Jesus Correria’s POV
Los Angeles Clubhouse, Previous Night
I wanted to kill them all slowly. I wanted their blood in my teeth, to see the light extinguish from their eyes as I finally tore their throats out and let them bleed out into the dirt. Everything had gone to shit since Jose fucked up the killing of Sean Ryder and his family. We’d lost Manilo, his mate and another pair of panthers were missing, and had an entire Chapter worth of men killed in Florida.
I watched the late news coverage of the drug raid in Oakland on the television in my office with my father Manuel, the International President of the Sons. My human Vice President and Master at Arms with me. With Manilo dead, I had moved up to take control of the Los Angeles chapter, and Blade moved up to VP. Both men had been with me for decades, and I trusted them more than any other humans. I was the only shifter now in the chapter. “How the FUCK did they find out about this?”
“I don’t know, Pres,” Loco said. “We’ll find out,” he said. As Master at Arms, Club security was his responsibility.
Blade just nodded. “In the meantime, what is our exposure here? We have to assume that the warehouse and all the men there are compromised.”
“We didn’t have any of our Chapter members there, that’s the Northern pipeline. Denver, Las Vegas, Reno, Portland, and Sacramento would have had men there, and a bunch from the Bay Area chapter. The warehouse is like ours, just a transshipment point. No computers, no records. As long as the men don’t talk, the damage should be limited to the Oakland chapter.”
“We need to make sure they don’t fucking talk then,” Manuel said. “Oakland Chapter is taking care of it. They’re sanitizing the clubhouse and dispersing until we know what is going on. A Club lawyer will be meeting with the men who've been arrested; she will make sure they understand the deal. If there is anyone we aren’t sure of, our jail contacts will take care of them.” Members who took the jail time kept getting paid a share of the Club earnings as if they were still working, allowing their families to keep living.
Loco just smiled. “Boss, you know no one is going to talk. They all know what happens to those who betray the Club.”
It was a fucking brutal punishment for a reason; not just the traitor, but everyone in their family and anyone they loved. It didn’t happen often, but we made sure members witnessed it live or on video when it did.
Manuel leaned forward. “I want to know why we didn’t get any warning on this raid. We spend a fucking FORTUNE on our insiders, and we don’t even get a phone call?” He stood up and paced. “The Cartel is going to be asking questions, and I’ll need answers. Jesus, get word to our people. I want to know the basis for the warrant so we can plug the leak right fucking now. If we don’t handle it soon, the Cartel will handle it for us. I don’t have to tell you what that means.”
I nodded. “I’ll take care of that.” I’d get our contacts in the US Attorney’s office on it. “The next question is how we handle Manilo’s death. The last communication I got from him was a request for background checks on Chase Nygaard and Rori King. Since he’s dead in an orange grove in Florida, and my cousin, his wife, and Manilo’s wife are all missing, there are a lot of questions to answer. The last call from any of their cell phones came from Two Harbors, Minnesota, north of Duluth.”
“Chase Nygaard? The one who spoke at the memorial service before Manilo did?” Blade shook his head.
“Yes.” I switched to mental communications. “Dad, we confirmed three men killed in Orlando died of dog bites. He thought the were werewolves and went to the service to confirm.”
“Jose wouldn’t have been taken down easily by humans, it makes sense.”
I handed copies of the background checks to Loco. “The cops think we took Harleigh Ryder and killed her, but we know better. She was taken from the hospital by the Club and hidden somewhere, and Rori King’s address is outside Two Harbors.”
“You want me to pay them a visit,” Loco said as he looked them over.
“You and a dozen good men,” I said. “I want this done quietly. Take some vehicles and drive there, it’s going to be too hot for us to fly soon. Scout out their home and wait for the right time. If you see Harleigh, bring her back to me. If you can’t do that, kill her.”
“Got it,” he said. “I’ll go choose a few guys to bring with, maybe a prospect or two to drive.”
“Loco?” He looked back at me. “If you don’t see Harleigh, take Rori or her babies. Make her tell you where she is, or hold them and Chase will give her up. They aren’t blood to Harleigh, so they won’t sacrifice their family to keep her alive. Take off tonight, before the cops decide to pay us a visit.”
“I’m on my way,” he said as he got up and left.
I got a call on my private line as soon as the door closed. Manuel nodded, so I picked it up. “Hello?”
“Grandmother is sick, you should visit soon,” the caller said. “Tomorrow for lunch.”
“I’ll be there.” I hung up; it was an emergency code from the Cartel. It was for when they needed to meet all the leaders of the Sons at once, and this was the first time it had ever been used. We had a safe house in Mexico in the mountains northwest of Santa Cruz. All the Chapter Presidents and my father would leave our vehicles in the mountains east of the Nogales border crossing, and make our way across the border in cat form.
I looked over at Manuel, he nodded. “Blade, Manuel and I have some urgent business with our friends. We will be gone for a few days, you’re in charge. Make sure the money gets on the truck and across the border this morning, and lock down the Clubhouse.”
“You got it. I’ll send extra men to the money now.”
“No, don’t do anything different. Just lock the place down, and nobody goes in or out until the transport arrives at eight o'clock. We may get some cops hassling us, so take the laptops and the records, bag them up, and put them in the tunnel. Nothing incriminating left here, you got it?”
“Got it. You want me to bring everyone else in?”
“No. Send the text to everyone to bunker down where they are until we know who the fucking traitor is and how bad we’ve been compromised. Barricade the doors after we leave, and make sure everyone is armed. The cops aren’t the only ones who might want to take advantage of all the attention up north.” Nothing had happened yet, but the fight my son had picked with the Steel Brotherhood was worrisome. They weren’t an outlaw club, but they had serious numbers and resources. If they decided to retaliate for the deaths in the clubhouse attack, my chapter was the first one they would go after.
“I’ve got it, brother. You guys take care of business.”
I embraced him, then he left the office, leaving my father and I alone. “What do you think the Cartel wants?”
He shook his head. “I can think of a lot of things. We dragged them into some shit in Florida they can’t be happy with, and losing that shipment leaves them with some exposure.”
I sneered. “It’s OUR men who are dead or in prison. I want to ask how the fuck this happened when we had the cops and the DEA in the bag?” I got up and went to the closet, pulling out my go-saddlebags. The two compartments contained clothes, food, and water for 48 hours, and the bags hung on my bike or over my panther’s shoulders just as easily. I put my laptop in there, then went to the safe and pulled out some cash and my alternate identification. “We should pack the cuts,” I said as I took my leather vest off.
“Yeah, they’ll attract too much attention right now. I never unpacked, so I’m ready to go.” I slung my saddlebags over my shoulder and we walked out, my guys waving and telling us to have a good ride. Blade asked if I wanted an escort, and we took two men with us. The would hang back and make sure we weren’t tailed, then return to the Clubhouse.
I started my motorcycle right after Manuel did, and I followed him out the gate. It would be a long ride across the desert to Arizona, then a long run across the border to the safe house. “At least we get a family reunion out of all this,” I told him as we circled back to identify any tails.
“I don’t know if it is going to be a happy one. Losing this shipment is not going to go over well, and replacing it will be expensive.”
“We should be all right, the cash shipment going out in the morning will cover it. We’re just going to have to live on our reserves for a month or two until we can get a shipment through Long Beach.” The two club members left us, and we made the entrance to the freeway and headed west.
Carlos Pachino’s (VP, Bay Area Sons) POV
Outside San Francisco Detention Facility
As I waited for my Uber to arrive, I realized just how truly FUCKED I was right now.
I didn’t know why, either. When the raid occurred, I fought back until one of the agents hit me with a Taser. That fucking thing hurt, and when I could move again, I had my hands zip-tied behind my back and my ankles tied together. I didn’t say shit to them, all I said was I wanted my lawyer. She showed up a couple of hours later, and we were having a nice talk. She told me she would be representing me, to keep my mouth shut, and the Club would take care of my family while I was inside.
Then this agent walks in, tells us I’m free to go and thanks me for the cooperation. Fifteen minutes later, and I’m standing on the sidewalk wondering why, and she's on her phone letting the Club know I'm a rat.
I thought about my options. I could go straight to the Clubhouse, talk to the President, and tell them the truth. I don’t know why the Agent said that, and I’m not the snitch. They’d listen, believe everything I said, and I’d go on as the Vice President.
The chances of that happening were somewhere between zero and none. They’d beat the shit out of me, then bring my family in. My wife and two sons would be tortured and killed in front of me, then they would make an example of me. If the cops said that I gave them the information, they wouldn’t dispute it.
The other option was to run. It wouldn’t be easy; I didn’t have a lot of cash, and I had a record. Maybe Jordanna’s family could help. All we needed was a safe place to hide out for a few days until I could figure things out.
I called home, and Jordanna answered. “Carlos, what the hell is going on?”
“Baby, just listen. Pack up the kids and whatever else you need out of the apartment, and be ready to go in fifteen minutes. We’ve got to run.”
“What? What the fuck did you do, Carlos?”
“I’ll explain later. PLEASE, just do it. I’ll be there soon.” I hung up as the Uber ride showed up. When I arrived home, my two-year-old was crying as Jordanna was strapping him into the carseat of our minivan. “I’ll be right back,” I said.
Going to my bedroom, I opened the safe and took out two pistols and ammunition, along with the cash I had and our important papers. I tossed them in a suitcase, stuffing it with clothes. Two minutes after I arrived home, I was running back out to the minivan. Jordanna was standing next to the passenger door, just staring at me. “Come on, let’s go,” I said as I tossed my bag behind her seat.
“You’re not going anywhere but hell, Carlos,” a man’s voice said from behind me. I turned around, recognizing our President’s face before the Taser took my legs out. “But first, we’re going to have a little talk.”