The Fighter's Prize

By: Jessa Kane

At least she has stopped struggling.

Cautiously, I set her down, bracing for another impressive slap.

“I just wanted to avoid one husband,” she says, tossing her hair and looking back at me over her shoulder. “I never said I wanted another.”

“Details, details. You are mine.”

I reach for her, but she steps out of my grasp. “We’ll see.”

I’m left stunned and ravaged as she struts toward the door and pushes out into the night. I am also determined. Violently so.

My fists curl into unbreakable stones at my side.

Banner will regret the day he coveted what’s mine.




The next morning, front row seats to the fight are delivered to our apartment door.

They are wrapped in a note that simply says, “Your Maxim.”

“I guess it worked,” Scout muses around her toothbrush. “Not bad for your first seduction, Whit.”

“More like my first anything,” I grumble, rubbing at my tired eyes.

Sleeping last night was a challenge. Not only am I worried about the outcome of the fight tonight, but my body wouldn’t stay still. I wrestled with the sheets until they were bunched between my legs and I was flushed and uncomfortable. Unable to move in a way that achieved the same friction I found on Maxim’s lap.

My heart is restless, too.

So much of my meeting with the MMA fighter was unexpected.

I wasn’t supposed to like kissing him so much.

Wasn’t supposed to forget my mission in his arms.

Wasn’t supposed to find him endearing and honest and sweet.

At least until he referred to my vagina as saleable goods.

Grumbling, I toss the tickets onto the kitchen table and head for the coffee pot.

“We’re going, right?” Scout asks.

“I’m thinking about it.”

“Do it out loud,” she suggests.

“Okay.” I stick in a coffee pod and lower the lid, smacking the button for a large. “I want to use the tickets. But I’m also wondering if it would be wiser to stay as far away from the fight as possible. Like maybe I’ll watch from the airport. So I can flee the country if Banner wins.”

“Are you really planning to run?” Scout asks, her toothbrush dropping to her side, her expression distressed but firm. “If you are, I’m coming with you.”

“No. No way. You are the smart one, Scout. You’re finishing college. We need you to design the next space shuttle.” I give my sister a reassuring look. “I won’t run. I was kidding.”

Scout shifts in her socks. “I don’t want to be without you. But I can’t stand the idea of you suffering through marriage to Banner just to stick around for me.”

“If Banner can pay Father’s debts, he can pay your tuition,” I point out. “My acting gigs are barely covering your book expenses. You’re racking up so much student debt. Maybe marrying him will be for the greater good.”

My sister chews her lip. “I put too much pressure on you, Whit. My younger sister should not be hustling to pay my tuition.”

“Like I said, you’re the smart one. It’s going to be worth it.” I go to my sister and wrap her in a hug. “Something good will happen with either outcome. Banner wins, we pay the bills. Banner loses, I’m free and we’ll find another way to make ends meet.” I smile. “Hey. Maybe that audition next week goes well and I finally get that big break.”

“You know I’m pulling for the latter, right?” Scout says, solemnly, pulling back. “I don’t want you trapped in loveless marriage.”

“Of course I know that.”

Scout considers the tickets on the kitchen table. “Anyway, something tells me all this worry is going to be for nothing. You clearly had an effect on Maxim.”

“Nah.” She laughed, ignoring the weight in her throat. “It’s just the blue balls talking.”

Later that night

It was not the blue balls talking.

Maxim Semenov came roaring out of the tunnel like a demon from hell.

I sit straight up, gaping at the sight of him from the front row.

He’s seething. Gnawing on his mouth guard like a dog chewing shoe leather.

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