Beyond the Badge: Finn
When an undercover assignment ends up literally under the covers…
As part of the Tri-State Federal Task Force, Daniel Finnegan, road captain for the Blue Avengers MC, is investigating the Deadly Demons, an MC trafficking drugs into Pennsylvania. When he reluctantly goes undercover as a dancer with an all-male revue at a club recently purchased by the outlaw bikers, he comes face to face with Melina Jensen.
As manager of The Peach Pit, Mel could be an important asset for the drug task force with her unfettered access behind the scenes. Unhappy with the way the Demons are destroying the business, it doesn’t take much for Finn to convince Mel to work with him as a confidential informant. Even though becoming a CI for the task force isn’t without risk, Mel’s willing to help in any way she can.
To give Finn better access to The Peach Pit and the illegal dealings without raising any red flags with the MC, they start to “date.” Only, what starts out as a fake relationship ends up being anything but. Until eventually, neither can no longer dance around the truth.
However, once Mel’s safety is threatened, it’s up to Finn to find a way to protect her without blowing the entire investigation.
Note: Beyond the Badge: Finn is the second book in the Blue Avengers MC series. It’s HIGHLY recommended to read this six-book action/adventure series in order due to the continuing story arcs (subplots). However, each book focuses on a different couple who gets their HEA. This series has no cheating or relationship cliffhangers.
Release date: February 4, 2023
Publisher: Double-J Romance, Inc.
* BingeBooks earns revenue from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate as well as from other retail partners.
Beyond the Badge: Finn
Jeanne St. James
“What the fuck!” Finn screamed at the ninety-six inch TV. “That was clearly holding! You refs are fucking blind!”
“Jesus, dude, you’re going to stroke out,” Monty warned as she bumped his leg with her knee.
He lifted his legs out of the way, but only enough to allow her to squeeze by on her way to the other couch. “Seriously, you couldn’t go around?” He dropped his boots back onto the scarred and battered coffee table.
“I could’ve. But I didn’t.” The twenty-six year old prison guard sank down onto the empty couch to his left, cracked open a can of IC Light and took a long swig.
Three large couches were set up in a U and he was sprawled out on the center one so he could see the Pittsburgh Steelers game perfectly. This afternoon they were playing the Baltimore Ravens and he hoped his team gave their rivals a bad spanking.
Finn wrinkled his nose at the beer she was drinking. “There’s better beer in the fridge.”
Danielle Montgomery rolled her green eyes. “If I wanted another brand, I would’ve grabbed another brand, genius.”
“I wonder about you sometimes,” Finn informed the only female member of the Blue Avengers MC.
“Well, I wonder about you all the fucking time.”
Finn pointed the top of his beer bottle at her. “Do men like that short hair of yours?”
Her dark hair was kept pretty damn short, but then keeping it that short helped prevent the max security inmates from grabbing a handful and wrenching her around by her hair.
“Do men like that short hair of yours?” she echoed.
Finn grinned and flapped his eyelashes. “I do get my fair amount of the male gaze.”
Monty almost choked on her crap beer. She pounded her chest and coughed. When she could talk again, she said, “I heard gingers are spicy.”
“I’m super spicy. Do you want a taste?”
“Eww. No. You’re an asshole. I don’t like spicy asshole.”
“To know that means you’ve tasted one.”
“I do get my fair share of the male gaze,” she echoed him.
“Do they tend to wear orange jumpsuits and identify as an inmate?”
She grabbed the pillow tucked in the corner of the couch and whipped it at him.
He laughed and ducked. Snagging it from where it landed on the couch next to him, he tucked it behind his head. “Thanks. I’ve wanted that pillow for the past fifteen minutes but was too lazy to get up and grab it.”
Monty shook her head.
“Can you two shut the fuck up? I’m trying to watch the game,” Nox bitched from the couch on the right side of the large U.
“That’s right, we’re crashing in Nox’s living room right now since he’s made himself at home here,” Decker said as he joined them, dropping on the couch next to Nox and throwing a beefy arm over the man’s shoulder.
With a scowl, Nox shrugged it off. “If you need to cuddle, go do it with Monty.”
Decker glanced across the TV area and asked, “Monty?”
“Don’t even try it,” she warned.
Nox finally sold the home where he and his late wife had lived. Since that house held too many memories for him, a deal had been struck that after the closing, he’d take the equity and use it to finish the second floor of The Plant as an apartment. This way he could live upstairs at the clubhouse, something he’d already been doing anyhow. However, he was still in the middle of working on his new digs.
The floors were now refinished, the plumbing and bathroom fixtures installed, the walls and trim painted, and the primary bedroom framed out. Eventually Nox would build a second bedroom, but that would be the last thing on his long to-do list. A kitchen was his next priority.
He was still sleeping on a damn cot up there. But at least he moved it from the third floor—since that was now home to the Tri-State Federal Drug Task Force—to the second floor, where he had more privacy.
Since the apartment wasn’t completely habitable yet, he was using the first floor of the Blue Avengers’ church as his living room and kitchen until appliances were installed and his place was furnished, since he ended up donating all the furniture he’d owned with his late wife.
“What’s going on, fuckers?” Antonio Alvarez called out, appearing from the back hallway.
“You’re missing the game,” Finn informed their club’s sergeant at arms.
Rez shook his dark head. “I was listening to it on the radio on my ride over. I’m not sure I want to watch this slaughter.” Keeping his eyes glued to the game on the huge TV, he stepped behind the curved counter in the back corner of the common area and grabbed a cold beer from the fridge. “Fucking dirty birds!”
A grumble went up from all of them at the nickname they called the opposing team.
“What do you expect? They’re always tough to beat,” Axel Jamison said, also coming from the rear of the building since they only used the rear or side door to come and go from The Plant, their club’s church.
“Did you just get off shift?” Monty asked the BAMC president.
“Yes, unfortunately. I came straight over.”
“Where’s Bella?” Monty asked about his wife. “With the kids?”
“No. She’s doing something with the Dirty Angels sisterhood. I think they’re all planning some fundraiser for Ellie Walker’s foundation.”
The Walker Foundation was a worthy one. It had been created to provide prosthetic care for amputees who couldn’t afford it, since her husband was a vet who’d lost his lower leg while serving.
“Who’s got the twins?” Rez asked.
“My parents. My dad’s dropping them off here soon,” Axel said, joining them over by the TV.
With beer in hand, Rez shouted, “What the fuck!” at the TV when he came over to stand at the end of the couch where Finn had his ass planted.
Finn flung a hand toward the big screen and bitched, “Right? They’re playing like shit. They might as well just forfeit this fucking game and go home.”
“Don’t count them out yet,” Nox grumbled.
“There is no way they’re pulling off a W with this shit show,” Finn told him.
“Where’s Fletch when we need him?” Rez asked. “He probably didn’t do his ridiculous pregame routine.” He twisted his face and flapped his arms around, almost spilling his beer as he emulated Fletch that time they caught him doing his superstitious ritual. Now the state trooper only did it where no one could see him.
“Guess it’s not so ridiculous if you think it helps,” Monty huffed and shook her head.
Finn grabbed his phone from the cushion next to him. He texted their VP.
Hey, asshole! Did you do your Steeler’s pregame ritual? If not, you better do it. They’re playing like they belong in the Pee Wee League!
The reply came within thirty seconds. Like I’m going to fucking tell you that. I don’t want to be blamed for this embarrassing loss.
Finn quickly texted back, Too late. Your fault. You didn’t do it because you’re embarrassed to look like an idiot in front of the FBI.
You mean Nova, you dumb fuck?
Fletch’s response had Finn growling as he tossed his phone back onto the couch and shouted, “Don’t fucking run it! Pass it! Pass! Pass! Nooooooo!”
“Yo, arm-chair coach, you’re going to burst a blood vessel and I don’t want to have to replace you on the task force,” Crew yelled as he emerged from the room where their executive committee met.
“Were you upstairs?” Axel asked him.
“Yeah, I was checking to see who’s up there already since we have a task force meeting.”
“And?” Decker asked.
Crew answered, “Powers is up there transcribing some calls and Torres is listening to some dirty talk.”
“Dirty talk?” Monty asked, her dark eyebrows raised. “I should’ve become a cop. That sounds like fun.”
“He’s listening in on wiretaps. It can be boring as fuck. In fact, ninety-nine percent of the time it’s a snooze fest.”
“Transcribing those fucking calls are even worse,” Nox mumbled.
“We’re all taking turns doing it,” Crew said. “Because, yes, it fucking sucks.”
“Anyone else up there?” Rez asked.
“Not yet. Reynolds, Butler and Rodgers can’t make it. Kruger and Mullins will be here after the game.”
“Yeah, that was dumb to schedule a meeting on a Sunday,” Finn told the task force leader.
“It was actually smart.” Crew tapped his finger against his temple. “How many of us are already here on Sunday? If not for a club run, then for football?”
Finn couldn’t argue that point, so he didn’t. Instead, he downed the rest of his beer and watched the next play.
And of course the Steelers got a penalty! When he whipped his empty beer can, it pinged off the TV, leaving some splatter behind.
“Hey!” Monty yelled at him.
“What the fuck are you doing?” Nox asked.
Jamison shook his head. “You want to replace that monster out of your own pocket?”
“This season is fucked!” Finn yelled in frustration.
“It’s only the first game of the regular season. You know it takes them a bit to get their shit together,” Crew reminded him.
“Yeah,” Decker agreed. “They’re always better the second half of the game and the second half of the season. It’s the Steelers way.”
It sure seemed to be. They always spiked his blood pressure.
“Aww shit. Better straighten your asses up,” Rez announced. “The old guard just walked in.”
“That means little ears are in the building,” Jamison reminded them.
“They’re almost twelve, Jamison. And they’re around bikers all the time, especially since you live in a neighborhood full of them. You don’t think they hear worse shit than what we say?” Decker asked.
“But you all are supposed to be upstanding citizens,” their president reminded them with a completely straight face.
Not one person in that room didn’t laugh.
Even Mitch Jamison chuckled as he escorted his grandchildren into the common area. “I wish it was different, but it isn’t. They might hear it but that doesn’t mean they can repeat it until after they’re eighteen. It’s the Jamison family law.”
“Eighteen? Good luck with that,” Nox grumbled.
“Hi, Dad!” Laney ran up to her father and practically tackled him. “How was work?”
Jamison wrapped his arms around his twelve-year-old daughter, squeezed her tight and planted a kiss on the top of her head. When he straightened, he smiled down at her. “Work.”
She giggled and pulled free, then fist-bumped Crew on her way over to throw herself on the couch next to Monty, grabbing the potato chips from the table and shoving her hand deep into the open bag.
Hell, those chips were probably stale. Finn had no idea how long they’d been sitting out on the table with the bag gaping open. Around there it could be weeks.
“Grandpa was yelling at the radio on our way over here,” Laney stage-whispered to Monty, then pulled out a fistful of greasy BBQ chips and shoved them into her wide-open mouth, orange crumbs falling all over her shirt and clinging to her lips.
“I’m not surprised,” Monty stage-whispered back, giving her a wink.
“Liam, are you going to come give your old man a hug hello?” Jamison asked his son.
“I’m too old for hugs, Dad.” Liam plopped down on the couch next to Nox and rested the soles of his sneakers on the edge of the coffee table. “Can I have a beer?”
“Absolutely. Grandpa will get one for you. Right, Pop?” Jamison asked his father, Mitch.
“Sure! Maybe there’s some root beer left in the fridge. Liam, go check. I’m sure your sister wants one.”
“Then she can get one herself,” Jamison’s son mumbled.
“And you can take your feet off the furniture,” Mitch told him.
“Finn has his boots on the table.”
“That’s because he’s rude. Don’t be rude like this a—” Rez caught himself in time. “Animal.” He came around the front of the couch and kicked Finn’s feet off the table.
Finn shot Rez a silent I’ll-get-you-back-later promise, planted his feet on the floor and sat up.
“All right. I’m out of here,” Mitch announced.
“Bye, Grandpa!” Laney shouted.
“See you kids later.” Mitch glanced around the common area and added, “All of you children.”
Jamison’s old man disappeared back the way he came from, shaking his head as they all shouted, “Bye, Grandpa!” in unison.
“He needs to dust off his bike and come along on our next run with us. It’s been a while. I’m sure he misses it,” Crew said to Jamison.
“Mom made him sell it.”
“What the fu— freak?” Decker shouted.
“Grandma said he’s getting too old and brittle and he needs to be careful now and not die. ‘Cause if he dies, then he can’t help her with the grandkids,” Liam announced with his nose buried in his cell phone.
“That’s not how she said it,” Jamison said with a sigh.
“That’s what I heard.”
“He’s getting older and she doesn’t want him getting injured, that’s all.”
Laney added, “She also said she doesn’t want him cracking open his noggin even though it might knock some sense into him.”
“That I believe.”
Liam raised his eyes from his phone. “See? I don’t lie, Dad.”
“That I don’t believe,” Jamison said dryly.
“Mom said small fibs are okay,” Laney said.
“I think you both need your ears cleaned out.”
“You sure these two are your kids, Jamison, and not Finn’s?” Monty asked with a laugh and tucking a long red strand of Laney’s hair behind her ear. Both of the twins had hair close to the same red as Finn’s, so it was an ongoing joke. Just like Finn always busted Monty on her short hair.
He pitied the teasing the twins probably encountered at school since he’d gone through a shitload about his own red hair and freckles when he was younger. Now he took it in stride. Even when his MC brothers called him Heat Miser or one of the many other nicknames they came up with.
“Mom didn’t have sex with Finn,” Laney announced with a serious tone. “I asked her.”
“You did what? When?” Jamison asked, his expression a bit shell-shocked.
Laney shrugged. “A million years ago. She said we take after Aunt Ivy.”
“And that’s true.”
Finn grinned at Laney. “I mean, you could be mine. But we’ll pretend you’re not so I don’t have to pay the same crazy amount of child support like Crew pays for his kids.”
“I don’t mind paying for anything my children need. I do mind paying for my ex’s lifestyle.”
“Yeah, but you pay a ton,” Finn said.
“Kids cost a lot,” Decker mentioned. He would know since he was raising his four-year-old niece, Valerie.
“They’re worth every damn penny. Now, the ex on the other hand…” Crew let that drop since children were in the room.
“Exes are exes for a reason,” Finn stated.
Crew came behind the couch where Finn was sitting and shoved him in the back of the head. “Phew, the sage wisdom coming from that pea-brain of yours.”
Nox groaned loudly. “Can we watch the d— darn game in peace?”
“Yeah, you all are really annoying,” Liam said. “It’s hard to concentrate on the game.”
Finn dropped his head and covered his mouth with his hand so the kid couldn’t see him smirking.
Jamison moved behind his son and plucked the cell phone from his fingers. “Now you’ll have no problem concentrating.”
“Dad!” Liam reached up to grab it back but his father moved out of reach.
“I’ll hold onto this for a while. You’ll get it back when I think you deserve it back.”
Jamison shrugged. “Do you want to go home, or do you want to hang out here for the game?”
Liam huffed sharply, crossed his arms over his chest, and slouched down.
Damn, the kid was now looking more like Nox’s son.
“I thought so.” Axel went and sat with Monty and Laney. “Okay, who wants to make bets to see if the Steelers can turn this damn game around.”
“I’m telling Grandpa you said damn in front of us,” Liam threatened.
“He’s heard me say worse to his face.”
“You have?” Laney breathed with her eyes wide. “When?”
“That’s a story for when you’re older.”
Unfortunately, the Steelers did not turn the game around. It was a hard and depressing loss and Finn was currently drowning his sorrows with a cold Yuengling Lager.
Jamison and his kids had left a while ago. Monty a half hour ago. And the only people left at church were his BAMC brothers also working on the federal task force.
Crew’s salt-and-pepper head popped out from the club’s meeting room doorway. “Yo, assholes! Task force meeting. Upstairs. Now.”
“Everybody else here?” Decker asked as he and Rez played a game of foosball.
“Yeah, waiting on you turds.”
“Where’s Nox?” Finn asked.
“Doing something up in his place. I’ll grab him on the way.” Crew’s head disappeared and Finn heard the side door slam a few seconds later.
“Duty calls, boys,” Finn announced, downing the rest of the beer and tossing the empty into the recycle bin.
Once they got upstairs, Decker, Finn and Rez settled into empty seats around the long conference table. Like normal, as task force leader, Crew sat at the head of the table. They were joined by Torres, Kruger, Mullins, Powers and Nox. Nine out of the fifteen-member task force team.
It was rare that all of them were able to gather for a meeting, especially if someone was undercover, like Fletch and Nova, or doing surveillance.
“All right,” Crew started, his gaze scanning the occupants of the table. “Since Fletch and Wilder are still deep undercover, I have them on a conference call along with Butler and Reynolds. I’ve been meaning to have this meeting to give you the latest updates on the investigation. I met with leaders of the two other groups and this is what we know so far between the wiretaps, the UCs and the surveillance, so pay attention.
“We have three major players involved with this trafficking. That we know of, anyway. A Mexican cartel as the supplier, the Deadly Demons MC as the transporter and La Cosa Nostra as the distributor. More specifically, the Russo crime family out of Pittsburgh. That’s the organization funding the whole operation.
“Here’s what we’ve learned so far, some info confirmed, some not. Russos are buying five kilos of ‘ice’ a month from a cartel. The DEA in Texas is working on discovering which cartel, but if any of you get wind of who that is, get that info to me ASAP. Of course, they’re using code and haven’t mentioned the names of the players in any of the wiretaps so far. The Demons are calling the supplier Los Malos MC. We know for a fact Los Malos MC, or even a cartel by that name, doesn’t exist. They’re only using it to throw off anyone listening.”
“Sounds like they may be smarter than we thought,” Decker said.
“Maybe,” Torres said. The DEA agent and “plant manager” sat to Crew’s left. “But we’ll figure it out eventually. With all the wiretaps between the three groups, not one has slipped and actually named the Russos or the cartel... yet.”
Crew picked up again there. “Whether they’re smart enough is questionable. They can’t even figure out when they’re being tailed. That’s how we discovered where the majority of that meth was landing. The pipeline breaks down like this… The Demons have a member who’s a long-haul trucker and they’re using his rig to transport the bricks of meth for the Russos. Side note: even though the rig’s in this biker’s name, we think the MC paid cash for it. Group one slapped a tracking device on the rig and are setting up more surveillance to notify the DEA in Houston when it’s on the move so they can try to identify the cartel. But since they tagged the rig, it hasn’t gone anywhere near the border. What we assume is, once a month the Demons are transporting it from the southern border into West Virginia by mixing it in with legitimate loads of cilantro so it goes undetected.
“Once the load shows up, the MC takes one kilo as payment. By taking it in that method, they’re making more money than being paid outright in cash because of how they’re cutting it up and selling it on the streets. Then the Demons are using various methods to deliver the remaining four kilos to one of the Russo lieutenants. From what we can tell, the Russos are paying twelve thousand per kilo wholesale. The second it hits Pennsylvania, that value doubles.”
“That’s a hell of an investment,” Finn muttered.
“Exactly. But remember, that’s only the uncut value. We can safely assume the Russos are then turning around, breaking it down into half and quarter kilos and selling them to street-level dealers. Those dealers then break it down even further by cutting it with filler. Our guess is the Russos are making about two hundred and forty grand when they sell it to the low-level dealers. That’s a hell of a return on their original investment of twelve K.”
FBI Special Agent Nova Wilder’s voice came from the speaker phone sitting in the middle of the table. “And why they most likely got involved in this business venture.”
“You didn’t catch wind of any of this shit while you were undercover with the Russos?” Finn asked her.
“No. There could’ve been some low-level dealing but my guess is once Frankie, the former underboss, took over, he decided to expand on that. I do know his father wanted to stay out of the drug business. But now with Frank Sr. out of the way, Junior is now boss. This has to be a new venture for them. If they were moving this amount, I can’t imagine I wouldn’t have gotten even a slight whiff of it.”
“Agreed,” Crew said. “This flow of meth only recently hit the DEA’s radar, spurring them to establish this task force to squash it. Fletch, you want to add anything from your end, since you’re dealing directly with the Demons’ Uniontown chapter?”
Shane Fletcher, a state trooper currently undercover with the Dirty Angels MC spoke next. “The Demons are breaking down their kilo by cutting it with cheap baking soda. They’re then distributing it to key players within their MC. Those key players have ‘teams’ of fellow MC brothers to sell it on the street, in bars, at bike rallies, wherever. Our contact right now is really limited to Wolf and his crew, but we’re working on getting in tighter with him.”
Crew picked up from there. “Because of this organized effort, the data shows that their club is the fastest growing outlaw MC in the country right now. This all stems back to this hookup with the Russos. Overflowing coffers only makes their MC stronger and is creating a snowball effect by allowing them to expand both sales and territory by adding chapters to their club. But that’s not all. They’re also buying up businesses in PA and Ohio to launder money and expand retail sales. Think backdoor dealing. They’re grabbing locations where their customers tend to hang out, like bars, strip clubs, roach motels, used car lots, pizza shops… shit like that. Places with high traffic. Cash comes in, drugs and washed money goes out.”
Torres cut in again. “While all of this might make them financially stronger, it also makes them weaker. The more people involved in these enterprises, the higher the chances of their house of cards falling down around them. It just takes one pulled card for it all to tumble.”
Crew nodded. “Our three groups are tasked with pulling that card and demolishing that house. But to do it right, we need to take them and the Russos down in a coordinated effort. Especially when it comes time for indictments. It needs to be organized and swift.”
“Squash them like the fucking roaches they are.” Mullins, a narcotic detective with the Pittsburgh PD, slammed his hand on the table like he was doing just that.
“Anyway,” Crew continued, “in the meantime, I have something new we can move on. A few days ago, Rodgers had contact with a CI who bought an ounce out of a strip club right outside of Uniontown. It just so happens The Peach Pit was recently bought by the Demons. Of course that purchase was an immediate red flag. We also heard chatter that they could be using some of the strippers as mules to move product or using them to deal. The info was a bit sketchy on that point. All the CI could tell Rodgers was that he walked in with cash and walked out with an ounce. We need to confirm that’s what’s happening and who’s involved. If it’s true and they’re also using that location to launder cash, that’s another RICO violation, not for the Russos, since they’re racking those up on their own, but for the Demons. The more charges we can pin on them and their members, the better to take the whole organization down. And if we take them down, we can choke the flow of meth into PA. Or at least this particular pipeline.”
“And that’s the reason we’re all sitting around this table. So, now what?” Rez asked.
“I’d like to set someone up in the strip club. Maybe not long-term but at least long enough to confirm and document that the Demons are using The Peach Pit as part of their drug business. Whether by selling from there, laundering money or using the girls as mules. Or even all of the above.”
“You want one of us to go in as a regular?” Decker asked.
“That’s one option I’m tossing around. The other is to have someone work there to get a peek behind the scenes.”
“The only female on the team is Wilder. She’s already undercover with Fletch and the Dirty Angels,” Finn reminded him. “Are you planning on pulling her, or bringing someone new on board?”
Crew shook his head. “I’m not pulling her. I want Fletch and Nova to stay put. While we can’t bring in anyone new because of the budget, I have another idea.”
Wilder’s voice came through the phone. “That’s good, because I would say no to stripping.”
“Yeah, I would nix the idea of Nova stripping, too,” came from Fletch.
Nox groaned. “You’re not using Monty, right? She won’t go for that, either.”
“Not Monty,” Crew confirmed.
“Then who you got in mind for that fucking job?” Finn asked with a smirk.
Crew’s gray eyes landed on him.
The second the task force leader also smirked, Finn knew he was fucked
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