DropZone

CHARACTERS

Ethan

Driven by a fierce determination to make something of his life, Ethan will push himself to the limit, face his fears head on and stand by his friends no matter what. Skydiving is just the opportunity he’s been looking for, and he doesn’t want to be simply good, he’s out to be the best. Period.

Johnny

Quick with the witty comments and fast in the air, he’s a living, breathing definition of ‘adrenaline junkie’. But beneath the smartarse persona lies a seriously capable operator who doesn’t know the meaning of the word quit. His only problem is that he likes to go it alone, and that doesn’t always work well with a team.

Luke

The one the rest of the team depend on to make sure everything is safe and sorted. He’s quiet, methodical, and all about the detail. When it comes to skydiving, if Luke doesn’t know it, it’s not worth knowing.

Kat

Pretty, athletic and impulsive, she loves being that rare thing among her peers – a girl who skydives. She does it because she knows she’s good at it and because it makes her sexy as hell.

Natalya

A serious girl with a mysterious past buried deep somewhere in eastern Europe. No one quite knows where she came from or how she ended up skydiving in the UK.

Sam

A world-class skydiver, skilled undercover operator and exceptional soldier, Sam is tough, serious and a natural leader. He has a long history with the SAS – having led operations across the globe – and he hasn’t exactly retired. He’s responsible for bringing the team together in the first place. His word is law. And he’s someone you really don’t want to cross.

Skydiving

You jump from a plane at 12,000 feet, reach speeds of over 120 mph, then glide in under your canopy, gazing at the most amazing view of the earth you’ll ever see. Adrenaline never tasted this good.

Warning: dangerously addictive.

BASE jumping

You don’t jump from a plane, but from a fixed object closer to the ground. BASE stands for Building, Antenna, Span (bridge or arch), Earth. Unlike skydiving, a BASE jumper rarely reaches terminal velocity (120 mph).

Warning: this is the closest you can get to falling to your death without dying.

Prologue

‘What do you mean Ryan’s gone? Explain.’

Gabe’s voice was hard and businesslike, but then when was he anything else? On the other end of the line, phone against his ear, Sam leaned back in his chair. Outside his window the moon stared back like a bullet hole in a bed sheet.

‘He’s not been seen at FreeFall for two weeks,’ he said. ‘He’s missed God knows how many jumps. It’s not like him at all and that’s what worries me. Even if he does come back . . .’ Sam let his voice trail off in frustration. He’d invested so much time and effort in the whole project and Ryan’s unexplained disappearance had brought it to a dead stop.

‘And you’ve no idea where he is, where he’s gone?’

‘No,’ said Sam, shaking his head, despite being alone in his office. ‘The kid’s a ghost. That’s why we picked him, remember?’

Gabe fell silent.

Sam waited patiently.

Then came the reply. ‘Find a replacement.’

Sam laughed, couldn’t help it. ‘You really think it’s that simple?’

‘No,’ said Gabe. ‘I don’t.’

And Sam believed him.

‘Look,’ said Gabe, his voice almost losing its edge, ‘I know you can’t just walk down a high street and pick someone out of a crowd, but we need five in this team for the whole thing to work, not four.’

‘I know,’ said Sam.

Ryan had been the last; he’d have brought the team to the magic five they were looking for. If he’d made the grade