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Set between the third and fourth episodes of season four of the groundbreaking television drama Sons of Anarchy, from the mind of Executive Producer Kurt Sutter...
With half of the club recently released from Stockton State Penitentiary, and the Galindo drug cartel bringing down heat at every turn, the MC already has its hands full. Yet Jax Teller the V.P. of SAMCRO has another problem to deal with. He just learned that his Irish half-sister Trinity has been in the U.S. for months entangled with Russian BRATVA gangsters. Now that she's abruptly gone missing, he's sure the brewing mafia war is connected to her disappearance. Jax heads to Nevada with Chibs and Opie to search for her and seek revenge. Trinity may be half-Irish, but she's also half-Teller and where Teller's go, trouble follows.
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CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN is the award-winning, bestselling author of such novels as Snowblind, The Myth Hunters, The Boys Are Back in Town, The Ferryman, Strangewood, Of Saints and Shadows, and (with Tim Lebbon) The Map of Moments. His original novels have been published in more than fourteen languages in countries around the world.
KURT SUTTER is a writer, director, and producer of television and film.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Jax Teller liked peace and quiet as much as the next guy, but he’d learned the hard way never to trust them. He’d spent his whole life as part of the Sons of Anarchy motorcycle club—first as the son of its founder, then as a member, and now as vice president of its original charter—and he didn’t know any other way to live. Even when the club wasn’t in the midst of trouble, there was usually some brewing.
Just to have something to do, Jax reeled in his line, checked his bait, and then cast it back into the deep, churning river.
“Nothing biting,” he said, just to say something.
Opie Winston sat six feet away, broad back against a rock formation and a beer in his hand. Shortly after they’d come down to the river, Opie had driven a black plastic tube into the soft, damp soil of the riverbank, cast out his line, and slid the handle of his fishing pole into the tube. It wasn’t fishing so much as drinking beer and shooting the occasional glance at the line to see if anything might be tugging at it.
Jax thought he was begging for the fishing pole to get dragged into the river—exactly what would happen if a decent-sized steelhead decided to take the bait—but Opie looked too relaxed for him to bring it up. In truth, the arrival of a thieving steelhead didn’t seem very likely, considering that there had been two nibbles on Opie’s line in nearly three hours and that he had only bothered to reel it in a few times. His focus had been on emptying the cooler of beer they’d lugged down from the cabin.
Jax rose to fetch a fresh beer, doing his share to help lighten the cooler for the return trip. He propped his fishing rod in the crook of his arm to open the beer and took a long gulp.
Opie stretched and rotated his head, and the bones in his neck popped loudly. “Either the fish are getting smarter or they can sense how unmotivated we are,” he said.
“Speak for yourself, Op. I’m motivated.”
“Then you’re doing it wrong,” Opie said. “Fishing’s a state of mind, Jax. It’s Zen. If you wanted to finish the day with something to eat, we should’ve gone hunting like I suggested.”
Jax settled himself at the base of a massive tree whose thick roots had been exposed by decades of erosion. When the river ran low enough for the ground between the roots to dry out, it made the perfect seat.
“Hunting’s too much work,” he said. “We came up here to clear our heads.”
“Then why are you bitching about the fish not biting?”
Jax drained a third of his beer. “Things get quiet, I squirm a little. Need to break the silence.”
He drew back on his fishing pole a bit to see if there was anything dragging on the line, but it moved easily, not even the ghost of a nibble. When he realized Opie hadn’t replied, he turned to find his best friend studying him curiously.
“What?” Jax asked, not bothering to hide the edge in his voice.
“How many days do you think you’d have to be up here before you could stop worrying about all the other shit?”
Jax sipped his beer. “Not sure I can count that high, brother.”
They fell quiet again, only the sounds of the river and the rustle of the wind in the trees to disturb the silence. Opie had suggested the trip the day before, and Jax had surprised himself by agreeing. They’d thrown beer and bait and a single bag of groceries into the back of Opie’s truck and made the drive up to the cabin. The place had been a private retreat for the club since the days of the First Nine, back when Jax’s and Opie’s fathers and guys like Clay Morrow and Lenny the Pimp had been laying the groundwork for what would become SAMCRO—Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original.
As kids, Jax and Opie had run wild in the woods around the cabin, fished and swum in the river, and drunk beers they’d stolen from their dads. John Teller and Piney Winston had made their sons drink those beers until they threw it all up—a biker’s lesson. Sitting in the cradle of those old tree roots and watching the river flow by, Jax felt haunted by those days. They hadn’t come up to the cabin on anything but business in years, and now he struggled with the weight of his responsibilities to Tara, to his sons, and to the club. Coming up here with Opie had seemed like a good idea, and he’d enjoyed just breathing for once, but he could feel hooks set deep in his flesh, dragging him home.
He and half the club had survived months in prison and upheaval in their relationships with the Real IRA and the Russian mafia—the Bratva. Jax had been shivved in Stockton Penitentiary on orders from the Bratva’s chief, Viktor Putlova. SAMCRO had managed to broker a peace with the Russians that lasted long enough for Jax and the other club members who’d been sent up with him to get back on the street. SAMCRO had broken that peace at Opie’s wedding to Lyla. Putlova and his muscle were all dead, and the Sons had struck a new deal with the Mexicans—the Galindo cartel—and bought themselves a moment to breathe.
Jax and Tara had gotten engaged and announced it to the club. All should’ve been right with the world—he told himself this trip to the cabin, a sort of mini bachelor party, was proof of that—but the engagement had only deepened the fault line that splintered Jax himself in two. There was the man he wanted to be, and then there was the man he’d been raised to be. SAMCRO’s business had always been illegal guns and now it included drugs, and he’d promised Tara he had a plan to get himself—and his sons—away from the club and the dangers that came along with it.
He’d promised. And he’d meant it.
Sometimes, though, promises turned to quicksand.
Opie’s line twitched, bobbed, and then bent. Jax called his name, put aside his beer, and pushed himself up from the cradling tree roots, but Opie was already in motion. He’d seemed to be half-dozing a second before, but now he hurtled toward his fishing pole and grabbed hold just as it began to tilt and slide up out of the tube. Jax dropped his own fishing pole into the tube, thinking he might need to help.
“Son of a bitch!” Opie growled, whipping the pole back to set the hook in the mouth of whatever fish had been dumb enough to take bait that had been sitting in the river for three quarters of an hour.
Opie had a few inches and at least thirty pounds on Jax. With his beard and grim eyes, he looked intimidating, like the kind of man who would break a musician’s wrists for playing the wrong song—which he’d actually done.
He looked ridiculous reeling in that fish. Jax couldn’t help laughing.
“Guess you met your match,” he said, trotting back to fetch his beer. He stood on the riverbank and watched Opie dip the fishing pole toward the water and then jerk it back again, reeling quickly each time he did so.
Opie turned to sneer at him, but he couldn’t maintain the anger and started laughing instead. He took a step toward Jax and the fishing line snapped, twanging as it ribboned back toward them like a spiderweb in a breeze.
“Fuck it,” Opie said.He hurled the fishing pole into the river, drew his gun, and fired off half a dozen shots in the general direction of the fish. As the echo of gunfire died away, the two of them stood and stared at the fishing pole as it bobbed along for a few seconds longer and then slid below the current.
“That’s one way to fish,” Jax said with a grin.
Opie turned to gaze downriver, brow furrowed.
Jax wasn’t grinning anymore. “What’s up?”
“That fishing pole was my old man’s.”
Jax glanced at the pole he’d brought down from the cabin. They’d gotten the rods and reels from a dusty closet. Most of them were rusty, and Jax had chosen the one that seemed the least deteriorated. If one of the fishing poles at the cabin had belonged to his own father, John Teller, he wouldn’t have been able to pick it out from the others. But Piney was alive, and he felt bad about the loss.
Half a dozen smart-ass remarks came to mind. Jax gave voice to none of them. Instead, he picked up his own fishing pole and began to reel in the line.
Opie gathered up the empty beer bottles and piled them into the cooler. In an alley back in Charming, they might not have bothered.
“Looks like you needed to get out of Charming more than I did,” Jax said. Opie hefted the cooler. “I’m not the one who just got out of Stockton.”
Jax put on a smile. “I’m fine, Op. Like you said, I’m out. Now I’m engaged, and you’re a newlywed. The club’s put its house in order. Cash is flowing again. Things are good.”
Opie gave a soft laugh, but without a trace of humor.
“That’s what worries me,” he said, and started trudging back up through the woods toward the cabin.
“How does that make sense?” Jax asked, falling in step beside him. “We in some kind of trouble you’re not telling me about?”
Opie smiled grimly. “Trouble’s always on the way, Jax. What worries me is times like this. Times when we don’t know which direction it’s gonna hit us from.”
His words lingered in Jax’s head as the two men reached the cabin and prepared to head back to Charming. It bothered Jax how much Opie’s thoughts about trouble seemed to echo his own, like they were swimming in an ocean of it, just waiting for the next big wave.
Neither of them could have predicted how soon the next wave of trouble would hit or whom they’d find drowning in it.
© 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Bluebush Productions, LLC.
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