Legend: An Arizona Vengeance Novel

Legend: An Arizona Vengeance Novel

by Sawyer Bennett

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101969649
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/05/2019
Series: Arizona Vengeance , #3
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 245
Sales rank: 8,158

About the Author

Since the release of her debut contemporary romance novel, Sawyer Bennett has written more than thirty books and been featured on both the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists on multiple occasions. A reformed trial lawyer from North Carolina, Sawyer uses real-life experience to create relatable, sexy stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From new adult to contemporary romance, she writes something for just about everyone. Sawyer likes her Bloody Marys strong, her martinis dirty, and her heroes a combination of the two. When not bringing fictional romance to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to a very active toddler, as well as full-time servant to two adorably naughty dogs. She believes in the good of others, and that a bad day can be cured with a great workout, cake, or even better, both.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Legend

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.

Legend,

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.

Lida

“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?”