Author and Publisher: Denver Shaw
Cover Artist: Steamy Designs
Release Date: March 21, 2023
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Tropes: Opposites attract, sports romance/MMA romance, grumpy/sunshine, multicultural characters, found family
Themes: Protect who you love
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 56 600 words
It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.
Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited
A bad boy who lives outside the law. A compassionate soul focused on helping others. Sometimes rules are meant to be broken... for love.
Helping my brother was my focus. He got into trouble and I’ve been using my skills in the ring to prevent loan sharks from breaking his kneecaps... or worse.
Until I met Noah.
He’s a good man who makes me want to be better. A man who doesn't lace up his gloves and step into underground rings. But I have one last fight coming. This time the stakes are higher than ever. What I have to do to save my brother could cost me the man I’m falling for.
I should have walked away and never looked back when I first met the MMA fighter with honey-gold eyes. Yet Caden’s charms are too appealing to ignore. As a social worker it's important for me to keep my nose clean.
And Caden is a red flag in every way.
Still, he’s hot as sin and I can't seem to stay away. I’m taking a risk by opening myself up to him, but I'm convinced beneath that bad boy exterior beats the heart of a good man who is worth the fight.
I texted Austin that I was here and that he needed to get his skinny butt to the entrance.
I got back what looked like a seat assignment from him, but this place was a maze. There was a man nearby who looked like he knew his way around, or was someone that worked here. Even if he didn’t, he might know where the seats were. But my breath caught in my throat as I surveyed him: black pants, white shirt; tall, muscled; short, blackberry-colored hair and honey-gold eyes. On their own, his features were possessed by dozens, perhaps hundreds of other men, but there was a certain something about this particular man. He exuded an easy confidence, a sex appeal that drew me in. It had been years since I’d been in a serious relationship, months since I’d had sex, and looking at this guy made me seriously think, albeit fleetingly, that maybe I should put myself back out there and at least consider dating again.
I shook myself from the temporary brain paralysis the man had reduced me to.
“Pardon me, sir,” I said, “I haven’t been here in a long time; I’m trying to figure out where seat F3J is. Do you have any idea?”
He smiled down at me. I felt the caress of his gaze roaming over me, but not lingering too long in one spot, which took him out of the ‘creep’ category and put him into the ‘typical male’ category that he probably couldn’t help being in anyway. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I did have on my burgundy suit, which perfectly molded to my body.
Was he gay, or at least bisexual?
“F3J,” he repeated, smirking about something. “F3J…well, I might be able to help you hunt it down. Are you…here with someone?”
“I am,” I said. “Young guy, skinny, mixed.”
“Anything serious?” the man asked, casually—too casually.
I laughed. “Um…no, he’s my nephew.”
“Oh!” He wiped imaginary sweat off his forehead. “I see. That’s good.”
“Is it, now?”
“Well, see,” he said, “I figured there was no way I was lucky enough to meet a single guy in a place like this. I mean, what are the chances a man like you is unattached?”
Well, he answered my question. He was definitely gay or bisexual.
I pursed my lips and gave him the look I gave the kids that tried to bullshit me at work. “Oh, you’re a little slick. What, just because I’m here without a guy, I must be unattached?”
He shrugged. “Are you?”
“Here without a guy?”
I made him wait a second. “Maybe I am.”
“Here’s the thing,” he said, leaning in a little bit. He smelled like a minty aftershave and sweat, the clean sweat of a man straight after a workout. “I figured any man who was with you wouldn’t stay behind if you left the house looking like that. I know I wouldn’t.”
“What, so he’d own me?” I wanted to be righteously angry, but it was hard. Those eyes…
“No,” the man said. “But he’d never miss a chance to be with you. I think you’d probably own him.”
“Oh, okay. Okay.” I nodded slowly, smiling now. “You’re slick and smooth at the same time. Listen, can you help me find my seat or not?”
“Is that an interview question?”
“I’m not taking applications.”
“Give me your phone number, and I’ll take you straight there.” He winked at me.
I almost did. It was fun, and it had been a long, long time since I’d been flirted with by anybody that wasn’t an inappropriately forward client. That happened plenty. This, though, was a bona fide stranger who didn’t know me from Adam, and seemed like he thought I was looking cute.
But, let’s be honest here; the little fantasy I had a few moments ago about putting myself out there was just that, a fantasy. I ate takeout every night for dinner. I ate most of my lunches at the office. I had heard about days off, and I vaguely remembered having them…or maybe I only dreamed about that once. That stack of case files on my desk? It hung around the back of my head like it had astral projected itself to follow me around the world outside my office.
It was a nice thought, but no, sir; the next date I had time to go on would be the one day off I would get between the day my office burned down and the day they relocated me to another one and printed out all my files again—thank God for the cloud.
“It’s not that easy,” I said with my own wink. “But good try. You’ve got real skills. I applaud your smoothness.” I stepped away from him. “I’ve got no time for guys who hit on guys for sport.”
He feigned a wound to the chest, but he was still smiling. “Fair enough,” he said. “I’ll keep that in mind, then. I’ll at least give you a hint, though.” He pointed toward the ring. “F stands for ‘floor’—your seat’s near the ring. Enjoy the fight!”
Yeah, I felt a little bad about being so hard on him, but you’ve got to shut all that down hard if you’re gonna shut it down at all. A man like that, yeah, okay, probably he’d be good for a short-term thing. I could admit that. All that muscle and sweat…
About the Author
Denver Shaw is a girl who enjoys the simple things in life: the first sip of coffee in the morning, the changing colors of sunset, and clothes fresh out of the dryer- although she doesn’t enjoy folding them. When she isn’t reading romance stories, she spends her time plotting and writing them.
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