Just Deserts (Hetta Coffey Series, Book 4)

BOOK: Just Deserts (Hetta Coffey Series, Book 4)
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Hetta Coffey is a woman with a yacht, and she’s not afraid to use it.

 

A self-employed engineering consultant with a penchant for taking on oddball—read: shady—projects, Hetta has a way of attracting trouble.

With her floating home dry-docked for repairs in Mexico, Hetta needs a place to live, and a job to pay the boatyard. Landing a project at a mining operation not far from her boat, Hetta finds herself on the tumultuous Arizona/Mexico border, where all hell is breaking loose—even
before
she gets there

 

 

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT JUST DESERTS AND HETTA COFFEY

 

Needing cash to get her beloved boat's bottom fixed, Hetta takes a new job at a copper mine close to the Arizona border in Cananea, Mexico. In Hetta’s words, “And, presto chango, I was off on another adventure, and this time with a regular old, probably boring job where I couldn’t get into any trouble. I heard wings flapping and a pig flew by.”

If you’ve read her other Hetta Coffey books you too will laugh at the pig as he flies by because you know Hetta will soon be neck deep in trouble.  Sure enough, Mexican bad guys, International smugglers, a semi-domesticated coyote, a not so domesticated bad-boy who goes by the name of Nacho, some home-grown American terrorists, a love life that threatens, and friends and family who begin to show up, threatening her sanity. It’s enough to drive a girl to drink.

 

There’s enough humor to keep you laughing through the book, and enough mystery to keep you turning the pages. Regardless, I guarantee, you won’t be bored.—
RP Dahlke, The Dead Red and Sailing mysteries.

*****************************

For anyone who has not read any of Jinx Schwartz novels, you are missing a masterful storyteller who tells a memorable and enjoyable tale.

JUST DESERTS
is the fourth novel in this Hetta Coffey series by author, Jinx Schwarz. She also wrote an outstanding young adult novel,
LAND OF MOUNTAINS
, which was based on her own life growing up in Haiti.—Teri A. Davis

 

*****************************

 

Jinx Schwartz makes me laugh. Hetta Coffey books are feel-good reads. We know we're in for it when she observes, "I was off on another adventure, and this time with a regular old, probably
boring
job where I couldn't get into any trouble." Trouble in the mines? Nah. So what's with smugglers, drugs, dirty bombs and terrorists, and what do they have to do with boredom? To say nothing of flying pigs. That's not all. Boat troubles and love troubles jazz up the mystery. This fourth in the series is highly recommended for pure enjoyment.—EGF  "Book Nut"

Just Deserts

Published by Jinx Schwartz

Copyright © 2011 Jinx Schwartz

Book 4: The Hetta Coffey Series

All rights reserved.

 

Second edition print publication Jinx Schwartz 2013

The characters and events in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to persons, whether living or dead, is strictly coincidental

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, scanning to a computer disk, or by any informational storage and retrieval system, without express permission in writing from the publisher.

 

BOOKS BY JINX SCHWARTZ

www.jinxschwartz.com

 

The Hetta Coffey Series

Just Add Water
(Book1) EPPIE AWARD, Best Mystery

Just Add Salt
(Book 2)

Just Add Trouble
(Book 3) EPIC AWARD FINALIST

Just Deserts
(Book 4)

Just the Pits
(Book 5)

 

Other Books

 

The Texicans

Troubled Sea

Land of Mountains

(
Finalist EPIC AWARD, Best YA)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Deserts

by

Jinx Schwartz

 

Acknowledgments

 

Thanks once again to my first line of defense, editor Holly Whitman, for her sharp red pencil and keen eye, and Candi Keeney for her input. As always, I owe much to the guy who puts up with this writing thing, my husband, Bob "Mad Dog" Schwartz.

Dedication

 

In loving memory of my cousin, Clemmie Sue Maul.

As her daughter, Misty Toomey, wrote: She was a little woman with a big heart. A ninth generation Texan, Clemmie was born September 22, 1952 to Beuford Lemoyne and Al Marie Maul in New Braunfels, Texas. Although she was a free spirit, she lived most of her life in the same house she was born in. She was a loyal and hard worker. Marriage was not her strength, but friendship was. She always said that her two girls were her greatest accomplishments in life. She loved fishing, classic cars, live music, campfires, friends and family.

 

 

 

I was so depressed last night I called one of those suicide hot lines.

I reached a call center in Pakistan.

They got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.—Anonymous on the Internet

 

Just Deserts

Desert: Pronounced dessert; what you justly deserve. “Upon a pillory-that all the world may see, A just desert for such impiety.”—Warning Faire Women, 1599

 

Prologue

 

Safiyya removed her prayer rug and a water bottle from her rucksack. Then, in preparation for her morning prayer, she washed her face, head, hands, forearms, and feet in the icy water. Checking her compass, she faced Mecca and performed the first of the required five daily salats. For her, though, it might be her last. She would be living with the enemy, and must avoid detection, but her handler had assured her God forgave, for her intent was pure.

Ablution and prayer completed, she returned to her perch. Soon, a fine mist blanketing the fertile valley below yielded to the sun’s rays. Rooster crows, dog barks, the smell of cookfires, and human voices wafted upward. She trained her powerful binoculars on a group of workers laughing and chatting as they headed for a day in the fields. Even during winter months, farmers had work to do.

A stream, running clear and low this dry time of the year, meandered through the valley. Come summer, though, southwest monsoon winds carried rains that swelled the river into a muddy rampage, trapping villagers between crossings for days at a time. It is these storms, however inconvenient, that pump life into what would otherwise be a barren, sunburnt valley.

The sun’s warmth granted some small relief from yet another miserably cold night spent on surveillance. For almost three weeks she’d kept vigilance day and night. Every few days a runner brought provisions, but otherwise she was alone. She’d had little sleep, for if anything or anyone moved, day or night, she was instantly alert. Her notes grew as trucks groaned and bounced up and down the mountainside from the main road, people walked and rode to work, meals were served, laundry hung out to dry, equipment rolled in and out of hangars and barns. Every action went into her book, one she must soon burn.

She sketched people, noting their habits. This information was to be shared with others at the camp, even though she instinctively disliked these men. They were, after all, of the same class as those who tormented her people, and they remained infidels. However, she needed them for her mission so she would do as told.

A fat tractor driver smoked hand-rolled cigarettes and occasionally nipped from a bottle hidden under his seat.

At eleven each morning a cook threw scraps to four patiently waiting dogs. No matter what else was going on those dogs gathered by the kitchen door like clockwork. No wonder in that, thought Safiyya, the curs eat better than many of my own people.

Horsemen rode fence lines every Monday, checking for breaks and rounding up stray cattle.

Saturdays, around one, the workweek came to an end and many people drifted down the hill, in groups or alone, to shop, or perhaps visit friends and relatives in the nearby village. Some rode horses, some walked, a few drove battered cars or pickups.

She’d easily picked out her target from the description given her. Unfortunately, this individual rarely left the premises, and spent most hours of the day in what she knew to be an office building. Inconvenient to her mission, but Safiyya had figured a way to solve the problem. Even people with seemingly few habits always had at least one.

Snapping off a few last photos, she took pride in the mastery of such a sophisticated camera. Because of her humble beginnings and lack of education, her training on this and so much other high-tech equipment had been slow, but the teachers were quick to praise her sharp mind and dedication to Jihad.

They were also pleased with her chosen appellation: Safiyya. It was a fitting name for a martyr, as Safiyya was Muhammad’s aunt who saved Muslims from destruction in the battle of the Trench when she heroically used a pole to kill a Jewish spy.

Accepting Muhammad as her only God, Safiyya now knew the enemy, and would have the satisfaction of avenging the loss of her once proud heritage. It was finally all so clear, thanks to her new family of believers. She would fight so that her people would never again be forced from the sidewalk into the street when meeting a light-skinned person. Her dark skin and small stature, which had once relegated her to near animal status, was now a blessing for her mission; the despised enemy simply ignored her. Her class, her caste really, made her a non-person, no more noticeable than a stray mongrel foraging for scraps at their feet.

A hot wave of hatred surged through her body, warming her. She smiled, shimmied back behind a boulder, pulled a colorful scarf over her head, and headed for the main road, back to base camp. Her stakeout complete, she must prepare for the next step.

With her Glock18 and camera tucked out of sight in her back satchel, she sauntered from a path onto the pavement. Even walking alongside a main highway in broad daylight, Safiyya was as good as invisible.

A truckload of soldiers rumbled past, never giving her a second glance.

She ducked her head, hiding another smile; she was probably better armed and trained than any one of them.

A pickup sped by, purposely passing close enough to force her from the pavement, but skidded to a stop a few yards ahead. She made no move toward the truck, for she knew they had not stopped to give her a ride, but the five men walking ahead of her. The men vaulted over the tailgate and the truck sped away, leaving her to plod along in a cloud of red dust.

Insolent infidels
.

Within ten minutes her own ride arrived. She lay in the back seat, covered by a blanket, until thirty minutes later when they left the asphalt and bumped onto a dirt road to their training stronghold. Only then did she sit up and relax, looking forward to the company of her  fellow Jihadists, others whose spiritual fire and purpose matched her own.

Oh, she knew liberation of her own people would not come in her lifetime, as she was soon destined for imminent glory in the name of God. Her reward would be with Him, but only after striking the infidels where they least expected it.

When the dinner bell rang, she headed for a small mess hall reserved for her faith. Unlike in the main dining room, a Muslim cook insured that the tortillas were lard free, and the refried beans contained no pork. On her way she whispered lines from the surah known as Al-Anfal, or the Spoils of War: “
Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the enemy of Allah and your enemy
.”

The steed of war carrying her to glory will be mighty and satisfyingly devastating. The enemy shall feel her wrath, and reap their oh-so-just deserts.

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