The Maverick Millionaire

By: Alison Roberts



They’d caught some of the stats on the radio before the yacht had finally been crushed under a mountain of water and they’d had to battle to get into their bubble of a life raft. Winds of sixty-five knots and gusts up to two hundred miles per hour. Waves that towered up to fifty feet, dwarfing even the biggest boats. Competitors were retiring from the race in droves and turning to flee, but not fast enough. Boats had overturned. Masts had snapped like matchsticks. Mayday calls had gone out for men overboard. Bodies had already been recovered. There were search aircrafts out all over the place, but the only thing the Logan brothers had heard over the sound of an angry sea had been the deep drone of an air force Orion and that had been a long way away.

The Southern Ocean was a big place when you were in trouble.

They’d been drifting for hours now. Being tossed like a cork in the huge seas.

By some miracle, they’d finally been spotted. A helicopter was overhead and a crewman was being lowered on a winch. Jake could see the spare harness dangling.

One harness.

No way could more than one person get winched up at a time.

And he wasn’t going to go first. This weather was getting worse by the minute. What if the chopper couldn’t get back?

‘You’re going first,’ he yelled over the noise of the sea and the chopper.

‘Like hell I am. You’re going first.’

‘No way. You’re hurt. I can wait.’

The guy on the end of the winch had disappeared behind the crest of a wave. Caught by the water, he was dragged through and suddenly swinging dangerously closer. Someone was putting their life on the line here to rescue them.

‘Look—it was my stupid idea to do this. I get to decide who goes first.’

He didn’t have to say it out loud. It was his fault. Things that turned to custard had always been his fault.

Desperation had him yelling loud enough to be really heard as the rescuer got close enough to shove a harness into his hands. He pushed it towards Ben. Tried to wrestle him into it.

‘Just do it, Ben. Put the harness on. You’re going first.’

But Ben pushed it back. Tried to force Jake’s arm into a loop.

‘Someone’s got to look out for you,’ he yelled.

‘I’ll be okay. I can wait.’

‘This isn’t make-believe, Jake. It’s not some blockbuster movie.’

‘You think I don’t know that?’

‘I know you don’t. You wouldn’t know reality if it bit you. You’re just like Mom.’

And now it was their rescuer yelling. Helping Ben to shove the harness onto Jake.

‘There’s no time for this.’ Good grief...was this person risking life and limb to rescue them female?

Jake was still resisting. Still focused on his brother. ‘What the hell is that supposed to mean?’

‘She couldn’t face reality. Why do you think she killed herself?’

That did it. The shock took the fight out of Jake. The harness was snapped into place.

‘The chopper’s full,’ the rescuer yelled at Ben. ‘We’ll come back for you as soon as we can.’ She was clipping heavy-duty carabiners together and she put her face close to Jake’s. ‘Put your arms around me and hang on. Just hang on.’

He had no choice. A dip into icy water and then they were being dragged into the air. Spinning. He could see the bright orange life raft getting smaller and smaller, but he could still see his twin brother’s face looking up at him. The shock of his words was morphing into something even worse. Maybe he’d never find out the truth even if he wanted to go there.

Dear God... Ben...

This shouldn’t be happening. Would he ever see his brother again?





CHAPTER TWO

THE WAVE WAS the last straw.

As though the adrenaline rush of the last few hours was simply being washed away as Eleanor Sutton faced the immediate prospect of drowning.

How much adrenaline could one person produce, anyway? She’d been burning it as fuel for hours as the rescue helicopter crew she was a part of had played a pivotal role in dealing with the stricken yachts caught up in this approaching storm. They’d pulled two people from a life raft and found another victim who’d had nothing more than his life jacket as protection as he rode the enormous swells of this angry sea.

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