“You don’t have to like sports to love these books!”—New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis
Everything is clicking for the Vengeance. We may be new, but we’re well on our way to winning the championship, and I’m having the time of my life headlining the sports media as the hottest goalie—hell, player—ever. I for one am going to live up to my name . . . because I am Legend Bay.
Dragging my ass home from the gym, I’m blinded by some gaudy, glowing holiday lights. As usual, my hot-as-hell neighbor Pepper Nantais has gone way over the top. But just as I’m about to tell her off, something else catches my eye . . . Seems like Santa left me a present, and not one I was expecting.
As life takes an unexpected turn, I realize that there’s much more to Pepper than meets the eye. Sure, she’s gorgeous. And exasperating. And her taste in decorating may be a bit . . . unique.
But beneath her carefree demeanor is a fierce determination and a heart of gold. And before I know it I’ve fallen for her. Hard . . .
Pepper is exactly the woman I never knew I needed.
Advance praise for Legend
“An emotional, heart-melting story from author Sawyer Bennett.”—Brenda Rothert, author of Sweet Sixteen
The Arizona Vengeance series from New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett can be read together or separately:
And don’t miss her Carolina Cold Fury novels:
The Love Hurts series features sexy standalone novels:
SEX IN THE STICKS
And the Sugar Bowl series is one treat you’ll want to read in order:
This ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The glow of Pepper’s house comes into view as soon as I turn onto our street. I wasn’t surprised when the day after Thanksgiving, her house was miraculously transformed into a psychedelic Christmas wonderland, complete with multicolored lights over every line and angle, a huge plastic Santa with reindeer on the roof, and speakers mounted in the trees that played Christmas carols. There’s even a massive spinning mechanical display of Frosty the Snowman that blows fake snow up into the air every few minutes.
The pièce de résistance, though, is a life-size biblical manger in the middle of her front yard, complete with Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, a donkey, two sheep, a cow, and three camels with Wise Men riding them. The whole scene is lit up by floodlights planted into the ground in front of it.
I grit my teeth as I pull into my driveway. I can’t say anything about it because Pepper beat my ass in pool on Thanksgiving. It means I had to put my complaint to the homeowners’ association on hold as well, and so this holiday I’m relegated to keeping all my blinds drawn so as not to be blinded by the lights from her house.
Of course, that doesn’t mean she won’t do something else to irritate me. The woman seems to live for it, whether it be setting up a flock of pink, plastic flamingos in my yard or just driving me crazy with her beautiful face and slammin’ body. I shouldn’t think about her this much but I’ve never had someone fascinate me as much as annoy me before.
I note that she has three cars in her driveway, which isn’t unusual. Pepper seems to have a myriad of people over at her house all the time. She’s quite the social butterfly. She’s even invited me over for her intimate little soirees but I’ve declined every time.
The only other thing I’ve noticed of late is that Pepper and my teammate Dax haven’t been hanging out together. At least from what I can tell, and I’m not really sure how that makes me feel. There’s no way I’ll ever admit to slight stabs of jealousy when he was seeing her, because that would be ludicrous. I can’t stand the woman.
Giving one last, disgusted look at the Griswold house next door, I bring my Tahoe to a stop in the driveway and jab at the button to open the garage. As it slowly rises, I glance over at my porch to my left.
There’s what looks to be a package, although it’s hard to tell as I don’t have the porch light on. It’s something I’m bad about doing when I’m gone for the day and won’t be returning until evening, and I make a mental note to add to my unending list of projects to install some automated security lights.
But wait . . . that doesn’t look like a package. I peer through the gloom that the lights from Pepper’s house don’t quite permeate, all the way over to my porch.
It looks like maybe a pile of clothes.
My brows knitting in consternation, I put my vehicle in park and climb out. I walk up to the porch hesitantly because the closer I get to it, the more my gut rolls with some internal sense of danger.
When my foot hits the bottom of the three steps that lead up, my entire body tightens as I see it’s a blanket with something small wrapped inside.
My neck twists and I look over to Pepper’s house. Maybe it’s some type of prank she’s pulling on me.
I take the last steps to reach the porch and squat down by the bundle. Reaching out, I slowly peel back a corner of the fleece material and a baby starts crying.
A tiny, pink baby with eyes scrunched shut and little mouth pursed in pathetic whimpers.
I’m so stunned I straighten up and take a step back, catching the top step with my booted heel and stumbling the rest of the way back down into my front yard where I land on my ass.
What the heck?
With my feet spread wide and my palms planted in the grass at my butt, I stare in horror up at my porch as if I’d just found a bloody body.
The baby continues to cry and it causes me to move. I scramble up from the ground, then stare at the bundle for a moment before taking off toward Pepper’s house. I clear a low row of shrubs between our two yards and leap onto her porch in one single bound. My fist is at her door banging so hard that the huge tin multicolored gecko nailed there rattles and threatens to fall off.
The front door swings open quickly and I almost stumble across the threshold. Pepper stands there with a smile on her face that slides right off as she takes me in. If my expression mirrors the confusion and panic rolling through me right now, she had good reason not to smile.
I point a shaky finger back toward my house. “Baby. Front porch.”
Pepper’s face morphs into confusion and someone behind her says, “Hey, Pepp . . . is that the hot hockey player that lives next door? Have him come in and play some Scrabble with us.”
She ignores the person as do I. Instead, I merely lunge at her to grab her hand and I’m pulling her physically through her doorway. I turn and run down the porch, and Pepper follows me without question or complaint.
I drag her right up onto the porch where my hand is shaking even more violently as I point down at the baby wrapped in the blanket. It’s still whimpering softly.
“Oh my God,” Pepper exclaims as she jerks her hand out of mine and stoops to pick up the baby. She peels the blanket back further to stare at the little creature. She finds its hand and pushes her finger into its and I’m amazed as the baby grasps on tightly.
Her head turns to me. “You just found this on your porch?”
I can’t even speak so I just nod effusively.
“Where did it come from?”
I shake my head and shrug.
Pepper takes a step back and looks down at where the baby was lying. We both see a note there which must have been underneath the bundle.
I pick it up. My hands are still shaking as I open it, and immediately realize it’s too dark to see. I walk woodenly down my porch steps, the feeling of dread that’s lodged deep in the pit of my stomach making me want to puke.
Moving to the front of my Tahoe where the headlights sufficiently illuminate the area, I open the note again. I’m vaguely aware that Pepper’s at my side, leaning in to read alongside me.
I hate to spring this on you, but I find myself unable to care for our baby. She’s fourteen days old and I haven’t named her yet. I know this is coming as a surprise, but you’re in a better position to care for her than I am.
“You had a baby?” Pepper asks softly.
“No,” I mutter. “I mean . . . if this is true, yes. But I had no clue. I saw this woman briefly while I was with the Spartans down in Florida. I had no idea she was pregnant.”
“Wow,” Pepper murmurs as I twist my neck to look at her. Her eyes are soft and wondrous. “Talk about a surprise, huh?”