Hello, my friends! Leigh Dreyer's third book of the Pride in Flight Series is now available, and I have an excerpt from Came a Flight Gently for you to read! I hope you enjoy it!
Came a Flight Gently
by Leigh Dreyer
In the exciting conclusion of the Pride in Flight Series (The Best Laid Flight Plans and The Flight Path Less Traveled), our dear couple Elizabeth and Darcy have moved to Pemberley to begin their lives together. An outsider to New York society and the affluent world of Darcy, our heroine uses her characteristic drive and wit to begin her marriage and all that comes with him. Helped along by Mrs. Reynolds and a curmudgeonly airplane mechanic, Elizabeth discovers a new path to the civilian flight world. Darcy, ever the hero, supports her and learns to trust her instincts. Fast-paced and dramatic, Came a Flight Gently soars through love, adventure, and intrigue as it races through Reno to the finish.
Excerpt from Chapter Fifteen
Elizabeth was back a few days later to meet Weston’s friend as arranged.
“Mrs. Reynolds sent you a sausage biscuit, hard-boiled eggs, and water,” Elizabeth announced walking into the hangar office and pulling the water bottle out with a flourish.
“Water.” Weston made a face of disgust.
“She said you’ve got to watch your sugar.” Elizabeth laughed. “I think you two should go out,” Elizabeth added, watching Weston attack the breakfast bag.
“No, we’re just old friends.” He sighed, taking a bite and waving one hand.
An aircraft taxiing up outside the hangar interrupted them. Weston got up and opened the hangar door. “That would be your instructor.”
Elizabeth followed him out of the office.
As the door opened, the engine ticking of a beautiful red, white, and blue Lancair Legacy came to a stop. The canopy tipped forward and a thin, attractive woman in her early thirties stood up smiling and waved. She was wearing something like tennis shoes but different, khaki slacks and a blue woman’s polo shirt with wings on the left side.
The woman hopped down off the wing as Weston and Elizabeth waited. “How are you, you old curmudgeon?” she said, giving Weston a big hug.
He put her arms around her. Elizabeth noticed him blush.
“Check the oil and wipe her down,” the woman joked as she let him go. Weston backed away, looking down and coughing to recover his voice.
“Mrs. Darcy, may I present Allison Noreen Dashwood, airline first officer, and Lancair instructor extraordinaire. Allie Nore, Mrs. Darcy.”
“Elizabeth, please,” said Elizabeth, putting out her hand.
“Allie,” she answered, shaking her hand, and looking annoyed at Weston. “And when have you become so formal, Stephen Paul? Not Fog anymore? Should we just call you ‘Step?’” She laughed.
Weston blushed an even brighter red.
“You have a beautiful airplane,” Elizabeth said.
“So do you,” replied Allie, nodding to the aircraft in the hangar. “I’m the one that flew it in. You didn’t screw with the flight control balance, did you, Steve?”
“No, no, just checked out the engine, did a flight condition check, and changed the oil,” he replied.
“Good,” Allie answered, looking at Elizabeth. “It’s a sweet flying aircraft. Whoever built the kit did an outstanding job harmonizing the controls. Nice avionics too.”
They went into the hangar.
“Weston said you’re an airline pilot,” Elizabeth asked.
“Yep, for about five years. Should upgrade to captain soon. Seniority, you know? Flew checks and freight before that, some charter work, and instructed at a Cessna 141 school. And you?”
“Got my commercial couple weeks ago, Air Force T-6, and the mighty Skyhawk,” Elizabeth answered.
“Steve said you, how’d he put it, ‘crashed’ out of training.”
“Yeah, ejected and trashed my back. Medically retired.”
“Hmm,” said Allie, then perking up, “well, that won’t stop us today.”
Allie continued to talk, and Elizabeth listened. She discovered that she liked this calm woman who seemed to understand airplanes. They discussed various flights, procedures, and Allie shared how she started with the airlines. Soon, conversation shifted to the upcoming flight, and Elizabeth could tell Allie was probing her knowledge and desire to fly the Lancair.
After Allie appeared satisfied, she said, “Let’s go sit in the plane, go over systems and avionics. It’ll take about an hour. Steve keeps talking about a Mrs. Reynolds and a mansion for lunch, then we’ll take her up this afternoon.”
“Sounds good,” responded Elizabeth. “I’ll call Mrs. Reynolds to expect three of us.”
At the aircraft, Allie showed Elizabeth what to look for in the pre-flight inspection, how the landing gear retracted, and how to check the oil and propeller. Elizabeth enjoyed the way she instructed and treated her as an equal. Allie had a quiet demeanor but shared her knowledge freely, allowing Elizabeth to learn quickly. Allie continued to quiz Elizabeth, but it was pleasant, unlike standup evaluations during Air Force pilot training which had left her sweaty and nervous.
With the walk-around completed, they entered the cockpit. “The biggest difference from something you’ve flown before is the stick is in your left hand, and the throttle, the right,” began Allie. “It’s different than the yolk, but you’ll get used to it. Most people initially over control in pitch so watch yourself on takeoff.”
Elizabeth moved the stick around, getting the feel and checking the flight controls. Together, they went through the instruments. Weston had hooked up an auxiliary power cart so they could view the avionics without draining the battery. Allie made Elizabeth operate and input data into the avionics.
“Each system is just a bit different,” said Allie. “Makes it a pain switching between aircraft.”
Elizabeth nodded, concentrating on pushing the buttons. “Yeah, this is similar, but different from the Bonanza. I’ll have to practice before taking this in the weather.” She finished putting in a typical flight plan and sat back.
“There. That’s a good place to stop. After lunch, we’ll get airborne. Typical stuff, stalls, slow flight. You know the drill. You said you just finished your commercial ticket…”
“Great,” Allie said, rolling her eyes, “you’ll probably be better than me at those maneuvers.”
“Oh, I doubt it,” said Elizabeth. “You’ve got the more recent Lancair practice.” They both laughed as they got out of the aircraft.
Weston came out of the office and turned off the power unit.
“Ready for lunch? Mrs. Reynolds just called and said whenever you all are ready.”
“Sure, let’s go see this mansion.” Allie teased.
Weston and Elizabeth grinned at each other.
“I’ll drive,” said Weston. “Get in the truck.”
During the short drive, Allie said, “Steve’s been telling me about this extravagant mansion forever. Which one is it? I saw four within five miles of the airport flying in.” She narrowed her eyes suspiciously at Weston. “Based on all the other jokes he’s pulled, it’s probably a mobile home at the other end of the airport.”
Elizabeth tried not to chuckle; Weston kept a straight face. They turned into the driveway and Pemberley came into view. Elizabeth remembered the first time she had seen Pemberley and how her stomach had dropped in amazement at the utter beauty of the home and the surrounding land.
“Here we are,” said Weston, grinning.
Allie looked forward and her mouth dropped. “You gotta be kidding me,” she said.
“No, this is it. Just a small summer cottage.” A big smile erupted on Elizabeth’s face. “Welcome to Pemberley. Steve, drive to the front door.”
Weston said, “The front door, ooh, the front door. We must be getting the full treatment, Allie.”
They parked and walked to the door.
“Oh my god. You live here? How do you not get lost?” said Allie.
“I have,” said Elizabeth, laughing. “I had to carry the tour map with me for the first few weeks.”
Mrs. Reynolds met them at the door, and they made introductions walking to the breakfast room.
“You have a breakfast room and a dining room?” said Allie as they walked by.
“Yep, and a parlor, and a music room, and a study.” Elizabeth smiled. “Oh, and a bar, slash, game room.”
“Wow—now, I guess I’ve got something to work toward,” replied Allie.
Mrs. Reynolds brought out two platters with Reuben sandwiches, chips and pickles for the women and a Rueben sandwich only for Weston.
“Allie, what can we get you to drink?” asked Elizabeth.
“Root beer, if you have it, please,” responded Allie.
Elizabeth chuckled. “Virgil’s, Dad’s, Barq’s, A&W? Here, you pick your poison,” asked Elizabeth.
“I’ll take a Dad’s,” said Weston.
“You’ll have water,” snapped Mrs. Reynolds, glaring at Weston.
The two younger women giggled as a very maternal Mrs. Reynolds put a glass of ice water in front of him before sitting down next to him.
In between bites, Allie asked, “So Elizabeth, what do you miss about Air Force flying?”
“Well, I didn’t get very far. Instruments are about the same. I miss formation flying,” answered Elizabeth.
Allie said, “I’m a FAST instructor, and the Lancair is a good formation plane.”
“What’s FAST?” asked Elizabeth, intrigued.
“It’s a group that certifies people to fly formation together. Airshows require it, and various aircraft groups signed up to agree on signals and expectations. You have to practice with an instructor, take a test, and a checkride,” explained Allie. “But most of all, it’s fun! Not every day you get to fly formation, huh?”
“That sounds cool,” said Elizabeth. It wouldn’t be hard to talk Darcy into a few weekends away to fly. He could even come with me!
“Get through your checkout before you go off flying too close to someone else,” grumbled Weston.
“Steve, what do you have against anyone having fun?” teased Allie.
“Yes, what do you have against fun?” asked Mrs. Reynolds, turning on him.
Elizabeth opened her mouth to add on, but Weston interrupted, “I know when I’m out numbered. Should have never agreed to lunch with three women. Like a zebra in a crocodile farm. Let’s go. Eat up. Some of us have to work for a living.”
About the Authors
Leigh Dreyer is a huge fan of Jane Austen variations and the JAFF community. She is blessed to have multi-generational military connections through herself and her husband, who she met in pilot training. She often describes her formative years in this way: “You know the ‘Great Balls of Fire’ scene in Top Gun (Goose, you big stud!) when Goose and Meg Ryan have their kid on the piano? I was that kid.” Leigh lives with her pilot husband, a plane-obsessed son, a daughter who was a pink pilot for Halloween, and a one-year-old son who is so used to F-16 noise, he does not even startle to sonic booms.
Paul Trockner was an Air Force fighter pilot for twenty-eight years. He flew the F-111, T-37, A-10, and T-38. He currently teaches fighter pilots using simulator instruction. He has been happily married for thirty-six years to his lovely wife Elizabeth. Leigh is the oldest of his five children.
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Came a Flight Gently Buy Links
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Congratulations, Leigh, on the release of Came a Flight Gently! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing an excerpt with my readers!
Friends, please feel free to leave a comment! Tell us what you think of the excerpt, or have you read any of the other books in the series?