Jonna-Lynn K Mandelbaum earned a doctorate in education from Georgia State University and a master's in public health from The Johns Hopkins University. She graduated from Philadelphia's Methodist Hospital School of Nursing and received a bachelor's degree in nursing from Lebanon Valley College prior to her appointment as a missionary nurse to Mozambique. International health was the dominant focus of her professional career. She developed and implemented educational programs for health professionals around the world. Now retired, she resides in northern New Mexico with her husband and three dachshunds. To find out more visit www.jonna-lynn.com
by Jonna-Lynn K Mandelbaum
by Jonna-Lynn K Mandelbaum
Published Jun 07, 2009
Genre: FICTION / General
Dangerous Encounters on a Transatlantic Cruise
Tristi had witnessed the massacre and destruction of her village when she was twelve years old. Now the man who gave the orders was aboard the ship for the transatlantic crossing. Her only hope was that another passenger, Amanda Bechtel, now Amanda Allmond ,would come to her assistance, if needed. The mere sight of Colonel Perreira triggered vivid memories of all that had happened during the Mozambique war for independence. How would she avoid the colonel? Would he come after her to erase the last person who could connect him to the genocide?
CHAPTER 1 One couple stood out in the slow-moving line, both of them almost six feet tall. Jeffrey Allmond had a naturally slender build enhanced by weekly tennis. Although his hair was thinning, it was still dark and wavy. His wife Amanda had a well-proportioned figure with an easy-to-manage hairstyle, a bob generously sprinkled with grey. “They want our passports,” he said as he sorted through a fistful of papers to get them in order. Amanda watched other passengers fumble through bags and knapsacks to retrieve passports, tickets, vouchers, and other essential items and felt grateful. Jeffrey was always attentive to details, which was particularly helpful on international trips. When they reached the ticket counter, he could hand over all of the necessary documents without hesitation. A cacophony of voices and falling luggage smothered Jeffrey’s request for her passport as a child plowed through the crowd and left chaos in her wake. Amanda fell to her knees next to their bags, mumbling “Brat.” Jeffrey leaned down and offered his hand. “Are you hurt?” She brushed off her pants and shook her head. “No thanks to that little beast. I think parents who don’t control their children should be put in stocks like in the old days.” Amanda straightened her clothes. “Great concept, but I don’t think it’ll catch on,” he said. Angry voices erupted as men and women dusted themselves off and retrieved their scattered belongings. “Judite, vinhas ca! (Judite come here!)” a short, olive-skinned man shouted. The atmosphere in the embarkation hall returned to its normal decorous bustle. Amanda and Jeffrey were next in line. She mused for a moment, thinking back to her graduation ceremony a few months earlier when Jeffrey gave her a thick envelope with their tickets and travel documents. Then he told her that they had reservations for a late-spring repositioning voyage from Miami to Lisbon, with stops in the Bahamas and the Azores. It combined two travel ideas they wanted to try—a visit to the Portuguese archipelago and a transoceanic cruise. Despite the excitement Amanda felt about this trip and the stay in Lisbon, an inexplicable anxiety had been nibbling at the edges of her mind, blunting her excitement. The more she tried to ignore the feeling, the more persistent it became. Being knocked to the floor by the girl in pink only added to her uneasiness. Jeffrey nudged her arm. “Come on, Amanda. They just called our number. Let’s go.” He led the way to the line of passengers taking the escalator to the next level for access to the ship’s gangway. They followed the well-marked path and paused for the routine welcome-aboard photo next to a sign with the ship’s name and logo, then rejoined the line where the bridge from the shore to the ship hugged the building. At the gangway, the line halted so suddenly that Jeffrey bumped into the woman ahead of him. “Sorry.” Loud voices carried back to those waiting to board. “Now what?” Amanda craned her neck to see what caused the holdup of happy passengers who had been crossing at a leisurely pace from the Port Authority building to the ship. There was some commotion when a family of three stepped onto the vessel’s main deck. A hostess greeted the couple and their pre-teen daughter, the girl in pink, and a crew member approached to guide them to their stateroom. The cabin stewardess turned toward the family and froze, then she pushed through the ship’s staff and disappeared. Tristeza leaned against the bathroom wall and closed her eyes. Como pode ser? (How can it be?) Perreira on this ship. “Tristi, are you all right?” another cabin stewardess called out. Tristeza could hear the stall doors opening and closing until Sara, her supervisor found her in the last one. “I’m okay now. It must have been something I ate.” Sara scrutinized her. “Maybe you should take a break before you meet the new people in your section.” Tristeza nodded and turned on the faucet to rinse her mouth at the sink. Then she followed the restricted staircase to the decks below the water line, a world apart from the elegance and glamour of the passenger decks. She entered the crew galley with its simple furnishings and made herself a cup of strong, black tea with two heaping spoons of sugar. She sat at a small table and sipped from the steaming mug. The musky aroma reminded her of the last time she had seen her home in Mozambique.