The Maverick Millionaire

By: Alison Roberts



And it wasn’t working any more.

If she could see all this so clearly as she was dragged through the wave and then swinging in clear air again over the life raft, Ellie knew it would never work again. She shouldn’t be capable of thinking about anything other than how she was going to harness another body to her own in the teeth of the approaching cyclone and then get them both safely onto land somewhere.

This was it.

The last time she would be doing this.

She might as well make it count.

Unbelievably, the men in the life raft weren’t ready to cooperate. Ellie had the harness in her hands. She shoved it towards one of them, holding it up to show where the arm loops were. The harness was taken by one of the men, but he immediately tried to pass it to the other.

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

But he pushed it back and there was a brief struggle as he tried to force the other man’s arm into one of the loops. Too caught up arguing over who got to go first, they were getting nowhere.

‘I’ll be okay,’ one of them was yelling. ‘I can wait.’

‘This isn’t make-believe,’ the other yelled back.

Static in her ears made Ellie wince.

‘You still on the air?’ Dave’s voice crackled. ‘That radio still working after getting wet?’

‘Seems to be.’ Ellie put her hand out to stop the life raft bumping her away. It was dipping into another swell. And the men were still arguing. Good grief—had one just accused the other of being just like his mother?

She thought the terrifying dunk into that wave had been the final straw, but this was just too much. Ellie was going a lot further than the extra mile here, making her potentially last job as a rescue helicopter paramedic really count. She shouldn’t be doing this and this lack of cooperation was putting them in a lot more danger. Suddenly Ellie was angry.

Angry with herself for endangering everybody involved in the helicopter hovering overhead.

Angry with these men who wanted to save each other instead of themselves.

Angry knowing that she had to face the future without the escape from reality that this job had provided so well for so long.

She was close enough to help shove the harness onto one of the men. To shout at them with all the energy her anger bestowed.

‘There’s no time for this.’

But they were ignoring her. ‘What the hell is that supposed to mean?’ one yelled.

There was another painful crackle of static in Ellie’s headphones. ‘What’s going on?’ Dave asked in her ear.

‘Stand by,’ Ellie snapped. She was still angry. Ready to knock some sense into these men, but whatever had been said while Dave had been making contact had changed something. The man she’d been helping to force the harness onto had gone completely still. Thankfully, Ellie’s hands were working well enough to snap the clips into place and check that he was safely anchored to the winch line.

‘The chopper’s full,’ she shouted at the other man. ‘We’ll come back for you as soon as we can.’ She clipped the last carabiners together and put her face close to her patient’s. ‘Put your arms around me and hang on,’ she instructed him grimly. ‘Just hang on.’ She knew they would have been listening to every word from above. Hopefully, they’d think the lack of reassurance she was providing was due to the tension of the situation, not the anger that was still bubbling in her veins like liquid lava.

‘Take us up, Dave. Let’s get out of here.’

* * *

‘Ben...’

The despairing howl was whipped from Jacob Logan’s lips by the force of the wind as he felt himself pulled both upwards and forwards in a violent swinging movement. It was also drowned by the stinging deluge of a combination of rain and sea spray, made all the more powerful by the increasing speed of the helicopter rotors above.

It was too painful to try and keep his eyes open. Jake squeezed them shut and kept them like that. He tightened his grip around the body attached to his by what he hoped was the super-strong webbing of the harnesses and solid metal clips. There was nothing he could do. However alien it felt, he had no choice but to put his faith in his rescuers and the fact that they knew what they were doing.

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