Copyrighted photos and edited excerpt from Book #4 of the Isla Mujeres Mystery:
September 16th Día de la Independencia
In the shadow of the city hall, el Palacio Municipal, a fit, muscular thirty-something man leaned in a deceptively casual stance against the large support column. Unencumbered, his powerful hands hung loosely at his sides. He had learned the hard way, never trap your hands by trying to look with-it. In a fight the cool dude with his fingers tucked into his pockets was the first one to get hurt. The watcher’s dark hair was uniformly buzzed close to his skull, a number-two cut in barber-jargon. His symmetrical features would have been handsome if he smiled but in his life, there hadn’t been much to smile about.
The watcher, Alfonso Fuentes, scrutinized the crowd checking for anyone who was excessively interested in him. He was a trusted bodyguard for a Cancun drug lord, Rafael Fernandez, or as he was referred to Don Rafael, the respectful Spanish honorific title.
The celebration activities appeared to be normal for a national fiesta but because the life of a drug lord’s henchman was frequently very violent and very short, he was watchful and wary like an often-kicked street dog. He had recently celebrated his thirty-third birthday which in this business was something of a rarity.
A little more than two weeks after the arrival of Hurricane Pablo on August 28th, the square in Centro on Isla Mujeres was still shabby. Many buildings needed paint. The palm trees were shredded, but still standing and would rapidly sprout new fronds. Some of the windows in surrounding complexes were covered by boards or hurricane shutters, but the square had been swept clean and decorated for the annual Día de la Independencia celebration.
There were tangled and worn strings of coloured lights criss-crossing the square. Loud salsa music pulsed through the crowd. At midnight the fireworks had boomed overhead showering celebrants with hot, hard plastic shards, the discarded casings from the spent explosives. Vendors offered cold beer, tequila, and hot food. Small Mexican flags were poked into upswept hair-dos, stuffed into pockets, or clutched in hands. Many islanders were dressed in an eclectic mix of anything green, white, and red — the colours of the national flag. The islanders had two reasons to celebrate; the Día de la Independencia, Independence Day, and their survival of Huracán Pablo. Life would go on.
Blending in with the locals celebrating Día de la Independencia, Fuentes wore black slacks and a red, linen Guayabera shirt. Under the long-sleeved shirt he wore what was commonly known as a wife-beater, a white sleeveless singlet. Trendy black leather shoes specially fitted by a shoemaker-cousin with thick metal toe-caps were polished to a high gloss. The shoes were handy weapons as was the folding knife resting in his right pocket. Around his neck hung two thick gold chains; one was weighted down by a heavy crucifix the other dangled a palm-sized dagger-shaped object. They were weapons disguised as jewelry.
Satisfied his perimeter was secure, he returned his watchful gaze to the small group of adults and children whose concentration was focused on the scene in front of them. A ruggedly handsome man was positioned in the traditional romantic stance, down on one knee with an open black-velvet box extended in his left hand.
Fuentes, the watcher, knew the woman’s name was Yasmin Medina, and she was twenty-nine years old. Many of the old-time island gossips were convinced that this woman strongly resembled another woman born in the 1860s. Martiniana Gomez Pantoja, nick-named La Trigueña or the brunette, also had sea green eyes and dark, blonde streaked hair. La Trigueña was the object of unrequited love for the Spanish sea-captain-turned-pirate Fermin Antonio Mundaca de Marecheaga. However, unlike Martiniana Gomez, Yasmin Medina was obviously deeply in love with her paramour Carlos Mendoza.
Fuentes also knew quite a bit about Mendoza and his pals. The man was edging towards forty and Fuentes supposed the women would consider him handsome. He was lean and muscular, with deep brown eyes, short black hair, and the sun-darkened complexion of his Maya ancestors. A faint scar ran from his left eyebrow to the corner of his mouth, acquired during a knife fight when he was in his early twenties and was edging towards illegal activities. Rumour had it that shortly after the incident Mendoza had straightened out his life and had become an upstanding island citizen as well as a successful business man. He owned the popular and very successful Loco Lobo Restaurante on Hidalgo Avenue. Fuentes was certain Mendoza’s success had made him complacent and careless, he wouldn’t be a problem.
As much as he respected and feared Don Rafael, Fuentes privately questioned the reason for this assignment. This small group of insignificant islanders that he was currently observing, had recently enraged the Don by temporarily disrupting his drug-dealing business on Isla Mujeres. He didn’t thing the situation was worth the risk, but apparently his boss thought otherwise. He wanted payback. He wanted to teach the islanders that meddling in his business had deadly consequences.
His gaze flicked again to the group he was watching. His flat stare settled on the pretty woman in the centre of the group, and he felt his manhood stiffen in response. She was a strikingly beautiful woman. She shouldn’t have aggravated Don Rafael.
(I deleted a couple of paragraphs which would have given away the ending from previous books in the series.)
Available as an e-book on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, or Nook. Paperback copies are available from Amazon. If you are on the island buy a copy at Jenny Penny Beach Boutique or Casa Sirena Hotel. It’s the perfect beach-read for your next vacation.