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Book 4 of 5: Jinx Ballou Bounty Hunter series

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What's It About?

A Fight For Justice Has Become A Battle for Truth

Bounty hunter Jinx Ballou is hot on the trail of Blair Marshall, a fugitive who brutally murdered a transgender woman in a public restroom. As a trans woman herself, Jinx is more determined than ever to bring this bigoted killer to justice.

But at every turn, Jinx's attempts to apprehend Marshall are thwarted by the ruthless transphobic hate group her fugitive controls. A series of high-speed car chases, brutal fights, and unsuccessful takedowns leave Jinx and her team frustrated and empty-handed.

When an undaunted Jinx presses on, she finds herself in a war of media manipulation, disinformation, and deep-faked videos that paints a target on her back and puts loved ones in grave danger.

Will Jinx bring Marshall to justice before more innocent people are killed?

TERF Wars is the fourth thriller in the highly acclaimed Jinx Ballou Bounty Hunter crime fiction series, although each book in the series can be enjoyed as a standalone.

Curl up with TERF Wars and join Jinx on an action-packed thrill ride that will leave you cheering for more.

Read Chapter 1 Now

The eyes of the diners at the Skyway Café zeroed in on me and my associate, Nathaniel “Rodeo” Kwan. Our body armor, weapons, and other gear tended to attract attention. 

The small family-style restaurant overlooking the Payson Airport runway was crowded, thrumming with dozens of conversations and the clinking of plates. The aromas of breakfast and coffee got my stomach rumbling. 

Unfortunately, Rodeo and I weren’t here for the huevos rancheros or the biscuits and gravy. We were on the job, hunting a bail jumper wanted for multiple sex crimes. 

I scanned the tables for the face that matched the mug shot provided to us by the bail bond agent. 

“There,” I whispered to Rodeo, pointing as subtly as I could. “Third table from the right, two rows back.” 

He nodded and proceeded around the other side so we could cut off any attempted escape. 

I put a firm hand on the woman’s shoulder. The other held my Taser, ready to use as a stun gun. “Nancy Turner, you failed to appear at your court hearing. You need to come with us.”

Turner’s body tensed beneath my grip. She stood slowly. For a moment, I thought this arrest would go easy. 

Without warning, she threw a cup of coffee at my face. I dodged the scalding liquid but lost my grip on Turner. She bolted, racing between the tables, knocking over empty chairs in her wake. 

I took off after her with Rodeo on my heels. I was tempted to tase her but didn’t want to risk hitting an innocent bystander by mistake. Would look very bad on my report.

In an attempt to cut off my quarry, I leapt onto one of the tables but discovered it wasn’t as stable as it looked. It toppled, sending me and the dishes crashing to the floor. I landed on my feet and took off after Turner, ignoring the obscenities being yelled at my back. Not that I cared. All that mattered was apprehending Turner. 

She reached the side door of the restaurant five seconds before I did and fumbled with the doorknob but stopped cold when she looked out the window. My other associate, Zahara Washington, waited on the other side of the door with her Taser raised.

“Gotcha!” I grabbed Turner’s jacket collar, but she twisted out of it and ducked back toward the kitchen. 

I signaled through the window for Zahara to cut Turner off at the service entrance, then I continued after her. Rodeo circled around to keep her from reaching the front door.

Turner snatched a large tray of dishes from a server’s hands and sent a cascade of eggs, bacon, and other food at me. I dodged it and pursued her through the double doors into the kitchen. The cooks leaped out of the way as we charged through like a tiny stampede of buffalo. 

“Give it up, Nancy. My associate’s outside that door.” 

She fervently glanced around for the exit. Realizing she was cornered, she grabbed a chef’s knife from a cutting board and pointed it at me. I was sure she’d use it if I got close enough.

“My lawyer wants me to take a plea deal, but I didn’t do anything wrong.” 

“Tell it to the jury. I’m not in the guilt or innocence business. You missed your court date. You go back to jail. That’s the deal.”

“I’m not going back. I didn’t hurt anyone.” Her eyes blazed with fury as she waved the knife back and forth.

I raised my Taser. “Look, lady, we can do this easy, or we can do this hard. Your choice. Now what’ll it be?”

“No! I didn’t do anything bad.”

“Hard it is, then.” I pulled the trigger. 

Her body seized while fifty thousand volts of electricity coursed through her. She grunted in agony through gritted teeth and collapsed to the floor. I snatched the knife from her hand and snapped the cuffs on her wrists. 

“Nancy Turner. My name is Jinx Ballou. I am a bail enforcement agent hired by Assurity Bail Bonds after you failed to appear.”  

She struggled to escape the cuffs, trying to kick me off her. “No, no, no! I didn’t do anything wrong.”

“Settle down or I will tase you again. Do you understand?”

She stopped struggling and began to sob. “Yes.”

Rodeo appeared at my side and helped me get our fugitive to her feet. “You caught her. Well done, boss.”

As we frog-marched Turner toward the front entrance, a woman in a staff uniform shouted, “Excuse me!”

I guessed she was a manager here at the Skyway Café. She said something else, but her voice was drowned out by the sound of a small plane landing on the airstrip next to the restaurant. 

“What?” I asked when the noise subsided. 

“You disrupted our breakfast service. Who’s going to pay for the damage?”

“What damage?” I feigned ignorance. 

“Shattered dishes and a broken table for starters. Not to mention comping the meals for our customers whose breakfast was so rudely interrupted.”

I pulled out one of my business cards and tossed it at her. I didn’t have time for her bullshit. “Bill me.” 

“Hold up, my hat fell off inside.” A slim man with an athletic build, Rodeo never went anywhere without his signature Stetson. His fondness for cowboy hats had earned him his nickname when he served in the army. 

“My jacket’s in there,” Turner complained.

“Grab her jacket while you’re at it, Rodeo.”

“Copy that, boss.”

I walked Turner out into the beautiful, if chilly, March morning. The weather was idyllic down in Phoenix. But up here in Payson’s high desert, the winter chill lingered. That was one of the things I loved about Arizona. You could have triple digits in Phoenix and still have snow on the ground in the White Mountains, a few hours’ drive away. 

Zahara met me by the Gray Ghost, my scratched and battered Nissan Pathfinder. She had a wiry physique and reminded me a lot of Grace Jones from that old Conan movie. Before I’d hired her, she had been an MMA fighter until an injury forced her to retire from the sport. 

She took one look at Turner, who was now ugly crying, and said, “It’ll be okay, ma’am. We’ll take you back to Phoenix, get you processed in, and see about getting your bail reset.”

Some bounty hunters get all chummy once a fugitive is caught. I wasn’t one of them. Maybe it was because I’d been hardened from years of chasing scumbags who tried to run from the law. Or maybe I was broken in a way that Zahara wasn’t.

“Bail reset? Yeah, we’ll see about that,” I harrumphed. My vest was still wet from where she’d thrown her coffee.  

“It’s not fair,” Turner muttered sullenly as we secured her in the back seat of the SUV. “I didn’t hurt anyone.”

“Don’t worry. Everything will work out.” Zahara slid in next to her, draping the woman’s jacket over her shoulders and buckling her in. I hopped in the driver’s seat while Rodeo climbed in next to me, once again wearing his Stetson. 

“Chalk up another win for Ballou Fugitive Recovery,” I said. “Let’s drop her off at the jail and get paid.” 

“Amen to that,” Rodeo replied.

Zahara started to say something but yawned wide, having been up all night on a fruitless stakeout where we’d thought Turner had been hiding. “Just want to catch some shut-eye.”

I drove past the plethora of small businesses that composed downtown Payson. The Northern Arizona town was emerging from its winter slumber. A banner overhead welcomed visitors to the upcoming Spring Festival. I planned to be in Vegas with my friends celebrating my last weekend of being a single woman.  

“Everyone acts like what I did was so wrong,” Turner whined when the shops gave way to the rolling tree-covered hills along Highway 87. 

“Lady, you fucked a bunch of dead bodies.” My stomach roiled at the thought. 

“I can’t help it. It’s a compulsion. I’ve tried to stop, but whenever I see a cadaver laying out on the table, I lose control.”

Rodeo made a disgusted face. “Ugh.”

“Shut the hell up, Turner!” I snapped. 

“No one was hurt.”

I glanced back at the woman through the rearview mirror. Tears once again streamed down her face. 

“Ease up, you all. Can’t you see she’s sorry?” Zahara asked.  

“Yeah, sorry she got caught,” I said with a snort.

“How is it even possible?” Rodeo asked. “I mean, if they’re dead, how can they even get it up?”

“Dude, don’t ask questions like that,” I said. “I don’t want to know.”

“If we get them early enough and rigor hasn’t fully dissipated,” Turner explained as if she were talking about anything other than molesting a corpse. 

“Shut up, shut up, shut up!” I cranked up my “Bad Girls” playlist on Spotify. The Pink Trinkets’ punk rock anthem “Punching Nazis” blared through the speakers. 

A few songs later, even I started to get a headache and turned the stereo down to a normal level. Despite the blaring music, a glance into my rearview mirror revealed that Zahara had fallen asleep. 

Turner never showed at the house Zahara was staking out. Fortunately, a tip led us to the Payson Airport restaurant where our fugitive was planning to meet a pilot who’d agreed to fly her to Nogales, Mexico.

“You excited about this weekend?” Rodeo asked.

I caught his eyes in the mirror and grinned. “I am. You’re still welcome to join us for my bachelorette party.” 

“Kind of weird for a guy to attend a bachelorette party.”

“Well, you are dating my brother. Besides, I’m not exactly a traditional kinda gal.”  

“Really? I’m shocked!” he joked. “You seem so normal.”

“Right. A transgender comic book geek who works as a bounty hunter. Doesn’t get much more normal than that.”

We both laughed.

“Besides, Easton’s coming. They’re nonbinary,” I continued. “If it makes you feel any better, think of it as a gathering of über-diverse friends. Or if you’d rather go to Conor’s bachelor party…” 

“No, thanks. I have a feeling Conor’s bachelor party will be a bit too heteronormative for my tastes.” 

“You’re getting married?” Turner asked. “How nice.”

“Shut up, perv.” I’d almost forgotten she was back there.

“Jinx, be nice,” Zahara replied sleepily.

“Nice is not in my vocabulary with necrophiliacs.” I sighed. “Anyway, I’m glad we could still get rooms, what with StoryCon being this weekend.”

“Oh, that’s right.” Zahara perked up, stretching her arms. “Who are you cosplaying as this time? Wonder Woman or Xena?”

“Asaya Thrax. She’s a space marine from Into the Black.”

“That series on Netflix?” Rodeo asked. “I’ve watched a few episodes of it but had trouble following it. Gwyneth and Jake like it though.” Jake was my brother. Gwyneth was Rodeo’s daughter from a previous relationship. 

“It takes a few episodes to get into it. I fell in love with the graphic novels a few years back. And the outfit is awesome. Black and royal-blue formfitting space armor.”

“You make it yourself?” Zahara asked.

“Absolutely. Not cheap or easy to get right but worth it.”

Rodeo laughed. “For a badass chick, Jinx, you sure are a big ol’ nerd.”

“A girl’s gotta have her hobbies,” I said. “At least I’m not fucking dead guys.”

When And How You'll Receive Your Book

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If you run into any problems, click on the Help link on the Bookfunnel page. They are experts in helping people get their content onto their device or app.

Signed Print Books (US. only): I personally sign and mail print books via USPS Media Mail. I usually fulfill the order within a day or so, and it usually arrives within a week.

Page Count and Other Details

  • Pages: 292
  • Print size: 5.5"x8.5"

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
TERFs cast Transgender people as the villains, they have it backwards.

This is the fourth (fifth is you count the prequal ‘Blood and Fire’) book in Dharma’s excellent Jinx Ballou series. In this book Jinx has to come to terms with some of her feelings and how she can reconcile her professionalism with the way TERFs treat her and other transgender people. In a hard-hitting page turner Dharma has given us a story that both satisfies the want for a great story and points out some of the issues that transgender people have to face, sometimes on a daily basis.
Disclosure: I am a pre-release reader and reviewer for numerous authors including Dharma and get the book for free and am also a transgender woman. Neither of these things cloud my thoughts about the books I review.

Kim S.
Haters gonna hate...

While it is often sadly true in this world that “haters gonna hate”, this captivating story provides a much needed spot of positivity. In this fourth installment of the Jinx Ballou Bounty Hunter series, Jinx is on the trail of Blair Marshall, a trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) who murdered a transgender woman in the restroom of a local shop. The story revolves around the myriad difficulties Jinx and her team have in recapturing this woman after her bail is revoked when she threatens a witness in her case. Blair is uninformed, unsympathetic and hateful, but she is not stupid. She presents Jinx and her team with an impressive array of challenges as the story progresses. The tension escalates unremittingly as Jinx tries to catch up to Blair only to meet one frustrating obstacle after another all while also trying to plan her wedding which is only days away and deal with the aftermath of the absolute debacle of her bachelorette party. The suspense and anxiety had me holding my breath as I flipped through the pages ignoring all else around me. As per usual with this author, the story line is compelling, the characters are strong and complex, and contemporary issues are explored with intelligence and compassion. I highly recommend this distinctive kicka** series.