Friday, December 31, 2021

Read an Excerpt from Titus: The Trouble Sisters Saga Finale Novella by Taylor Lee



He’s a formidable county sheriff. She’s a defense attorney. When she represents the despicable US senator accusing the sheriff of a vicious crime, she learns just how formidable the sheriff really is.

Sheriff Titus Theseus Trouble is the leading law enforcement official in the busy border county. Commanding and proudly arrogant, Titus admits that he’s been intrigued and frankly annoyed by the brash, prominent defense attorney from the first time he met her. His interest, make that , his obsession with her, was surprising. The sophisticated, stunningly beautiful, smart-as-hell woman was eons away from the casual women he routinely bedded and as off-putting.

Rita Davidson is proud of her reputation as a ball-busting attorney. She’s worked hard to earn it. Only clients able to pay her outrageous fees are part of her elite clientele. While she can’t ignore her untoward reaction to the tall, commanding, gray-eyed sheriff, he annoys the hell out of her. She’s infuriated with his overtly chauvinistic taunts—even though she knows he’s just trying to provoke her.

When her outrageous client insists that she charge the sheriff and his deputy sheriff daughter with police brutality—a charge Rita knows is false—the smoldering emotions between them flare. As angry as he is with her despicable client, Titus is more furious with the brazen attorney. Determined to take her down, he’s surprised that winning the case isn’t his primary goal. Rather, he’s determined to win her.

Titus is the finale novella in the steamy Trouble Sisters Saga. If you like smart characters, tough-talking, arrogant men and women and scorching passion, then you'll love Taylor Lee’s sizzling thrill ride.

Buy Titus today and prepare to be wowed.

Chapter 1


“Damn, woman, it’s good to see you!” Zane reached for the beautiful woman sitting at a corner high-top table at the B n’ T and dragged her into a one-armed hug. “If you aren’t a sight for sore eyes, I don’t know what is.” He glanced at her chic pantsuit topped by a clearly “un-faux” fur vest and rolled his eyes in pretend surprise. Glancing at Dante, the barkeep who was grinning at them from behind the bar, he hollered, “Tell me, Dante, when was the last time one of your patrons came in this benighted hangout wearing what has to be several thousand dollars of high-priced duds on her svelte body?”

“Hmm, sans the svelte body, Mr. District Attorney, that would be every time you stroll in here dressed like some fucking GQ model.” Dante grinned. “If ever there was a clotheshorse, buddy, it’s you. But if you’re saying that Attorney Davidson looks like a million bucks regardless of her attire, I’m in total agreement.”

Rita gave a full-throated laugh and shook her head. Accepting Zane’s hug, she winked at Dante. “I can see I need to come back to this crazy bar more often. Nothing like being greeted by two of the sexiest scoundrels I know. Particularly when one of them makes the single best ‘sure to knock you flat on your ass’ martini in any part of the country. I would come back to Sierra Vista for that noxious libation alone.”

Zane nodded to Dante. “I’m with Attorney Davidson. Rustle up a couple of those infamous, appropriately enough named porn star martinis of yours so that I can snuggle in next to this beautiful woman and get even more buzzed than I already am just looking at her.”

“Good grief, are you really that glad to see me or just trying to make a girl feel good?”

“Hell, Rita, you have to know that you are several levels of heaven above ordinary angels in my mind and always will be. Heck, you reside darn close to the stratosphere the Trouble sisters occupy.” He grinned at her. “Although, I confess that middle Trouble sister has wormed her way into my heart, mind, and most definitely my body in a way I never dreamed a woman could.”

“How is she, Zane? And please tell me she is doing as well as I’ve heard. Is it true that she is going to keynote the Arizona Bar Association annual meeting in May?”

“Yeah, she is. I’m telling you Tatiana has to be the strongest woman I know. And given the competition you and her sisters provide, that is saying something. But she has come through that hideous experience she suffered and is truly thriving, professionally and personally.”

“I’m glad to hear that. Tatiana Trouble is without a doubt one of the most impressive women I know. The fact that she has the inimitable Cochise County DA and all-around hotshot at her side also makes her one of the luckiest women I know.”

“Aw shucks, what can I say except that we are both lucky. You know as well as anyone what a profligate rogue I was. That Tatiana was able to see past the reprobate I was and introduce me to a concept that had been exceedingly elusive to me—the love of a good woman—is a gift I will treasure forever.”

“My goodness. Like every other woman in the county, heck, the state, I never thought I’d see the day that Zane Wilder fell for a woman—and a good one, make that one of the best ones, at that.”

Clicking her glass against his, Rita took a healthy sip of the powerful drink Dante had put in front of her then reared back at the burn of the pungent alcohol. She grinned at Dante, who was watching her from behind the bar. “Phew, don’t tell me my time away from the B n’ T has made me a wuss. Or are you just trying to set me up, Dante? Remind me that I need to come here more often if I’m going to be able to keep up with your usual debauched crowd.”

Zane raised his glass to her and chortled. “Let’s just say that by the time you’ve polished off a couple of those babies, Rita, you’ll be able to drink the best of us under the table.”

“I hope you’re right. Before we proceed to get drunk together, tell me that the news I hear regarding that disgraced ADA of yours is true.”

“You must be referring to the fact that Chloe Richards has not only been disbarred but is fighting what I consider to be a losing battle: that of trading her slutty clothes for the decidedly unflattering orange jumpsuit with the DOJ insignia on the back.”

Rita nodded in agreement. “My attorney colleague who has the unhappy task of representing her confirmed that brazen bitch is looking at a minimum of three to five in the Florence state prison.”

“Your colleague is correct. Trust me, after what she tried to do to Tatiana and how she made a mockery of the judicial system, not to mention disgracing the bar, they can’t keep her locked up long enough to suit me.” Running his hands distractedly through his shock of tousled hair, Zane shook his head and, as if determined to change the subject, met Rita’s gaze. “Look, neither you nor I want to discuss that disgusting former colleague of ours. Tell me what brings you to our hallowed burg. Here’s hoping that whatever it is will keep you here for a long while. We miss you.”

“Thanks, Zane. I’m surprised to say how much I miss all of you. When you hauled me down here to represent Tatiana, I assumed I’d be bored out of my mind. I’m not exactly a small-town kind of a gal. But the time we spent clearing your woman of that hideous crime was anything but dull. In answer to your question, I have a new client here in Sierra Vista. Actually, a long-time client I’ve represented on a number of issues, only this time it’s his son who’s in trouble.”

“Holy hell, don’t tell me you are here to defend that degenerate asshole, Justin Powell, son of the Senator Martin Powell?”

A deep voice endorsed Zane’s surprised assertion. “I agree, Zane. I thought Attorney Davidson was choosier about whom she represents with her vaunted skills. Imagine my surprise to learn that the inimitable attorney has thrown in with one of the most despicable reprobates I know. And I’m not talking about the senator’s weasel son we arrested yesterday for his third DUI.”

Rita whirled to confront the source of the insulting comment. She wasn’t surprised at the jolt of electricity that shot through her surprised body. Glaring up at the tall man looming over her, his lips twisted in an ironic smile, she forgave her wayward body’s untoward reaction. She was confident that Sheriff Titus Trouble had the same unsettling effect on every woman he approached. After all, it wasn’t every day that a Hugh Jackman look-alike replete with de rigueur beard shadow, chiseled jaw, and dancing eyes sauntered into a bar. Although, given that it was the B n’ T, Rita could have expected the imposing man, who was a regular at the town hangout. It took her a moment to contain her unruly emotions and manage an appropriate response to the sheriff’s putdown of her client or, more specifically, her client’s father.

“I take it you aren’t impressed with our senior United States senator and second largest landholder in southern Arizona?” She shrugged. “Why would I be surprised, Sheriff, that you disapprove of my defending my long-term client or his admittedly debauched son?”

“It’s not up to me to disapprove, Attorney Davidson. You can represent any reprobates you wish, as well as their degenerate progeny. I’ll only say that you must be hard up for clients if you have to slurp from Martin Powell’s trough.”

Shocked at his demeaning comment, Rita forced herself to respond in as normal a tone of voice as she could muster. “I’ll try to ignore your intimation that I belong in the company of swine, Sheriff Trouble, in that not very long ago I represented your daughter.”

Titus nodded in agreement. “Yes, you did, most impressively. A fact for which I will always be grateful. Which makes your current representation even more deplorable.”

“Whoa, you two.” Zane held up his hands. Glancing at his clearly angry companions who were facing off against each other, he said with a good-natured chuckle, “And good evening to you, Sheriff Trouble. Even considering your inflammatory greeting of our mutual friend, let me say I’m delighted you could join us.” Motioning to Dante, Zane called out, “How about you bring Attorney Davidson and me a refill and a double for our apparently peeved county sheriff.” He grinned at Titus. “I’m well aware, sir, that you’re not a fan of our senior US senator or his debauched son.” When Titus merely nodded, Zane added, “But I presume that you don’t hold our lovely attorney in that low regard.”

Titus shrugged. “That’s a given, Zane. Even highly competent attorneys can be taken in by wealthy individuals who are willing to pay through the nose to keep themselves and their offspring free of the long arm of the law.” Taking a hearty pull of the martini Dante placed in from of him, Titus shot Rita a narrow-eyed gaze. “After all, said attorneys are the ones who have to wake up in the morning and look in the mirror. As long as they can live with what they see, more power to them.”

Rita smacked her glass on the table and glared at Titus. “Damn, Sheriff Trouble. I’d forgotten what a supercilious, arrogant man you are. But even as self-righteous as you are, implying that the fact Senator Powell can pay my admittedly high fees is the only reason he is my client is a bridge too far. You didn’t seem to mind Zane paying through his nose to have me represent your daughter.”

“No, Ms. Davidson, I not only didn’t mind, I was grateful that Zane had the wherewithal to hire you. However, you were representing my daughter, perhaps the worthiest woman alive, not some scurvy political prick’s equally scurvy son.”

Forcing herself to step back, Rita did the best she could to speak in a reasonable tone of voice. She wasn’t surprised by the effort it took. Holding the sheriff’s steely gaze, she said, “The one thing I despise more than anything are law enforcement officials who think that because they wear a uniform and a badge, they are superior to defense attorneys who have the temerity to call them into question. You know those presumptuous attorneys. The ones who actually believe in our heralded system of justice. The system that posits that everyone, even rich, privileged assholes, are entitled to a defense when charged with a crime.” Not able to squelch her rising fury at the implacable man narrowly regarding her, Rita added, “One would hope even county sheriffs would be capable of understanding the basics of our justice system no matter how isolated they are.”

Wishing that she hadn’t given in to her fury and added that last poisoned dart, Rita grabbed her glass and took a larger swallow than she intended. Choking on the fiery liquid, she was horrified when Titus moved next to her and smacked her on the back. She didn’t have to look up at him to know he was amused. His drawling response to her impassioned attack said it all.

Interesting. As a lowly county sheriff, one thing I dislike is being lectured by a highfalutin attorney who looks down her nose at anyone ridiculous enough to believe that your income doesn’t determine your worth or your ability to grasp the intricacies of our judicial system.” At her sputtering cough that she couldn’t contain, Titus grasped her upper arm in his big hand and smacked her again between her shoulder blades. Picking up his glass and draining it, Titus added with a mirthless grin, “You know, one of those haughty, grossly overpaid legal beagles who wouldn’t acknowledge a client is too disreputable to defend even if the proof rose up and bit her on the ass.” Looking her up and down, Titus met her angry gaze and said with a shrug, “Particularly when said legal beagle has as delectable an ass as yours, Attorney Davidson.”

Rita leapt to her feet and demanded, “What did you say to me?”

Titus shrugged and winked at her over his retreating shoulder. “You heard me.” Nodding to Zane and without looking back, he saluted Dante as he dropped a bill on the bar, then strode through the door into the dark night.

Struggling to control her fury and rubbing at her arm where Titus had held her in place, Rita glared at her clearly amused companion. “I’m glad that you think the supposedly upright sheriff’s behavior is funny, Zane.”

“Ah, Rita, you have to know that Titus is intrigued by you. Even if he’s put off by your, shall we say, flippant attitude.”

“So in addition to being a conservative, arrogant asshole, the contemptible lawman is also a chauvinist pig who doesn’t like strong women?”

“Nah, Rita. Like the rest of us arrogant assholes, he’s intrigued and, yeah, put off by ballsy women. But, sweetheart, you won’t meet a fairer guy than Titus Trouble. Although, I should warn you. You don’t want to get on his bad side. In addition to being a straight shooter, Titus is a vicious antagonist. One you definitely don’t want to mess with.”

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