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Don't Tap Out

Beachwalk Press, Inc.

Heat Rating: STEAMY
Word Count: 57,000
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Does love have a fighting chance when it's standing in the way of a dream?

Vivette Kerney has been working in her family's mixed martial arts gym her entire life, but with the passing of her parents she now owns the prestigious T&A MMA gym. Running the day-to-day operations while also trying to open her own non-profit gym is exhausting, but it's a labor of love. A personal life is the last thing on her mind, but the new fighter is proving difficult to ignore. He's very sexy, very charming, and a very unwelcomed distraction. One thing she vowed never to do is fall for a fighter, now if she can just remember that.

Colin Davenport is a former wrestler who traded the Olympic tryouts for a career in mixed martial arts. After having an impressive amateur career he's recruited to join the elite T&A MMA gym and train professionally. It was a choice he had been unsure of…until he saw Vi, the beautiful, spirited, brunette owner of the gym. Now Colin is having a hard time remembering he's at the gym to chase a dream, not a girl.

Going against all of the rules, including a strict gym rule that prohibits fraternization between the fighters and staff, they give into their growing chemistry. Can they both keep from tapping out when love and dreams collide?

Content Warning: contains graphic language, some violence, and explicit sex

Excerpt

So, this is how my day is going to go? Lucky for Vi she'd had a lot of experience dealing with guys who thought they were too cool, and too cute. She knew before she spoke this poor fool was going to feel the wrath of her entire day.

She squared her shoulders and looked into Colin's eyes, which would have been nice to look at if she wasn't so angry. The soft hazel color of his deep set eyes made him look kind. She had to stand up to these types of guys, let them know they couldn't pull this crap with her. And if she were being honest about it, she enjoyed taking an over-inflated ego down a notch or two.

"Listen here, champ," she started. "I don't know who you think you are, because as far as I know, no one knows who the hell you are. WCFL champs don't dare talk to me like I'm some floozy trying to score with a fighter. I'm the owner of this establishment and will be treated with respect, or you can show yourself out the way you came in." She took a deep, calming breath. She was too tired for this shit. "Listen, kid, you could not understand how stressful my day has been. I'm too tired to even be yelling at you. Just…" She was lost for words. "Just don't."

As she turned to walk away, he grabbed her arm, stopping her. Confused, she turned around and looked into his eyes.

"It's Colin. Not champ, not buddy or pal, and definitely not kid. We're probably the same age."

She was taken aback by his candor. Was this the man who just hit on her? Had she imagined the conversation that'd happened? Had her day been that long and stressful that she didn't know what was actually going on? It's happening. I've hopped on the hot mess express to crazy town.

"I'm sorry about what I said, and I mean it. You are an attractive woman, and Rex warned me not to try anything funny. Honestly I wasn't, it just came out. I meant it as a joke, and then it got weird. I've heard you loud and clear—sleep with no one who is any way associated with the gym."

What the hell had Rex said? Was he telling people to stay away, or that she was a cold-hearted bitch? Why was that the only part of the conversation she could focus on? She knew why. She hadn't had a date in over a year, and the next year wasn't looking good either.

Colin spoke up, pulling her out of her thoughts. "This is where you say, thank you Colin for your apology, and I accept it. I am sure you will get along fine here. I know one day you will be an amazing superstar WCFL champ, and we can look back on this day and laugh."

She couldn't help but smile. She knew this type, a charmer, they were hardest to resist, even harder when they were as good-looking as he was, but this was business.

"All right. Let's agree I said some of that. Come on….Colin," she said, emphasizing his name. "Let me show you to the cardio machines. Rex is very serious about cardio. If you have no gas in the tank how are you supposed to go five rounds in the cage?"

Ten minutes later Vi left Colin at the cardio machines and started her search to find Uncle. Rex was almost like a second father, a role he seemed to take more seriously than she had expected. She needed to be viewed as a professional. Yes, she and Uncle would be having a long chat. With this day getting better and better, she promised herself a full bottle of wine tonight. Or maybe something stronger.

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