Houston, Texas, 1965
When an accident rocks the American Space Department, threatening the race to the moon, the agency is determined to eliminate distractions, including those in the bedroom.
Astronaut Dean Garland, on track to become the first man to walk in space, is fine with putting a temporary hold on his love life. Except the directive comes too late to prevent the biggest distraction of all: Vivian Muller… Garland. But now that he’s married, Dean is determined to follow the rules until he makes history with his spacewalk.
Vivy never expected to find herself pregnant or in a shotgun marriage, much less a sexless one. While her new husband might pretend to be perfectly happy sleeping alone, Vivy’s never believed in pretending or holding back. She’s determined to make her husband fall for her, even if it means bending—or breaking—the rules.
Dean’s resolve to keep marriage and work separate hits another serious snag: the suit he’s supposed to wear in the killer vacuum of space isn’t reliable, and his new father-in-law manufactured it. As Dean unravels the technical problem and Vivy tries to win her husband’s love, their hearts and his life hang in the balance.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How long is Free Fall? It’s 70K, right on the line between long category and short single title length. In the context of the series, it’s a little longer than Star Dust and a little shorter than Earth Bound.
- What’s the heat level for Free Fall? Hot but not erotic.
- Will Free Fall make sense if I haven’t read the other books in the series? Yes. While characters from the rest of the series reappear, it’s a standalone.
- I’d like to review the book. Awesome! We hope you love it, but if you don’t, we support your right to review it honestly however and wherever you want. Reviews are for readers not writers. While bad reviews are unpleasant, Gen and I will live and we won’t harass you about it. Promise.
Dean Garland rapped his knuckles on the door just below the words Stan Jensen, ASD Director. The summons had been unexpected, but Dean didn’t get nervous about meetings, not even those with the brass. Nervous was for suckers. Nervous was for men who didn’t understand their equipment. Nervous wasn’t for pilots, let alone astronauts.
But even months after the accident, the tone at ASD was still tight and thin, and so Dean had stayed hyper-aware. He heard the secretary typing down the hall and the rain drumming against the windows and the soft murmur of conversation inside the office. Every part of him was charged, ready to go off at a brush on the trigger.
Jensen’s door flew open and smacked against Parsons’s palm. What the hell was he doing here?
“You’re late,” Parsons said.
“It’s ten on the nose.”
Parsons clearly thought Dean should have been early out of respect or some such, but if they’d wanted him here before ten, they should have said so. Dean wasn’t going to kiss their asses.
Dean took a step inside onto the plushy carpet and looked beyond Parsons to Jensen. Dean wasn’t here to see an engineer.
Jensen didn’t say a word, but he pointed to a chair across from his massive desk and Dean had a seat. Parsons stalked around and sat next to Jensen.
They both looked pissed—but of course Parsons always looked pissed. Jensen was gray and granite faced. Whatever had led to this subpoena, it wasn’t good.
Had something else gone wrong? Other than the obvious fallout from the explosion at the Cape?
Jensen knitted his hands together over his stomach and watched Dean. The clock on the wall counted out several seconds. “Do you know a girl named Vivian? She’s nineteen, a brunette. College girl. You might have met her at a party at the Reynolds’s.”
This was about a woman?
While he didn’t know why they were asking, he had no trouble recalling Vivy. She had been unforgettable, with that heavy Elizabeth Taylor eye makeup and those lush curves. She’d looked like a kid playing dress up and talked like a sloe gin fizz. He’d heard her laugh from across the room and he’d had to have her.
Dean didn’t kiss and tell, and he certainly didn’t do it with the director of ASD and its chief engineer, who two months back had instructed him and all the other astronauts to keep it in their pants until the mission was back on track. No more mistakes, and no women.
Dean had no trouble with those orders, though he doubted the engineers had to follow the no-sex requirements. Otherwise that might have explained Jensen and Parsons’s attitudes.
Dean shrugged. “Why are you asking?”
“Do you remember her?” Jensen’s question was measured, but something enormous and angry sat under it.
Okay. He could do contrite. They’d heard the story somehow and were mad because they had their facts wrong. He had to correct them. “It was before you gave those orders,” he said to Parsons.
“Yeah, well, that doesn’t matter. You’ve created a heap of shit.” Parsons spat the words out like they were poison.
“Did you happen to ask who her daddy was before you took her to bed?”
Dean swallowed. He hadn’t asked much. She’d smiled at him and her accent had made his head swim and he’d wanted to get her dress off. It had been just that simple. “Who’s her daddy?”
Benjy Muller—Benjamin Muller. The owner of the most prominent defense contracting firm in the country. The man who was building the next generation spacesuit for ASD—the one that had unexpectedly depressurized and injured Lee Carruthers. Muller was one of the richest and most powerful men in the country, let alone Houston.
For an instant Dean saw stars. Vivian was Vivian Muller?
His breathing went shallow, but only for a second. Beyond the initial jolt, the news didn’t shock him. When he’d gotten her home and unclothed, her panties had been top shelf. He’d guessed she was rich.
So she had a famous father. What of it? He doubted he was the first astronaut who had slept with a daddy’s girl. Surely one thoughtless night couldn’t jeopardize his mission status. Carruthers, prior to his accident, had racked up a scorecard that would put Dean’s to shame. Why the hell wasn’t Carruthers in here getting the tenth degree? They were taking this no-sex edict entirely too seriously, but of course Dean hadn’t violated it.
“I don’t see why it’s your business,” Dean said.
“Muller caught her sneaking in the next morning.”
That was…non-ideal. Dean preferred to avoid entanglements of all kinds, especially those involving angry, influential fathers, but it had been months ago. Had it taken her dad that long to lodge a complaint with Jensen?
“Why are we talking about this?” Dean demanded.
“Because she’s pregnant. And Muller wants you to make it right.”
Everything stopped. The clock. The rain. Dean’s heartbeat.
Vivian Muller was pregnant.
He didn’t know what right meant in this context. Nothing about this was right.
Then a peal of thunder sounded, and with it, there came the nerves, ticking in Dean’s hands and making his stomach go rigid.
It turned out heap of shit might be an understatement.
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