A decorated war hero turned jaded enforcer for a ruthless outlaw motorcycle club, Austin Conrad is a man with a checkered past and a conflicted conscience. Now, the honor he once had is jolted back to the surface with a devastating discovery about the club that was his home, and the men he called his brothers. Can this hardened criminal look the other way, or will honor drive a wedge between him and the brotherhood that embraced him?
Ride into the gritty, criminal underworld that runs beneath the surface of Southern California’s glamorous facade. A fast-paced novella, Blood Brothers is the gripping introduction to Dusty Sharp’s action-packed Austin Conrad thriller series. Download it today and find out why readers are hailing Austin Conrad as “Jack Reacher meets Sons of Anarchy!”
Warning: contains violence, profanity and irreverence, in equal measure.
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The 601 Posse was a small, tight-knit group of Rattlers close to the president—they were all hand-picked by him. 601 stood for “six feet under, zero witnesses, one problem solved.” It was sort of the club’s elite group of problem solvers. Only a few men were part of it—the rank and file of the club didn’t even know what the 601 patches meant that a few of the guys wore.
Tillman had created it shortly after he became president back in the 80’s. My old man must have been one, there’s a 601 patch on his old vest that still hangs in the closet of my Riverside house. But there were only five current members that I could think of. Tillman, of course. And Sunny. A wild-eyed ex-con named Travis Bishop. And olive-skinned Tony Battaglia, who everyone called The Wop. He seemed to embrace the racial slur. That’s four.
I looked down at the 601 patch sewn to the left breast of my own vest. Yeah, I was also a member.
Tillman had selected me for the Posse a few years after I earned my Rattlers patches. I’d done a few things for the club by then. Things I ain’t proud of, that I’d rather not talk about right now. Maybe another time. But let’s just say my military training came in handy, and I’d started to earn my reputation as someone who could Get Shit Done.
“It’s your destiny,” Tillman told me the day he came over to the house with a bottle of Beam and that god damned patch. We sat on my porch and drank that bottle of bourbon while he told me how much he had loved my old man, and how broken up he had been over his death. “Wayne was taken too soon,” he’d said, and went on to tell me how I could continue his legacy in the club. 601 was just a tough name he’d given to his hand-picked group of fixers. “Task-masters,” he’d called them. Brothers who could be trusted with the club’s biggest secrets, take on the most important tasks, keep everyone in line.
When we were both drunk on Jim Beam, Tillman had pulled out his knife and led me through his little initiation ceremony. He made a shallow cut on each of our right palms until the blood ran, and then he grabbed my palm in his and cupped the back of my neck with his other hand, pulling my face toward his like two lovers. He looked at me with his bloodshot eyes, the liquor strong on his breath, and slurred the words as he said “all Rattlers are brothers, son. But the 601 are blood brothers.”
I’ve worn that fucking patch every day since.
Of course I strutted around like the cock of the walk after that, thinking my shit smelled just a bit sweeter than most. Nobody in the Posse talked about it to the rank and file—that was part of our creed. If anyone ever asked what the “601” patch stood for we were just supposed to say it was sort of like a merit badge the boss had given a few of us for loyalty, favors and such. But our real purpose was as serious as a heart attack. “Fixing” problems meant simply removing them. And yeah, I took part in it, enthusiastically at first. I was actually a star member, of sorts. Better at the job than most. I was proficient and reliable. And it provided an outlet for the angst I’d carried with me out of the Army and hadn’t been able to shake in the few years since. In a way, operating as 601 wasn’t much different than what I’d been doing for Uncle Sam. Stalking a target through the streets of San Bernardino or the mountains around Big Bear wasn’t so different from doing the same thing in Kabul or the high country of the Hindu Kush. A target was a target.
Besides, anyone who ever came into our sights was “in the life.” When you’re a crook, running afoul of another crook is just part of doing business.
But over the years the group sort of morphed from the Rattler’s secret band of problem solvers, into Tillman’s personal hit squad. More and more we were being used to settle his own scores, to carry out his own projects. That’s what started opening my eyes to Tillman, the Rattlers, the whole damned mess. It didn’t come to me as quickly and profoundly as the “awakening” I’d had in that cave in Tora Bora. It took longer to fester, this time. But in the end, it smelled the same. The rot of corruption and abused authority.
My finger still hovered over the “enter” key. The cursor on the screen blinked after the letters “601posse”. Yeah, that was it. It had to be.
I pressed the key.