“Four fuckin’ days.”
He lifted one eyelid and stared at his giant of a cousin who was filling the doorway of Deacon’s office.
He had his feet kicked up on his desk with his ankles crossed, his arms crossed over his chest and he’d been trying to take a little snooze. He guessed that wasn’t going to happen any time soon. He reluctantly lifted his other eyelid.
Judge apparently had a burr up his ass today.
Deacon just might be that burr.
“Last I checked there are seven days in a week, not four. Learn to count, cuz.”
Judge took a step into the office and shoved Deacon’s feet off his desk. “Four fuckin’ days to do a job that shoulda taken two.”
“Yeah, like normal. By pussy.”
“It was decent pussy.” Otherwise he would’ve been home a day earlier.
“Glad you were havin’ fun while my ass was back here takin’ our business seriously.”
“Hey, I got the job done and the money should be hittin’ our account any day now.”
Judge only grunted.
His cousin and business partner couldn’t argue that because it was true. They were getting a nice little chunk of change for Deacon finding a fugitive out in the boonies of northern Pennsylvania. The skip had been hiding out in a hunting cabin in the woods, where cell phone coverage was sketchy, and the neighbors consisted of mostly white-tail deer, black bear and squirrels. And a few backwoods rednecks.
Despite that, Deacon managed to track down the bail jumper, get him cuffed and deliver him to the nearest police station for the bondsman to come haul his ass back to Jersey.
It actually only took him a day and a half. But Deacon wasn’t bringing up that point right now. Not when he had a scowling giant standing a couple feet away from him.
“What’s up your ass anyway? Is Cassie findin’ herself unsatisfied with your baby carrot cock and forcin’ you to fuck your Fleshlight again?”
“Got nothin’ to do with Cassie.”
“Then, why you bein’ a dick?”
Judge planted his knuckles on Deacon’s desk and leaned over until they were face to face. “’Cause I can.”
“Whatever. Be Mr. Grumpy McGrumpFace all you want. I still wuv you.” He puckered his lips and made kissing sounds at Judge. “You need a hug?”
“Need you to take your fuckin’ job seriously.”
“This ain’t a job, Judge. It’s my business, too.”
“Then fuckin’ act like it!” his cousin bellowed.
Justice, his American Bulldog, got up from lying at Deacon’s feet to come around the desk. He nudged Judge with his nose.
“Jussie don’t like you yellin’, just sayin’.”
“Then stop makin’ me do it.”
Deacon’s cell phone rang and vibrated at the same time. Unknown Number popped up on his screen. He snagged the phone off his desk and put it to his ear. “Deacon Edwards, skip tracer extraordinaire and all around awesome badass.”
He grinned as Judge rolled his green eyes.
“This Justice Bail Bonds?” the male with a heavy accent on the other end asked.
He sat straight up in his chair. “Yeah, it is.”
“This is Anthony Bianchi from Bianchi Bail Bonds…”
“Okay?” Deacon hit the speaker button on his phone and placed his cell on the desk so Judge could listen, too.
“From Philly,” the man finished.
So, that was the accent. Fucking Philly. He hated that city. It was almost like Jersey, but way worse. It was Jersey’s sweaty armpit.
Even so, the guy was acting like they should have heard about Bianchi Bail Bonds. Like they were famous or something.
“Yeah, so…” Deacon prodded.
“Yeah, so got ya numba from anotha bondsman. He said you’re good at trackin’ down these fuckwads when they skip.”
Well, that sounded like a glowing review. His eyes met Judge’s. “Yeah, I’m good.”
“I need betta than good.”
“I’m betta than good,” Deacon repeated with a smirk.
There was a pause on the other end of the call. “You makin’ fun of my accent?”
He nodded while answering, “Nope. So, what d’you need from us?”
“Got a skip that might end up in your area. This guy’s a real piece of work, though. Domestic abuse. Sexual assault. Attempted murder. How tha fucka got bond, who fuckin’ knows. Probably some asshole judge who’s worried about tha man’s reputation ratha than the victim’s right to live without fea.”
Fea? Deacon rolled his eyes. For fuck’s sake, fear.
This dude was worried about victim’s rights? He was making scratch off that “fucka.”
“Also, tha asshole’s got no problem with witness intimidation.”
“So, he’s dangerous,” Deacon concluded.
“That’s what I’m sayin’,” Anthony said. “He’s been in and out of jail, likes to use and abuse women. Sweet talks ‘em for a while, gets in good with ‘em, then boom, runs up their credit cards, wipes out their bank accounts, and’s got no problem thinkin’ he’s a man by makin’ a woman do what she don’t wanna do. I got two sistas, I don’t got time for that kinda trash, hear what I’m sayin’?”
“Yeah, I hear you,” Deacon muttered. He didn’t have time for that kind of trash, either. Jemma might be his cousin, but she was more like a sister to him and he wouldn’t want a man doing that to her. Or any other woman.
“Anyhow, he’s bad fuckin’ news. That means if you take this job and you see ‘im, you gotta watch yourself. Make sure you got protection. I wouldn’t put it past ‘im to take a shot at ya. I wouldn’t put it past him to take out tha woman. Which is why I’m callin’ ya.” The man hacked a couple of times, not bothering to cover the phone when he did so. “Last woman he fucked up and drained dry is now up near you in Mansfield. Probably tryin’ to hide out ‘til the trial. But now the mothefucka’s probably lookin’ for her to either convince her to drop the charges or make her disappea.”
Like swim with the fishes type of disappearing?
“You notify Mansfield PD?” Deacon asked him.
“Yeah, first call I made.”
“They probably don’t have enough people to sit on her full time.”
“That’s why you were my second call.”
Deacon could hear the unspoken “dumbass” on the end of that. “Wouldn’t it be smarter to get her a damn bodyguard?”
“Prolly, but that ain’t my problem. My problem’s findin’ tha fucka and deliverin’ him to the court and gettin’ my fuckin’ money back. I’m a business, not a babysitta. The victim has to look out for her own ass. It was her fault for gettin’ involved with this putz in tha first place.”
So, Bianchi was saying the victim pretty much deserved what she got. Fucking great.
“She the only victim involved in his current case?”
“Yeah. He did a numba on her, and guess she wasn’t gonna take it lyin’ down.”
“Good for her,” Deacon muttered.
“Not so good for her, if this whacko finds her.”
“He got connections? Like, does he have the assets to take out a hit on her?”
“Nah. He’s just a broke-ass losa. Gets his jollies from breakin’ women, physically and financially.”
“So, what are you askin’ me to do?” Deacon asked, scraping a hand down his beard.
“Snag his ass and hold ‘im for me.”
“You sure he’s comin’ up this way?”
“Nope. But if I can find the victim, so can he.”
“She aware he skipped?”
“Don’t fuckin’ know. Again, not my problem. That’s tha DA’s problem.”
The District Attorney for the City and County of Philadelphia probably had way bigger problems and cases than one domestic abuse incident. Their office was most likely overwhelmed.
“So, ya interested?” Bianchi asked.
Deacon met Judge’s eyes. His cousin gave him a slight chin jerk.
“Depends on what it’s payin’,” Deacon said after a few seconds.
“I’ll give ya ten.”
A measly ten percent? Deacon shook his head and laughed. “Then no, ain’t interested. ‘Specially if this asshole’s violent.”
“Whadya want? No guarantee he’s headin’ up your way.”
“Right, that means I might be wastin’ a lot of time sittin’ on the vic if he decides to go underground and forget she ever existed.”
“Got a feelin’ he won’t forget her. He’s tha kinda dick who don’t like a bitch gettin’ tha better of ‘im.”
“He might go underground, then pop up like a weasel when she least expects ‘im, slice her damn throat and then go back into his hidey-hole. He’s tha kinda dumbass who thinks if there’s no witness, tha charges will be dropped.”
“Again, sounds like she needs a bodyguard. Not my area of expertise.”
“And again, that’s her problem, not mine.”
Judge blew out a breath and shook his head.
Deacon was sure his expression matched Judge’s annoyed one. This guy was a total fucking asshole. But, in truth, the man was right, his job had been to provide a bond for a criminal. That was it. He wasn’t a crusader of justice.
But then, neither was Deacon or Judge.
He pursed his lips and considered what the job may be worth. “Twenty-five percent.”
“Cazzo! I’ll find someone cheapa.”
“You get what you pay for, Bianchi. You get fucked if he’s not captured. Somethin’s better than nothin’, right?”
Through the phone, Deacon heard fingers drumming against what he figured was a desk, so he stayed quiet and waited.
“Twenty,” Bianchi countered.
“Twenty-five. Last chance or I’m hangin’ up. Don’t got time for these fuckin’ games.” He needed to stare at the back of his eyelids soon. Bianchi was interrupting his nap.
“All right. You drive a hard bargain. Twenty-five.”
Deacon smiled up at Judge. His cousin didn’t return that smile. “Email us the bond, docket, photos, any info I’m gonna need.” He rattled off the business email address. “Soon.”
“Gonna get it to ya in the next half hour.”
“I’ll be in touch if I got any questions. You find him first, let me know.” Deacon ended the call before getting a response. He leaned back in his comfy office chair and folded his arms behind his head. “What you thinkin’?”
Judge shook his head. “Just wonderin’ what pussy you’re gonna fall into while in Mansfield.”
“Don’t be a hater. Not ready to settle down like you, old man.”
“Then hopefully you’re wrappin’ it tight when you go divin’.”
“Also not makin’ the same mistake you did. Learned from you to never trust a fuckin’ woman.” He grinned. “’Cept for Mom. I trust her.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t,” Judge threw at him as he walked out of Deacon’s office.
“What does that mean?” Deacon yelled.
Judge paused right outside the door. “When she used to tell you all the cookies or pie were gone? She was just savin’ that shit for me.”
“Keep tellin’ you, I was the son she never had.” A snort came from down the hall.
Justice sat down next to him and whined. “Guess you’re gonna be hangin’ with Bubba Grump for a few days. I got some scratch to make.” The bulldog laid his head on Deacon’s lap and turned his chocolate brown eyes up at him. “Would take you along if I could, believe me. You can hang with ya sista. And Daisy.” He rubbed Jussie’s head. “And make sure you take a huge shit in the giant’s boots. I’ll give you extra treats when I get back if you do.”