Read Up To No Good: Book 4 Georgie B. Goode Gypsy Caravan Cozy Mystery Online

Authors: Marg McAlister

Tags: #cozy mystery, #crystal ball, #psychic detective

Up To No Good: Book 4 Georgie B. Goode Gypsy Caravan Cozy Mystery (9 page)

BOOK: Up To No Good: Book 4 Georgie B. Goode Gypsy Caravan Cozy Mystery
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He kept a neutral expression. “That’s my official fortune told, is it? Well, we’ll see. Given the way your brother disappeared, I wouldn’t be too quick to trust people, if I were you. Call me paranoid.”

“We do appreciate your help,” she said stiffly. “Jack, would you mind terribly if we moved quickly on this? The more time passes, the less chance we have of finding Jerry.” She bent down to pick up her bag. "I hope you don't think we are being rude, leaving so quickly. I just feel that time is slipping away.”

Vincent nodded and stood up, and at the same time she heard a door open somewhere nearby. They heard a low murmur from Vincent’s wife, and the rumble of a man’s voice in response. It sounded like Gary had arrived for his coffee.

Footsteps came toward them. She frowned. More than one set of footsteps…

Georgie sat forward. With an awful feeling of dread, she knew what she was going to see even before they appeared.

Scott and Tammy were pushed into the room by a mountain of muscle carrying not one, but two rifles; one of them right in the middle of Tammy’s back.

Scott’s face was tight with anger and frustration. Tammy seemed to be equal parts scared and furious.

“Welcome to the party,” Vincent said from his position over near the window. When Georgie looked at him, she saw that a handgun had magically appeared in his hand, and he was watching Jack carefully. “Jack, I’m afraid you’ve been holding out on me. You brought me four visitors, not two.”

Chapter 14

Jerry was half glad and half sorry to hear someone outside his miserable prison: forty minutes of sitting in a cold, damp shipping container waiting for Gorilla to return had given him way too much time to think. He wasn’t at all sure that he’d be able to talk his way out of this.

His arms were killing him from the way they’d wrenched them behind his back so they could lash his hands together, and behind the duct tape his mouth was dry and swollen.

He would give up the names—some names—and deal with the fallout later. The problem was, he didn’t want to reveal where he kept his records, which was on a laptop he kept stowed at the bottom of Tammy’s giant retro goodies cupboard in his cavernous garage. She had everything in there from lengths of fabric to delicate china sets and frilly aprons.

He didn’t want this crew anywhere near Tammy.

The door swung open, and a body crashed in, to land on the floor near Jerry. It was man in his thirties, trussed up with cable ties. He swore and wrenched himself on to his side, furious, struggling in an effort to sit up.

The Gorilla advanced a few steps, gave the newcomer a solid kick, and reached down to haul Jerry to his feet. “Up. Get moving.” He shoved Jerry through the door, closed it and shot the bolt, and then pushed him across the gravel backyard towards the house.

Damn, damn, damn. How had he gotten himself into this? And what now?

He could hear Rosa’s voice echoing through the years. How many times had she fixed him with that black stare of hers and told him to shape up?
Don’t lie to me, young Jerry. You’re up to no good again with those friends of yours. Lie down with dogs and you get up with fleas.

Well, he was with a pack of rabid dogs now.

The gorilla opened the back door and guided him through a kitchen. There was a slight-looking woman with ginger hair in there, banging pots and pans. She barely spared him a glance, as though it was an everyday occurrence to have a gagged captive manhandled through her house.

Then he was in the living room, and his heart dropped. Sitting on the sofa opposite, looking directly at him was Tammy, her big blue eyes wide with apprehension. Beside her, Scott’s usually calm face was set in a rigid mask.

Huddled together on another sofa were Georgie and Layla.

Oh hell, hell, hell.
All four of them.

Jerry’s knees felt oddly weak.

“Jerry!” Tammy’s hand went to her mouth at the sight of him, and she started to get up, but Vincent, standing by casually with a rifle in his hand, shoved her back again.

Jerry, restrained by two hundred pounds of muscle and steroids, couldn’t get to her. He grunted and looked wildly at Vincent.

“Take off the tape,” Vincent said mildly. “He might be prepared to talk now.”

Looking as though he enjoyed it, the gorilla ripped off the tape, taking hair and skin with it.

“Now that I have something you want,” Vincent said, “do you think we might revisit those locations?”

~~~

The moment she saw Jerry stumble into the room, Tammy was seized by two conflicting emotions: enormous relief because he was alive, and a quickly growing fury because of the way he’d been treated.

Cold fury she could work with. It was an emotion she’d felt many times around her father and brothers. All at once, the fear was gone.

After the first involuntary look of shock at seeing her, Jerry had schooled his face into an expression of mild indignation. “Since we’re being civilized, and you have enough firepower to start a war,” he said, “Can we ditch the cable ties?” He half-turned, offering his hands to his minder.

All eyes were on Jerry, so Tammy took the opportunity to nudge Scott’s knee with hers. Without looking at her, he returned the pressure.

On the other side of the room, Georgie and Layla were watching them.

If a chance presented itself, they would take it. Vincent and the big guy he called Gary had taken possession of their rifles and the handguns, but Tammy still had a compact handgun attached to her ankle. They had taken the stun gun from Scott, unfortunately, but he could still fight.

She just hoped that Layla and Georgie were concealing a weapon or two. Even a hairpin was better than nothing.

All they needed was a chance.

~~~

Standing beside Gary, Jerry was keeping his expression neutral while trying to figure out how he might get out of this. On the surface, it looked hopeless – but he’d talked his way out of tricky situations in the past. Not as tricky as this one, admittedly, but Jerry B. Goode wasn’t one to give up.

“Cut the ties,” Vincent ordered. He raised the gun and squinted along his arm theatrically, using Jerry’s head as the target. “Good of your friends to donate some more weaponry to the cause. It’s loaded, by the way. I wouldn’t make any sudden moves.”

“I don’t intend to,” Jerry said, unable to quell a flinch at the sight of the business end of a gun barrel pointed his way. He sighed with relief as his hands were cut free. “That’s better.”

“You’d better believe one thing,” Vincent said, keeping the gun firmly on Jerry. “I’m not going to mess around. You know what I want. And—” he swung the gun around until it was aimed at Tammy, and then let it describe an arc that encompassed Georgie and Layla too, “—you know I’ll stop at nothing to get it. So, shall we start?”

Now that Tammy was right where he could see her, Jerry figured that he had nothing to lose by telling him. “At my house.”


Where
at your house?”

Here we go, Jerry thought. Time to see if he could turn the best-case scenario to his advantage. “Before I tell you,” he said, “let me ask you how big you want this to grow. Keep in mind that new preppers turn up or contact us every day. We’re selling bug-out vehicles of all sizes like there’s going to be an Apocalypse tomorrow. You want names, we’ve got them. Not just the ones I’ve got
now
, but all those in the future.” He rubbed his chin.

Tammy, bless her heart, picked up on the cue right away. So she should; she was the one who had pointed out that she always knew when he was up to no good because of that very gesture. She pasted an appropriate expression of disdain on her face and butted in.

“Jerry, no. It’s not right. They
trust
us. You can’t do a deal with this guy.”

“If I don’t do a deal, Tams, we’ll be dead,” he said bluntly.

“Now you’re showing some sense.” Vincent lowered the gun a fraction. “Sit on that chair and keep your hands where I can see them.”

“I don’t
believe
this, Jerry.” Tammy made an expansive gesture of disgust and hitched herself forward on the sofa, looking as though she wanted to launch herself at her boyfriend. “The Johnny B. Goode RV Empire prides itself on ethical business practices.” She waved at Georgie. “Your sister and I have a really good name in the industry. Now you’re going to tell this—this
crook
where he can find the vehicles that we sold people in good faith?”

Jerry had done as he was bid and taken a seat on the edge of a recliner chair. “It’s not so much about the vehicles. He wants to know where the bunkers are. The safe houses.”

“Yes, that’s what he told me,” said Tammy with pursed lips and a reproving look at Vincent. She tugged off her cap and shook out her blonde curls, immediately looking more like a blonde bimbo. “I told him there was no way you would give them up.”

Beside her, Scott said in a reasoning voice, “Tammy love, you have to be practical. We tried it your way to get Jerry back, and look what happened. You’re out of your league here. Just do the deal.”

Tammy glared at him and then at Vincent. “Well, I don’t think—”

“Just shut up, will you?” Losing patience, Vincent whipped around and took a step toward her. Tammy shrieked, defensively pulling both feet up on the sofa, looking up at him with scared blue eyes.

“Not another word out of you. Go back home and play house with your pretty little trailers.”

“OK, OK!” She bit her lip and her eyes filled with tears.

Scott pretended impatience with her. “The sooner you do what you’re told, the sooner this will all be over. Can you just stop it?”

“Yes,” she said in a small voice, not looking at him.

I love that girl,
thought Jerry. He never thought he’d find anyone who could play people as well as he could.

Whoever the submissive girl sitting on the sofa was, it wasn’t the real Tammy.

~~~

When Vincent stopped glaring at her and turned his attention back to Jerry, Tammy quickly checked on the position of everyone in the room. She didn’t want to shoot one of her friends by mistake.

Beside her, Scott was ready: Tammy could feel it. She nudged him with her toe; and easy move with her feet up underneath her.

Over on the other side of the room, Jerry looked defeated, but she knew that he too would be ready to spring into action.

Georgie and Layla were covertly watching her. She hoped that Layla still had that stun gun on her.

Now,
she thought, and let one hand move toward her ankle, where the reassuring weight of the gun rested against her sock.

Now
.

Chapter 15

Vincent kept the rifle trained on Jerry. “You’ve given us a lot more housekeeping than we would wish. Now we have to do something about Jack, and that’s going to provide us with quite a few problems. Not to mention your sister.” His eyes flicked to Georgie. “It’s a great pity your crystal ball didn’t tell you to stay at home. Clearly you didn’t get to see
your
future. Gary, would you kindly restrain Ms. Goode and her friend here?”

Gary grunted and lumbered towards them, a bag of cable ties in one huge paw.

Without waiting to be told, Georgie held out both hands, wrists together. Tammy watched closely, her hand poised near her ankle. Georgie was
helping
them?

Almost immediately, she understood what Georgie was doing. As she sat forward, offering her hands to Gary, she partially obscured Layla. Tammy saw the quick flash of Layla’s hand dipping into a pocket, and then something in her hand sparked and crackled.

Gary roared and collapsed like a house of cards, and the stun gun that Layla held crackled again. Vincent swore and lifted the rifle, aiming it directly at Jerry. “Alice!” he roared. “Gun!”

While his attention was on Jerry, Tammy slid her gun out of its hiding place. His knee was less than a body length from her, and at eye level.

“Jerry, duck!” she yelled, and shot Vincent in the knee.

Jerry flung himself to one side and immediately tripped on the rug, with one arm windmilling wildly as he tried to stop the fall. At the same time Vincent screamed, jerking his rifle so it discharged into Jerry’s arm, right where his head had been a second before.

Jerry scrambled up, not appearing to notice his injury, and threw himself across the room at Vincent., while Scott tackled him from the other side.

Tammy heard a shriek from the doorway, and there was Alice, with yet another handgun. For a moment she stared at the flailing bodies on the floor, her hand wildly swinging back and forth as though trying to decide whom to shoot.

Tammy snatched Scott’s rifle from where it leaned against the wall and raised it, aiming straight at Alice. “Put it down!”

Alice didn’t bat an eyelid. She just took a few steps back and kept her gun pointed at the writhing bodies on the floor, flicking a glance at Tammy. “I’ll shoot them.”

Tammy gave up. For the second time in five minutes, after not firing a gun for seven years, she took aim and hit her target, exactly where she wanted. Alice wailed like a banshee and the gun flew up into the air, flipping over before it crashed to the ground.

Tammy closed her eyes and finally breathed.

Good thing she wasn’t shooting to kill.

Chapter 16

Four weeks later, Georgie and Scott slipped into the huge marquee at the Happy Days Retro Rally to take their seats next to Layla, in the front row. Getting into the spirit of things, Georgie had left her gypsy outfits back in the caravan and was wearing much the same as Layla: a poodle skirt with a close-fitting blouse and a long-line cardigan—and the obligatory saddle shoes, of course.

“Payback time,” said Layla with satisfaction, jigging her knee to a fifties rock tune. “Tammy will be loving this.”

“Oh yeah,” said Georgie. “Although of course Jerry’s playing for the sympathy card with his arm. Fonzie in a cast.”

“Ever the bad boy,” murmured Layla. She leaned across Georgie. “What about you, Scott? When are we going to get you into retro? Up on the stage, performing?”

“Performing, never,” he said comfortably. “And I
am
in retro.”

BOOK: Up To No Good: Book 4 Georgie B. Goode Gypsy Caravan Cozy Mystery
13.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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