I grip the arms of the seat, my knuckles turning white as the statistics about the crashes of private planes versus commercial flights run through my head. We taxi to the end of a runway, turn, and jerk into forward motion as the jet picks up speed.
Oh shit. What are my parents going to think when they find out I died with him?
The thought is ridiculous, but logic isn’t exactly on my side right now. I’m nearly hyperventilating as the jet hurtles down the runway.
“Keira, look at me.”
Mount’s deep voice snaps me out of my panic, and I meet his gaze.
When he unclips his seat belt, I want to yell at him to put it back on, but he moves to the chair beside me before I’m capable of forming the sentence.
“Are you afraid of flying?” he asks, and I’m too freaked out to appreciate the concern in his tone.
I shake my head rapidly. I know better than to admit weakness, especially to him.
“Then why do you look like you’re going to throw up?”
I break his stare and look out the window. Oh, sweet Jesus. We’re almost off the ground. Bad idea.
Mount reaches out to cup my cheek, bringing my gaze back to his. “Listen to me. You’re fine.”
“You don’t know that.”
“Yes, I do. Because I won’t let anything happen to you.”
I swallow at his admission, and my stomach flips. I’m not sure whether it’s because of this latent fear of flying clawing through me, or because of Mount’s penetrating stare. Maybe both.
I force myself to relax, muscle by muscle, until my spine curves into the leather cushion. “I forgot. You have a vested interest in making sure nothing does, because then who would pay the debt I owe?”
His thumb strokes my cheek, and I tense again at the uncharacteristic gesture.
“At some point, you’re going to realize this is about far more than a simple debt.” Mount’s voice is low, but his words send my anxiety soaring.
“What do you mean?”
He finally releases his hold on my face and turns toward the empty seats opposite us, crossing an ankle over one knee. He doesn’t look at me when he replies.
“You’re smart. You’ll figure it out eventually.”
I don’t have enough fingers to count how many times Keira asks where we’re going, and each time I refuse to tell her, her frustration grows.
When we hit the four-hour mark on the flight, her attitude spikes. “You better plan on getting me back on time for work tomorrow.”
“I’m afraid that’s not happening, but your assistant has been notified to expect your absence and cover for you.”
“You told her? She can’t know about this.” Keira’s tone is sheer panic. It’s no surprise she doesn’t want anyone to know of her connection to me, but the fact still irritates me.
“No. She received an email from you explaining.”
Keira’s eyes widen. “How? You better not have hacked my freaking email. That’s just—”
“Easy?” I supply the correct adjective.