The Fighter's Prize

By: Jessa Kane

Seducing a madman, perhaps.

This has to work.

Never mind that Maxim Semenov has never been seen with a woman.

Isn’t married, doesn’t date, never glances up when the pretty girls preen beside him at weigh-ins. He’s a focused, driven beast in the octagon. What makes me think he’ll decide little ol’ me is worth fighting for? Eh. Still working on that part of the plan.

No more time to waste.

Filling my lungs with one, final deep breath, I push into the dark training facility. There is a light beckoning from down the hallway, where I assume the main floor is located. That’s where I’ll find Maxim. We’ve done enough recon to know he stays at Cooper’s until eleven o’clock, every single night. Without fail.

The rain drowns out the sound of my heels clicking in the hallway. And it drowns out the sound of leather fists thudding into leather, too, at first, but when the main floor comes into view, there is Maxim in the corner, pummeling a red punching bag. One, two, three, before he whips around and delivers a brutal kick.

I’ve only ever seen the “madman” on television, since live tickets to his fights sell out—and at astronomical prices. He’s even more impressive in person. Sweat pours down his ripped shoulders and back. He’s muscles stacked on muscle. Six foot four. Thighs like freaking cannons.

He’s a machine.

And I suddenly feel very, very out of my depth.

You have no choice. Banner has to lose.

Maxim must win.

Which would normally be no problem, except he’s fighting the only man who stands a chance tomorrow night. Banner. It has been billed as the fight of the century.

The clash of the titans.

Is there any possible way I can provide some extra motivation for Maxim?

I guess we’ll find out.

“Be the part,” I whisper to myself. “Vanish into the moment.”

I think of my hamster dying in seventh grade and tears rush to my eyes.

“H-hello?” I call breathily. “I’m terribly sorry to interrupt, but…” I hiccup a sob and wring my hands. “Is there any way I can use your phone?”

Maxim’s tape-wrapped fists pause mid-punch and his head turns an inch. “Who is there?” he rasps in a low Russian accent.

“My name is Whitney. M-my car broke down and the battery on my phone is dead. I just need to call for a tow…”

I trail off when he turns around and I get the full effect of The Madman himself.

Sweat drips from his black hair, runs rivulets around intense eyes.

His swarthy skin is stained with ink, reds and blacks mapped over ample muscle.

The legs of his shorts strain around his thighs. As if he could easily burst free of them.

This man could murder someone with a flick of the wrist.

Maybe even that sharp eyebrow he cocks as he rakes me with a stony expression.

“Forget the tow,” he says, beginning to unwrap his fists. “You need to call for pants.”

“Oh.” I feign embarrassment, hugging my elbows. “It was girls’ night out.”

He tilts his head. “This is lie.”

I swallow. “I’m sorry?”

He takes his time answering, slowly unwinding the tape. “If you went out to bar or club like that, you would not be going home alone.”

“Yes. I would,” I say testily, veering dangerously close to breaking character. “Because I make that decision. No one else.”

“You are five feet tall, kotik. Hundred pounds.” He rakes me with a look. “Your decisions could be easily…” He searches for the word. “Ignored.”

For some reason, I provoke him. I think because he’s provoking my body. Making my lips tingle with awareness, my skin heat wherever he looks. And that isn’t part of the plan. “Would you ignore my decision to go home alone?”

“Nyet.” He wets his bottom lip, a hint of savagery dancing across his masculine features. “I’d help you make the right one.”

“Which would be…?”

For the first time, I notice that the front of his mesh shorts are tented. “Waking up with that dress on my bedroom floor.”



She is a sneaky, little kitten, this one.

Normally liars make me very angry, but liars don’t usually look like this Whitney.

Top Books