(Black Reign MC, #4)
Publication date: October 29th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Noelle: I had dreams. Goals. That all changed when my baby brother suffered a traumatic brain injury. Now Jonas is my responsibility, and I can’t let him down, even if he’s his own worst enemy. I still have goals — I’m a fighter. As in MMA. Mixed Martial Arts. I want to be the best — fighting in the UFC. To be the best I need the best trainer. That’s Fury. The toughest man I’ve ever met. He doesn’t know it, but he’s also the man I’m in love with. But when Jonas gets in trouble, the only way I can save him is to go underground — illegal fights. I can’t tell Fury. He’d kill me himself. Or worse. Disown me. But I don’t have a choice. Jonas’ life is on the line. I have to fight. And I have to win. No matter the cost.
Fury: I spent seven years in the Army — the exact time it took to pay back my obligation for earning my medical degree free of half a million dollars in student loans. After that the Army and I both decided I might be better off putting my skills to use somewhere else. So now I put bikers back together for my club, Black Reign MC, and I’m damn good at what I do. I’m even better at taking them — and anyone else who gets in my way — apart. Lately I’ve been passing those skills on the smartest, most street savvy kid I’ve ever trained. But Noelle is a kid — barely 21 — and I’m way too old for her. Now she’s gone and gotten herself in a boatload of trouble. If she tries to fight Shadow, he’s going to kill her. And if he throws the fight, our mission to close down these illegal fights will fall apart. Innocents will die. How do I choose one life over another? It was hard enough as a doctor in the field. Now it’s so much worse… because I did the stupidest thing I could have done — I went and fell in love.
“What now, boss?” Shadow asked. “You gonna make sure she’s all right?”
“Can’t. We gotta prep for this fight.”
“I got this,” he said. “That girl’s in pain. You can see it on her face.”
“Ain’t my problem right now, Shadow. You are. You get hurt, and Cain’ll have my hide.”
The big man chuckled. “That’s true. But Cain knows I can take care of myself in this kind of situation. I was built for fighting.”
My gaze snapped to him. “This ain’t no game, Shadow. Those men would as soon kill you before you got in the ring as not.”
“Fully aware,” he said, not fazed in the least.
“Come on,” I said. “Ain’t got time to fuck with her. She came into this on her own, she can go out on her own. Either way, after tonight, I’m done with her.”
“Uh huh.” Shadow chuckled as he walked back to our pit. “Let me know how that goes.”
I stayed for a while, watching as Noelle took off her gloves. She left her wraps on and used a towel to wipe her face off. Then she calmly reapplied the Vaseline to her face and readied for the next fight. Thankfully, I didn’t see any cuts to her face or obvious bruising except to her right shoulder. With any luck, that could work to her advantage.
Then I realized what I was thinking. The longer she kept this up, the more likely she was to get hurt. My gut clenched, and I wasn’t sure why. I’d already decided I was cutting her loose after tonight. As I continued to watch her, she glanced up, then did a double take. Yeah, she noticed me.
I refused to drop my gaze first, needing her to know how angry I was at her. Her lips parted, then her face flushed. She closed her eyes and winced hard before opening them again and meeting my gaze. She nodded once, knowing she was gone from my gym in that moment. Then she went back to work, readying herself for her next match. Which, I realized, was Shadow.
“Motherfuck,” I muttered. “Just Goddamned motherfuck!”
I stomped over to her, leaning in close to inspect her face. As her trainer, it was an automatic reaction. “You hurt?”
She shook her head, her gaze darting around. “What are you doing here? You can’t be here!”
“I could say the exact fuckin’ thing to you, Brawler.” I let my anger show. She might as well know how much fucking trouble she was in.
“Look, you need to go away. Leave me alone.”
“Why? I’m your trainer. Right?”
“Not after tonight either.”
She winced and looked away, but nodded. “I hear you.”
“Why, Noelle? Why would you throw away your future for a quick buck?”
Her head snapped back in my direction. “Because none of your fuckin’ business, that’s why.”
Romance author by night, emergency room tech/clerk by day, Marteeka Karland works really hard to drive everyone in her life completely and totally nuts. She has been creating stories from her warped imagination since she was in the third grade. Her love of writing blossomed throughout her teenage years until it developed into the totally unorthodox and irreverent style her English teachers tried so hard to rid her of. Now, she breathes life into faeries, space hunters, werewolves, vampires, shapeshifters, and a few just plane ole ordinary people. She loves to see the awkward, self-conscious band geek get the captain of the football team and make him beg for it.