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Authors: Tia Pararol

Tags: #romance, #bbw, #new adult, #mma

Broken Fighter: BBW, New Adult Romance

BOOK: Broken Fighter: BBW, New Adult Romance
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Contents

Broken Fighter

Copyright

BROKEN FIGHTER

_______________________

BBW, New Adult Romance

By
 

Tia Pararol

A knee as solid as steal drove upward into Jackson’s gut, lifting his feet off the ground. Before he had a chance to touch down, brute, sledge hammer force was lifting him up again. Through the sound of rushing blood in his ears, Jackson could hear the crowd’s approving roar. Pylon forearms slammed into his back, sending the mat rushing up to smash his face before grappling legs and arms like steal bands wrapped themselves around his torso and neck, choking him. Time slipped followed by a moment of confusion and then Jackson could hear the referee counting him out. He’d lost. Everything.

With his borrowed escort gone and his assigned locker room deserted, Jackson flexed his massive shoulders before leaning forward, his elbows resting heavily on his knees. The long, wooden bench on which he sat faced a row of abused and dented lockers, their paint chipped, their glory days long gone.
 

Glancing down next to himself for the third time in two minutes, Jackson reread the text message from his landlord, “I’m starting the eviction.” The bastard had heard about the fight’s outcome. He knew the money wasn’t coming.
Fuck.

Refocusing, Jackson went back to untaping his hands, pulling off each short strip with exacting patience, honing his concentration to contain the fury building inside. His life was disintegrating. He knew it, couldn’t deny it, but he could focus on his hands…just his hands. If he gave his all to just one thing, that one thing could become his everything. And if that one thing was okay, then everything was okay.

Methodically, the tape came off, one short strip at a time. As the tape’s restrictive pressure left his hands, his hands began to throb, to swell, stiffness thickening his joints. Closing his eyes, he allowed his practiced fingers to work by touch, pulling loose the smooth edges of the tape while he replayed the fight in his head, blow by bone shattering blow. Shifting on the hard bench, his body creaked and he suppressed a groan.

“I’m getting too old for this,” he muttered as he opened his eyes to stare at the stark, cold, pale blue walls of the deserted locker room. Once there would have been a group of people around him after a fight, someone to take care of his hands, a bucket of ice ready. But after his accident, all of that had changed.
 

Wrapping his motorcycle around the end of a bridge abutment had landed him in a medically induced coma for two weeks. Upon being woken up, Jackson had been told he’d never walk again. Now…he was fighting, back in the octagon, with crowds cheering—or jeering—at him. The come-back training had been excruciating and exhausting but in the two years since his accident, he’d gone from struggling to use a walker to being able to throw a punch hard enough to break a man’s jaw.
 

Yet time out of the cage, out of the fighting world, had caused its own damage. Scheduled product endorsements had fallen through and existing contracts for ongoing endorsements had quietly dried up while medical bills had burned their way through the entirety of his savings. He’d had to sell his condo and downgrade to a cheaper apartment—much cheaper.
 

But, as of six months ago, he was back—albeit alone, his body bruised and beaten. He was back. But even in the cage—especially in the cage—time hadn’t waited. While he’d been struggling to put his body back together, his opponents had gotten younger, stronger, and faster—and almost as good as him. He wasn’t sure when it had happened but at some point, the difference between his skill and their strength, speed and endurance was no longer enough.
 

The ting of water dripping on porcelain drew Jackson’s eyes in the direction of two lone sinks, the echoing drip prickling his nerves. Looking away from the sinks he scanned the suffocating emptiness of the room. He hadn’t thought his decision to return to the cage would be like this, surrounded by no one. He hadn’t thought his body would hurt like this either. And, he hadn’t thought he would lose…
always
lose.

Flexing his now tape free hands in an effort to release some of the pain and pent up frustration, Jackson tried to work through the stiffness and swelling that was setting in. A cold water hand bath, instead of the bucket of ice he was used to, would have to do to minimize the damage. Starting to stand, a stab of pain tore through his back, stopping him cold. Tired eyes scanned the room again.
Alone…fucking alone.
He hadn’t wanted this.

“Teach…I could teach,” he said to himself, rolling his thickly muscled shoulders back again, a deep crinkle at his eyes the only indicator of the pain that lingered, dancing over his nerve endings like searing hot fire flies. Jackson grimaced as an image of throwing a cocky, sneering, pimply faced student into a wall filled his mind. He wished it was a figment of his imagination, something that
could
happen instead of something that
did
happen. A heavy sigh escaped him at the harsh truths that faced him. “You’re getting old, boy,” he grumbled. “What are ya gonna do?”

As if on cue, his insides twisted and tightened with thoughts of ending up homeless. It could happen, had happened to better men than him. He’d lost the fight; he’d lost his month’s rent, lost his back rent. “At least I’ll be able to eat,” he said, again straightening to flex powerful, thick shoulders, feeling the creak in his back.
 

Closing his eyes again, Jackson slumped forward once more, the night’s defeat weighing heavier on him than the loss of money. While the loser’s purse was enough to feed him, it was not enough to train on. There’d be no protein bulking, no power training. He was done.
 

“Craps,” he said, hanging his head and squeezing his fists until redness gave way to white knuckles. “I hate this.”
 

Pity party’s over, boy. Get on with it
, his inner asshole derided him in a voice that sounded suspiciously like his late grandfather’s.

“Fuck it,” Jackson mumbled, standing up from the low bench, suppressing another groan as lightening surges of pain shot through him. Maybe he was done professionally but he wagered he could still palm the head of some snot nosed high school student.

Moving to the low hung sinks, Jackson turned the old four pronged faucet handle and then listened to the pipes rumble until a very delicate flow of cool water poured out. Slipping his ham hock of a hand beneath the stream, Jackson found more comfort in the cold porcelain than the tiny flow of water. Glancing over his shoulders, he sized up the shower with its teal covered floor, walls and ceiling. The fight’s sweat had cooled on his body leaving him feeling grimy.

Abandoning the faucet with a twist of its knob, Jackson treaded over to one of the three shower stalls for closer inspection. While well used, it was clean—which was more than he could say for himself after spending nearly half his match on the mat.

The hot and cold shower knobs squeaked their way on with a quick turn of Jackson’s large hand. Slipping one foot free of his old, worn flip flop, he hooked his thumbs into the band of his gym shorts in preparation of shedding them but movement at the door shifted his attention and halted his hands. He knew he’d locked the door, a fact confirmed as he watched the handle twist minutely back and forth, a full turn not possible due to its internal locking mechanism. The door fell silent, motionless, and Jackson released a deep breath but then stiffened as a heavy thud sounded followed by a metallic click.
 

As he stood watching, one flip flop on and one off, his gym shorts pulled low on his hips to expose every chiseled ab down to the V that promised of more to behold, the large, heavy door opened just enough to allow a young girl’s head to peak through. Just as quickly, she disappeared only to reappear a heartbeat later, the door opening much wider this time, wide enough for that pretty girl to waltz right in. Behind her, the large heavy door clicked closed with a near silent finality.
 

Jackson grimaced, looking down at himself before looking back up at the girl, again missing the long gone entourage of devoted friends, manager and trainer who would have stood between his half naked self and an over zealous fan.
 

Jackson loudly cleared his throat and then narrowed his eyes when the girl didn’t even look his way. Instead, she put her ear to the door with her hand poised above the near-useless lock.
 

“You’ve got to get outta here,” Jackson said, his annoyance seeping into his voice. He considered throwing a flip flop when she continued her deaf, dumb and blind routine.
 

Since she was ignoring him anyway, Jackson took his time looking over the woman who had invaded his space. Long, dark, thick hair spilled down her back over a loose fitting t-shirt and a formless cotton skirt that draped her body from hips to ankles. He could tell she was a little thick in her shape but that didn’t bother him near as much as the fact that she had yet to acknowledge that she had barged into a private locker room.

Having had enough, Jackson pivoted to head for his gym bag to retrieve his cell phone but froze when the girl twirled around, her eyes wide and her lips parted as if panicked. Though she still had not looked at him, he could see that she was beautiful with creamy, flawless skin, large, piercing blue-green eyes, and pouty, ruby lips. While Jackson had no intentions of spending time alone with a crazed fan who could make claims against his reputation at a later time, something in the way she held herself told him that if she was crazed, it had nothing to do with him.

Suddenly, her eyes flicked to meet his. In the next moment she was rushing toward him.
No, rushing away from the door,
he realized as the sound of loud, angry voices echoed in from the hallway.

The door rattled the minutest amount of resistance before being pushed open hard enough to almost hit the adjoining wall at the very moment Jackson’s young trespasser flashed by him to hide herself in the shower’s downpour. Jackson resisted the urge to look at her. He didn’t know what the situation was but guessed that if he gave away the girl’s whereabouts, he’d be stuck trying to get answers from a crystal ball.
 

Before him, the collective group of men moved into the locker room as if they owned the space, allowing the now well used door to glide silently shut behind them. Taking their time, they scanned the room before the lead guy locked his eyes on Jackson, finally acknowledging his presence.
 

“And you are?” The man’s assessing gaze travelled up and down Jackson’s near naked body in a manner that made Jackson feel as if he were being prepped for auction.

Having no intentions of telling them anything, Jackson opened his mouth to tell the group to get the hell out when another member blurted their true intent. “Have you seen a chubby, dark headed girl? Eighteen years old, long hair….”

Jackson held on to the same stoic expression and deadpan stare he’d perfected for the cage. Opening his mouth once again to tell the group to get out, the locker room door slammed open yet again but this time with a crash as it rebounded off the adjacent wall.
 

“What the hell!” The event manager’s face was one shade paler than blood, his 5’4 frame doing nothing to diminish his intimidation factor. “These guys friends of yours, Jackson?” he asked, waving a hand toward the group.

It took only a shake of the head from Jackson to send Bookers into action. “…THEN GET THE
FUCK
OUT!” he exclaimed, directing his wrath at the newcomers. Bookers grew that one shade darker to blood leaving Jackson fearing the man would stroke out.

The group of men looked at Bookers with open derision, their faces pinched with unexpressed anger.


NOW!
” Booker reiterated, as he stepped aside from the open door. He waved at the group like a stewardess ushering out a bunch of passengers, their destination reached. “And
stay
out!” he finished with the slamming of the locker room door. Turning to Jackson, he asked, “We good?”

BOOK: Broken Fighter: BBW, New Adult Romance
12.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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