Renegade & His Rebel: Three Kinds of Wicked Book 4
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by Titania Ladley
Category: Erotica/Menage Erotica/Romance
Description: Where in time is Trey? This month, Trey, the time-striding demigod, finds himself in the American wild west. Gunfights, destroyed saloons, and outlaw justice are tame in comparison to Cassie "Rebel" Thatcher. She shoots like a man. She cusses like a man. She runs a ranch like a man. But when it comes to loving, she's all woman -- or she will be, once Trey teaches her the value of self-acceptance. When her deserting cad of a husband Renegade LaMarr reappears in Moose Junction, Rebel's as mad as a peeled rattler and prepared to shoot the handsome coward right out of his boots. Armed with a secret and determined to get rid of Trey, Renegade plots to finally claim Rebel, chaps, boy breeches and all. Only problem is, before he can draw his six-shooter and declare a challenge, Renegade finds himself falling under Trey's magical spell right along with his passionate, spitfire wife.
eBook Publisher: Red Sage Publishing/Red Sage Presents, 2009 2009
eBookwise Release Date: August 2010
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [122 KB]
Reading time: 73-102 min.
"4 1/2 DELIGHTFUL DIVAS!! This is a fast paced book with a smooth flow. I loved the western language and tone that Titania gave to the whole book. It made for a realistic read, even when a touch of paranormal snuck into the story. If you are looking for a quick, hot read that will have you laughing one minute and fanning the flames of desire in the next, then I recommend that you pick up Renegade and His Rebel as soon as you can!"--Melissa, Dark Diva Reviews
Renegade and His Rebel: Chapter 1
Rebel burst into the saloon and cocked her gun. Her pulse reverberated in her ears. She gritted her teeth and scanned the smoky room in search of her cowardly, deserting husband, Renegade LaMarr. Where is that bastard?
Aha. It didn't take long to spot that moose of a man over the guide of her weapon.
"You don't hightail it out of town this instant," she warned, her voice dripping with abhorrence while she kept the barrel aimed right at Renegade's handsome face, "I promise you, you're good as dead."
Over the top of the poker cards spread in his big bear-paw hand, Renegade shot her a look rife with irritation at the interruption. "Goddamn it, Rebel, put that blasted rifle down."
He growled as if she were some sort of annoying, snotty-nosed brat.
She took careful aim.
He noticed. "So help me if you don't, I'll--"
Boom, ping-ping, pow. Rebel peppered the room with bullets in an arc around her husband's head and wide-shouldered frame. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed patrons shove over tables to take cover behind the heavy timber. She heard the jingle of coins scattering across the sawdust floorboards. Harlots squealed and raced from the room in a flurry of skirts and lace. The player piano finally halted its tune, and except for the faint, quivering whimper of Hobo the town mutt cowering near the blazing hearth, the room was plunged in dead silence.
Despite the chaos and his brush with death, true to form, Renegade didn't so much as flinch one brawny muscle. His dark devil eyes glittered at her and sent a shiver of unease up her spine. Methodically--just as the big-headed ass did everything else in his life--he tipped his felt hat at her and got to his feet. His spurs clinked against the planks. The poker cards fluttered to the floor when he relaxed his fingers and carefully inched his grip upward toward his weapons.
But Rebel wasn't to be distracted or alarmed. She'd waited too long for this moment. Her finger hovered temptingly over the trigger. This poor excuse for a husband would pay for abandoning her over five months ago. And, oh, how she longed to blow that smug look off the no-good son-of-a-bitch's arresting face. Nevertheless, she supposed she'd best just run him out of her town and make him snivel the whole way. And even if she had to do it with the last breath she ever took, she'd see that he never returned.
"Who in tarnation invited you back to Moose Junction?" She glared at Renegade through the curls of acrid smoke wafting up from her firearm. When he didn't reply--granted, she gave him very little time to respond--she answered her own question through clenched teeth. "Well it sure in blazes wasn't me."
"What the hell's up your craw?" Renegade asked in a lazy tone. He wrapped his long fingers around the ivory handles of the twin Colts holstered to his narrow hips. She heard the double click when he engaged the hammers.
"Uh-uh, pal. Don't you even think of drawing those cannons." She re-cocked the gun and glowered at him, aligning the steel notch with his heartless, burly chest. Even through the haze, she could see that the varmint still looked as alive and fine-looking as sin, and as menacing as a snarling mountain wolf. A soon-to-be dead one if he didn't cooperate. "You know doggone well I can shoot quicker than you can spit and holler howdy."
Renegade snorted with a lightning-quick flash of perfect white teeth. "Now, now, dearest wife, don't go waking snakes. Everyone this side of the Rockies knows you can't even hit a bull's hind end with a handful of--"
She sucked in a ragged breath and squeezed the warm trigger without so much as a single twitch of an eye. Bang-zing. The bullet skimmed the crown of his hat and sent it tumbling into a puddle of spilled whiskey on the floor. With the Stetson gone, his shoulder-length hair shone blue-black in the evening sun streaming through the windows. The long glossy strands were scooped away from his smooth forehead, one that his wife had never once stroked or kissed. And thanks to his drifter's heart, she'd resigned herself to the fact that she never would.
To his credit, he recoiled and carefully stepped behind a wide support pole. His damning gaze and the barrel of his gleaming silver firearm aimed at her from behind the post. "Jesus Christ and mother Mary, have you lost your cotton-picking mind?"
"Get out. Now." He'd had the gall to return to Moose Junction, and now Rebel was so spitting mad that she had to fight the reflex to shoot his cowardly ass right out of his damn boots. The more she glared at him, the more her eyeballs stung with the urge to blink, but no way would she be taking her gaze off him. Not until that strapping, cold-blooded prick disappeared behind the mountainous horizon.
"This is my town, not yours."
"All right now, Rebel, that'll be enough," her father grumbled from behind the bar. "Put that cussed gun away before you kill someone." As usual, Tadd's displeased tone grated on her nerves. But with Renegade finally in her sights after slinking out of town months ago without a word, well, she could easily ignore Tadd. Uh-uh, no way in hell was her lousy father going to stop Rebel from getting her sweet revenge on Renegade.
"Butt out, Pa. You know very well a fool never bickers with a skunk," she warned, never taking her eyes off her lying, cheating, deserting excuse for a husband. "I'll stink up this whole falutin place of yours so fast with the stench of smoke, that pretty mirror of yours behind the bar'll be dust."
"I'm not bickering with you. I'm ordering you." Tadd stood tall and fine-looking in a fair sort of way, but a father he'd never been. After all, what kind of father would finagle a gambling opponent into marrying his daughter as a way to settle a debt owed him? Oh, darn right, Tadd would, just to rid himself of his embarrassing, tomboyish daughter. Her pitiful marriage to Renegade was proof of Tadd's ruthlessness--a fact of her life, and just as real as the gold she'd discovered in a nearby mountain spring the very morning of her wedding.
Ha, and no doubt Renegade had finally caught wind of her gold strike. That must've been the reason her so-called husband had at last come slithering back out of the woodwork. If he hadn't been so goll-durned eager to skedaddle out of town the very night of the ceremony, she'd have gone and spilled the beans to him about the gold, a mistake that would've kept the scalawag here for all the wrong reasons.
Lucky for her, she'd kept her trap shut for once.
Tadd thumped white-knuckled fists on his bar and narrowed his pale blue eyes--eyes identical to hers, the only thing she'd inherited from him, thank goodness. "Now hell-fire and damnation, get out of my place before I send for the sheriff."
"Want me to just haul 'em both off to jail for ya, Tadd?" That came from the nasal-toned, brown-nosing local panhandler, Billy Thorne. Surprise, surprise. Scowling at Rebel with those bulging hazel eyes, he unfolded his gangly form and slammed his half-full jigger on top of the mahogany piano.
"Keep your weaselly nose out of my affairs, Billy," Rebel warned.
Billy scoffed. "Affair's right, like you and that Trey fellow's been havin'. But you said that yourself, not me, Reb--"
Rebel shot the tumbler right off the piano, sending shards of glass flying.
Billy ducked and threw up his bony arms. "Christ Almighty."
"You'll be seeing your maker all right if you don't shut your damn beak," Rebel advised.
"She's right." With his spurs jingling, Renegade strode out from behind the post.
The wide window framed his well-built, six-foot-four physique like a masterpiece of art. Rebel tried not to notice that. But blister it all, her eyes wouldn't obey her mind's orders.
"Everyone just butt out. I can handle my own wife." Renegade glowered at Billy. "And nobody's taking no one to jail."
Under his long black duster, Renegade wore a crisp white shirt identical to the one he'd donned for their wedding. Just as she recalled, his smooth, tanned skin and smattering of dark chest hair peeped out from the open placket. She wanted to flex her fingers along his bulging arm muscles, which strained against the sleeves of his wrap just as they had on the day he'd embraced and kissed her in a cad's promise of 'til death do we part.
Well, she'd see to his death all right. He was putting her under his spell again, effortlessly, but this time she wouldn't allow it. She'd just as soon kill the bastard than allow him to wheedle his way back into her heart. She tucked her smoking weapon close and slid a quick glance to the side to break his charm. But it didn't work. The cursed memory of him naked and warm in her bed made her shiver in reluctant appreciation. Okay, so he was a breathtaking looker, but that didn't make him a worthy husband or a respectable man.
"Coulda fooled me," Tadd mumbled under his breath as he jerked a towel across his precious bar to clean the scattered mess of bullets, broken glass, and splintered wood. "You can't handle her anymore 'n I can."
"My wife is no longer your concern, Mr. Thatcher."
Rebel let out a hollow laugh. "Your wife? Tell me, LaMarr, how does a woman qualify as a wife when, for one, she hasn't seen her husband in a coon's age, and for two, when she's only been bedded by her supposed husband just once in half a year's time?"
A hushed murmur rose from behind overturned tables. Dozens of pairs of wide eyes peeped out at Renegade, awaiting his response with held breath. But Rebel didn't need to hear his damn excuses. It had been a rhetorical question meant as a gut-stabbing, nail-him-to-the-wall insult, so she truly didn't desire an answer.
Besides, no good reason could possibly exist for what the tomfool had done to her.
Of all things, Renegade had the temerity to flush red, as if he possessed the manners to express remorse--which Rebel knew he dang sure didn't. But she refused to demonstrate any disgrace herself. After all, what had she done wrong? Obeyed her father by marrying the scoundrel?
Well, she didn't give a yellow-eyed owl's hoot what the townies thought. Not that her situation was a secret. Renegade had abandoned her within hours of their wedding almost a half a year ago, so everyone assumed, and rightly so, that the marriage had been consummated once. Still, she refused to fall prey to the people's pity. Renegade's desertion had been cause for celebration, a very good riddance. Plain and simple, Tadd had forced her into unwanted matrimony because he'd thought her unmarriageable. Well, everyone knew you couldn't hitch a horse to a coyote. So the joke had been more on her father when, true to his character, Renegade had vanished directly after stealing her damnable virginity.
At the memory of Renegade's commanding, big hands bringing her flesh to life, that recurring, traitorous warmth flooded her groin. She clenched her pussy muscles along with her jaw. Don't think about that night, you idiot, just don't.
"Whether I've had the pleasure of bedding you once or one hundred times," he grumbled, "which, by the way, shouldn't be aired here like dirty goddamn laundry, the fact is I've got a marriage license to prove you're Mrs. Renegade LaMarr."
"Yeah, well a single tumble in bed and a name on a piece of stupid paper doesn't make it so. Pa's name isn't much better, but I'd as soon be as cold as a wagon wheel before I'd admit to being a LaMarr."
Renegade's eyes narrowed at the insult. He heaved an enough-is-enough sigh and took two slow strides toward her. Firelight from the nearby hearth cast devilish shadows and golden light upon his face.
Boom-ting, tinkle, boom. To warn Renegade off, she shot out a pane from the window behind him. Simultaneously, one Colt went zinging from his hand. The howl of the winter's wind rushed in through the gaping hole, ruffling his long hair and sending a chill through the room. A song of "Ooh!" rang out from the holed-up patrons.
Renegade looked down at his empty fingers, and then his dark gaze rose inch by inch to latch onto hers. He grinned, but the sentiment didn't reach his eyes, which glittered with an eerie black frost that made her heart surge into her throat.
"Well, my loving wife, I've still got one more pistol left," he snarled, "and I promise you, you aren't going to--"
The ensuing quiet in the room was palpable. Renegade's egotistical expression vanished, but still, the stubborn cuss had barely flinched when she'd disarmed him of his last weapon. The sharp scent of burning ammunition and spilled spirits hung heavy in the air. She held her breath, awaiting his next move. Amid the faint sound of Hobo's whimpers, a clock ticked from the corner of the saloon.
Renegade's feet were planted in a wide stance. His nostrils flared. Empty hands now curled into fists, while the muscles in his square jaw twitched. "Well, well, that sure took balls. What you gonna do next, darlin'? Shoot my eyeballs out of my head?"
"Don't tempt me." She jutted her gun at him. "And don't you call me darling!"
"Now, boy, that's about enough," Tadd said on a sigh. By boy, he of course referred to Rebel and her usual state of dress, a lad's denims, boots, spurs, and duster coat nearly identical to Renegade's. But Rebel didn't give a cow's smelly chip what everyone, and most especially her father, thought of her style. She despised those itchy, frilly petticoats, tight stockings, and poofy gowns. She'd dress however the hell she felt most comfortable, particularly now that she lived in her own home and had become her own boss. No more getting squashed under her father's iron thumb. God, how she embraced the blessed peace and quiet! She'd finally been freed from his daily wrath reminding her of what a disgrace she was to him and the female gender.
"Can it, Pa. This is none of your dang business."
"Oh, yes it is. If you don't behave and mosey on out of here, I'm going to--"
She cocked the rifle and swung it around, aiming it at Tadd, instantly cutting off his warning.
"The second you forced me to say 'I do' to this miscreant, well, that was the second you no longer had a say-so in my life."
"This is my saloon. I have a say-so in who can and can't shoot the place up. Now take it outside or I'll--"
"You'll what?" she fired back, her voice a mite more shrill and shaky than she cared to admit. "You'll shoot me? Well, go ahead, dear ol' Father. You might as well. You've already ruined my life by roping me to this prick. Why not just shoot me and put me out of my blasted misery?"
Tadd gawked. The fire of insult briefly blazed in his eyes. "I'd never do such a thing, and you know it."
"Then shut up and let me handle this my own way before someone does get hurt."
"No one's going to shoot anyone, goddamn it." Renegade took three more steps toward her.
She swung the weapon back around, aiming it at his black heart. "Get back, you slimy lizard."
His boot heel skidded on the sawdust floor. He held his hands up. "Whoa. Take it easy, Rebel."
"Take it easy, my ass. I've been mad as a peeled rattler for going on six months now, so you'd best watch yourself. If you don't get back, as God is my witness, LaMarr, I'll shoot you. I swear I will."
"Jesus Christ, do you have to call me LaMarr?" Renegade shoved a hand through his hair in that all-male way that used to make her feel fluttery inside. Repeat, used to. His next words came out none too tender. And it riled her all the more. "You know it's Renegade, goddamn it."
Yeah, she knew it was Renegade, all right. The coward's name had been a toxin contaminating her brain for months, and a name she'd banned, guns at the ready, from Moose Junction. Still, he didn't have to know that. He also didn't need to know that if her heart beat any faster over his return, she'd faint dead away. But doggone it, if her hands got any shakier, that bastard would be the one fainting permanently dead away.
Stand your ground, Rebel. Don't let him get to you. Don't fall for that sappy tone he always resorted to when he wanted something out of you. "Well, instead of Renegade, I prefer to call you a pisspot, son of a--"
"Cassie." Trey's deep, soothing voice approached her from behind. "Put the gun down, sweetheart."
Dang. When did he show up? His footsteps, soft as a cat's, inched closer. He circled his strong arms around her and guided the rifle upward so the barrel aimed at the ceiling. He'd only been in town and in her bed for a few weeks, but he had an uncanny, calming effect on her, like some sort of angel. The rage seeped out of her limbs on an exhaled breath, and she relaxed against the wall of Trey's chest. He'd called her by her given name, something no one in this hellhole ever did. It made her feel wanted and womanly for once.
Now that was a curious revelation.
But one she'd never admit to a soul.
Renegade's muscles tensed and his gaze riveted to Trey. Something almost territorial flashed in Renegade's eyes. It reminded her of a wolf eyeing his competition with lips curled back and fangs bared.
Holy stinking moles, is Renegade jealous?
Renegade blinked. "Who the hell's he?"
"Name's Trey Raphael," he replied, his voice overflowing with respect Renegade clearly didn't deserve. Trey gently tugged the rifle from her loosening grip.
Renegade loomed nearer, halting his smug stroll directly in front of her. He stood so close that she had to tip her head back to gaze up into his chiseled, hard features. Memories assailed her of that same face hovering above her in their wedding bed, contorted in ecstasy while he gently entered her. She held her breath and attempted to slow the galloping in her chest and the quickening of her loins. But it was no damn use. His familiar leathery scent engulfed her, further enhancing the memory. But this time it became entwined with the wintry aroma of Trey behind her. The heat from Renegade's formidable body competed with that from Trey's, whose sinewy arms continued to encircle her from behind while his hands claimed her rifle.
An outlandish vision filled her head of being wedged between the two men while in a much more intimate position than a barroom spat. But the fantasy abruptly vanished when Renegade drew a bowie knife and held the sharp tip against Trey's throat.
Rebel pulled in a sharp intake of breath and gulped amid the wave of gasps and whispers that erupted from the tavern regulars.
Renegade's order came with a guttural, deadly roar. "You son of a bitch, get your goddamn hands off my woman."
* * * *