Los Angeles, 1994
“PROSPECT! Get your ass in here!”
I ran inside the clubhouse from the garbage cans where I had been dumping the trash from tonight’s party. As a biker club prospect, I was a slave to any patched member. Clean your room? Yes, sir. Gas up your bike? Right away. Drive your slut home after you’ve gotten her drunk and fucked her half the night? Just find her address. I’d been doing this for five months now, ever since I got out of lockout for fleeing police, resisting arrest and possession of an unlicensed handgun.
Tonight’s party had been a blowout. The Satan’s Riders were a small club, just three chapters in the LA area. Our Chapter President, Switchblade, had finally given in and married his long-time girlfriend two weeks ago, and now was back after his honeymoon. The party involved most of the three chapters, and the eight other Prospects and I had been run ragged. Bartending, cooking, cleanup and errands, none of us had gotten rest, gotten drunk or gotten laid.
Parties were MUCH more fun as a Patched Member.
I entered the clubhouse through the back door by the kitchen. Smoke was waiting for me inside. He was my sponsor for Club membership and was directly responsible for everything I did. “You’re wanted in the conference room, Drew.”
“What’s going on?”
He laughed uneasily. “You think the fucking Presidents check with me first? They say to get my Prospect I get my fucking Prospect. Now follow me.” We walked out of the kitchen and into the office area in the back. The conference room where Church was held had a huge Satan’s Riders emblem on the steel reinforced door. He knocked and was told to come in.
Switchblade sat imperially at the end of the table, the two other Chapter Presidents at each side. The Vice Presidents and Master-at-Arms of each Chapter were sitting along each side. “Prospect Andrew Killian here for you, sir.”
Nobody said anything for a long time, and Smoke was starting to get nervous. I didn’t care, I’d stood at attention for hours at a time, I would wait until I was told to do something. Blaster, our Master-At-Arms and the man responsible for Club security and discipline, got up and walked up to Smoke. Before he could react, Blaster had him face-down with a Glock to the back of his head. “What’s the Club rule for bringing in a prospect, Smoke,” he said in his low voice.
“You’re responsible for them,” Smoke said. “Drew is solid, I wouldn’t have vouched for him otherwise.”
Switchblade stood up, his bald head and three-hundred-pound body dominating the room. “That’s too bad, Smoke, because your Prospect is a fucking Cop.”
My stomach fell, but I didn’t move. Smoke figured out he was about to end up dead from lead poisoning and pissed himself. I watched as the other two Masters-at-Arms got up and walked behind me, each grabbing an arm. “May I speak, sir.”
Switchblade pulled his namesake weapon out of his back pocket, the six-inch blade snapping into place. “You’ll fucking sing by the time I’m done with you, boy. I’ll give you ONE chance. Admit you’re a cop, tell me what they know about us, and I’ll let you live.”
“I’m not a fucking COP. Anyone who says so is lying, and I’ll kill the fuckers myself if I find out who.” I felt my cut being pulled from my shoulders and tossed aside. I didn’t struggle, it was pointless. A metal chair was put behind me and I was roughly pulled down and my arms handcuffed together through the back. “You’re wasting your time, and you’re making a mistake.”
Switchblade took his knife and grabbed my shirt at the collar, slicing it cleanly to the base. The men pulled the shirt off, then took my boots and jeans. I rolled commando style, so I sat naked in front of him. They pulled me forward until my junk was at the edge, then tied my thighs apart and my ankles to the back of the chair. I had a bad feeling there was a reason I was feeling the breeze on the boys. “I don’t make mistakes. I’m going to ask some questions, and if I don’t like the answer, you’re going to lose something important to you.”
“I’m not a cop,” I said as I watched the tip of the blade.
“You don’t think we run a background check on Prospects? You were a fucking Officer in the Marines Corps. I don’t trust OFFICERS.”
“You knew that from when I started prospecting, from my fucking tattoos. And you know I got kicked out of the Marine Corps for drugs and assault. Yeah, I resigned and took an administrative discharge, but it was only because I wasn’t holding enough THAT day to make a felony charge.”
He started to trace around my Marine emblem, the knife leaving a trail of blood. I didn’t move. “We talked to a man in your unit. He said you were a fucking boy scout. Brave, but clean. Said he didn’t believe it when you got busted out for drugs.”
“I was smuggling drugs back from Afghanistan and selling them. You’re damn right he didn’t catch on, I was good at what I did.” I looked at the other men. “You guys aren’t thinking. When the fuck was I becoming a COP when I went right from the Marines to hanging out with you? And what cop is going to do seven fucking months inside for you? Jesus, if you think I’m a cop just kill me now or let me walk because you’re just pissing me off with this shit.”
The Presidents talked together, then nodded. The VP brought over some coke on a hand mirror and a rolled-up dollar bill. “Cops can’t do drugs,“ he said.
“I told you I’m not a fucking cop. Make the lines.” He used a razor blade to form them, then put the bill in my nose. I sucked those lines up like the drug user I was supposed to be. “FUCK yeah. That’s good shit.”
Blaster pulled Smoke to his feet and let him go. “Take a fucking shower and change your clothes, brother.”
“We had to know before we gave him this.” I felt my hands being unlocked and my legs were cut free, then a cut with a patch was put around my shoulders. “Welcome to Satan’s Riders, Bulldog.”
“You damn near gave me a heart attack,” I said as I pulled my jeans back on. I was embraced by all the men in the room as they welcomed me to their Club. When we walked out together, the Club erupted in applause and shots were lined up on the bar. I drank, fucked and partied my ass off that night.
I was Patched.
Six months later, my position in the club secure, I joined the Drug Enforcement Agency, backdated to when I left the Marines.
Nurse Wendy Cross’ POV
Orlando General Hospital
“Time for two o’clock meds,” I said to Denise. “Back in a bit.” I got the medicine cart and logged into the computer before pushing it down the hall. I stopped when I saw the cop outside Harleigh Ryder’s room passed out, his arms hanging low, a coffee cup on the ground with some leaking out. “Shit,” I said to myself. I left the cart and ran over. He was not breathing, and I couldn’t feel a pulse. “DENISE, CODE BLUE 587,” I yelled.
I pulled him out of the chair, laying him on the ground. I ripped his shirt open, cursing because he was wearing a vest underneath. I tore at the Velcro straps and pulled it off his head before starting CPR. “CODE BLUE, ROOM 587.CODE BLUE, ROOM 587,” the public address system announced. I focused on my compressions, counting them out loud as Denise came to my side with the crash cart.
She cut his undershirt away, then started attaching electrode pads. She had the heart monitor powered up and it was ready to scan as I was passing count twenty-six of the second set. “Stop compressions for analysis.” I knelt back, letting the machine do its work as the hallway started to fill with people. “Analysis complete. Shocking, stand clear,” the machine said.
“CLEAR!” Denise pressed the button and the officer twitched when the electricity flowed through his chest. “Normal rhythm,” she said with a smile.
“Load him up and let’s get him downstairs,” the cardiologist said. A gurney was brought alongside, the portable monitor placed by his legs. The team wheeled him away to the elevator.
I looked over at Denise, relief on my face. “What the hell,” I said.
“I need to call the police and let them know, you stay with Miss Ryder,” she said.
I just nodded, picking up the cup and tossing it in the trash as I walked through the door. I looked for Three Tequila, she wasn’t in the chair and the bathroom was empty. She must have gone home, but she or her husband were ALWAYS here. Looking around, Harleigh was sleeping soundly, her vitals slow and steady. I looked over at the IV machine and frowned; the bag was half full, but the infusion pump was off. I turned it on and started it, only to find the tube was not connected to the patient. Thinking she pulled it out, I uncovered her hand and screamed.
It wasn’t Harleigh, it was Three Tequila.
It took me a few moments to catch my thoughts. Moving over to the phone, I called Hospital Security. “This is Nurse Cross in room five eighty-seven. Our patient, Harleigh Ryder, has been taken. I need police here immediately.”
“Taken? What do you mean taken?”
“They knocked out the guard and kidnapped her, you idiot! Now get the police here!” I slammed the phone down.
“Wendy?” Denise looked in from the door. “What’s going on?”
“Help me with her,” I said. I rolled Tequila onto her back; her vitals were still good along with her color. Checking her over, I found the bruised injection site in her neck. “She’s been sedated,” I said.
“I’ll call it in, we should get her down to Emergency for a tox screen.” She made a call downstairs; they would send a gurney up for her.
“What a night,” I told Denise five minutes later as we watched her being taken down in the elevator. “I still have to do two o’clock meds,” I said as I turned back towards our station.
“Never a dull moment on night shift,” she said with a laugh. The elevator door opened, and her eyes got wide. “I’ll take the drug cart. You need to talk to them.” I looked back, there were two uniforms and a detective coming. “I’ll call the husband.”
“I think I’d rather deal with the bikers right now,” I said. It was a long interview.
My phone woke me up. Groaning, I reached out a hand and grabbed it off the night table. I’d crashed in my small room at the Club after going to Sean’s house, and I’d only slept for an hour. “Yeah,” I said sleepily.
“Sir, it’s Nurse Denise at the hospital. There’s been an incident, you need to come immediately.”
I was awake instantly. “What? Is Harleigh all right?”
“I don’t know. Harleigh’s gone.” My heart dropped through the floor. “Someone took her and drugged your wife, leaving her in the bed. The police officer was drugged too.” I couldn’t say anything for a moment. “You need to be here. Your wife has been taken down to the emergency room.”
“I’ll be right there.” Jumping out of bed, I pulled on my jeans, boots and cut and was out the door in thirty seconds. I moved into the bar area like my hair was on fire. “Someone took Harleigh from the hospital and drugged Three Tequila,” I said as I strode through and out the door.
A dozen guys were up and following me by the time I got to my ride. Firing it up, I yelled at the Prospect manning the gate to open it. I was through as soon as there was room, the rest following me.
They’d hurt my wife and kidnapped my niece. These fuckers were going to pay.