“If women were meant to fly, the skies would be pink.”
Those were the first words Anjelica Joergensen heard from renowned wingsuiter, Kyle Sheppard, when they joined an international team in Oslo to break the formation flying Guinness World Record. This wouldn’t be the last blunder Kyle would make around the beautiful Norwegian.
The more Anjelica tries to avoid Kyle, the more the universe pushes them together. Despite their awkward start, she finds herself reluctantly attracted to the handsome New Zealander. But beneath his saintly exterior, is Kyle just a daredevil looking for the next big thrill?
Falling for another wingsuiter would only be another love doomed.
When a childhood sweetheart comes between them, Kyle makes a foolish agreement which jeopardizes the event and endangers his life, forcing Angelica to make a hard choice.
Is she the one who’ll clip his wings?
Can he be the wind beneath hers?
Awards & Other Kudos
Danger, excitement, romance, and an unusual setting make this a great story. ~ Jody Day
Love it, love it, love it. The epilogue gave me chill bumps. Perfect. ~ Diane Tatum
Wonderful story. Great ending. ~ Mary McCay
I really enjoyed this story, and be sure that when it is published in the Passport to Romance series, I'll be in line to buy it. ~ Grace Olsen
Love this ending sentence! Wow, I can’t believe this wonderful story is finished. I have so enjoyed reading it, and I look forward to buying it in print one day. ~ Julie Kitchens
Who are these that fly along like clouds, like doves to their nests? ~ Isaiah 60:8
Anjelica drank in the beauty of the surrounding mountains that hugged the dark blue waters far below. The climb had been worth it. As usual. She could never get enough of the view across the fjord. Beside her, pockets of snow filled the gaps between flat gray rocks.
She stepped up to the edge, closed her eyes, and inhaled deeply. The butterflies in her stomach were determined to be the first to take flight. Standing at the exit point—whether a precipice, skyscraper, or aircraft’s open door—was one of the scariest moments. She could turn away and fail or step forward into moments of death-defying adventure. Despite her anxiety, this was Anjelica’s favorite place.
She raised her arms and leaned over the rock. Her body dropped through the air before she stretched her limbs like a bird. As the wind wrapped around the shape of her wingsuit, she began to fly.
Visions of the week ahead filled her mind. She exhaled slowly. Her helmet warmed inside at her breath. She had to calm her thoughts—focus on the flight was paramount to success. For the next few minutes, she and the currents would wage war against gravity and error.
Determined to improve on her previous time in the air, Anjelica raised her head. She bent her body at the waist and looked ahead, slowing her rate of descent and forward momentum.
A streak of red whizzed past her. Erick Thuesen. Show off. Anjelica would have shaken her head and raised a fist at him if she didn’t risk going into a deathly spin toward earth. She had to remain focused. Usually his antics made her smile, but Erick wanted them to make her heart soar.
Not going to happen. Been there before.
Irked at his lack of focus on their training, the amused expression never made it to her face today. They didn’t have time for foolery. The world record attempt was little more than a week away. He should try to stay in the air for as long as possible, not see how fast he could make it back to solid ground.
This was their last jump before the team gathered in Stryn, then headed down to Oslo where they’d join not only the larger team from Kjerag, but teams from all over the world.
Although she couldn’t wait to start training with the international wingsuiters, Anjelica didn’t relish the thought of the day’s road-trip that lay ahead, or the testosterone environment she’d be plunged into for the next week. Not everyone in this high-flying community felt this sport was for the fairer sex.
With a wide grin, Kyle Sheppard turned to his seven-strong team and rubbed his hands together. “This is going to be sweet.” Flying the fjords of Norway had been his dream for too long. “I wonder who’ll fly lead in the formation, be the star at the top of the tree?” He handed his passport to the customs officer at Oslo Airport. Not even his exhaustion from the twenty-seven hour journey between New Zealand and Norway could extinguish his excitement. This would be a high to beat all adrenaline highs.
God willing, Friday they’d break their record set in California last year by eleven—one hundred and eleven wingsuiters flying in formation.
As part of Norway’s National Day celebrations, May seventeenth would see a tree-shaped formation high in the Oslo skies, bringing not only a summer Christmas reminder to Scandinavia, but a new Wingsuit World Record validated by The Guinness Book of World Records.
“I know you’re vying for the position, Sheppard, however, I’m hoping it won’t be a star, but an angel at the top of the tree—a blonde, Nordic one.” Luke Maskil’s grin matched Kyle’s as laughter erupted from the rest of the team. Luke waggled his brows. Mischief twinkled in his eyes while the promise of a good time ahead plastered his face.
“Lukie-boy, you do know this country offers more than just leggy blondes?”
Luke smacked Kyle’s cheek with a few friendly taps. “Lighten up, Sheppard. Why always so serious? You have to appreciate the finer qualities a country has to offer. There’s more to this life than just flying the lines.”
Kyle feigned surprise. “Really?” He retrieved his passport, stuffed it inside his jacket’s top pocket, and grabbed the handle of his suitcase.
He’d drawn a line more crucial than those he flew—one he would not cross. It was far less dangerous to fall from a cliff or a plane, than to fall in love.
He turned his head and spoke over his shoulder. “I guess I’m having too much fun flying high to concern myself with things down below.”
Luke patted Kyle’s back. “Keep saying that, Sheppard. Maybe one day you’ll actually believe it. But I’m telling you, as your friend, that you can have fun in the air and on the ground.”
Perhaps Luke was right. But it didn’t matter. Wherever they travelled, Kyle chose to ignore the beauties that gravitated toward him—women attracted only to his exciting career and good looks. Adrenaline groupies. Will I ever find someone who really cares about who I am, what I believe in?
He’d never find his soul mate on this earth.
God would have to send an angel from heaven. Even divine intervention seemed an impossible task, for it wasn’t often that angels and shepherds met.
Kyle smiled. But when they did, miracles happened.
The large green garden that overlooked the Oslofjord at Hotel Refsnes-Gods stirred pleasant memories for Kyle. For a moment, he was back in Perris, California and the green field dotted in an array of colors. He couldn’t wait for morning. The same lawn he stood on now would be filled with colorful wingsuit pilots from twenty-three different countries.
Kyle loved the first day vibe as the buzz of languages rose into the pre-dawn air.
The organizers had booked all sixty-one rooms in this centuries-old hotel. They couldn’t have chosen a more idyllic location for the participants to stay.
He looked at the weathervane up on the spire of the hotel’s left wing and prayed the metal structure showed the same favorable conditions for the rest of the week. A movement from his bedroom window on the top floor caught his eye.
“Bro, this place is awesome,” Luke shouted as he leaned out of the open window. He raised his hands to the heavens. “Whoop…”
Kyle shook his head and smiled. Crazy Kiwi. He wouldn’t put it past Luke to want to jump out of that window and fly. With Luke Maskil as his roommate, his hands would be full. Kyle wouldn’t have it any other way though. Luke was his best friend. But ever since Kyle had sworn off women, Luke felt the need to be his wingman, too. He’d intensified his efforts to set Kyle up with someone.
“Sheppard…” Luke waved his arms in the air. His upper body balanced in mid-air two floors above the ground.
“Yeah?” Kyle sent a quick prayer to heaven as he jogged up the tree-lined path that led to the hotel entrance. Last thing they needed was Luke falling out the window and being eliminated from the event due to injuries.
“You’d better hurry, the welcome party’s about to start.”
Kyle checked his watch. Seven o’clock. He’d lost track of time. “Be right up. Wait for me.”
If weather conditions permitted, he was really going to enjoy these long days, especially when he and Luke travelled west and north to fly the fjords after their record-breaking event on Friday.
As Kyle opened their hotel room door, Luke swung around. “That was fast,” he said.
“Well, you said to hurry. Mind if I jump in the shower first? I won’t be long.”
Luke had claimed dibs on the shower when they arrived. Kyle didn’t mind. He was glad to have an excuse to go for a walk and have some time alone to talk with God.
“I’d have a problem if you didn’t, Sheppard. I can smell you downwind.” His face broke open in a wide smile. “And it smells like you’ve been chasing sheep.”
Kyle pulled off his T-shirt and threw it at Luke. It hit his friend full-face before falling to the floor. “Yeah, right. If I’ve been chasing sheep, it’s because I’ve a wayward flock to look after—all seven of you.” Kyle waited for a comeback.
Instead, Luke grabbed the television remote from the bedside table, flopped onto his bed, and flipped through the channels.
“And what do you think you’ll be able to understand?” Kyle asked.
Luke grinned, gaze fixed on the leggy model making her way down the catwalk. “Don’t need to understand. Just need to see.”
Kyle shook his head at his friend. He stepped into the bathroom, took a shower, and then rummaged through his bag for a fresh shirt and jeans.
He and Luke headed downstairs.
Meeting the other participants tonight was important. The conference room buzzed with old friendships being renewed and new ones forming.
They lined up at the buffet table and an array of food. Plates loaded, they mingled. It was great to catch up with old friends, but those who had lost their lives to the sport were noticeably missing.
Question 1: Why was Anjelica scared to fall in love again, especially with another wingsuiter?
Answer 1: Because her fiancé had been killed in a wingsuiting accident three years ago. For two years she’d carried the guilt that perhaps she had been to blame for his accident. She couldn’t risk going through a loss like that, or bearing that guilt, again.
Question 2: Why had Kyle sworn off women?
Answer 2: Because he felt that women were only attracted to him for his exciting career and his looks.
Question 3: What was Kyle looking for in a woman?
Answer 3: He wanted someone who would love him because of who is was as a person, and embrace his faith, too.
Question 4: Anjelica loved wingsuiting and the community of wingsuiters, but there were two things she didn’t like. What were they?
Answer 4: 1. She didn’t like the party-hard side of the sport. 2. It was a very male-dominated community.
Question 5: Why was Anjelica so offended by Kyle’s ‘Pink skies’ comment?
Answer 5: Because in Norway they believe in equality of the sexes, and she was already intimidated by the male-dominated environment of her sport.
Question 6: Why did the Kiwi team do the Haka on the first day of training?
Answer 6: Not only was it tradition, but it was the greatest ritual in world sport. It was expected.
Question 7: Why was the flight over the fjord dangerous? Why did Kyle still do it?
Answer 7: The Phoenix-Fly manual cautions against flying over or near large bodies of water. Kyle didn’t expect Luke to want him to fly the longest straight path over the water. Worse, to land on the small deck of a lighthouse. After seeing Erick kissing Anjelica, Kyle thought they were involved and that she might tell Erick about their own kiss minutes before. He didn’t want that to ruin his friendship with Erick. But still he wanted to go to church with Anjelica, although he was afraid to be alone with her and Erick. He needed reinforcements and asked Luke to tag along. When Luke wasn’t interested, Kyle agreed to fly across the Oslofjord, not thinking that Luke would make the wager even more foolhardy. When Luke held up his end of the wager, Kyle had to make the flight. He was a man of his word.
Question 8: Why could Kyle relate to Adam Carter, the Pastor?
Answer 8: It was easy for Kyle to talk to Adam because they were the same age. Kyle could relate to the pastor because Adam, too, had fallen in love with a girl from the other side of the world that he initially suspected was in a relationship.
Question 9: Why did Anjelica’s mother trust Kyle enough to give him the address where Anjelica was staying in Oslo?
Answer 9 Because Erick, who’d been a friend of Anjelica’s family for a very long time, had not only vouched for Kyle as someone they could trust, but he also told them he believed that Anjelica could find happiness again with Kyle. He’d told Anjelica’s mother that Kyle loved her daughter.
Question 10: Kyle took the blame for their flight over the fjord, and asked to take Luke’s punishment, too. What scripture verse comes to mind at this action, and what does this parallel?
Answer 10: Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Kyle’s action is a parallel of Christ’s sacrifice for us.