Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Read an Excerpt from O'Malley's Quest by Linda Wisdom

$3.99

Amazon

Bored with excitement, archaeologist Kate O'Malley was ready to settle down until her scheming Irish grandfather teased her with a proposal of one last adventure. And what a doozy!

Excerpt:

As sleazy bars in tiny, sleazy Mexican border towns went, this one was no better and no worse than the others. And it didn't have to be a Friday night to bring out the regulars with the requisite number of typical barroom brawls to liven up the customers' evenings, He sat at a back table in the tavern where he could see the entrance. A bottle of tequila and a cloudy glass were the only objects on the table in front of him. With the chair tipped back on its rear legs and his sweat-stained hat pulled down over his eyes, he looked relaxed, perhaps even asleep, which would be impossible considering the noise level. But those who had met him before knew differently. The gringo was not to be bothered.

Those who had the alcohol-induced courage to challenge him usually ended up with more than a few bruises, and one sober challenger was treated for a broken collarbone. No, this man who appeared in the bar every so often seeking information or meeting people was not a man to be taken lightly. A few passed by the table murmuring a respectful "Hola, J.C.," but other than that terse greeting they left him to himself.

Which was just fine with him. His less than clean chambray shirt was left unbuttoned to combat the heat in the small bar that intensified with every live body that entered the room. He poured tequila into the glass and sipped the fiery liquid while keeping his eyes on the doorway. It would appear he was waiting for someone.

It was late when the stranger entered the bar. For a moment, silence descended on the bar as the men stared at the woman standing near the entrance. Women coming in there were not unusual but white women who were young and not looking shopworn were.

J.C. didn't move from his corner as he observed the visitor. He had to admit she was dressed appropriately for the occasion. Well-worn jeans, snug fitting but not too tight. A white cotton shirt that was buttoned high enough not to reveal any cleavage. No jewelry, not even a watch. Her boots looked scuffed and broken in. Her honey-blond hair was pinned back in a conservative style that emphasized her delicate features. Good, nothing to grab on to in case of a fight. The lady obviously knew what she was doing. When entering a strange situation, don't try to draw attention to yourself.

She walked confidently, looking neither right nor-left until-she reached the bar. If she was aware of the men watching her with hungry eyes she gave no evidence of it.

Pedro, the bartender, looked at her with little surprise in his eyes. He'd been working there too long to think it unusual to see a lovely senorita who was obviously not a prostitute walk into his bar.

From J.C.'s vantage point he could hear every word she spoke. He gave her points for fluent Spanish in the region's dialect. He hid a smile when she asked for a glass of tequila.

"Senorita, are you sure?" Pedro asked, looking a little worried. .

She smiled. "Very sure."

J.C. smiled. Good girl. If you want information, you have to be ready to drink with the natives.

She didn't flinch when Pedro deposited the bottle on the bar, displaying a pale worm curled up in the bottom. She downed her drink quickly without one flicker of emotion on her face.

"I'm looking for Joaquin;" she told Pedro. "I'm told he can usually be found here."

The bartender looked worried. "Oh, Senorita, a lovely lady like you would not want Joaquin. He is a very nasty man." Something occurred to him. "Unless you happen to work for him." He looked her up and down. "If you do, you must leave and return to his house. I do not want any trouble here from his women."

"I don't work for Joaquin, but I am looking for him to work for me. I understand he sometimes guides people into certain mountain regions," she explained, being deliberately vague. "I was also given Luis Ventara's name." She tapped the rim of the glass with her fingernail, indicating she would take a refill, and laid money on the bar.

"If you want a guide, you should speak to J.C. first," Pedro advised, gesturing toward the rear corner table. "He does not guide, but he can give you names of men who are very reliable. Men you can trust."

She barely spared him a glance. He didn't mind because he knew exactly what she saw. A man with several days' growth of beard, face pretty much hidden by the hat, a shirt that hadn't seen a laundry in weeks. He probably looked like a drunk who recently passed out and no one bothered to throw him out just yet. He hid a smile. She didn't look very impressed with what she saw, although nothing in her expression gave her away. He just sensed it. He couldn't wait to see what she thought of Joaquin or Luis.

"What about either of the other two names I mentioned?" she asked coolly, returning her gaze to the bartender.

 

1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...