Sometimes love must take you down to show you who's there to pick you up.
Wade Kerney has just returned home from an out-of-state college. He's working on completing his chiropractic degree and will be resuming his duties as co-owner at his family's mixed martial arts gym. But coming home is bittersweet. When his present collides with his past, he's forced to figure out exactly who he is and what he wants. He is completely aware of his commitment issues, but he never thought it was a problem…until now.
Kiki Matsuda is quiet, innocent, and maybe a little naïve. When she falls for the co-owner of the MMA gym she works at, who also happens to be the brother of her best friend, she can't help but worry. But getting the blessing from her best friend isn't the beginning to Kiki's fairy-tale ending. She's all in, but Wade's refusal to do the same could be the demise of their relationship.
When tragedy strikes, can Kiki trust Wade to be there for her when she needs him the most?
Content Warning: contains graphic language, some violence, sex, and adult content
The buzzing of her cellphone pulled Kiki from her thoughts. Pulling her phone out of the tiny black clutch, she smiled when she saw the text message notification, knowing it was likely to be him. There were only a handful of people who texted her, and most of them were there tonight. Checking the message, her smile widened; she was right.
Him: I just heard that you're out at a bachelorette party. How's that going?
Kiki let out a heavy breath. It wasn't going exactly what she'd expected, not that she'd had high expectations for the night, but she couldn't say she wasn't having a good time.
Kiki: Good I guess. The bride seems to be having an especially good time.
Him: If it starts going all girls gone wild, I expect you to take pictures…but leave out the bride.
Kiki: Ha! You'd like that, wouldn't you?
Him: I'd like to see you again.
Him: Any chance you'd let me see you tonight?
Kiki read over his last text message a couple of times. It was close to midnight, and she had no clue how late this would go, but even with that she wasn't sure she was ready for a late-night hang out. She really liked him, really, but she had expectations on how things between a man and woman should be. Some might consider her a prude or old-fashion, but that wasn't it; she just wasn't in the market of giving anything away for free. And just like any other woman, she knew that a call after 10 PM was surely a booty call.
Kiki: I don't think tonight's going to work for me. Maybe another day?
Kiki was startled when Leena flung herself into the chair next to her and linked their arms together in an awkward motion. Quickly, Kiki tried to stash her cellphone in her bag before Leena could get a look at it, but she fumbled it.
"Who you texting?" Leena asked, leaning in closely.
"Um. Uh." Kiki wasn't prepared to come up with a lie on the spot. The cocktail had made her head fuzzy, and she'd never been quick on her feet. "Oh, no one. I was just checking the time and seeing if I had any new emails."
"Bullshit. I saw you grinning from ear to ear before I came over here. Are you texting the 'off limits' man?"
Leena leaned further into Kiki as if she was trying to whisper, but it came out in a husky tone laced with the scent of vodka. With as many drinks as Leena had had, Kiki didn't expect her to remember the 'off limits' guy, who recently she hadn't been able to stay away from. She didn't want to lie to Leena. In fact, she wanted to confide in someone but hadn't been brave enough to do so.
Kiki didn't have a chance to react when Leena snatched the cellphone out of her hands. Damn it, I knew I should have added a passcode. She hadn't listed his number under his name, just him. She cringed as she could only watch as Leena pressed buttons on the phone then held it to her ear.
"This isn't babe. Who's this?"
Kiki held her breath as Leena said the slurred words into the phone.
"Yeah, this is Leena…wait…Wade, is that you?"
Leena's wide eyes met her own. Kiki should have known that Leena would recognize the voice. After all, she had known Wade since he was little.
"Oh fuck!" Leena started laughing hysterically. "Ooohh, your sister is going to be so mad."
Leena hung up the phone and set it down on the table. She was still laughing with a condescending grin on her face.
"Well, at least it isn't a married man. But Wade!"
"Leena, please," Kiki begged, looking around the club, trying to make sure none of the bachelorette party had eavesdropped on the conversation. "Please, don't say anything to Vi. It's not serious."
"Really?" Leena cocked her head, and with a sympathetic look, she continued. "I love you, but you seem like the kind of girl who takes sex seriously."
Kiki was taken aback by Leena's assumption, even as true as it might be. "I'll have you know that we aren't sleeping together," she said, sitting up and squaring her shoulders.
"What? No way! That's not really Wade's style. He's more of a love 'em and leave 'em guy. I hate to break it to you, my sweet Kiki. You should run from Wade."