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In the deep blue ocean lives an ancient predator…
Dr. Grace Mann knows great white sharks. As the daughter of an obsessed shark researcher based at the Farallon Islands, Grace spent her childhood in the company of these elegant and massive creatures. When a photo of her freediving with a great white goes viral, the institute where she works seeks to capitalize on her new-found fame by producing a documentary about her work.
Underwater filmmaker Alec Galloway admires Dr. Mann and jumps at the opportunity to create a film showcasing the pretty biologist. As he heads to Guadalupe Island in Baja California Sur for a three-week expedition, it’s clear that his fan-boy crush on Grace is turning into something more serious. But even more pressing—Grace’s passionate focus on the sharks just might get her killed.
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Alec started extending the drone arms, snapping all six into place, and then went to work on the rotor blades, which had been folded inward for storage. When all twelve were flipped into position, he looped a lanyard over his head and picked up a rectangular box, securing it to a clasp at the end of the lanyard.
“Stand back,” he said.
Her chin snapped up. “What? Are you launching it from here?” She stumbled backward. From where it sat on the deck, it wouldn’t be able to rise straight upward. Visions of being mauled by the numerous spinning blades flashed through her mind.
Alec snapped several switches on the drone, the camera, and the controller, then stood back as the behemoth began to whir, coming to life. Grace tried to merge into the corner, in case the thing became suddenly sentient and decided to take out all life in its vicinity.
“Haven’t you ever seen a sci-fi movie?” she asked, annoyed that her voice was more of a shriek. “These things always go crazy.”
Alec chuckled but kept his eyes on the controller screen, his long fingers working the toggles. The contraption lifted into the air and slowly moved horizontally until it had cleared the boat, then climbed higher and went out over the wild blue sea.
Grace breathed a sigh of relief.
“You swim with sharks,” Alec said, still watching the control panel that hung from his neck, “and yet you cower from something man-made.”
Grace stepped closer to him. “You nailed it. Humans scare me far more than sharks.”
“Check it out.” He beckoned her closer.
“You can see the film in real time?”
She came close enough that her arm brushed against his, and she caught a whiff of laundry detergent from his t-shirt, giving him an appealingly clean aroma.
The video screen on the controller displayed blue ocean and the rising sun cresting the shoreline to their port side.
“And then there was light,” she murmured.
“And the light was good.”
She briefly met his gaze as he flashed her an amused look.
“I went to Sunday school,” he said, “until my dad decided surfing was a better way to commune with God.”
“I have to agree with him. My dad worshipped the ocean and little else.”
She watched the swell of the waves as they caressed the sandy beach on the video screen. “It doesn’t make sense to me to sit in a building and talk about the salvation of the world when I’d rather be in that world. If I have a purpose on earth, I’m damned well going to go out and find it.”
“I think you have, Grace.”
For a moment, the flirty intimacy filled the space between them and surrounded Grace like a caress of warm Caribbean water, igniting a pleasant feeling in her belly.
Copyright © 2018 K. McCaffrey LLC
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