I’ll never forget where I was the day my world came crashing down around me.
I wish I had a better story. Something like, I was volunteering at a hospital, visiting sick children, when the news first hit. Or, I had just finished saving an old woman and her forty-two cats from a burning building when my agent called.
But no. I was sitting in the fucking drive-through at McDonald’s, waiting for my daily fix of salty goodness, when the radio newscaster interrupted coverage of the Seahawks game to drop what would turn out to be the most defining moment of my life thus far.
“Charges have been filed against MLB star Ian Taggart, better known as Tag Taggart, of the Washington Rampage. Our sources say a young woman has come forward with allegations that Taggart sexually assaulted her after their division win last season.”
I didn’t hear what he said after that, my Bluetooth kicking on in my truck as I answered the call from Ray, my agent.
What had started as a simple stop through a pick-up window ended up being the catalyst to the worst period of my entire life. And, now, six months and hours and hours of turmoil, frustration, and a hell of a lot of anger later, it all comes down to this moment.
Coach Peters is sitting across from me with James Shelton, the Rampage’s GM, to his left.
Lucky for me, Mr. Lane couldn’t be here today. As the owner of the team, he generally tries to stay abreast of anything involving his players. He’s a little too involved, if you ask me. I’ve had far more meetings with the man in the past few months than I ever cared to have in my life. Add in the fact that he’s a class-A douche canoe, and…well, let’s just say, there are times when I’ve had to wonder if this is my punishment for the crime I didn’t even commit. Having to deal with Tyler Lane on the regular has to be worse than any prison cell could ever be.
And that’s right; you heard me correctly. I know that’s the standard answer all assholes give when they’re hit with a rape charge. And I know, ninety percent of the time, they’re lying through their teeth. Being a professional athlete seems to make some guys think they’re untouchable—a fact I can attest to from the hundreds, if not thousands, of times I’ve witnessed unwanted advances, unpaid tabs, drugs, and dozens of other less than savory activities. But I digress.
The fact is, I am not that guy. I love women. I respect women. Fuck, if I could build a shrine to women and worship at the altar of femininity, I would. Because, if there’s one thing in this world I love more than baseball, it’s the female body. But I would never touch a woman in any way that was unwanted or untoward.
The night I met Angela Hancock was the best night of my life.
We’d just won our division championship—a first in my seven years with the Rampage—and I was riding high. And I could think of no better way to celebrate than a night out with my teammates, a few bottles of Jack split between us, and a couple of willing females to keep us company.
I set my sights on Angela the moment I spotted her on the dance floor, her short black skirt and low-cut red top too mouthwatering to resist. When she took a break from her friends and headed to the bar to refresh her drink, I made my move.
Now, I’m not going to lie and say I had to work to get her attention. To be totally honest, I’ve never had any trouble finding a woman to warm my bed. With my muscular build, tan skin, and fucking adorable smile—you try to tell me dimples aren’t cute—I know I fit the mold of what women consider hot. And, before you start to think I’m a cocky asshole, let me stop you right there. There’s a difference between conceit and confidence. My teammate Simon Weaver is an arrogant fuckwit. Me, on the other hand? I radiate a smooth assurance that women can’t help but be attracted to.
To say getting Angela back to my room was easy would be an understatement. After one quick dance—if you could even call it that—we basically just dry-humped the shit out of each other for three minutes. And, with another shot of Jack for the road, we were on our way.
I might have had a few drinks, but I wasn’t drunk. And I can say with absolute certainty that everything that happened that night was completely consensual.
Angela slammed the door behind us and had my shirt off and her hand down my pants faster than you could say, Do you have a condom? I’ve always been a sucker for a girl who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to take control.
But, even in my lust-fueled state, I wasn’t too far gone to stop for protection and to make sure she understood what this was.
“This is only for tonight. You got that, right?”
Not exactly the most romantic thing in the world to hear two seconds before some dude shoves his cock inside you, but as I said, I like to make sure a woman knows exactly what she’s getting with me.
She made no bones about my declaration, and the next few hours were pretty fucking amazing, if I do say so myself.
In fact, the only reason I remembered who she was when Ray called me to give me the deets on the woman pressing charges was because of what a fantastic lay she had been. Normally, I’m a love-’em-and-leave-’em kinda guy—all their faces sort of blurring together into one giant blob of sexy times.
Hey, I said I wasn’t a rapist. I never said I wasn’t a whore.