Saturday, September 10, 2022

Read an Excerpt from Renegade: Book 2 by Taylor Lee



The vicious double murder in the city’s most infamous brothel, followed by the disappearance of a young Native woman later found raped and beaten to death tear the already simmering county apart.

Cal Begay, the formidable county sheriff, knows that the likely perpetrators are the wealthy kingmakers and political zealots determined to turn his county into a raging inferno. And, not coincidently, take down their real target…the cocky Native American sheriff...him.

Cal would have reveled in the battle knowing how unlikely it was the reprobates could succeed. Unfortunately he knew if they couldn’t take him down they’d go after Scarlett, the woman he admitted he was falling in love with.

Belying her image of the blonde bombshell media darling, Scarlett confessed she was a neophyte in the amorous arena. Unlike the accomplished sheriff whose reputation as a rake of the first order was unparalleled, she felt woefully inadequate, not sure how she could ever measure up to the storied lover.

In a county ravished by violent racial and political unrest, the two superstars struggle to defeat the powerful perpetrators…while trying to decide if they can meet a more challenging task. To give into a passion more intense, more demanding than either have faced in their go-it-alone, star-studded lives.



Chapter 1       


            “God, Cal, have you ever seen her look more beautiful?”

            Calian Begay smiled in agreement at the elderly man who was gazing adoringly at the stunning woman in front of the room. He could have told Boone Marshall that if the white-haired gentleman had seen his granddaughter in all the ways that Cal had, he’d be hard-pressed to decide when she was the loveliest. The memory of her naked body in the moonlight as they prepared for their trip to Denver, the latest celebration of Scarlett’s astonishing exposé, her breathy pleas begging him not to stop, to come into her harder, deeper ranked high on Cal’s list of treasured moments. Moments he acknowledged numbered in the hundreds.

            Confirming he’d overheard Boone’s impassioned query, Mateo Hale, the Durango police chief, and Cal’s longtime friend, grinned knowingly at Cal’s contained response, then agreed with Boone. “She truly is one of the most beautiful women I’ve seen, Mr. Marshall. Not to mention one of the most accomplished. You must be very proud of her.”

“That goes without saying. But please, Chief Hale, I will call you Mateo if you call me Boone. After everything we’ve been through these last three weeks, I think we’ve earned first-name status.”

“Pardon me for interrupting. While I am more than aware of your storied influence on our state, not the least of which is your remarkable granddaughter, Mr. Marshall, we haven’t met.”

Nodding to the officious man in the Brioni suit who’d insinuated himself into their conversation, Cal was cool. “Greetings, Shep. Been a while. Allow me to introduce you to my friend and mentor, Boone Marshall. Unlike you, Boone, Shepherd Hargreaves was born with a silver spoon in his ass. In addition to living off the money his wealthy forbearers bequeathed him, he’s been known to bestow his largesse on worthy, more often unworthy, elected officials.”

 “Ahh, ever the antagonist, Sheriff Begay? I would think given the extravagant press you have received since you were elected by the biggest margin for any politician in the state, let alone the sheriff’s office, you would be a little less testy. Particularly since I offered to support your venture into the political arena.”

“So you did… an offer I categorically refused.” Nodding to Boone, Cal allowed a sly smile to curve his lips. “Due to a noble patron, I was able to fund my campaign without selling my soul to the likes of ‘benefactors’ like you, Shep.” At the flushed man’s aggrieved snort, Cal softened his blow somewhat. “I acknowledge that from time to time you support candidates worthy of being elected—our host, Governor Steelton, for example. What is impossible to ignore is that you were the primary funder of former Attorney General Paul Harris’s many campaigns. That ignominious miscreant, along with Congressman Oliver, whom you also funded, are awaiting trial for their roles in the domestic terrorism plot we thwarted. Thanks to Scarlett Comstock’s brilliant exposé, we arrested both of those disgraced men along with their reprehensible cohorts on national television.”

Making an obvious effort to be cordial, Hargreaves turned to Boone Marshall. “Sheriff Begay is essentially correct, sir. While I did indeed support Paul Harris in his many successful campaigns, I was as aggrieved as Governor Steelton when we learned that Paul had joined the insurrectionists. And that he played a role in the plot that your granddaughter and our irritable sheriff exposed.”

Cal corrected him with a caustic snort. “Played a role, Shep? Paul Harris was the highest-ranking elected official we arrested. His involvement is a blight on all law enforcement professionals who were shamed by his despicable actions. Christ, man, admit it. Harris was your protégé. You funded every goddammed campaign he ran.”

Boone turned a frowning gaze on the angry man glaring at the stern sheriff. “Cal is correct, Mr. Hargreaves. The attorney general’s involvement was contemptible. Unfortunately, I suffered a more personal blow my son-in-law and his treacherous fourth wife were also arrested in the conspiracy. A shameful fact that will haunt me till the day I die. All I can say is thank God for my granddaughter and even more for our sheriff. Without Cal’s leadership and his partners, like Chief Hale, it’s unlikely that those traitorous reprobates would have been captured.” Boone shot the flushed interloper a narrow-eyed frown. “And while we hadn’t met, I’m aware of your political forays. Some of which, like your support of our governor, were prudent. Others decidedly were not and, in my view, showed extremely poor judgment.”

The clearly angry financier forced a grim smile, then replied carefully, “I hope, sir, that in time, you will have a more positive view of my ‘political forays’ that I concede have been damaged by my support of Paul Harris and Congressman Oliver. Although I would be remiss if I didn’t remind both you and the irascible sheriff that in our system of justice, persons, even disgraced congressmen, and attorneys general, are considered innocent until proven guilty.” Drawing himself up, he nodded to the woman joining Governor Steelton on the stage in the front of the room. “In an attempt to end this conversation on a more politic note, may I presume we all agree that your granddaughter is a stunningly beautiful woman? One that I hope to meet before the night is over.” Nodding to Boone and Chief Hale, he met Cal’s narrowed gaze. “Surely even you and I can agree on that, Sheriff Begay.”

Cal shrugged. “No matter how misguided your judgment as to who is worthy of your support, neither of us is blind. And yes, Boone’s lovely granddaughter is a beautiful woman.”

When the aggrieved man strode off, Boone Marshall shared a grin with Mateo. “May I assume that the sheriff’s ‘testiness’ speaks to his less than favorable view of the wealthy wannabe king-maker?”

“I think that’s a safe assumption, Boone.”

Cal snorted. “A safe assumption indeed. Most of the money that Hargreaves has thrown in the trough has gone to reprobates a hell of a lot closer to the Paul Harrises of our world than the Steeltons.” His quirky grin was edged with steel. “Don’t let those Ivy League pretentions fool you. And, Jesus God, when’s the last time you saw someone wear a cravat? With a Brioni suit, no less.” He added, “As for his plan to meet Scarlett, let’s just say that if I have anything to say about it—and I do—her dance card for the evening is full.”


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