Read Chapter One of Rescued: An Everyday Heroes World Novel!
Updated: Sep 22
Pre-Order Link: https://geni.us/Rescued
“Hey all my amazing Gwenaphiles. It’s your girl Gwen here, I just wanted to thank you all for your love and support. I’m taking a little time off and heading home to see the family. Cali, here I come. When I have my next adventure planned I’ll update my website. Don’t worry though, because I’ll be sharing some hometown adventures with you. So for now, go out and live your best life.” I blow a kiss to the phone and end the video.
After I upload my video to my website, I shut my laptop and stick it into my backpack. I check the time and decide to grab myself a latte before I head to my gate.
I’m looking forward to some R&R and spending time with my family. I feel like I’ve been traveling nonstop the past couple of years—I can’t remember the last time I took time off. My thoughts are interrupted when it’s my turn to order. I order my usual, a skinny caramel latte with two extra shots. I’m going to need it.
It’ll be about sixteen hours before I’m home, but once I’m on the flight to LA, I’ll be able to sleep for a while. The barista hands me my drink and I head over to my gate. I find a seat and pull out my phone, thumbing through my pictures, and smiling. Fiji was so fucking beautiful.
I got to swim with sharks, which was surreal. The water so clear it looked fake. A lot of the footage I’ll upload to my YouTube channel is on my GoPro camera. I just need to upload it to my laptop and then edit it. I learned to do it myself since I prefer to handle everything.
I smile at the photos of me covered in mud at the mud bath and spending time in the thermal springs. That day I spent the afternoon wandering through the orchid gardens, sending pictures to my Nana—she loves orchids.
Learning to surf was a blast, and I wasn’t too shabby if I do say so myself. While I wait to board the plane, I start working on my blog entry. I’m lost in my work when they announce that it’s time to board.
This first flight is only a half-hour, and this plane is small. It always scares me a little, but once I’m on the flight to LA, I’ll take a Benadryl, and try to get some sleep.
I’m so exhausted right now. I left Fiji at seven-thirty at night and by the time I land in LA it will be twelve-forty in the afternoon of the same day. Thanks to the time change, I basically traveled back in time.
It also makes me one tired bitch. I slept for about five hours on the plane, but I know it wasn’t a restful sleep. I am thankful I had a row to myself that turned into what they call a sky couch, making it easy for me to work for a little bit and then sleep.
My layover is a couple of hours, so I head into the bathroom to wash up a little. Out of my carry-on I pull out some cleansing wipes to wipe off my face and then throw on some moisturizer.
The Fiji sun gave me the most beautiful tan. It’s lightened my hair enough that it looks more rose gold than strawberry blonde. The tan has definitely made my green eyes sparkle.
I grab my brush and quickly run it through my long wavy locks and braid it until it hangs over my shoulder. After brushing my teeth and reapplying deodorant, I head back out toward my gate.
I stop at the Starbucks—I know I’m addicted. This time I order an iced golden ginger. When I get to my gate, I pull out my phone and send my sister Taylor a text.
Gwen: Hey bitch I’m in LA and can’t wait to see you. I take a picture of myself blowing her a kiss.
A couple of minutes later, my phone dings.
Taylor: It’s so not fair how tan you are and YAY! I can’t wait to see you.
Gwen: My flight leaves in an hour and then I’ll be in San Fran at three. I can’t wait to see you too. Love you girlie.
I take a drink and sigh. Fuck, that’s good. I pull out my Kindle, reading the latest K. Bromberg book. I’m a few pages in when my notification dings.
Mom: My sweet girl I can’t wait to see you. Love you.
Gwen: I can’t wait to see you, too. Are you still coming with Taylor?
Mom: Of course. I can’t wait to hear about Fiji.
Emerson Malone is the best fucking mother on the planet. She says I get my adventurous spirit from her. Hell, the day I turned sixteen she took me skydiving for the first time.
That day something had awoken the fire inside me to live my life to the fullest. I began chasing any adventure I could find. I’ve been skydiving, of course, and I hope Mom plans on taking me while I’m home. I’ve also been rock climbing, cliff jumping, and zip lining.
I listen to my favorite podcast, Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, while I wait to board the plane. I feel eyes on me, looking around my gaze lands on the most gorgeous man staring at me from another gate. I give him the smile I’ve perfected over the past couple of years, but then look away. As much as I’d love to do a little flirting there’s no point because I’ll get on my plane and he’ll get on his and it won’t be anything.
When it is time to board the plane, I toss my empty cup in the trash and get in line. Inside the plane, I find my seat and place my suitcase in the overhead bin. In my seat, I get comfy for this quick flight.
Luckily by the time the plane takes off, it feels like no time at all before they’re announcing that we’ll be landing soon. Excitement fills me and I can’t wait to see my family. I’ve missed them all so much.
My knee bounces as we land. I grab a piece of gum and pop it into my mouth. I place my purse and backpack in my lap, waiting for the seatbelt sign to turn off. Once it does, I throw my backpack on and stand up, grabbing my suitcase out from the overhead compartment.
I step off the plane and practically run down the tarmac. The sign for baggage claim is up ahead and I begin scanning the crowd. When I hear squeals I spot my mom and sister. I take off in a run, slamming into them. I wrap my arms around them both and begin to cry.
“I missed you guys so much.”
Mom pulls me away from Taylor and wraps both arms around me. “Oh my girl is home. I’m so happy.” She pulls back, looking me over. “You look great, baby.”
“Thanks Mom.” Mom kisses me one more time before Taylor pulls me into her arms. “Hey girlie. I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you too,” she whispers.
Mom takes my suitcase and the three of us make our way out of the airport and to the parking lot. I climb in the front seat and buckle my seatbelt. “I swear once we’re home, I am walking everywhere for at least the first few days.”
“Tell us about Fiji,” Mom says as she pulls on to the road to head home.
The whole drive to Sunnyville, I tell them about my trip. Going to Fiji has been a long time coming. I’ve wanted to go there since my senior year in high school. Except it’s so expensive, but once I started getting sponsors, I was able to afford it.
“I still can’t believe people pay you for basically going on vacation,” Taylor says from the back seat.
It all started when I posted a video of Mom and me skydiving and did a video diary, talking about my mom owning Wings Out and that I had been skydiving every year on my birthday since I was sixteen. Of course we go a lot more often than that.
“It’s definitely been an amazing experience.” I cover my mouth with the back of my hand and yawn. I’m so fucking exhausted.
“Close your eyes and rest, sweetheart. We’ll wake you when we get home,” Mom says as she pats my knee. I rest my head against the door and close my eyes—it takes no time at all before I’m out.
I only sleep for about a half hour before I sit up and pop a piece of gum in my mouth. “Tay Tay, how did your finals go?” My sister is brilliant—she’s going to school to be a landscape architect at UC Berkeley.
“Perfect, of course. I’m taking the summer off so I can spend time with you.”
I turn to smile at her. “Yay!” I shout and throw my hands up in the air. We pull down the street to my parents’ home and see my dad standing on the sidewalk. Before Mom can even put the car in park my door is open and Dad is pulling me out of the car hugging me tight.
“Hi, my beautiful girl. I’ve missed you.” He kisses the top of my head.
I smile up at him. “I’ve missed you too.”
Dad smiles at Mom. “We made the prettiest babies.” He grabs my suitcase and the four of us head inside.
I’m very aware that my dad is a hunk—over the years I’ve gagged numerous times listening to women lust over my father, Grant Malone. His brown hair has a sprinkling of silver throughout, his brown eyes always sparkle whenever he looks at Mom, and he is still handsome as ever.
My brother, Grant, he’s Junior of course, runs down the stairs, scooping me up in his arms. He looks like a younger version of our dad. I look like Mom, and Taylor is the perfect combination of both of them. Her hair is light auburn, she’s got brown eyes, and is built like me; tall… ish, curvy, and slender.
We sit around the kitchen table and Mom cuts slices of my favorite cake; white cake with rainbow chip frosting. The five of us all dig in and I look around the room, smiling, and so glad I made the decision to come home.
“What was your favorite thing you did in Fiji?” my brother asks before shoving a chunk of cake into his mouth.
I look at my parents and then back at my brother. “Swimming with sharks.”
“Sharks?” Dad says before looking up at the ceiling. I know right now he’s counting in his head so he doesn’t explode. It has been a common occurrence in the Malone household ever since I can remember.
“Dad, I promise it was very safe. It was also one of the most incredible experiences of my life.”
He grabs my hand. “I’m just glad that all my kids are here under one roof for the first time in a long time.”
I tell them about the rest of my trip, smiling the whole time—happy to be home.