Karen’s Killer Fixin’s
with JODI BURNETT!
Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!! Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of her favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors. Introducing author, JODI BURNETT, and her favorite recipe for HUCKLEBERRY PIE!
DANGER IN THE HILLS
Flint River Series Book 3
BY JODI BURNETT
Special Agent Jack Stone leads an FBI raid on a neo-Nazi compound in northern Idaho. The fanatics are responsible for an attempted bombing of an elementary school in Chicago. When the dust settles, the FBI team realizes the group’s two leaders have escaped. Gone also, is an unaccounted for, mysterious beauty whom Jack noticed on the grounds that morning.
Jack and his partner Rick, along with an FBI search squad, track the fugitives deep into the woods. It is imperative they capture the neo-Nazi leaders before they reestablish their terrorist plot. Jack must also discover the unknown woman’s identity, and determine what part she plays in the extremist organization.
Separated from his team, Jack forges on alone, unwilling to risk losing the murderous leaders. He is hot on their trial when a brutal blizzard hits the mountains. Jack is caught in the storm—wounded and unprepared. Just as he loses consciousness, Jack glimpses her—the enigmatic woman. But is she friend or foe?
Little sleep and the drain of adrenaline caused Jack’s body to feel twenty pounds heavier. After about five milesof searching, he sat on a rock under the boughs of a great pine to rest and re-fuel. He pulled out an energy bar and tore open the wrapper. Jack eyed his watch and shook his head. It was already thirteen-hundred hours and they hadn’t found anything substantial. He rubbed the back of his neck and stood to stretch when his radio squawked.
“Stone, you copy?”
“I’ve got him. I’ve got MacNeil.”
“What’s your twenty? Do you need backup?”
“Negative. This scruffy little runt won’t give me any trouble.”
“Roger that. Does he say he was with Hotchkiss?”
“He’s not talking, other than confirming his name.”
“Figures. Good work, Sanchez. Sure you don’t want help?”
“Nope. I’ve got this puke.”
Jack chuckled. “You take MacNeil down to headquarters. I’ll cut across in your direction and try to pick up mini-Hitler’s tracks further up the ridge.”
“The official trail ends where I found him.”
“Okay, I’ll track the back country, due north from there.”
“Roger that, Jack. I’ll catch up to you once I drop MacNeil off at headquarters. Leave me some crumbs to follow.”
“Will do, Gretel.” Jack chuckled. “Out.”
Jack repacked his bag and continued up the hill. As he hiked, the forest grew thicker. Unlike his quarry, Jack left obvious signs of his own route for Rick to find. Every twenty feet, he pushed a bamboo marker fitted with fluorescent orange ribbon into the dirt. Rick could easily follow him and they would collect the markers on the way back down.
He pushed pine boughs out of his face and ducked below the branches of deciduous trees. A flicker of silver caught his eye, and he stopped. He softened his gaze trying to locate what he had seen. He reached out to lift several strands of long, colorless hair fluttering in the breeze from a branch on his left. Pinpricks of excitement skittered across his skull and down his neck. Finally they had something concrete. Jack drew a small Ziploc evidence bag from the side pocket of his pack and slipped the hair inside.
Human? Or horse maybe? The hair was coarse, but not so much so he could be a hundred-percent certain it came from an animal. Besides, he hadn’t seen any signs of a horse all day. No hoofprints or manure. Whoever had the horse didn’t come this way. In fact, the boot prints Jack had seen were large, most likely not a woman’s. By this he presumed she had the horse, and had taken a different path.
Jack studied the ground around him. Something left that hair on the tree. He searched to see if that something left any prints. The one photo he had seen of Jedediah Hotchkiss depicted an older man with longish, graying hair and an even longer scraggly beard. The strand certainly could have come from him. No matter, at this point, it was all he had to go on.
A broken twig drew him further. There were still no tracks on the ground, but he knew he was on someone’s trail. If his luck held out, it would lead him to Hotchkiss. A Steller’s Jay cried out as Jack stepped off in the direction of his prey and he paused for a few seconds to appreciate the beautiful dusky blue and black feathered bird.
“What have you seen up here, my friend? Too bad you can’t show me where this scumbag is.”
The jay cawed at him and flew up into the trees.
Jack wished he had a K-9 team with him as he scanned the mulch-covered forest floor. Not expecting to be tracking people through the woods, the FBI hadn’t deployed any canines with the mission. Dogs would find their target in no time. He was confident the SAC had sent to Denver for a K-9 unit by now.
Mashed moss on a small rock outcropping convinced Jack he was on the right trail. He considered the length and direction of the scuff and determined the footfall headed north. Step by steady step, Jack followed where the signs pointed.
He pressed the talk button on the transmitter. “Sanchez, I’ve found his tracks.” He gave the GPS coordinates on his watch and said, “I’m headed northeast from here. Stone out.” He wished Rick would hurry. The sun hunkered deep in the sky on his left and the temperature dropped fast.
No reply came across the radio. Rick was most likely out of range, but his partner knew the general area where he was tracking. Jack realized he should wait for Rick before he got too far away, but finding signs was like crack and he was addicted. He couldn’t resist looking for the next one. Besides, Rick would catch up soon, making much faster time since he could follow the flags and not take time looking for tracks.
He moved on, looking for the next mark. He found a line of fairly regular footprints in the mulch and Jack followed the clues easily for another several miles, or so, before the tracks disappeared into a mountain stream. His body sagged. Jack had no doubt Hotchkiss was an experienced survivalist and had hiked through the water with the single purpose of hiding his trail.
At the edge of the chortling stream, Jack squatted and studied the stones on its bed, underneath the clear, cold currents of tripping water. As he caught his breath, he noticed several stones had been dislodged up stream. He would track upstream then, monitoring both banks for signs of someone getting out of the water. A frigid wind rolled down the side of the mountain whispering that Jack should head back to camp, but he ignored the warning, not wanting to lose the trail. Besides, Rick would be there soon and had promised to bring his cold-weather gear up when he came.
Jack blew into his cupped hands to warm them before he headed up the bank. Watching for tiny signs of passage on both sides of the water was a challenge, so Jack kept his pace slow and methodical. He almost gave up and returned to the last known marker when he saw a minor tread, so small he nearly stepped on it. The mere arc of a boot heal on his side of the stream in wet mud.
Adrenaline hit him in the gut and his pulse surged. Encouraged, Jack marked the track and searched for the next clue. He flipped the collar of his jacket up against the chill in the air and stepped out. His exertion kept the cold at bay. Ten feet more and Jack found a small patch of sand from the stream clumped on top of otherwise regular dark-brown dirt. Then he noticed a section of crushed leaves surrounded by a tapestry of undisturbed foliage.
His breath led the way in bursts of steam, and Jack’s ears stung with cold. The mountain grade steepened, and made the going more difficult. Again, Jack wished he had been more prepared for this trek. They’d been in such a rush to start tracking that they weren’t as properly rigged as they should have been. Ropes and a pickaxe would have been welcome tools on this incline. He tried the radio again, but still no response.
Fifteen feet had passed since the last indication that Hotchkiss had come through here, so Jack back-tracked. He spiraled out from the last mark, searching for another. Though he wasn’t certain, Jack found what might be a sign. It appeared as though there were two different tracks moving away from each other. Maybe Hotchkiss and the woman were together up to this point, or someone purposefully attempted to confuse the trail?
Jack employed the spiral search tactic once again, selecting the more prominent trail. He hiked for another milebefore he found himself on the brink of a deep ravine.
Surely, Hotchkiss wouldn’t have traversed down into the ravine. If he did, today’s tracking ended. He didn’t want to follow him down the cliff without the added safety of climbing gear Jack clenched his teeth together and let loose a frustrated growl. He stared hard at the ground hoping to see another mark.
Jack pulled water from his pack to moisten his dry throat. With his back to the cliff he gulped the clear liquid and then peered through the surrounding trees. A gray squirrel chittered at him from a tree branch above him. The lateness of the afternoon would soon force Jack to head back down to the compound. He certainly was not outfitted to camp overnight in the wilderness. The temperature already dipped below freezing and though his body stayed warm from his physical exertion, cold crept up his extremities.
Jack’s body went still. He focused on slowing his breathing to quiet his heart. Then he heard it again.
Human footfall or wildlife? Jack slid his fingers over the pistol grip of the gun in his shoulder holster. He crouched down and stared into the charged silence. He was exposed, out in the open with only the early gloaming for cover.
A loud pop resounded through the forest seconds before a slug rammed into Jack’s chest. He heard a rifle report echo in the hills, half a second after the impact. Then instantly, two more slugs. He flew backward into the air, light as a feather. Air rushed from his lungs as a searing pain burst across his torso. He couldn’t draw a breath. His vision dimmed. Jack reached his hands out to grasp onto something, anything. There was nothing.
Cold wind rushed around his head to his face. His lungs refused to pull in oxygen. Pain ignited throughout his body. His shoulder-blades slammed against something hard, immovable. His skull crashed into granite and the sharp tang of copper pressed into the back of his tongue. Agony exploded behind his eyes. Red. Yellow. White-hot light.
Then darkness stole him away.
Jodi Burnett is a Colorado native. She and her husband live on a small ranch southeast of Denver where she enjoys her horses, complains about her cows, and writes to create a home for her imaginings. In addition to loving life in the country, Jodi fosters her creative side by writing, painting with watercolor, quilting, and crafting stained-glass. Jodi’s first book is a women’s fiction titled Letting Go. Danger In The Hills is a romantic-suspense and the third book in the Flint River Series.
I hope you enjoy the recipe Jodi is sharing today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy Eating!
P.S. We’re at 450 recipes and counting with this posting. Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right-hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.
FLINT RIVER COOKBOOK
BY JODI BURNETT
My name is Jodi Burnett. I am the author of the Romantic Suspense – Flint River Series, in which Danger In The Hills is the third book. I hope it sounds interesting, and I’d love to have you check out the whole series! At the end of the Kindle edition of Danger In The Hills, I provide a link to a free, exclusive epilogue – novella. Be sure to download the extra book when you get there!
I am in the process of creating a Flint River Cookbook that I’m giving away to members of my reading group. Please click this link if you are interested in joining:
I will send everyone in that group a free copy of the cookbook as soon as it is complete! I’m planning on a January 1st completion date.
For now, I hope you enjoy this recipe preview of a pie that is served in the small-town diner in Flint River:
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 quart Huckleberries (or 1 pint blueberries + 1 pint blackberries)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 9” unbaked pie crust
1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 c butter (chilled)
Sprinkle 2 Tbsp flour in the bottom of the prepared, unbaked pie crust. Combine berries with 2 Tbsp of sugar and stir to coat. Pour berries into pie crust. Combine 1/2 c sugar, 1/2 c flour, and the spices. Cut in the butter till crumbly and sprinkle over the berries. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes until golden and bubbly. Cool and serve. This pie is delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Thanks, Jodi, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!