Jessica Frost: The Good, the Bad, and the Naughty

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Jessica Frost The Good, the Bad, and the Naughty
  • Название:
    The Good, the Bad, and the Naughty
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Siren Publishing
  • Жанр:
    love_hard / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2010
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    1-60601-649-0
  • Рейтинг книги:
    5 / 5
  • Ваша оценка:
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The Good, the Bad, and the Naughty: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Texas Rangers James Sandford and Trevor Kent are on a secret mission. A range of robberies have been happening in Fort Smith, Arkansas. They believe it’s the notorious, sultry outlaw Isabelle LaRue who’s to blame. When they meet the gorgeous saloon singer Belle Samson, they think she’s the famous and ruthless outlaw in disguise. Belle Samson never expected things to get so complicated. Her plan was simple, hang out at Eden's Paradise and pretend to be a saloon singer. But when she meets two handsome, mysterious men at the saloon who don’t seem at all the simple cowboys they’re pretending to be, she figures she should keep a close eye on them. What she doesn’t realize is they planned the same thing. Soon the spies become the spied and when sexual tension rises to a climactic peak between these three, secrets are revealed that will put them all in danger.

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Jessica Frost

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE NAUGHTY

The Lost Collection

Chapter 1

Foul curses rose in the early-evening air, breaking the silence that echoed in James Sanford’s ears. With each step he came closer to the saloon, it turned into a cacophony as several voices rose in unison near him.

He glanced behind him at Trevor Kent, his partner and friend, and lifted his brow and shoulders, mouthing, “Do we have the right place?”

This certainly didn’t seem like it.

For most of their trip from the train station to the saloon, he and Trevor had been quiet. They weren’t much for conversation, especially when they hadn’t had time to rest in the past few days. But because they were Texas Rangers, it came with the territory.

During their last case, they had to stake out an Indian tribe they suspected of harboring a couple of notorious outlaws. It was a miracle if they slept more than five hours a day.

Being in their profession for over five years now, they had become accustomed to the erratic work schedules and the stress, both physically and mentally.

When he and Trevor got off the train in Fort Smith, Arkansas this evening, they headed to the saloon instead of heading to the inn to catch up on rest and sleep, like Trevor wanted. James eagerly wanted to get an early start on their case, and the perfect place to begin would be here, tonight.

It took quite a bit of persuading on his part, but Trevor finally came around when James tempted him with the idea of mingling with gorgeous saloon girls to see if they could pick up any clues.

But now, as James observed a man stumble out of the saloon’s swinging doors and tumble toward him as he stepped onto the saloon’s porch, he wondered if his plan was all that great. This was hardly what James expected.

Shouting “Whoa there,” he lifted the luggage bag he held in the air to regain his balance.

Trevor, who stood a couple of steps behind James on the stairs, slid to his left to make space for the stranger’s motions. He glanced at James and lifted his eyebrow in puzzlement.

What the hell is happening here?

James shrugged and glared at the spectacle unfolding before his eyes.

“Sorry, m–mister.” The stranger stood up clumsily and wiped his drool and bloody lip on his cotton sleeve as he glared at James. He moved his gaze back to inside the saloon and waved his shaky hand before him, shouting, “That’s the l–last time I come h–here. The s–service s–stinks!”

A burly man came to the door and sneered at the inebriated stranger, who now staggered to his horse on the side of the saloon.

The rotund man hollered back, “Good riddance. We don’t need your kind here.” Then he noticed James and Trevor and gave them a nod. “Howdy.”

Trevor and James responded simultaneously, “Howdy.”

Trevor looked behind him at the drunk who attempted to mount his horse. “Is he the only one not welcome, or does that go for us, too?”

The man’s lip lifted to the side, and James figured it was his way of being hospitable. “No, only for varmints like him who order whiskey but don’t have money to pay for it.”

He pushed open one of the swinging doors and extended his arm inward. “Welcome to Eden’s Paradise, where whiskey and women go hand in hand.”

The saloon wasn’t quite what James expected. From hearsay, he imagined it would have been a lot grander, but, then again, the population in Fort Smith wasn’t that big. About twenty-five wooden tables sat in the room’s circumference. Only a few were occupied, but the majority remained vacant.

The bar was situated at the far right of the saloon, and a small stage that housed a piano stood at the opposite end of the room. A straight staircase with unvarnished oak steps sat perpendicular to the stage. James estimated the distance between the staircase and the stage hovered around the fifteen-foot mark.

He glanced at the burly man and smiled. “Nice name for a saloon.”

“I smell the whiskey, but where are the ladies?” Trevor added, scanning the room with a blank expression,

The man walked over behind the bar and gazed at them. Moving his jaw sideways, he flicked his tongue over his yellow front teeth as if he fiddled with a food particle lodged in between them.

Making a snapping sound with his tongue, he responded, “You fellas are early. The saloon girls only come out when the crowd gets here in about ten minutes.

Why don’t you have a seat, and I’ll pour you some whiskey?” He motioned to the stools at the bar.

Trevor was about to sit when James placed his hand firmly on his shoulder.

“Whiskey sounds good, but we prefer to sit at a table so we can get a better look at the ladies when they come out.”

Handing them two glasses, the barman shrugged. “Suit yourselves.” Then he turned back to wipe dry some glasses on the counter behind him.

Trevor frowned at James in confusion when he chose a table in the corner where the stage and piano sat.

Placing his bag under the table, he glared at James. “You just told him we wanted to get a better look at the saloon girls and here you go making us sit all the way in this isolated corner.”

James stared at the bartender, who hadn’t noticed their peculiar choice of table. All the other men in the saloon were too busy drinking and enthralled with their own table’s small talk to have even perceived their movements.

“Relax, Trev. He’s too busy to give a hell where we sit. And everyone else couldn’t care less, too. Besides, we need to talk, and what we have to say is for our ears only. When the girls come out, you can have your fun interrogating them then.”

Once they sat, Trevor took a big gulp and then cleared his throat. “Well, what do you think?”

“About what? Our assignment or the saloon?”

“Both.” Trevor glanced at his surroundings, his left eyebrow raised in curiosity for a brief moment.

James followed his gaze. “Well, it sure doesn’t look like what I expected. Its reputation made me think it was a wild, loud place.” Then he returned his focus back on to his partner.

“As for our assignment, we’ll wait and see. The captain fixed it. We’ll start our jobs this week on the train as expressmen. This way, we’ll be able to protect the safe and all the gold and money if Wild Isabelle LaRue strikes.”

After taking another sip of his whiskey, Trevor rested his glass on the table and leaned forward, raising his questioning eyebrow once more in the process.

“How do you know it’s her gang that’s been holding up the trains? Rumors across the West say she and her gang high-tailed it to Mexico after their famous heist two years ago. They got away with plenty of money and gold to last them a lifetime and more,” Trevor rationalized.

James raised his glass to his mouth and swallowed a swig. The whiskey passed his throat, stinging his tongue and tonsils in the process, and he concealed a cringe. He rarely drank, hated the taste of whiskey, and found it a distraction when on a case, but tonight it was part of his cover. Whether he liked it or not, he had to pretend he enjoyed the stuff or they’d look suspicious. After all, they were in a saloon. Why else would they be there but to drink?

Taking a deep breath to try to cool down his burning throat, he stated, “We’ve been over this before, Trev. You know what I told the captain then. She wasn’t only in it for the money. She was in it for the thrill, too.”

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