Rogue Danielle Steel
The small single-engine Cessna Caravan pitched and rolled alarmingly over the swamps west of Miami. The plane was just high enough for the landscape to have a postcard quality to it, but the wind rushing in through the open hatch distracted the young woman clutching the safety strap so that all she could see was the vast expanse of sky beneath them. The man standing behind her was telling her to jump.
“What if my parachute doesn't open?” she said, glancing over her shoulder at him with a look of terror. She was a tall, beautiful blonde with a gorgeous body and exquisite face. Her eyes were huge with fear.
“Trust me, Belinda, it will open,” Blake Williams promised her with a look of total confidence. Skydiving had been one of his many passions for years. And it was always a joy for him to share the wonders of it with someone else.
Belinda had agreed to it the week before, over drinks in a very prestigious private nightclub in South Beach. The following day, Blake had paid for eight hours of instruction for her and a test jump with the instructors. Belinda was ready for him now. It was only their third date, and Blake had made skydiving sound so enticing that after her second cosmopolitan, she had laughingly said yes to the invitation to skydive with him. She didn't realize what she was getting into, and she still looked nervous now, and wondered how she had let him talk her into it. The first time she'd jumped, with the two instructors he'd arranged, had scared her to death, but it was exciting too. And jumping with Blake would be the ultimate experience. She could hardly wait. He was so charming, so handsome, so outrageous, and so much fun that even though she barely knew him, she was ready to follow him and try almost anything in his company, even stepping out of a plane. But now she was terrified again, as he turned her face toward him and kissed her. The sheer thrill of being in his presence made the jump easier for her. Just as she had been taught in her lesson, she stepped out of the plane.
Blake followed her within seconds. She squeezed her eyes shut and screamed as they free-fell for a minute, and then she opened her eyes and saw him as he gestured to her to pull the ripcord on her parachute, just as the instructors had taught her to do. Suddenly they were drifting slowly to earth as he smiled at her and gave her a proud thumbs-up. She couldn't believe she'd done it twice in one week, but he was that kind of charismatic person. Blake could make people do almost anything.
Belinda was twenty-two years old, a supermodel in Paris, London, and New York. She had met Blake while visiting friends in Miami. He had flown in from his house in St. Bart's to meet up with a pal of his own, and had arrived in his new 737. He had chartered the smaller plane and a pilot for their jump.
Blake Williams appeared to be an expert at everything he did. He was an Olympic Class skier and had been since college, had learned to fly his own jet, with a copilot in attendance, given its size and complexity. And he had been skydiving for years. He had an extraordinary knowledge of art, and one of the most famous collections of contemporary and pre-Columbian art in the world. He was knowledgeable in wines, architecture, sailing, and women. He loved the finest things in life,