Welcome to the world of MMA.
When I told my friends about my concept for a sports romance series, they tried to take my glass of wine away. Mixed martial what? They had no idea what I was talking about, nor why I was so excited about writing a series about fighters. And not boxers or professional wrestlers—athletes we’re all used to, but fighters in the fastest growing sport around—mixed martial arts.
Because I’m a writer and have a way with words, I explained it to them in three: Tom gorgeous Hardy. My fan-girl crush. A hunk of a British actor, whose movies are always the highlight of my cinematic experience. And my favorite character he’s portrayed? An MMA fighter.
I had an oh-my moment, and realized just how sexy—how romantic—this sport was.
Romance fans have caught on as well. It seems that not only is MMA the fastest growing sport around but also highly popular in romantic fiction.
I am hope you enjoy my latest MMA romance, TAP OUT!
TAP OUT, book two in the Worth the Fight series, is what happens when the David Beckham of the MMA world, underwear model/MMA welterweight Caden Kelly battles it out with disgraced prime time shock-jock Sophie Morelle. Caden is hell-bent on claiming the championship title. Sophie is out to prove to the boys club at her former network she’s got what it takes to make it in prime time television, by filming a documentary on the ultimate in maleness, MMA fighters. The problem is her longstanding, rather troublesome history with her would-be star.
(Sophie Morelle is trying to get Caden to give her an exclusive for her MMA documentary.)
“Tell you what. I’ll give you ten minutes of my time if you do something for me first.” Caden ignored his drink, sauntering off into the bathroom only to return with a damp washcloth. Settling down on the edge of the bed, he leaned back on an arm, stretched out his long legs, and nonchalantly began working the cloth first over his chest and then down along his abs, following the trail of sticky orange juice.
Sophie stepped closer. Ten minutes was hardly enough time. With the way he was rubbing that dang cloth across his magnificent body—inch by inch by mouthwatering inch—she’d never get the question out. Because, just like every cell in her body had decided to turn traitor by doing a sizzling rendition of a naughty Irish jig, her throat had dried up as well.
She swallowed hard. If she could just pull herself together long enough to get back in the game, an awful lot could be revealed in ten minutes.
She decided to play along. “Shoot.”
He looked up, pinning her with an amused stare. Like he knew she’d breathing in his every wicked movement. “I’ll start. Flats or heels?”
She cocked her head. “What is this, your version of truth or dare?” This will be easy.
Caden smiled in response, and her body bounced back into high alert.
“Uh, hum. Time’s a ticking.”
“Heels. The higher the better. My turn. Why give up a modeling—”
“What? Bla…,” she began, but stopped, suddenly inspired. “Red,” she stated, squarely, keeping a neutral tone. “Bright, shiny red. Preferably Italian leather. Let’s discuss you’re disappearance from the MMA circuit and you resurfacing at the Tetnus qualifiers.”
“Okay, fast forward to Tetnus. Do you think someone with your good looks, your notoriety can—”
Sophie stepped closer to the stubborn man and stood before him with her hands on her hips. If Caden Kelly thought he was going to bulldoze her, he had a surprise coming his way. Two could play at this game. “Boots or Nike flops?”
That brought a lady-killer smile to his lips. “Boots. Preferably American leather. Cowhide.”
She flipped her hair. A brazen tequila fog had settled over her, pushing any lingering caution aside and spurring her on. “Color?”
“Hmm.” He seemed to contemplate the entire rainbow, all the while running that darned cloth down across his drum-tight abdomen. “Man, you really pulled a number on me,” he grunted absently, his—and her—attention drawn downward over the sticky mess she’d caused. His thumb hooked into the waistline of his sweatpants, tugging them down so he could reach lower. Revealing that sweet spot on a man, that indentation slightly lower than his hip bone, that stirred up her libido like nobody’s business. Up close and personal like this, Caden had one mouthwatering sweet spot. Without warning, he looked back up.
It took all of her willpower not to look away.
He tossed the washcloth onto the floor.
“Red,” he stated, “like the color of a woman’s lips after kissing. Bet yours turn bright and shiny…”
“Care to elaborate?” she heard her sassy self say. The player was trying to play her. Game on.
A huge fan of skinny cinnamon dolce lattes, a good book, or sports game on television, Michele can be found in her writer’s cave, tweeting, and spending time outdoors with her family. Please visit Michele at michelemannon.com / Tweet @MicheleMannon / Facebook Page
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