What we were thinking: The Enigma Always #6 of the Enigma Book Series-

Author Insight –

Invisible chains can still hold the prisoner

Zara is a character who is on the very of changing her behavior. She wants to break all the ties and alliances which force her behavior and be her own person. It is tough when powerful people don’t wish to release a valuable asset.

This story has a focus on Zara and how her character evolves. Caught between using and being used while trying to find honest behavior is hard for her. Her background has been tough but she is a scrappy girl who won’t quit.

She thinks she know the ways to stroke egos and get her endgame accomplished. Is she too close to the edge to win?

Excerpt-The Enigma Always

Zara, struggling to hold back her irritation, coldly remarked, “Hey, I told you I was going on vacation, so what’s the big deal? Who is it that you want to harass next? The reason I ask is whenever that is what is on your agenda, you usually begin with me! So spill it, dummy-tree!”

Zara wished she hadn’t hurled the last insult during the verbal sparring exchange.

Dmitry, now exceedingly irked by her comment, fought with his anger yet calmly inquired, “My dear, you think that because you are not in Russia that you are beyond my reach? There is no place on this planet where a person can go that I can’t have my agents strangle her with her own bra. Use that tone again with me or use that disparaging nickname that I received while I was in the tank core of the army when I drove into a tree, and I can promise you a lesson in manners. Understood?”

Zara swallowed hard and took the time to calm her breathing before she contritely responded, “I understand, Dmitry. What needs doing, my master?”

Dmitry finally had cause to smile and commented, “My master! I like the sound of that.

“I need some cloaking on some harmless pranks I need to play on one of our neighboring sovereigns. They have been trying to access my supercomputer here in the Kremlin data center, and frankly I’m tired of it. A little exercise of our system’s considerable strength would restore a better appreciation of our relationship.”

Zara smirked as she asked, “Gosh! Whose turn is it this week? You have pretty well whacked everyone, except Finland.”

Dmitry grinned and replied, “How clever you are! Finland has been launching some cyber probing efforts, looking for something on our systems. It is time for the Russian Bear to remind them of their colony status.”

Zara, barely concealing her sarcasm, responded, “They didn’t like being Russian any better than they liked being Swedish! Let’s hope you conduct a better attack than the clumsy one launched by the Soviets in November 1939 where 100,000 Finns held off almost 600,000 Russian troops.

“I still recall how the irony of it all was deliciously captured in a Finnish newspaper cartoon. In it one Finn defender says to another, Look at all the Russian Troops! My God where are we going to bury all of them?” Zara laughed at her own story telling.

Dmitry, thoroughly tired of the history lesson, asked, “You do recall we finally got our way with the Finns, and that they gave into our demands, right?

“But, enough of that! How soon can you be ready to anonymize my data traffic, because it will be a torrent?”

Zara sensed she had worn out her welcome on the call and replied, “I will need a week to bring everything back on-line and up to speed. You know how it is when you go on vacation, nothing gets done in your absence.”

Dmitry nodded to himself and responded, “Actually that works well with my schedule. I’ll be in touch.”

But before Dmitry disconnected, Zara asked, “Before you go, Dmitry, I need a favor from you. I have inherited some heirloom diamond jewelry that, well, I would like to turn into cash. I was wondering if, among your contacts, there might be someone who is agreeable to paying a fair price for an heirloom of questionable origins. Can I get your assistance in this matter?” Then she added, “I would certainly expect you to get a brokering fee for such a conversation that leads to a sale, so as to make it worth your time.”

Dmitry curiously asked, “How many diamonds are we talking about? Inquiring minds need to know.”

Zara sensed she had hooked Dmitry and innocently replied, “I don’t know how many diamonds on the necklace but when I checked in the diamond district, they suggested it might be worth five million Euros. However, no one here would offer anywhere near that figure without the original bill of sale. Do you have such contacts that could assist in converting these for me? I would be most grateful, Dmitry.”

Dmitry, rather amicable at this point due to the project he wanted worked, assured, “Well, let me see if I can’t help you with that little project. I will make some inquiries tomorrow. If you can send me a picture, it would help with my brokering efforts.”

Zara feigned gratitude as she sweetly responded, “Thank you so much, Dmitry! I will get the photo off to you as soon as we disconnect.”

Dmitry, in his most pleasant voice, finished, “We’ll talk soon, Zara!”