In the debut of Ashley Suzanne’s
blistering-hot Fight or Flight series—perfect for fans of Monica Murphy and J.
Lynn—two sparring partners put their hearts on the line and push their bodies
to the edge.
Fields is done being a punching bag. When Rian was thirteen, her only friend
walked out on her, leaving Rian alone to mourn when she lost her mother three
years later. Then he came back into her life senior year, igniting new
desires—and breaking her trust permanently when he enlisted in the army. Now
Rian has finally found an outlet for her rage against the world: mixed martial
arts. But just as she’s learning the ropes, Garrett Rhodes turns her life inside-out
one more time.
much they hurt each other, Garrett never got over Rian. So when he gets the
call that she’s in jail, he bails her out, no questions asked. The years have
toughened her. Made her harder. Sexier. All she needs to make it as an MMA
fighter is the right coach, and Garrett’s man enough to train her. He just has
to go toe-to-toe with “Raven,” the fearless woman who takes control in the ring
. . . without falling for Rian, the vulnerable girl who still drives him crazy.
new to the school and not having had the chance to make any friends yet, I keep
moving, knowing he’s yelling for someone else that coincidentally has the same
turn around to examine my surroundings, when a tall, lean boy runs directly into
me, scattering my books and schedule across the hallway. Reaching down to pick
up my belongings, the entire world stops when I make eye contact with the
person who’s been screaming my name up and down the corridor. He was in fact
calling out for me.
I hoarsely whisper.
that was you back there. Not too many chicks named Rian,” he jokes, handing me
a book I failed to retrieve.
did you know I was here?” Of all the schools in the world, I’m at the one with
the only friend I ever really had.
was sitting in the back of Ms. Sullivan’s class. I didn’t recognize you at
first, but when she said your name, I knew it had to be you.” Garrett pulls me
into his arms and hugs me tightly. If I wasn’t carrying all of this stuff, I
would have hugged him back. There’s so much to tell him. So much to talk about.
I have to get to class. Can we talk later?” I ask, not wanting to be late to
meet me in the front. I’ll give you a ride home.” One more squeeze and he
starts walking in the opposite direction.
rest of the day passes by in a blur. All I can think about is seeing Garrett
again. It’s amazing how he’s always there when I need him most. Kind of like my
own personal guardian angel disguised in loose jeans, a tight T-shirt, and
just outside the main entrance, I see his eyes before anything else. He’s the
only person I know with such intense, yet comforting, blue eyes. It’s probably
the only thing that hasn’t changed about him over the last three years.
Standing a good foot taller than the other boys, he effortlessly moves through
the crowd until he’s standing right in front of me.
ready?” he asks.
The butterflies I used to get when I knew him before come fluttering back,
stealing all coherent thoughts from my brain. Please, God, don’t let me be one
of those girls.
grabs my hand and I try to ignore the electric current racing up my arm, down
my spine, and straight to my belly. I’ve never been electrocuted, but it
probably feels just like this. Weaving through the rest of the students making
their way through the parking lot, Garrett stops at a lifted black pickup
truck. For the life of me, I’m not sure how I’m going to get inside this beast.
you want me to get in this thing, then yeah, I’m gonna need some help.” Before
my brain has time to catch up, Garrett grabs hold of my hips and hoists me up
and into the cab.
I bunch my skirt between my knees, Garrett shuts the door, leaving me alone. I
wait for him to enter and my thoughts are racing wildly through my head. How
did he afford such a nice truck? Does he have a girlfriend? Does he know about
my mom? Does he think I’m pretty? Can he tell I’m attracted to him? These
aren’t a thirteen-year-old’s feelings I used to have for Garrett. No, we’ve
skipped right over the puppy-love stage and entered the “how long until he’s
rounding the bases?” phase, and the overwhelming need to know what his mouth
tastes like and how his hands feel on my body have me ready to combust.
climbs into the truck, fires it to life, and takes off out of the parking lot
like he owns the damn thing. Speeding down the road, we’re a good five minutes
from the school before Garrett opens his mouth to speak.
lookin’ real good, Rian.”
You too,” I respond, trying to hide my crimson cheeks from his view.
ya staying? You and your mom just move to town?” He has no idea what’s
happened. One of a billion questions has been answered.
and no. My mom died. I’m living down here with my aunt Elaine.”
face drops and he fumbles for a minute until he can find the words. “I’m real
sorry, Ri. What happened?”
we not talk about that right now? I wanna know what you’ve been up to.”
living here since Dad got transferred a couple years back. I start on the
basketball team and work part-time at the deli across town. Nothing real
shift nervously in my seat, wanting to ask about any romance in his life, but I
can’t find a way to do it without prying. If he wants to tell me, he will.
really digging the new look. When I left, you were all about what the other
girls were wearing. It’s cool to see you come into your own.” Turning my head
toward the window, I let a small smile crack—the only one that’s shown since
before everything happened with Tom. It feels real nice.
I like it, too. Feels more like me, you know?”
You always did like the way your mom dressed. You look just like her.” Quickly
realizing that he’s talking about my mom again, he shuts his mouth and shakes
his head. “I’m sorry. It’s just weird that she’s not here. I didn’t mean to
don’t even realize that tears have started to pool in my eyes, glazing them
over. “It’s fine. These are her clothes. When I left home, I didn’t want to be
the same girl I had been before. Worrying about what the latest trends are just
to fit in was never me. I had to make do when you left. It was hard without
you,” I whisper, wishing I could take it back.
I didn’t have to leave, I never would have. You know that, right? You were my
know if you didn’t have to, you wouldn’t have. It wasn’t pleasant. For so long,
I had you to protect me from the wolves, and then one day you were gone. I’m
happy to see you again.”
do you say we make up for some lost time?” Garrett asks with a devilish grin. I
know that look and exactly what he’s planning to do.
a lake nearby?” I’m not familiar with the area, only having come here a few
times when I was younger, but he has to know it like the back of his hand by
Ashley Suzanne has been
writing for as long as she can remember. As a youngster, she was always
creating stories and talking to her imaginary friends. Thankfully, her parents
also carried this love of fiction, and helped her grow into the bestselling
author she is today. When Ashley isn’t coming up with her next story, you’ll
most likely find her on the couch, telling her husband all about her new book
boyfriend, or spending quality time with her two gremlins . . . er, adorable