs.
Gracie had taken two weeks of vacation time to head to Amarillo for the upcoming Mother’s Day weekend. She had done this every year except last year, during the Covid-19 pandemic, since moving to Dallas to begin her training as a flight attendant after spending two years earning an associate’s degree in marketing. Her passion for the sky was much greater than her desire to earn a bachelor’s degree, much less a master’s degree, as her sister had.
Hope still lived in Amarillo, and she, too, would take two weeks off just to spend time with Gracie and their mother. The three women would do all the girly things they always did. The only difference this time around was that Hope could truly relax. Having divorced Roy Gates, she now had the freedom to do as she pleased. Roy was an okay guy, but he was fifteen years older than Hope and way too controlling.
Their mom, Ella, was as sweet as the iced tea she served up, which Gracie craved all the time. Gracie could not recall ever having the sort of teenage issues with her mother that some of her friends had with theirs. There had been no reason to. Her mom doted on both her and Hope. If Gracie ever met anyone to share her life with, and if she was lucky enough to have children, she would raise them exactly as her mother had raised her and her sister.
Ella’s husband, Gracie’s father, had died two years after Gracie was born, and Gracie knew that her mom could have dated. Instead, she chose to devote her life to her daughters. There were times when she wished that her mom would find someone to love, someone with whom to share her life. The thought of her mom living alone for the rest of her life always made Gracie sad. But her mother assured her that she was happy, and that is what really mattered. And there was still time for each of them to meet the man of her dreams. Gracie couldn’t help but laugh at the thought.
“What’s so funny?” Jessica asked.
Gracie gathered her luggage and a freshly dry-cleaned uniform from her small storage space at the front of the airplane. “Wondering if Mom will ever date, maybe marry again.”
Gracie and Jessica shared an apartment in Dallas. They practically knew one another’s life stories after six years of flying and rooming together.
“You never know. She’s still young enough; plus, she’s gorgeous. She could be Hope’s twin rather than her mother.”
“Yep, they look like sisters; they get that a lot. Don’t know what the heck happened to me. An odd strand in the gene pool, I suppose.” She smiled. Gracie was tall, with a slim, athletic build, her eyes an unusual mixture of gray and green, her hair thick and long, the color of a shiny copper penny.
“You look like your father.”
“I know; don’t know why I let my thoughts stray. I’m tired, ready for a trip home. Wish you could go with me. Mom and Hope adore you.”
“It’s all good. I’m headed to London, and I have the entire weekend to myself. I didn’t want to take the extra time off because Tina is still out on maternity leave. Us older, more experienced gals are hard to find these days.”
Gracie rolled her green eyes. “Hey, just because we aren’t twenty with plenty doesn’t mean we’re out of the game yet.” Twenty with plenty was their private joke, referring to younger women with great bodies to match.
Jessica winked. “Nope. I’m not out of the game.” She offered up a snarky grin. Jessica was the opposite of Gracie. Average height, short blond hair, eyes so dark that one couldn’t distinguish the iris from the pupil.
“I assume you have a date for your weekend in London,” Gracie teased.
“I never kiss and tell,” Jessica replied. “Though if there’s any hot romance going on, I’ll send you an e-mail.”
“As long as you leave out the details,” Gracie joked. “Even if you say you never kiss and tell, we both know that’s a crock of bologna!”
“Bologna doesn’t come in crocks, Gracie.”
They both burst out laughing, as this, too, was a private joke. Jessica used a crock of shit, but Gracie rarely swore. She thought it unladylike and knew that if she slipped while on duty, a passenger might hear. In addition, she didn’t want to tarnish her professional image. She was no goody two-shoes, but there were certain behaviors she preferred to avoid. Cursing at work was one of them.
“So you keep reminding me,” Gracie said.
“You gonna take a hopper to Lubbock?”
Gracie glanced at her watch. “Yes, and I need to be at Gate C in fifte. . .
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