After two long years, Ren’s mission is finally over, and it’s time for Ida Mae, Arlette, and Tansy to travel to Mexico to pick him up. They have their itinerary all planned out—visiting the ruins in the Yucatan, shopping, playing in the sand and surf—and then they’ll head to Ren’s mission home and be reunited with that dear boy. But a wanted antiquities thief crosses their path, and soon the ladies find themselves tangled up in a web of lies, intrigue, and costly jewelry. Held hostage by men desperate for riches, they do what only they can do—keep their heads about them, plan their escape, and discuss the proper making of tortillas. Will they survive their most harrowing adventure yet?
- Pages: 258
About the Author
Tristi Pinkston can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to write. Her first poem was penned at the age of five, as was her first book about a little puppy with big dreams, Sue the Dog. It was quite a journey from Sue to Tristi’s first published novel, but a journey she loved taking.
When she’s not homeschooling her children, ignoring her dishes, contemplating grocery shopping, or procrastinating the laundry, Tristi works as a freelance editor and online writing instructor. She is a popular presenter at the annual LDStorymakers Writers Conference, and she finds some of her greatest joy in helping authors realize their true potential. She also enjoys blogging, reviewing books on her personal blog and for The Association of Mormon Letters, watching good movies, and taking really long naps every Sunday afternoon.
Tristi is the author of eight published novels and one cookbook. You can learn more about her at www.tristipinkston.com.
“Ida Mae, I don’t know why you’re watching this.” Arlette crossed the living room and turned off the evening news. “It’s nothing but murder and debauchery.”
“And taxes,” Tansy said helpfully, closing the door behind herself.
Ida Mae looked up from her ironing board. She saw nothing wrong with watching a little television while she did her chores. “At least it wasn’t a soap opera,” she retorted. “Besides, they were covering an interesting story.”
“What was it this time—murder or debauchery?” Arlette set her purse on the floor and sat on the couch.
“Have you heard of Manuel Gonzales?”
Arlette and Tansy shook their heads.
“He’s wanted for antiquities theft. He travels all over the world and steals priceless artifacts to sell to the highest bidder on the black market.”
“I thought the relics were all in museums by now,” Arlette said.
“Lots of them are, but it’s impossible to say how many have been circulated among private collectors,” Ida Mae explained.
“So, how did Manuel make the news tonight?” Arlette asked. “Steal something new?”
“Actually, no. He’s been in custody undergoing questioning, and he escaped this afternoon.” Ida Mae turned off her iron and set it upright.
Arlette seemed to notice for the first time what she was doing. “Ida Mae! Why are you ironing?”
“I’m packing,” Ida Mae said as though speaking to a young child. “We’re leaving in the morning, and I’m getting my clothes ready.”
“So you’re ironing them?” Arlette asked. “You realize by the time they’re smashed in a suitcase and hauled on and off an airplane, they’re just going to be wrinkled again.”
“I know, but I figure this way they’ll be less wrinkled than they would be if I just threw them in there. Besides, you’re the one who keeps telling me to stop wearing polyester. If you hadn’t taken away my polyester, I wouldn’t have this problem.”
“I didn’t take away your polyester. That was a decision you made for yourself when you saw how George looked at you in those blue jeans.”
“His reaction might have had something to do with it,” Ida Mae admitted, her cheeks going a little warm. “But you kept harping on it. I figured the only way to put an end to it was to relent.”
“You could have just ignored her,” Tansy chimed in. “I ignore her all the time.”
“That probably would have been the best course of action,” Ida Mae said. “I’ll have to try it.”
“What’s that expression about a prophet being without honor in his own country?” Arlette looked thoughtful. “I’m certainly no prophet, but I can tell when my fashion sensibilities aren’t appreciated.”
“Fashion sensibilities? This from the woman who wears a cardigan, oh, about every day of her life?”
“But it’s cotton. It’s not polyester.”
An argument with Arlette nearly always doubled back and ended up right where it began. Ida Mae smiled and shook her head.
“How many outfits are you taking?” she asked.
“I thought I’d take five sightseeing outfits and one nicer dress, in case we get the chance to go to church or a party,” Arlette said.
“I’m bringing about the same,” Tansy replied.
“I’d better grab another outfit, then,” Ida Mae said. “I don’t want to wish I had it later.”
“The hotels have laundry service, right?” Tansy asked.
“They do. I just want to be prepared for anything.”
“I’m so excited.” Tansy clasped her hands. “A week of sightseeing in Mexico, and then we pick up Ren. I can’t believe it’s been two whole years.”
“I can.” When Ida Mae looked back over the time that had elapsed, it seemed as if each day had crawled by at a snail’s pace. Yet, she knew her nephew had been doing the work of the Lord, and that brought her comfort.
“How’s Eden doing?” Tansy asked the question on the tip of Ida Mae’s tongue.
“She pretends she’s all right, but I can tell she’s nervous,” Arlette said. “She and I had a good talk last night, and I think she’s scared Ren won’t be interested in her anymore. She’s got a lot of insecurities that way. It goes back to her childhood and her parents’ divorce—fearing a loss of relationships, and all that.”
“I can’t really blame her,” Tansy said. “But I’m sure Ren’s feelings haven’t changed. Those two were meant for each other.”
Ida Mae thought so, too. In fact, she’d believed it from the first moment she’d seen them together, back before they all got police records and did their community service. There was something about the way Eden and Ren talked together, laughed together, broke the law together, that just said they were destined.
“She’ll pick us up around seven,” Arlette said, bringing Ida Mae back from her romantic reverie. “She doesn’t have to go to work until noon, so it won’t be a problem to take us to the airport.”
George had offered to play chauffeur, but thankfully, Eden had already volunteered. George had many wonderful qualities, but he was not a good driver. Ida Mae felt disloyal thinking even the slightest negative thing about him—once she made him get rid of his toupee, she thought he was perfect—but he did have one flaw: continual confusion between brake and accelerator.
She tapped her finger against the bottom of the iron and decided it was cool enough to put away. “I’ve packed everything on my list, and then some,” she said as she coiled the power cord. “I even brought two extra memory cards for my camera. I want to record this trip from beginning to end.”
Tansy’s face lit up. “We can make our scrapbooks together! It will be like living our trip all over again.”
Arlette reached down and picked up her purse. “Well, if we’re going to live it the first time around, I need to stop by Walmart. I forgot to buy sunscreen.”
“Can I come with you?” Tansy asked. “I need a few things, too.”
They left after promising to call each other in the morning to make sure everyone’s alarms had gone off. Ida Mae folded her ironing board and tucked it in the closet, pausing to take note of Ren’s winter coat, which had been smashed in the back behind her own for the last two years. He hadn’t needed it in Mexico, and it looked a little neglected, if an article of clothing can look neglected.
“He’ll be home soon,” she told it, then felt silly for talking to a coat. Everyone knows down jackets can’t talk back.