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Against the Ropes

Against the Ropes

Description : Against the Ropes
Oh, betraying lips

“Youe in. You fight. It’s simple.”

Me fight? He can’t be serious. Do I look like I pound on people for fun?

“Sorry. I think there’s been a misunderstanding.” Forcing a tight laugh, I shuffle back to the red line marking the fighters’ entrance to Redemption, a full-service gym and training center that is home to one of Oakland’s few remaining unsanctioned, underground fight clubs. Maybe I should have read the rules posted at the door.

“No, you don’t.” The hefty blond grabs my shoulders and pulls me toward him. My nose sinks into the yellow happy face tank top stretched tight over his keg-size belly. The pungent odor of unwashed gorilla invades my nostrils, bringing back memories of school trips to the San Diego Zoo. Lovely.

Gasping for air, I glance up and flash my best fake smile. “I’m just here to sell tickets. One of your fighters, Jake, asked my friend Amanda to work the door and she asked me to help her. Why don’t we just pretend you didn’t see me cross the red line and I’ll get back to work?”

If I were a different type of girl, wearing a different—and lower cut—shirt, I might try another kind of technique to get out of this predicament, but right now, a smile is all I’ve got.

It backfires.

“Mmm. Pretty.” He releases my shoulders and paws at my hair, mussing it from my crown to the middle of my back. What a waste of two hours with the flat iron.

“I’m not too sure about pretty.” My voice goes from a low quiver to a thin whine as he strokes my jaw with a thick finger. “But I am small, fragile, delicate, easily frightened, and given to high-pitched screams in situations involving violence.” In an...