Authors: Kristen Flowers,Megan West
© 2016 by, Kristen Flowers
rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without
permission in writing from the author. Reviewers may quote brief passages in
reviews. This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or
dead, or business establishments, events or locals is coincidental.
By Megan West & Kristen Flowers
Also by Kristen Flowers
If you want to get free Advanced Reader
Copies of stories before anybody else-
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Bonus Stories by Megan West
& Kristen Flowers
Emma didn’t even
notice the haze of the dust anymore. She didn’t notice it especially when she
was watching the fist of her boyfriend’s opponent collide with his cheek. Blood
splattered out of Nathan’s face for the first time that night and she cringed.
She watched as he stumbled backward and blinked, as if he suddenly felt
confused about where he was and what was going on.
She didn’t even notice when she had grabbed a
big lock of her flowing, natural red hair to twist it around her hand the more
anxious she grew. She winced as Nathan’s opponent took advantage of his
confused state to deliver another punch. Then another and another, until he
stumbled back against the ropes.
crowd around her exploded in screams and booed at Nathan, making her stomach
clench even tighter.
“Get it together!”
a drunken man to her right screeched in near panic.
“The fuck! Blast
that fucker, Nathan! What is this shit?” another man, immediately behind her screamed
She knew he had
bet a large sum of money for her boyfriend Nathan to win and it seemed now like
he was going to lose. She also knew Nathan always heard these types of hoots
and hollers from the crowd, and it affected him. She couldn’t imagine how it wouldn’t.
Now she only hoped it spurred him on to beat his opponent and not overwhelm him
Emma gulped and
closed her eyes when the opponent’s fist flung out at Nathan again. She didn’t
want to watch it anymore, but she had to be ringside– for her boyfriend and for
her job. It was loathsome. She opened her eyes again, but looked off to the
side. Past a small opening in the crowd she saw the bar area where the cocktail
waitresses were gathered, waiting on the drink orders they needed to deliver to
their customers. She heard some sort of crack in the ring and she winced. She didn’t
want to turn around and look at whatever had caused such an awful sound, she
only hoped it wasn’t a part of Nathan’s body.
So she chose
instead to focus on Elaine, who was delivering a drink to a man even though he
clearly didn’t need any more alcohol. She was wearing a tiny, tight leather
vest that pushed her cleavage far out and exposed her tight abdomen paired with
miniscule denim shorts from which the bottom of her ass cheeks peaked out. She
had opted for flat boots that day, but she still looked fantastic and all the
men loved her.
It was the typical
attire for the women who worked as cocktail waitresses at The Ring, the dusty
old place owned by Nick for these underground fights.
Emma shuddered. To
think she once dated that millionaire who set up and run this place made her
blood run cold, especially now that it was home to the man she truly loved. It
seemed like an entirely different life when she had been with Nick. Now she was
working at this place, essentially working for him.
It was strange the
way things happened. She turned back to look at Nathan, who was still getting
knocked around. She could see the dried blood on his chin and the cuts on his
face. He was going to have some serious swelling and bruising in no time at
all. She gulped and held back the tears that had been fighting to come out for
a while now.
“Let me place a
bet on The Tank,” a hoarse and slightly slurred voice said into her ear.
Emma turned to see
a man leaning over towards her, holding a big wad of cash.
She cleared her
throat, “Betting is closed the moment the bell rings in round one.” She looked
at him with a stern look on her face. He was one of those jokers who waited to
try cashing in on what looked like the obvious winner. Of course it bothered
her that her boyfriend’s opponent was the one in the lead, but not as much as
these men who tried to push her around, make a quick buck, and try to impress
her with a big wad of cash she was sure hadn’t been earned by any honest means.
millionaires with low moral compasses populated this place and a lot of them
weren’t honest men. Their wealth hadn’t been inherited or amassed in a legal
way. And those who earned their money legally were still despicable men, in her
opinion. The Ring attracted a certain kind of individual; the type of
individual Emma found repulsive. But it was the world she was a part of and she
couldn’t wait to escape it.
The man eyed her
with annoyance, shoving the big wad of cash into his pocket. “Fucking
bullshit,” he barked at her. She could hear him muttering more expletives as he
stalked off into the crowd with a strut.
“He would have
lost his money anyway. They don’t call Nathan the Comeback Kid for nothing,” Emma’s
co-worker, Laura, said as she leaned into her ear.
Emma smiled for
the first time since she had set foot into The Ring that night. She turned and
looked into Laura’s kind, brown eyes and sighed. It was likely her friend and
co-worker was right about that, but waiting for Nathan to have his ‘comeback’
was always gut wrenching for her. She hated the whole process of it.
Every time she
watched her boyfriend get hit it felt like getting hit herself. She felt the
physical and emotional pain of every single punch and she wasn’t even in the
ring. Her thoughts were broken by going into a fit of coughing, brought on by a
man who had stepped up beside her and blown cigarette smoke practically right
into her mouth.
She had grown used
to inhaling smoke second hand, the haze of it constantly hung in the air. But
it was entirely different to have it blown into her mouth. She saw the man look
at her with a condescending smirk, but he made no motion to step away. Emma
took a step back and looked over at Laura with annoyance. It wasn’t the time to
get into some kind of pointless argument with the man.
There were a lot of things to want to fight
about in The Ring and cigarette smoke wasn’t one of them. She looked back at
Nathan, but her vision was out of focus. She wanted this to end; not the fight,
the lifestyle. Everything about the underground fighting lifestyle was
something she very much wanted to leave behind– everything except Nathan that
was. She looked at his strong body despite the punches he had already taken and
knew he would fare well in California alongside her. He was as strong in spirit
as he was physically.
Getting out of this
underground fighting lifestyle and moving to California wasn’t a distant dream
for her, even if it often felt like it. They were very real dreams she wanted.
She looked at
Nathan and her heart started pounding. As much as she loved him she couldn’t
continue on in this type of life. She couldn’t continue to watch him get beat
time after time before he turned around for the win. She hated every danger
associated with The Ring. She was approaching the breaking point and she was
approaching it fast.
As her eyes
followed Nathan’s clenched fist, colliding with The Tank’s already bruised
cheekbone. As she watched Nathan land a solid punch her mind raced with a
million emotions. It tore her heart of her chest to think she would have to
leave him behind if he refused to get out of this fighting circuit and move to
California with her.
It wasn’t for lack
of love and she knew it. She was confident in how much Nathan loved her, just
as much as she loved him. But he had his own goals and motivations. Not only did
he want to be crowned the best fighter in the underground world, he wanted to
go at it professionally. That thought alone was enough to twist her insides so
much she felt nauseous. How could she even handle that? But at the same time,
she could see the worry in his eyes if she mentioned him giving up fighting. It
was all he had ever known, from the very first moment he decided to do
something for money. It was his only skill and passion. At least that was his
point of view on it and himself.
Her only comfort
was that, if he ever did go pro, it was likely not like the underground scene.
She knew she would never be okay watching him take a beating, but maybe it would
be more bearable if it wasn’t in such a despicable place. Or maybe those were
the things she told herself to be okay with him following her to California and
continuing to pursue his dreams away from Nick and The Ring.
She had no clue
how any of it would work and it was something she tried not to think about in
too much detail, only because it made no sense any way she framed it. She
figured she was drowning herself in negativity and creating unwarranted
Nathan ducked and
narrowly missed a powerful swing from The Tank. Nathan’s opponent stumbled
against the ropes before quickly turning around and facing him again. Emma let
out a sigh of relief after avoiding that one. The one punch seemed like it
could have knocked him out entirely if he hadn’t ducked down in time.
Every muscle in
her body was tense as she watched the fight continue, the thundering of her
pulse in her ears drowned out the drunken cheers around her. Right then a loud
smack resonated from the ring just as the bell rung. Nathan had given the other
man a swift punch to the gut. Emma held her breath for a moment as she watched
The Tank double over, clutching his stomach. The crowd went wild, jumping up
and down with excitement when The Tank didn’t stand back up.
It was a punishing
uppercut that finished off Nathan’s opponent, declaring him the winner. Once
again he had lived up to his title “The Comeback Kid”. He had turned around and
came back with something to end the fight, even after such a bad beating at the
start. The crowd went wild but Nathan only punched the air upward for them
before immediately leaning against the cage and staring across the crowd,
directly at Emma.
Emma felt her
heart skip a beat. She smiled back at him, trying her best to ignore the cuts
and dried up blood covering up his handsome face. Despite all that, his smile shined
as bright as ever when he looked at her. She let out a sigh of relief. No matter
how much she hated seeing him step into that ring and fight, watching him win
was the best feeling in the world.
It wasn’t because he was the winner of the
fight that made her heart fluttered. It was because as soon as the other man
hit the canvas, knocked out, it meant Nathan was safe– at least for the time
being. Nathan blew her a quick kiss with a wink. He gave a little wave and then
ducked out of the ring, heading off to the locker room for a shower.
Emma turned around
and set to work on paying off the winning bets with Laura by her side helping
her to finish up as quickly as possible, all the while making sure everything
was accurate. She ignored the disgruntled curses from the men who were angry
for having bet on The Tank. She even ignored those enthusiastically discussing
the way “The Comeback Kid,” always managed such a surprising and spectacular ending.
She hated hearing
them talk about it so easily, as if it were no big deal that the man she loved
could come so close to being beaten to a pulp before finally delivering the
wining blow. All these men cared about was being entertained and winning money,
although they didn’t suffer for any lack of income.
She hated the
slithery men who eyed her with obvious hunger and spoke to her as if she were
some easy piece of meat. They were the same men who tried to sneak a smack on
the ass to the cocktail waitresses or assumed it was their job to provide afterhours
entertainment if they requested it.
A lot of them
thought she was just another woman they could try to coax into quick sex before
dumping her off like it was no big deal. She hated those men. She disliked most
of them really, they didn’t really treat her with any actual respect. But she
knew that wasn’t unique to her– it was just their general attitude toward all
women and any people who fell below their social status, no matter what they
had done to get there in the first place.
“Go ahead,” Laura
whispered in her ear with a grin. Emma smiled and nodded, handing the rest of
the cash and envelopes to Laura before heading off to see Nathan.