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Chapter 1 – Sweet Little Jesus Boy

I snapped my fingers. Juan didn’t need to ask. He showed up less than a minute later with another piña colada on a tray.

“Meez Bambi.” Juan bowed as he presented the tray to me.

I took the drink then leaned forward. “It’s getting a bit hot here, Juan.” I waggled my eyebrows at him. He knew what I wanted.

Without complaint, he grabbed the suntan lotion and squirted some into his hands. He then started to run it into my skin. I growled at him, my inner cougar surfacing again. He was the best part of Cuba – my own fecking cabana boy. He was perfect – toned, tanned, dark... and everything he did pissed off Dash. I turned my head to smile at Dash, watching his blood pressure rise.

“Give the poor bastard a break.” Dash glared at me. “No one deserves that sort of torture.”

“Shut the hell up, Dash.” I turned and gave Juan my most provocative smile. “Thank you, Juan.”

Juan wiped his hands on a towel before picking up my empty glass and setting it on his tray. “Meez Bambi.” He bowed again then strode off. I watched as he disappeared into the hotel. My god, he had one fine ass on him.

“Quit drooling. For god’s sake, can’t you show even a hint of class?”

“Shut up, Dash.”

“What the hell did that kid ever do to you? Rubbing your back is cruel and unusual punishment by any standards.”

“Shut the hell up, Dash. Mind your own damned business. Juan is here to take care of me, so screw off.”

“His name is Jesus, for Christ sake! Gee-zuz. Not Juan!”

Dash was starting to annoy me – again. “It’s Hay-sus, asshole, but I was raised Catholic, so I can’t say that! It’s like... blasphemy or something. He’s getting damned good pay. He can live with whatever I want to call him.”

“God damned cabana banana.”

“Boy! Cabana boy!” I settled back on my lounger then took a calming breath. “God damned moron! That’s what you are.” I stated it as a quiet fact. “I think I’m starting to burn. My skin is so sensitive now, after you let it burn so badly on that damned boat.”

I didn’t need to look. I could feel him glaring at me.

Dash opened his mouth to yell at me but stopped when Juan showed up with my phone on his tray. I waggled my eyebrows at him again – an unmistakable ‘come hither’ look – then flicked the hem of his trunks with my fingertips. He bent over, lowering the tray to me.

“Meez Bambi.”

“Why, thank you, Juan.” One hand reached for the phone. The one that had reached for his trunks snaked inside the material, sliding up his thigh. I shuddered at the potential hidden by that material.

Dash glared again. Juan straightened and backed away, taking the tray with him. I lifted the phone to my ear.


You could see that poor bugger cringe every time he had to come near Bambi. Who could blame him? He must have done something to totally piss off the king or emperor or whatever the hell that Castrol guy was. I had to say, though, when you didn’t have to look at the slums and scruffy poor people,

he did have a pretty nice country. What the hell did I care? It wasn’t costing me a damned thing – thanks to Bambi and her god damned freakish luck.

Then again, watching Jesus putting that suntan oil on the fat bitch was sort of like watching someone oiling up warm lard. The poor bastardo will suffer flashbacks from that for the rest of his god damned life.

She still hadn’t noticed that he only spoke two words to her. I think he was afraid to say more, that with his poor grasp of the language, and Bambi’s eternally overcharged hormones, he might say something that would only lead to disaster. The last bugger she did that to died from it, but let’s not go there! Truth to be told, though, Jesus was one fine specimen – not a lot unlike me in my prime, which would be up until the day I met Bambi.

We had been in Cuba for only a few days... surprisingly our pictures weren’t hanging on the post office wall yet, but I knew it was just a matter of time. That stupid Bambi would find a way to land us in the middle of a disaster, and we would be here, in fecking Cuba, where no one would be able to help us, and I would end up serving a life sentence of having to run oil all over some other Bambi – like I hadn’t already served that sentence since we got married in god damned Saskatchewan.

“Oh Dash!”

I didn’t turn. She said it in that long drawn out Mary Tyler Moore way – ohhhhhhh Daaaaashhhhhh. It was a harbinger. I just knew it.

“My uncle Flockington has died.” Bambi sobbed and sniffled as she spoke.

“Flockington? What the hell is a flockington?”

Her palm smacked the back of my head. “My uncle! I just told you that.”

I didn’t point out that she had miraculously stopped crying in order to correct me. Alligator tears – that’s all the bitch was capable of. I played along. “Oh no, your uncle Flockington is dead? What happened... and why the hell should we care?” I dodged the swinging palm this time.

“He was my favorite uncle.”

“I didn’t know you had an uncle.”

“Of course I do.”

“So why the hell haven’t I heard about him before?”

She glared at me. She did that whenever I asked something that required logic. “I haven’t seen him for a while.”

“No shit.”

“He was sort of... eccentric.”

He was a relative of Bambi’s and she thought he was eccentric? Yeah, we were talking either very normal, or he was totally bat crap crazy. My money was on the second option. “Lemme guess. You want to go to the funeral, right?”

“Well...” She hesitated. It was time to prepare. “No, not exactly. The funeral was a couple weeks ago.”

“A couple weeks ago?” Now she was pissing me off. “So what the hell do we care about Uncle Flockington being dead then?”

She smiled. It was that piggy-eyed shit-eating smile that I hated. “I’m in his will. I have to go to the reading.”

“His will?” Holy crap! Someone actually had an uncle who died leaving an estate to a niece, and it had to be Bambi.

“Yeah.” There was no trace of sorrow in her voice now. “So get your ass up out of that chair, get some clothes on, get packed and let’s burn some rubber.”

I stood, but made sure she would see I wasn’t happy about it. “Fine. Where the hell did Uncle Flockington live?” Bambi mumbled an answer. I had no idea what the hell she said, but fully understood that she intended it that way. I wasn’t going to budge. “Bambi, where the hell are we going?” I crossed my arms for emphasis.

“North... to the mainland.”

I raised a brow. “Could you be a bit more specific?”

“North!” She barked it at me.

“Jesus, not Canada!”

Jesus appeared at my side with a bottle of beer. “Meester Dash.”

“Jesus Christ, not you! The other one!”

“No, not Canada.”

“Where the hell are we going?”

“Alaska, okay? We’re going to Alaska... but he was totally loaded. We have to go. One day, then we can get the hell out of there and it will be easy street for the rest of our lives.”

I didn’t believe it, not for one minute, but I also knew there was no point arguing. We were heading to Alaska.

Chapter 2 – Children, Go Where I Send Thee

There are times in life when, as a woman, you just know you have to take control of the situation. This was one of those times. If Dash saw the name of the place we were going, I would never hear the end of it. There was no way around it; I simply had to hold the reins and ignore whatever he said. It would be a challenge.

“You have the tickets?”

“Yes, Dash.” Of course I had the tickets. You never give anything important to Dash, unless you want it lost or wrecked.

“How long do we have to wait for our plane?”

I wanted to correct him – planes – but there would be time for that later. “We board in half an hour. Sit down and be quiet.”

I had a good feeling about this trip. We had gotten out of Cuba and into Canada with virtually no issues. We had to endure no questioning, no cavity searches, no nothing. It was sort of strange, and considering the hunky customs guy, a bit disappointing, not that I didn’t try to get his attention.

“We’re flying through the US the day before Thanksgiving? Are you insane?”

It was at least the hundredth time he had bitched about the date, as if I could have done something to change it.

“Yes, we are flying the day before Thanksgiving. Deal with it. They don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Cuba or Canada, so quit your bitching.” I didn’t have the heart to point out that we would be flying on Thanksgiving Day as well. Dash needed to be spoon-fed shit like this, especially if we were in public.

Dash stopped in his tracks. “They don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada? What the hell is wrong with them?”

I put on my patient face. “They do celebrate it, but about six weeks earlier. Now, shut up and sit down.”

He dropped to the seat, stared out the window, then glared at me once more. “This place is insane!”

“It’s Toronto airport. What did you think? They would roll out the red carpet for you? Maybe they should have held back everyone else, like you were some sort of god damned royalty?”

“We’re flying to Alaska from here?”

Damn. There it was; the first question that I really didn’t want to answer. “You need some coffee? You should probably use the washroom. I don’t want to have you bouncing up and down on the plane.”

“If you don’t want me to have to pee on the plane, why do you want me to have coffee?”

He was starting to piss me off. I forced a kind, understanding smile. “I thought perhaps you were thirsty.”

He sat quietly, content for a moment with the answer.

“Hey!” He spun around on the seat to face me. “You want me to go to the bathroom now because there aren’t any bathrooms on the plane, right?”

“Of course there are bathrooms on the plane.” This plane anyway. I wasn’t sure if that would be the case for the rest of the trip. “Just shut up and sit there.”

I opened a magazine, hoping he would get the message that I was done talking. He fiddled his fingers, shifted in his seat, shuffled his feet on the carpet. I knew he wouldn’t be quiet for long.

“So we’re going to Alaska from here.”

Eventually, but I couldn’t tell him that. “We’ll be there before you know it.”

“Air Canada flight one-twenty-one to Winnipeg is preparing to board.”

Dash looked up to the ceiling. He probably thought the woman was sitting in the rafters making the announcement.

I stood. “That’s us.”

“No, it isn’t.”

“Yes, it absolutely is.”

He shook his head. “No, it can’t be, because we’re going to Alaska, not Winter... Winter...”

“Winnipeg. Winnipeg is on the way to Alaska. Let’s go.”


Winnipeg? Who the hell came up with these Canadian names? Why the hell were we going there? I grabbed my bag and followed Bambi, but this was not going to be the end of the discussion.

Thankfully we were through customs. I hadn’t told Bambi about the spare boxes of cigars I had in my suitcase. I wasn’t going to leave them behind, and something told me cigars in Alaska might not be quite the same. I wanted to stick with quality. Of course, as she batted her eyelashes and shook her barely-contained boobs at the customs agent, I was a bit worried. She was putting the moves on him, and I was sure they would pull us over and check through everything. Then again, if I had Bambi shaking her booty at me, I would absolutely run in the opposite direction. Too bad I hadn’t thought of that before.

I hate airplanes. They are small, crowded, and always there is some grubby-faced kid teething right beside you, where you can’t escape the noise... or you have the kid beside you who pukes every time the plane moves. The damned things are crawling with germs and weirdoes. Who the hell needs that!

“I get the window!”

The bitch almost body-checked me right onto the god damned wing as she shoved past me. I tried to find my seat belt, but had to push several layers of her blubber out of the way.

“We’ll be lucky if no one throws a god damned harpoon into you while we’re there.”

She glared at me. “They don’t whale hunt anymore. It’s illegal.”

“Sure it is... until they have the perfect excuse – the whale was attacking them at the salad bar!”

Her elbow slammed into my ribs. I should have known to keep my mouth shut.

She turned to face the window, watching the baggage getting thrown into the cargo hold. I took the opportunity to mime what a whale walking through the restaurant to the salad bar might look like, puffing out my cheeks, and using my arms to emphasize my whalish size. The kid in the seat across from us giggled. Bambi didn’t. Her elbow slammed into me again.

She was starting to settle, sorting through her bags, shoving one under the seat in front of her, one under the seat in front of me, almost smothering me as she leaned over. I was pretty sure her nipples were polishing the toes of my shoes as she reached to the floor. My god, she was a lot of woman... and not in the good way.

“Fasten your seatbelts. We’re getting ready to taxi.”

I couldn’t see the woman speaking. She sounded hot.

“The weather in Winnipeg is a chilly minus nineteen, with a wind chill of minus twenty-seven.”

I leaned closer to Bambi. “What the hell is a wind chill?”


“We’ll be stopped there for thirty minutes then will be heading on to Calgary. Those passengers continuing on are asked to stay in your seats while we reload the plane.”

I turned to Bambi. “Calgary?”

She smiled that patient saintlike smile that made me want to shove my fist down her throat. “Well, yes... we don’t need to worry. We can just stay in our seats.”

“Winnipeg to Calgary?”

She smiled again.

“Then Calgary to...? Alaska?”

She nodded. She looked a bit too happy with that.

“Where in Alaska?”

She fidgeted, chewing on her bottom lip. “Well, you see, we need to go from Calgary to Anchorage...”

“And your uncle Flockington lived in Anchorage?” I knew the answer before I asked, but I needed to hear it from her.

“Well, no, not exactly. Once we get to Anchorage tomorrow morning...”

“Tomorrow morning?” I didn’t yell. I spat the question out between very clenched teeth.

“Yeah, well, by the time we get to Winnipeg, then to Calgary, have a little stop-over, change planes, and get to Anchorage, it will be tomorrow morning...” She was babbling now. She knew how pissed off I was. “But it will be early tomorrow morning.”

“How early?”

“Umm, well, very early.” She batted her eyelashes again. That never has worked on me. I let my eyes repeat the question. “Three in the morning.”

I waited. I knew there was more.

“Then, we wait at the airport for a bit, and get our flight to Uncle Flockington’s home.”

“A bit?”

She sighed. “Okay, about eleven hours later, we get on our final flight.”

“To where?”

She smiled. I shuddered.

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