Going on a Bear Hunt….the children’s rhyme never seemed so apropos. First, Hugh Taylor jumps from my book, When The Pilot Falls, into the real world and then he decides to wander across the country on an odyssey of epic proportions. I wouldn’t hadn’t even known he was gone had Willie Labeau, the stunt pilot and female main character, hadn’t shown up one day and demanded to know where he was and if I’d had anything to do with his kidnapping.
Of course not! I wanted them to have a happy ending but that couldn’t happen if Hugh wasn’t found. I finally convinced Willie to clamber back into the story and I’d send Hugh as soon as I could. I was at my wit’s end on figuring out where she was but a news story from the Southwest US caught my eye. That’s Rebekah’s neck of the woods! I contacted her right away and she let me know that while Hugh had been there, he had slipped away and was on to California.
Of course, he was. Why would he stay in one place for me to come to get him? Sighing, I ended the call and messaged Denise. If I couldn’t get him back into the story with Willie, their happy ending would be less than stellar.
But, while Denise had spoken to him, Hugh was no longer there. Sandy, Liz, and Chautona had all seen him but he’d managed to slip through like a greased pig. For such a big guy, he had an easy time disappearing.
That’s when Cathe called letting me know that Hugh had tried to buy a bull statue in Minnesota. Of course, he did, I thought. Why wouldn’t he?
“But he’s on his way to Texas for a large horse to ride home,” said Cathe, interrupting my thoughts. “Maybe Marji can stop him there.”
I gently banged my forehead against the desk and wondered what had gotten Hugh to jump from the book in the first place. I punched in the numbers to Marji’s phone so I could beg for her assistance but, before it could even connect, there was a thump, thump, thump at my front door.
Phone to my ear, and slightly peeved that UPS didn’t just leave the package at the front, I threw the door open and nearly had a heart attack. It took me a second to realize that the huge white bear in front of me was actually my missing character!
“Hugh!” I opened the door and let him in. “What in the world have you been doing? Do you know how worried I’ve been? Not to mention Willie. She thinks I’ve kidnapped you.”
“Sorry about that, April.” A red stain spread across Hugh’s pale cheeks. “Didn’t mean to worry either of you.” He pulled at the collar of his button-up shirt. “I just had an errand to run.”
“An errand that spanned the entire country?” I raised an eyebrow and stared at him. “Care to let me in on what was so important?”
He swallowed hard and then reached into his pocket and pulled out a small, soft blue box. He flipped open the lid and inside, nestled within the blue velvet lining, was a solitaire diamond, flanked by two sapphires on either side, set into a single gold band. It really was quite the loveliest engagement ring I’d ever seen. My eyes flicked to his and back again to the ring.
“Well, Hugh, while I appreciate the gesture, I’m already married,” I said, stepping back.
Hugh closed his eyes as his cheeks became redder than a sun-ripened tomato just off the vine.
“It’s for Willie,” he mumbled, opening his eyes. “Errr, I just needed to get her something really spectacular and since there wasn’t a jewelry store in the book I had to go find one.”
“So you’re saying that I’m at fault here?” I crossed my arms over my chest, my toe-tapping furiously against the tiled foyer floor.
“No, no, I’d never intimate that,” replied Hugh, hastily putting the box back into his jacket. His head craned back and forth. “So, where’s the book? I should probably get back.”
“Probably shouldn’t have left in the first place,” I muttered as I opened the book and gestured to it. “In you go, Hugh. And don’t let me catch you roaming outside of it again.”
“No, ma’am,” he said as his giant body was sucked back into the story. And, as he faded back onto the pages, I heard a soft voice call, “Thank you!”
At least he’s back inside, relatively safe and sound. Now all I have to do is keep Willie from flying her Jenny out of the story and I’d be good. But be careful what you wish for….
Interested in reading more about Hugh and the woman who flew away with his heart? Get your copy of When The Pilot Falls here!
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