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Fighting For Faith – Worth The Fight
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Being infatuated with my childhood best friend was a beautiful curse.
Our lives were an uphill struggle against every odd, but as long as we had each other…we had everything. Then it was all gone.
Now I’ve built my life to perfection yet still yearning for that boy I used to know. Then one night, through a chance encounter, I see him.
He’s an MMA fighter with a beastly body, roped and corded with muscle and gleaming with sweat. His nose, reminiscent of a Roman gladiator, was bent a little like it’s been broken. A few times.
It rattles me the way his intensely dark gaze lingers with mine.
He’s familiar, determined, damaged, and there’s no escaping him.
But with Riot, nothing is what it seems, and in the span of a single heartbeat, my perfect life is turned inside out.
Fighting For Faith is the third book in the Worth The Fight Series. Each book is a standalone with interconnected characters.
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I squared my fist, feeling the adrenaline from my last throw throttle through my veins like an addictive substance. My sparring partner spun out of my reach when I tried to land a right hook, his own uppercut landing square on my jaw.
I backed off, shaking the stun of his square hit off before Teddy called from the corner. “Shoulda landed that one, Riot. You’ve been working on that hook for a week now. If you don’t get it down by the time you have your match with Papa Pain, you can kiss that purse goodbye.” He shook his head, annoyance in his voice. Not that that was uncommon for Teddy. He was the best former heavyweight trainer still working. He knew his shit, but he also didn’t take any shit.
If he had an issue with you, he didn’t hesitate to let you know it. It’s what made him famous, and it’s why I showed up here every day. The Dominant Alpha had been my home gym since I’d decided to double down on my practice.
I didn’t have words for a lot of the shit that went on in my head, but I found that letting my fists do the talking worked better anyway.
“Hell, in my generation we ground and pound our opponents without holding back. These guys nowadays fight light little fairies compared to us. Generation Pussy makes the most money and keeps the pretty face. Let me tell you, there were no pretty faces in my day. If you left the mat without losing a tooth, it was a good day.”
“Oh, stop that, Teddy Bear.” Maria Whittman, Teddy’s wife and the other half of Dominant Alpha Gym, was rubbing the tension out of her husband’s shoulders. “Go easy on them. You’ve had them pounding on the bags or each other since six a.m.”
Her eyes turned to me. “Made you some of those peanut butter keto cookies you like, Riot.”
She passed me a plate, covered carefully in clear wrap, just like grandma would have made—at least, if I’d had a grandma in my life, I liked to think that’s what she would have done.
“Thanks, Mrs. W.” I crawled out of the ring, taking the plate from her hands. “You didn’t have to do this.”
“I like to take care of my boys. I know you don’t have a woman at home to make sure you’re eating well when you’re not here, so I do what I can.”
A smile twitched my lips as I placed a kiss on her forehead. In truth, these two had become like parents to me, this gym my home.
It just happened to be a bloody and brutal place where you never knew when a roundhouse kick might flatten you. It looked like a harsh world from the outside, but it’s the only one I’d ever known. And when I did it right, it paid the bills and then some.
I just had to stay on my game.
“Leave the boys be, Maria. Stop filling their stomachs with food. I need them full of grit. Did you bake those cookies with extra grit?” Teddy’s eyes were on his wife, stern but still amused. The two of them were the heart of this place, and whether they were bickering or laughing, very often both at the same time, it made me feel good to be around them.
“Pack it up, boys. Teddy knows he’s stolen too much of your time today. If you’re always here, Riot, how are you ever going to find a nice girl and settle down?” Maria waved us to the lockers.
“No time for girls if they want a chance at taking titles in their divisions,” Teddy grumbled but snagged a cookie from the other plate she’d set on the table earlier. “Rest up tonight. No distractions. Watch your macros, and for God’s sake, visualize landing that hook in your head tonight, hey, Riot? You seem a little more rattled than normal, and if I’m being honest, it worries me for the next match.”
I shook my head, mentally shaking off his criticism as I ran a fresh towel over my sweaty head.
“Good spar, man.” Victorio, the fighter I’d been sparring with today, clapped my shoulder. He hefted his bag over a shoulder and nodded when he passed me. “Hope that uppercut doesn’t cause issues tomorrow.”
“It’s fine,” I uttered without emotion, not even bothering to stop and take a look at myself in the mirror.
I’d had a bad day. I could feel the evidence of it on my face. I didn’t need the visual confirmation.
Teddy’s hard old eyes settled on me, a breath of air pushing out his chest before he clasped me on the shoulder, giving me a small shake. “You okay, buddy?
I need your head in the game, son. If there’s anything Maria and I can do to—”