Against the Ropes
Redemption, Book 1
He scared me. He thrilled me. And after one touch, all I could think about was getting more…
Makayla never thought she’d set foot in an underground mixed-martial arts club. But if anyone needs a medic on hand, it’s these guys. Trouble is, at her first sight of the club’s owner she’s the one feeling breathless.
The man they call Torment is all sleek muscle and restrained power. Whether it’s in the ring or in the bedroom, he knows exactly when a soft touch is required and when to launch a full-on assault. He always knows just how far he can push. And he’s about to tempt Makayla in ways she never imagined…
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Run. I should run. But all I can do is stare.
His fight shorts are slung deliciously low on his narrow hips, hugging his powerful thighs. Hard, thick muscles ripple across the broad expanse of his chest, tapering down to a taut, corrugated abdomen. But most striking are the tattoos covering over half of his upper body—a hypnotizing cocktail of curving, flowing tribal designs that just beg to be touched.
He stops only a foot away and I crane my neck up to look at his face.
God is he gorgeous.
His high cheekbones are sharply cut, his jaw square, and his eyes dark brown and flecked with gold. His aquiline nose is slightly off-center, as if it had been broken and not properly reset, but instead of detracting from his breathtaking good looks, it gives him a dangerous appeal. His hair is hidden beneath a black bandana, but a few tawny, brown tufts have escaped from the edges and curl down past the base of his neck.
A smile ghosts his full lips as he studies me. A lithe and powerful animal assessing its prey.
My finely tuned instinct of self-preservation forces me back against the ropes and away from his intoxicating scent of soap and leather and the faintest kiss of the ocean.
“Excuse me…Torment. I…thought you forgot to buy a ticket, but…um…I don’t think you really need one. Do you?”
“A ticket?” His low-pitched, husky, sensual voice could seduce a saint. Or a young college grad trying to supplement her meager salary by selling tickets at a fight club.
My heart thunders in my chest and I lick my lips. His eyes lock on my mouth, and my tongue freezes mid-stroke before beating a hasty retreat behind my Pink Innocence glossed lips.
He steps forward and I press myself harder against the springy ropes, wincing as they bite into my skin through my thin T-shirt.
“Are you Amanda?”
With herculean effort, I manage to pry my tongue off the roof of my mouth. “I’m the best friend.”
He lifts an eyebrow. “Does the best friend have a name?”
“Doesn’t suit you. Do you have a different name?”
“What do you mean a different name? That’s my name. Well, it’s my nickname. But that’s what people call me. I’m not going to choose another name just because you don’t like it.” My hands find my hips, and I give him my second-best scowl—my best scowl being reserved for less handsome irritating men.
His gaze drifts down to the bright white “FCUK Me” lettering now stretched tight across my overly generous breasts. With my every breath, the letters expand and retract like a flashing neon sign. I hate my sister.
He leans so close I can see every contour of bone and sinew in his chest and the more intricate patterns in his tribal tattoos. The flexible ropes accommodate my last retreat, and I brace myself, trembling, against them.
“What’s your real name?” he rumbles.
“Makayla.” Oh, betraying lips.
He smiles and his eyes crinkle at the corners. “Makayla is a beautiful name. I’ll call you Makayla.”
Heat roars through me like a tidal wave. He likes my name. “So…about that ticket—”