The Khmer Connection - Sample

CHAPTER ONE

 The woman deserved death for what she had done to him. Now he would repay her, but not with so quick an end.

Abdullah Said Abdi glanced about the bay as the moon reflected off its calm waters. There was a serenity about it that he found disturbing, as if it could distract him from his mission. Life, for him, had never been calm. Calm had only predicted another rising storm.

The son of a warlord in Somalia, he had risen to that position after his father had died, but not without opposition. The man who dared to challenge him had never seen the knife coming. Still, the man had inflicted his own mark upon Abdi. He traced the scar that marked his face with his left index finger—forever a reminder that distractions could be dangerous, if not fatal.

It was the distraction of a woman when he was a younger man that had almost cost him his life before dispatching his opponent to Paradise. From that he had learned that women were to remain chattel—easily bought and sold for pleasure—and meant to be subservient. A woman’s place was to serve her husband, or her master if she was a concubine within the harem. Cooking. Cleaning. Preparing her children for their appropriate roles in life. Those things were expected. Not feminism, the workplace, or equality with men. Dressing indecently. Talking back to men. Bringing humiliation to a man.

Not what one Amy Gibbs had done to him.

The young girls of his tribe, both in Somalia and the U.S., must never see that she got away with dishonoring him. The members of his tribe would never assimilate into America and those values. It would be their pleasure to join their Islamic brethren in bringing down the American Satan. To regain face, he would have to deal with Amy Gibbs—even if it required going to the other side of the world to do so. There was more at stake than his small faction in America.

Thanks to his men working as baggage handlers at the airport in St. Louis, he had discovered the destination of that woman. Now he would see to it that she could no longer humiliate a man. She would soon discover the real destiny that awaited her for her impudence.

He sensed the trawler slowing. They did not want to be discovered by the local authorities, and he would transfer to a smaller boat for the rest of the trip. The captain approached him.

“We are at the transfer coordinates. You have fifteen minutes before we must depart. I cannot be caught in these waters.”

“I have been assured that I have a boat to move to shore.” He handed the captain an envelope. “Here is your payment.”

The man took the envelope and nodded. “Fifteen minutes.”

Abdi scanned the waters to the north. On his second pass, he saw three flashes of light. He returned the signal with four flashes.

His twenty-hour ordeal was about to end. It paid to have money and connections, even if those connections were more likely to be seen on Interpol wanted lists than on social media. His trip back into Mexico followed the same path along the open southern border as had his entry into the U.S. years earlier. A wall back then would have kept him out, while a wall now might have corralled him in for authorities to round up. Once in Mexico, his cartel associates there assured him they had a way to confuse the U.S. authorities that sought him—a drone that could land and take off from water and also transmit a false radar signature. If it worked, the U.S. agents would see a Somali ship “parked” off their western coast and anticipate the potential of his escaping on it.

Instead, he transferred to a larger aircraft for the trans-Pacific flight, landed at another private airstrip in Indonesia, and bought passage on a small plane to the island where the Somali fishing trawler met him for the trip into the bay. No commercial flight schedules to meet. No airports and their security checkpoints. No customs or immigration hassles.

A man, to whom he had provided a steady stream of children and young girls, had a connection inside this country. That connection, in turn, had clients with expressed interests in a tall, attractive American woman for their harems. Upon seeing a picture of Amy Gibbs, he had become more than amenable to helping Abdi find this woman, whom they would capture and auction to the highest bidder. That suited Abdi’s purpose. Death was too quick. Years of drugged imprisonment and sadistic abuse was the more appropriate lesson for this woman who must learn her place.

Abdi checked the clock on his phone. With allowances for the International Date Line, he estimated that he was nearly a full day ahead of her. He would be ready.

 

CHAPTER TWO

 “Where is she, Macy?”

Lynch Cully confronted Macy Johnson as she exited her car to go to work at the Mercy Medical Center Emergency Department. He knew she’d never answer the phone if he’d called her. Macy was Amy Gibbs’ BFF, having gone to nursing school and finding jobs together at Mercy before Amy became a med-evac flight nurse. He had seen her driving away from the airport after dropping off Amy. If anyone knew where Amy was going, she would.

The woman ducked back into the car to retrieve her gear but stopped and turned to face him, her hands on her hips.

“Well, look at you, all high and mighty. Don’t you get all mister policeman on me, Lynch Cully.”

Lynch was no longer a detective. Following a serious injury a few years earlier, he had chosen not to return to active police work in hope of proving to Amy that he’d changed. Fully recovered, his most recent position had been as chief of security for the Bradley Graham presidential campaign. But, now, President-elect Graham had a full Secret Service detail, and Lynch served on the transition team.

Make that had served. He had been granted a leave-of-absence to deal with Amy’s situation. He had to track her down.

He softened his stance and took a deep breath.

“Macy, look, I know you don’t like me. I know you don’t think I’ve changed, but I have. And I know you’ll do anything you can to protect Amy, but I’m not the enemy here.”

She glowered at him, looking unconvinced.

“Seriously? I watched her mope around for months after you dumped her. My shoulder was damp for a year from her tears. And you want to convince me you’re not the enemy. No sirree. It’ll be a tropical day in Greenland before that happens.”

He had no counter-argument for that. He had left Amy . . . and regretted it every day. They were finally making some progress in reconciliation when he had his accident and was off the grid for months, assumed dead.

“Yes, I’m serious, Macy. She needs support right now, not running away. She needs you. She needs her brothers. And I want to prove to her that she can trust me to be there, too.”

From the change in her face he could see that she agreed with at least part of what he’d said.

“But it’s more than that. It’s more than her father’s recent murder—”

“And Richard’s, too.”

He nodded. “Yes, and Richard’s, too.”

Over the past month, Amy’s life had been caught up in maelstrom. After Lynch had gone missing nearly four years earlier, she had met an Army veteran named Richard Nichols. They’d become engaged. Lynch didn’t hold that against the man. He liked Richard. They ended up both working for Bradley Graham. He knew Richard would protect and care for Amy, and that’s what really counted—her happiness.

But Richard had commitment issues, and from what Lynch had learned, Amy finally got tired of waiting and broke off the engagement. Within a week of that, his realtor allegedly murdered him. Lynch had his doubts about that scenario; too many things didn’t add up. But that investigation belonged to someone else. What mattered to Lynch was that during that time, Amy crossed paths with a terrorist cell and by pure serendipity foiled the group’s plot for mayhem. Her father had caught the bullet meant for Amy.

Lynch reached out toward Macy, but she backed away.

“Macy, listen to me. Amy’s still in danger. A new friend of mine in the intelligence community has told me that Abdullah Said Abdi, the Somali warlord who killed her father, has left the country. And recent chatter says he’s going after Amy.”

 

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The Khmer Connection

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COPYRIGHT

The Khmer Connection – Copyright © 2019 by Braxton DeGarmo. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, nontransferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of Braxton DeGarmo.

Paperback and eBook Editions Publication Date: April 2019

ISBN (mobi): 978-1-943509-31-7

ISBN (epub): 978-1-943509-32-4

ISBN (Paperback): 978-1-943509-33-1

This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogs are products of the author’s imagination and are not construed to be real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. The use of real places and companies is done to add a sense of reality, but the circumstances surrounding such use is also fictional. The employees of such companies, their actions, and their comments are fiction and should not be construed as implied or explicit endorsements by or the beliefs of said companies. The use of public figures, such as politicians, is also done for the purpose of realism. Actions or comments attributed to them may be fiction, but may also come from public records, such as their own writings.

Cover design by Rocking Book Covers.

DEDICATION

This book is dedicated to all of those parents whose lives and families have been forever changed by vaccine injuries or the death of a child due to a vaccination.

AUTHOR’S NOTE

Several years ago, while still practicing as a physician, I was a stalwart supporter of the need and use of vaccines in public health. Shortly after retiring, while researching a different topic for an earlier book, I stumbled across a medical article that challenged my entire thinking about vaccinations. The subsequent research into the topic led me to realize that it was a topic worthy of presenting as a social justice issue in the MedAir Series. After witnessing firsthand the people and the country of Cambodia on a missions trip in 2017, and learning the horrors of their history during the Pol Pot regime, I saw the perfect opportunity to marry both topics into one story, The Khmer Connection. (By the way, for those who don’t know, Khmer is pronounced like our slang for ‘come here’—c’mere.) I hope you enjoy the book.

 

 

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