Against the Ropes

Page 25


An erotic shiver runs down my spine. The visual image of Torment carrying me away caveman-style awakens something deeply sensual within me. Something forbidden.
“That would have been totally unacceptable behavior, and I would have been most displeased. Plus, you would never have made it past Amanda.”
Torment raises an eyebrow and grins. “I could have managed Amanda, or I could have asked Jake to help me. He handles her well. She needs someone like him—firm but gentle.”
Handles her? Since when has anyone handled Amanda?
He threads his fingers through my hair and gives it a gentle tug, tilting my head back and exposing my neck to the heat of his breath. “You, on the other hand, need something else.” He presses a kiss to the base of my throat.
My body trembles and vibrates as if I might fly apart at any second. “What do I need?” My voice, when it comes, is so quiet I can barely hear it.
“Me.” He trails hot, wet kisses up my throat and along my jaw.
Red, hot flames of need lick through my body and escape my parted lips with the softest of whimpers.
Torment groans. “Christ, Makayla. Don’t tempt me. I have to fight tonight.” He wraps his arms around me, squeezing me tight as if I might lure him to the dark side with my touch. He rests his forehead against mine and closes his eyes.
I could stay here forever. Safe. Warm. Wanted.
“Hey, Torment!” Jake bangs on the door. “Blade Saw called. They’re waiting for you at the club. Misery’s already arrived. He’s saying you’re afraid to show.”
“Misery?” My perfect moment disappears with a sigh of disappointment.
Torment takes a long, deep breath and steps back. “He’s a licensed amateur who is trying to get enough experience to get picked up by a professional league. But there are only so many amateur tournaments. On the underground circuit, he can fight as much as he wants, against whoever he wants. He can test his skills and practice new moves on bigger stronger opponents. A lot of amateurs won’t take the risk. If he’s caught, he’ll face a suspension. But he’s willing to do what it takes. And he’s good. Damn good. When he challenged me, I couldn’t resist. If I beat him, I move up in the underground rankings. We have our own championship belt. One day it’s going to be mine.”
“Sounds like it’s going to be a very different fight than the one you had with Homicide. Maybe we could just stay here.” My eyes flick over the bed and back to Torment. How is that for suggestive?
Torment’s brows draw together. “I have to fight, but I want you with me, Makayla. And when I want something, I don’t let go.”
My body responds to his words, melting, as heat pools in my core.
God, I want him too.
Chapter 7
Did you just kiss me?
Where are you?
Safe in Redemption’s first aid room, I stare at Torment’s text message. Crowds snake past my open door and into the club. Torment versus Misery is a big match and with only a few minutes to go before the club is locked down for the show, people are pushing and shoving to make sure they get inside.
My hand shakes as I type in my answer.
I am fighting in ten minutes
Torment is such a slow texter. Maybe I should buy him a book of text language and make him do some thumb exercises.
My fingers fly over the keys, and I type my answer. Why couldn’t he have a different hobby? Something with a low level of risk—like golf. The image of Torment playing golf makes me giggle. He would probably destroy any ball that dared not make it into the hole.
I know
I want you to watch
I can’t
I need you to watch
I’m in the club. Isn’t that enough?
No. I need to see you when I’m fighting
I need 2 c u not fighting
I’ll send Rampage to get you
I’ll run away
He’ll catch you
Only if I’m crawling
That’s not nice
Neither is fighting
How does he have time for all this texting? Isn’t he supposed to be warming up? From the snippets of conversation I’ve heard about Misery’s previous fights, Torment will need every advantage he’s got.
My cell vibrates yet again. He is nothing if not persistent.
Did you watch me last time?
What did you think?
U r good
What if Misery is better?
My hand flies to my mouth at this tiny glimpse into Torment’s psyche. He is human after all and in need of reassurance. I text him back.
U’ll be fine
Only if you are here
How can I make a difference?
You will
U hardly know me
I know I need you here
Wish I knew more about u **sighs**
Ask me something
What’s your real name? **bites fingernails**
If I tell you, will you watch?
Ah. Ha. The urge to jump up and down and pump my fist in the air is tempting but very unladylike. However, I can choke back another match to get Torment’s real name, especially now I know he’s worried about the fight.
He responds a few seconds later.
Max. Max. Max. The name doesn’t stick. He is still Torment to me.
I push my way through the crowded hallway, race through the gym and training area, and head toward the ring. Rampage sees me coming and clears a path with a few swings of his mighty arms. Maybe one day I’ll forgive him.
Torment is already in the ring, his back to me. Jake is talking to him, but he is looking down. I type my message.