Reckless Love Page 12

I caught the rage in Ian’s posture, though, and that egged me on. I gave Adam my best doe-eyed smile and grabbed his groin protector. His cock hardened quickly, and he moved to adjust his jewels.

“Does that hurt?” I asked innocently.

When Ian let out a huge breath and stormed off, I stifled a laugh and stood up. Serves you right, you big jerk. Hurts, doesn’t it?

“Hey,” Adam said. “You aren’t done examining my injuries.”

“You’ll be fine,” I said and turned to go back to my seat, but Adam grabbed my arm.

“Hey, slut, you started something.”

I barely had time to react before Chris was in front of Adam, all puffed up and ready to go. He might not fight anymore, but he could still whip any guy at the gym, even with his bum knee. Most guys knew this, and even if Adam didn’t, he should be able to see that Chris had about a hundred more pounds of muscle on him than Adam’s slight featherweight build.

The gym owner didn’t say a word. He just stared at Adam until he backed down, grabbing his gear bag and heading to the exit.

Chris then turned to me with a disgusted sneer. “Does he think just because he wins a fight he can grab any reward he wants?”

“Yeah,” I said and ran my hand through my hair. I shouldn’t have grabbed Adam that way, but in that moment, I wanted to get at Ian riled up so bad, I went for it. There was no way in hell I would admit any of this to Chris, though, so I just agreed.

“I’ve got your back, sweetie,” he said, then leaned down and kissed me on the nose.

“Thanks, boss.”

I kept my voice even but gave him a pointed look, reminding him of the deal we’d made. I was just a medic when we were at work. The dating thing only went on outside the gym. Then I headed back to my folding chair in the first row.

Ty seemed to have forgotten he was scared of fighting and was finally getting into the half-naked-man show going on, which was exactly why I’d brought him. He was like a girlfriend without the competition…so flipping awesome!

Ian’s opponent stepped into the ring and immediately started dancing around with his fists in the air. To my surprise, a good portion of the audience cheered for him. I looked around; maybe this guy had a few friends in the audience.

One of the refs checked over Ian, then let him into the ring as well.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” the announcer began. “This is the main event, three five-minute rounds, middleweight MMA fight. Weighing in at one hundred ninety pounds, twenty-four-year-old Ian Leclaire, representing the home gym. His opponent, twenty-seven-year-old Michael Steel, weighing in at two hundred pounds, hailing from Las Vegas.”

From the few fights I’d seen, Ian had been fighting below his potential for a while. It seemed like every fight he had, he ended up knocking the guy out in the first round. I’d heard he once knocked someone out with the first punch.

The fight tonight was supposed to be different, though. This guy Steel had fought pro before, if only somewhat briefly. But if Ian could win this fight, it would open all kinds of doors for him. I was already on the edge of my seat.

Inside the ring, the ref talked to the fighters briefly before he had them touch gloves and the first round started. Ian was a bouncer; he jumped around on his feet. Steel shook his head as if trying to shake a voice from his mind, then he stepped in to swing at Ian.

Ian was ready for him and sidestepped as he jabbed the guy squarely in the jaw. Steel jerked back. I thought I was about to watch Ian’s second ever one-hit knockout, but Steel found his footing and only wavered slightly before he came back at Ian. Hard.

“Damn, girl,” Ty said.

“What?” I turned to him.

“You just totally flinched.”

“I did not. You’re crazy.”

“Tsk. Whateves.”

Nine

Ian

Adrenaline rushed through my veins, and I couldn’t have that. Too much adrenaline too soon, and you tired yourself out.

It was stupid of me to try to engage with Kenzie before a fight. Now I just wanted to hit something, hard. But this guy was a pro, and it would take more than just brute force to win this. I needed skill and a level head.

We touched gloves, and I went right for the obvious jaw jab without even thinking. Damn. I wasn’t supposed to do that. The guy’s skull was so thick, he’d never been knocked out. I knew this, but I couldn’t focus.

Must focus.

I bounced on my toes to bleed the energy out and to try to keep him guessing, but then I lost it and came at him. One punch, then another, then a kick. He blocked both punches, then he blocked my kick. I went at him again, punching at him over and over like a fucking idiot, but I couldn’t stop, haunted by the scared look on Kenzie’s face when Chris was holding that fighter back. What had he done to her?

Frustrated, I whaled on Steel some more, but he calmly blocked every blow. At the rate I was burning calories, I’d exhaust myself by the end of the first round. Yet I couldn’t stop hitting him and kept at it until he finally threw a punch.

I jumped the wrong way, putting myself right in the line of fire. Fuck. Right on the nose. That was going to leave a mark.

“Get your ass in gear and move!” Chris called out from the sidelines. He knew I was distracted; he just didn’t know it was because the idea of anyone messing with MacKenzie turned me into a homicidal maniac.

I bounced back and shook it off. The metallic taste in the back of my mouth told me I was bleeding, but I ignored it.

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