Flight of Dreams

Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon

Book: Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ariel Lawhon
you will concede my point.”
    “I’d like to see you try.”
    He laughs. Then growls. Drops his mouth to her skin. Leonhard kisses the hollow where neck and shoulder meet. It takes only seconds for his ministrations to become more sensual.
    Gertrud is not as crafty as her husband, but she’s every bit as provocative and quite a bit faster. “No so fast,” she whispers, pulling away slightly.
    He shudders and his eyes take on a glassy, hungry look that only feeds her determination. He murmurs something desperate against her throat.
    “Not this time,
” she whispers. “It’s my turn to teach you a thing or two.”

    O n his first trip aboard the
Werner Franz negotiated his position on the top bunk with an aplomb far beyond his age. One look at his indomitable cabin mate, Wilhelm Balla, convinced him that the best approach would be one of emotionless logic. So Werner had suggested that it would be easier for him to move in and out of the high, narrow berth due to the fact that he was younger, lighter, and smaller. Balla had looked at the boy and then the ladder that led to the bunk for a prolonged moment, shrugged, and tossed his bag on the lower mattress. They had never spoken of sleeping arrangements again. The truth of the situation, however, was that Werner desperately wanted the top. His reasons were immature, but he was too immature himself to recognize them: being the younger brother, he’d never gotten the top bunk at home, and he was willing to endure any amount of negotiation to make sure he acquired it now.
    Balla isn’t the most interesting cabin mate, but they get along well enough. And they’ve learned not to disturb one another as they come and go at different hours. So when Werner hears the door open, he assumes that Balla is turning in for the night. As cabin boy, Werner’s primary job is to serve the officers, and his schedule accommodates theirs, stretching from early breakfast at six to evening coffee at nine-thirty. Balla tends the passengers and keeps to more traditional hours. Werner is almost asleep again when he realizes that a gentle snoring is coming from the bunk below. Balla is already in bed. Someone else has opened the door.
    “Get up,” a voice says, close to his ear. It is not Balla’s.
    Werner squeezes his eyes shut. He murmurs a feeble objection and pulls the heavy knit blanket over his head.
    The blanket is stripped away. “If I have to turn on the light it will wake Balla and you’ll likely get a beating from both of us. Up now. You have work to do.”
    It’s well past midnight. Werner feels certain of this. He was in bed by eleven p.m. and has been sleeping soundly for some time. He runs through a quick mental checklist to ensure that he has done everything required of him this evening: he has served dinner to the officers, scrubbed down their dining area, and cleaned and put away the dishes; he has taken coffee to the control car for those working the night shift; he has made sure all of the officers’ beds are made and their cabins tidy. His clothes are pressed and laid out for the next day. He has not missed anything. He never does.
    “I will yank your scrawny carcass from this bed if you’re not on the floor in three seconds.” The voice is stern and all the more intimidating for its lack of volume.
    Werner has an older brother and has long since learned to take such threats seriously. He’s on the floor, hand gripping the ladder for balance, before he has even made the conscious decision to do so. There is a sharp twinge in his bruised knee and he winces at the pain.
    It takes several seconds for him to recognize the severe face of Heinrich Kubis. The chief steward is standing with his back to the door, his face cast in deep, angled shadows, and he is holding a large basket of shoes in the crook of his arm. His short black mustache looks like a grim slash in the half-light, a mark of displeasure. Werner says the only words he

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