Read The Last Renegade Online

Authors: Jo Goodman

The Last Renegade

BOOK: The Last Renegade
ads

P
RAISE FOR

Kissing Comfort

“The cast of likable, articulate characters—including the complicated, independent, and altogether impressive heroine—makes this an entertaining and sizzling offering for lovers of Gilded Age pageantry.”


Publishers Weekly

“Jo Goodman’s books are one of the main reasons why I love historical romance so much.”


The Romance Dish

“Business, money, lies, betrayal, and love are a dynamic recipe…Jo Goodman is a master at historical romance.
Kissing Comfort
is charming, humorous, all-consuming, and a blast to read.”


Fresh Fiction

“A wonderfully intense romance that entertained me from beginning to end…A captivating read.”


Romance Junkies

“Jo Goodman is one of my favorite authors and is one of the few historical romance writers that still sets her books in America…I absolutely adored her latest book,
Kissing Comfort
, where she has spun a gripping tale that absorbed me to the very end.”


Night Owl Reviews

“Goodman’s longtime fans will recognize the author’s signature style and new fans will enjoy this good, old-fashioned Western.”


RT Book Reviews

“An exciting American romance starring two likable protagonists and an overall wonderful cast.”


Genre Go Round Reviews

P
RAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF
J
O
G
OODMAN

“A perfect treat for readers who enjoy smart, sensual love stories à la Amanda Quick.”


Booklist

“Goodman has a real flair for writing romantic tension and sexy love scenes…Fans of historical and western romances will also appreciate Goodman’s witty dialogue, first-rate narrative prose, and clever plotting.”


Publishers Weekly
(starred review)

“Exquisitely written. Rich in detail, the characters are passionately drawn…An excellent read.”


The Oakland Press

“Jo Goodman is a master of her craft, and it’s easy to see why she is a bestseller. She has the rare talent to put you in the hearts and minds of her characters…If you see her name on a book, it’s a guaranteed good read!”


Night Owl Reviews

“For the pure joy of reading a romance, this book comes close to being some kind of perfection.”


Dear Author

“Goodman’s…prose is rich and luscious.”


The Romance Reader

“Delightful and exciting…Goodman holds the suspense as well as the surprises and never lets up on the passion.”


RT Book Reviews

“Goodman is a thoughtful and intelligent writer who can make her characters live and breathe on the page.”


All About Romance

Berkley Sensation titles by Jo Goodman

KISSING COMFORT

THE LAST RENEGADE

The
Last Renegade

J
O
G
OODMAN

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) • Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England • Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.) • Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.) • Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India • Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.) • Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

THE LAST RENEGADE

A Berkley Sensation Book / published by arrangement with the author

PUBLISHING HISTORY

Berkley Sensation mass-market edition / September 2012

Copyright © 2012 by Joanne Dobrzanski.

Excerpt from
True to the Law
by Jo Goodman copyright © 2012 by Joanne Dobrzanski.

Cover photo by Claudio Marinesco.

Cover design by Rita Frangie.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or
electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of
copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

ISBN: 978-1-101-58961-8

BERKLEY SENSATION
®

Berkley Sensation Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

BERKLEY SENSATION
®
is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

The “B” design is a trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

10  9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2  1

If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is
stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the
author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

ALWAYS LEARNING

PEARSON

This one has to be for my terrific friends and
colleagues at WVCCA. Remember, while I incorporate
your names shamelessly, I haven’t killed one of you off.

Yet.

Table of Contents

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Epilogue

About the Author

Prologue

October 1888

Wyoming Territory

Kellen Coltrane looked up from his reading to acknowledge the stranger. The interruption annoyed him, but he did not permit himself to reveal it. It was impossible for him not to hear his mother’s gentle admonishment at times like this, “There is no reason you cannot remove your nose from a book long enough to be civil.” That’s why a smile was tugging at the corners of his mouth when he met the eyes of the dead man.

Not that the stranger was dead yet. Just that he soon would be. The man’s gaunt face was nearly drained of color, and in spite of the chill in the passenger coach, his skin had the damp sheen of a sickly sweat.

Then there was the blood. It was not immediately evident. The dying man was making some effort to hide his condition, perhaps even from himself, but his posture was listing now, the knees no longer locked to attention, and the hand he had pushed inside his coat to cover the wound was insufficient to staunch
the flow of blood. A dark crimson bloom had begun to appear on his shirt above the button closures of his vest and coat.

Kellen looked around quickly and saw the man had attracted no particular notice. This passenger car hadn’t been overcrowded since Omaha and was down to five other souls since the stop in Cheyenne. There were cars forward where passengers were still seated elbow to elbow. If there was a choice, most people opted to ride as close to the front of the train as possible, where they believed the cars swayed less. Smoke and cinders were inescapable wherever one sat, even in the Union Pacific’s most expensive private coaches. For Kellen, his choice of seats hinged on how much conversation and company he wanted. He had moved several times to achieve exactly this much isolation.

Apparently, so had the dead man.

Kellen stood, placed a hand under the stranger’s elbow, and slipped his dime novel under the man’s coat. “Press this against your wound,” he whispered. “Let me help you sit.”

Summoning enough energy to glance at the book’s colorful cover illustration, the man grasped it with bloodstained fingers. “Hate to see Nat Church put to such a use.”

Kellen offered a thin smile. “If you believe the stories, he’s seen worse.”

“Oh, I believe. Believe ’em all.”

There was a pause, and Kellen thought he was going to say more, but a weak cough and a spittle of blood on the man’s lower lip were all that followed. Kellen eased the man down on the wooden bench and helped him slide into the corner beside the window, the same space Kellen had previously occupied.

Kellen bent low and spoke quietly into the man’s ear. “I’m going to get help.”

“No.”

“The conductor passed through here a few minutes ago. He can’t be far.”

“No.” This time the objection was more forceful, not easily ignored. The man turned his head and stared hard. His soft grunt revealed mild surprise and a measure of grudging respect when Kellen didn’t blink or back away. “Guess I ain’t in a position to argue.”

“That’s right.” Kellen started to straighten and move away, but the dying man reached out and grabbed his wrist. His strength made Kellen hesitate even while it filled him with a greater sense of urgency. Perhaps he had mistaken the hopelessness of the stranger’s condition. He looked down at the white-knuckled fingers gripping his wrist. “What is it?”

“My valise.” He jerked his chin toward the narrow aisle. “Put it here. Beside me.”

Kellen’s own valise was stored under the bench. He didn’t bother offering to put the stranger’s bag there. He picked up the bag, discovered it was heavier than he’d anticipated, and hefted it onto the bench. He then went in search of the conductor.

He found Mr. Berg four cars forward. It had taken him more time than it should have because passengers two cars ahead had opened up their baskets and were sharing food across the aisle and between the benches. The atmosphere in that car was as festive as a summer picnic, and he was encouraged by every traveler of the female kind to sample a slice of this and a square of that. Exigency warred with civility. He was polite but firm, then coldly polite, and finally merely cold. No one offered him anything on his return passage.

ADS
15.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
READ BOOK DOWNLOAD BOOK

Other books

Happily Ever After? by Debra Kent
Short Ride to Nowhere by Tom Piccirilli
The relentless revolution: a history of capitalism by Joyce Appleby, Joyce Oldham Appleby
The Paper Grail by James P. Blaylock
New Regime by Laken Cane
Unbound by Sara Humphreys
Revolution (Replica) by Jenna Black