Tarnished Saints’ Series – Book 3
Judas Taylor is now the sheriff of the small town of Sweet Water. And while he is the law, he still has a lot to redeem himself for after turning in his brother, Levi for tax evasion and being the cause of Levi being behind bars for seven years.
And just when he thinks things are going better, DeLaney McDermott returns into his life to turn it upside down, and he is forced to make decisions that will make him look like a traitor after all.
Excerpt from Judging Judas:
Delaney McDermott, or Laney as her friends called her, couldn’t believe her eyes. She’d been in the middle of chasing down her obstinate teenage daughter, J.D. when a police officer stopped her by jumping in front of her car and then ordering her to get out. Never in a gazillion years had she expected the policeman to be Judas Silver Taylor. Nor did she really want to see him after what he’d done to her.
Still, it had been the reason she came back to Thunder Lake she reminded herself, as she knew it was time to find him and make him part of her life once again, whether she liked it or not. She needed to talk to him about something she should have told him long ago, even if it did scare the hell out of her.
“Hurry, get out, I need to use your car to go after that damned thief who just stole a woman’s purse and also my squad,” he told her.
“Not even a hello?” she asked. “Or how about a – I’m sorry for leaving you at the altar in front of the whole town as I ran scared?”
“Laney, I don’t have time for this right now. We can talk later, now just get out of the car.”
“I will not!” she spat, madder than hell at him for more reasons than one. But right now it was because she saw the sheriff’s badge on his chest and knew her daughter would be thrown in jail for what she’d just done. Not that J.D. didn’t deserve it for the way she’d been acting lately, but she couldn’t allow that to happen to her daughter, and especially not in her condition.
“Ms. McDermott, I’m not going to ask you again. Now as an officer of the law, I order you to step out of your car.”
“Ms. McDermott?” she echoed him. “Silver, what’s the matter with you? Don’t call me that. And no, I’m not going to do it, no matter if you’re the town sheriff or the president himself.” She knew she was flirting with danger talking to a cop this way. But she was so angry with him right now she didn’t even care.
They stared at each other for a moment and she saw his jaw clenched tightly as if he were trying to hold back from saying something to her. Then, when she started wondering if speaking in anger had been the right thing to do, he glanced down the street and at the crowd watching them, and answered in a low voice.
“Fine! Then you drive, but let’s get the hell out of here already.” He rushed around to the passenger side of the car and jumped inside, not bothering to put on his seat belt as she pulled away very slowly, heading down the street. “And don’t call me Silver in public, ever again.” He touched the radio on his shoulder, talking to another policeman. “We’ve got a ten-thirty-one,” he said. “It’s a seventeen-ten as well as a stolen vehicle. The suspect is heading north down Main Street. I’m in a civilian’s car and in pursuit.” There was static on the other end and then a male voice replied.
“Can you clarify seventeen-ten, sheriff?” Papers were heard shuffling in the background. “Are you saying there is a dead animal carcass in the road or livestock?”
“Neither, you fool. Now learn the codes already,” Judas spat into the radio. “It’s a crime in progress. A purse snatching and a stolen vehicle and I’m in pursuit in a civilian’s car.”
“Ten-four,” he acknowledged. More static, then the man’s voice was heard again. “Uh, can I get a copy on that last part, Sheriff Taylor? It almost sounded like ya said ya were in a civilian’s car.”
“I did,” he said in a low voice. “Now stop asking me to repeat myself, we’re wasting time.”
“So what is the make of the vehicle that’s been stolen?” came the officer’s voice over the radio once again.
“Damn it, figure it out, Deputy,” he growled. “I’m in a civilian’s car because my squad’s been stolen.”
Laney heard silence from the other end and then laughter in the man’s voice as it resounded over the radio once again. “Are you requesting backup?”
“That’s affirmative,” he answered. “Proceed with caution, as the suspect could be armed and dangerous.”
“Armed and dangerous?” Laney repeated aloud. She knew for a fact that J.D. was hormonal, obstinate and wild, but she surely wasn’t armed and she was far from dangerous.
Judas hit a switch on the radio and then looked over to her. “Go faster!” he shouted, making her jump in her seat.
“You’re not wearing your seatbelt,” she told him.
“Don’t worry about me, now step on it!”
She floored the gas pedal, causing him to almost get whiplash as she took off down the street with what looked like half the town watching them. The live daisy standing proud and tall in the little car’s bud holder wiggled as the whole contraption attached to her dashboard became detached and tipped over. The flower hit the floor and the water from bud holder splashed on Judas’s pants. He leaned forward to brush it off quickly, only to be hit in the head by the crystal swinging from her rear-view mirror hanging from a braided colored ribbon that held it attached.
She heard him swear under his breath and rub his forehead, then glance out the window. Then he made her jump again as his fist hit the dashboard and another curse left his mouth.
“Can’t you go any faster?” he ground out. “If not, pull over and let me drive already.”
“This is a VW, not a racecar,” she told him. “Now try to take some calming breaths and find your center.” Actually, she was purposely dogging it, hoping to give J.D. some extra time to get away, but trying not to look like it. “So,” she said, glancing over to him. “You’re a cop.” Her eyes scanned down his body and she drank in his impressive physique, as his tall frame was smashed into her little bug of a car.
He looked damned fine in his sheriff’s uniform. He wore short sleeves and his arms were bulging with muscles as if he worked out day and night. And by the way his pants clung to his thighs, she was sure they were solid and sturdy as well. His black hair was cut short and his eyes were dark and dangerous. His face was clean-shaven, and he looked respectable and professional instead of the carefree, wild boy she’d remembered when she’d dated him in high school.
“I’m the sheriff of Sweet Water,” he told her. Then he spied the plastic case from her relaxation and meditation CD lying on the center console and he also perused the tie-dyed sundress she wore. He reached out and yanked at the hanging crystal on the mirror, snapping the ribbon in the process, and dangling it in front of her face. “And it looks like you’re some kind of Swami Rama or a new age hippie. Don’t you know having garbage like this hanging from your mirror is what causes accidents?”
“Silver, you never used to be this angry and uptight,” she commented. She reached out and grabbed her crystal from him. “And this happens to be my favorite dress as it has all the colors of the chakra in it. It’s very balancing.” Then she attempted to dig into his personal life to find out information. “You are acting very rude. I don’t know how your wife puts up with it.”
She glanced out of the corner of her eye to see his expression. How he answered would tell her how to approach him with her next issue.
“No one calls me Silver – not out of the bedroom, Laney,” he told her. “And I don’t have a damned wife.” He turned his head and looked out the side window again. “Are you . . . married?” he asked softly, almost as if he wasn’t sure he wanted to know.