After a night of raw passion with the man Claire O’Briene had been secretly admiring for years, she thought their time together had come once and for all. Fate had finally brought them back to each other, but unfortunately nothing had changed. He was still the same man who ran away from relationships. Against his better judgment, Mason Bradley gave in to the temptation and allowed himself one night with the one woman he’d been too afraid to want … too afraid to need.
Six months after leaving Claire and regretting every minute of it, Mason gets called in for an undercover mission that’s not only dangerous, but brings back a past he spent years trying to forget. A past of fighting … of getting in the ring and using his fists to get what he wanted: money, women, and drugs. Now there are fighters turning up dead, and it’s Mason’s job to find out the truth.
Knowing he might not come out of the mission alive, Mason seeks out Claire to tell her how he truly feels, only to find another man competing for her love as well. Fighting is what he’s good at, and for once he will be fighting not only for justice … but for love.
The door to the arena room was open, and the moment we stepped in Claire gasped and I stared, wide-eyed at all the people. "Holy shit," I breathed in awe. "It's packed."
Every single chair around the cage was occupied and there were people standing around everywhere. There were two guys already in the cage battling it out, except they looked to be part of the Lightweight division. When I fought several years ago, I was competing for the Heavyweight title. If they did fights in order of division then I would be going up there last."Hey, guys," Tyler exclaimed, carrying a beer in his hands.
Disapprovingly, I glared at the beer and then back up to him. "You should know better than to get drunk before a fight. It makes you sloppy," I scolded him.
I really didn't care either way what he did, but I knew better than to drink when I had to compete. Tyler chugged his beer and threw his cup in the trash a little too roughly.
"I do know better than to drink when I have to fight, but unfortunately, I'm not fighting tonight," he announced.
"Wait, what?" Claire cut in. "What do you mean you're not fighting? If you're not the one fighting Mason then who is?"
Tyler glanced around the room with narrowed eyes until he found the person I was to fight and pointed to him. "That's the guy over there with the blue mohawk. I think you might know him. He said he owed you for something you did a long time ago. Care to explain," Tyler inquired curiously.
Following the direction of Ty's pointed finger, I groaned when I saw the guy with the blue mohawk. Fuck, I knew who he was, or better yet, I knew his wife ... very well.
"What is it Mason?" Claire asked worriedly. "Who is he?"
His name was Chase Benfield and I did the unthinkable by fucking his wife. Blowing out a frustrated breath, I lowered my head and began to explain, "Do you remember when I mentioned I had a dark past?"
"Yeah," she said, drawling out the word. "Let me guess, you fought him back in the day?"
I nodded. "Yes, but that wasn't just it." I didn't want to tell her what I did because I was ashamed of the way I acted and the way I did things. I was sure she would understand, hopefully, but I didn't want her thinking less of me.
Claire let go of my hand and crossed her arms over her chest defiantly. "Dammit, just tell me already. You did this same shit to me when I was keeping something from you."
"Fine," I gave in, "but I need you to know it was a long time ago and it was before I even met you. I was stupid and did lots of stupid things that I shouldn't have."
She rolled her eyes. "Let me guess, you slept with his girlfriend," she guessed blandly.
Sighing, I regretfully nodded my head and waited for the angry words to come spewing out of her mouth. Instead, she said, "So, what's the big deal? You slept with her. That shit happens all the time. Why would he be angry about that still?"
"Well," I began, "it was actually his wife and I hooked up with her in my prepping room during his fight for a spot at the Heavyweight title. His trainer had come looking for her and found us. Needless to say, word got back to Chase awfully fast."
Claire groaned and hung her head. "Oh, hell, this isn't going to be good."
Chase finally spotted me from across the room and snarled his lip. No, I thought to myself, this definitely wasn't going to be good.
USA TODAY Bestselling author, L.P. Dover, is the author of the Forever Fae series, as well as the Second Chances standalone series, and her NA romantic suspense standalone called Love, Lies, and Deception. She lives in the beautiful state of North Carolina with her husband, her two wild girls, and her rambunctious kitten Katrina.