Full Contact

By: Sarah Castille

Chapter 1


Up close and personal

Priority: Confidential

Bay Area Underground Fight Club (BUFC) Fight Night

Pier 70. Abandoned Boathouse. 8 p.m.

Headlining: The Predator vs. Tiny Tim

Code Word: Massacre

There he is.

Stalking across the ring after his prey. Slow. Sure. Effortlessly patient. No wonder the fighters at Redemption nicknamed him the Predator. I could get off just watching his muscles ripple. Come to think of it, I already have.

The crowd in the run-down boathouse in San Francisco’s Marina District erupts into muted cheers when the Predator knocks down his opponent, the not so tiny Tiny Tim, with a swift double leg takedown. Underground fights are illegal in California, and no one wants to attract the attention of the police, or worse, the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC). Most of the fighters here tonight are licensed MMA amateurs or pros, and being caught at an underground fight is a serious offense.

And still they come.

As do I.

There is nothing like the ugly, gritty, absolutely electric atmosphere of an underground fight. No rules. No mercy. Pure testosterone. Man, stripped to his primitive essence. And the occasional woman.

How can I resist?

“Sia, I’m going for a drink with Blade Saw after the fight. Will you be okay going home on your own?” Jess’s voice trembles with excitement. My best friend and co–underground fight enthusiast has been trying to get into Jimmy “Blade Saw” Sanchez’s pants since the first night I dragged her to Redemption, one of the Bay Area’s up-and-coming MMA gyms, to watch the Predator and my brother train. Unfortunately, for the longest time, Blade Saw was going out with Sandy, one of Redemption’s few female fighters. Looks like Sandy’s out and Jess is in on the rebound. Score!

“Um…no. I think I’ll make you come home with me just to make you suffer for distracting me from the Predator’s fight.”

Jess gives a sarcastic snort and pulls out her ponytail holder, letting her mid-length dark hair fan over her shoulders. With her green eyes, curvy frame, and olive skin, Jess is exotic with a capital E. We met in the hospital when we were both eighteen, and by the end of the night, we knew we’d be besties forever. Shared trauma forms a bond like nothing else.

“The Predator’s looking good tonight.” She nudges me as we watch the fight unfold. “Why don’t you make your move?”

“Because I didn’t come here to pick up guys like some people I know. I came to get inspiration for my art.”

Jess gives me a sidelong glance. “I believe the inspiration part, but I think your addiction to underground fights has less to do with art and more to do with the box of vibrators you have stashed under your bed.” She adjusts the kind of cleavage I can only dream about and then tucks in her T-shirt as if baring it all isn’t enough.

My voice drops to a low, irritated growl. “You’re the one who told me about the online sale at the Pink Lady Emporium. And what am I supposed to do? I’m tired of missionary men who don’t understand that women have more than one erogenous zone.”

“Then don’t go out with them anymore.” She glances over at the ring where the Predator is pounding his fist into Tiny Tim’s stomach. “Now, the Predator…he’s in a different league. A man who can fight like that will not be boring in bed. He probably doesn’t even know what a missionary is. You’ve come to every one of his fights for almost a year. Why don’t you just admit you’re crushing on him, grow a spine, and say hello?”

“Jess?”

She lifts an eyebrow.

“Isn’t Blade Saw waiting?”

“No. He’s watching the fight.” She gestures toward the darkly handsome Blade Saw leaning against the wall beside a couple of his Redemption buddies: Doctor Death, Rampage, and Homicide Hank.

“How about you let me watch the fight?”

Jess gives my arm a sympathetic squeeze. “Sorry. It’s just…one of these days you’ll have to start trusting yourself. You’re drawn to him for a reason. Just because he fights doesn’t mean he’s a bad person. Look at your brother. Tag is one of the hottest, sexiest, most protective, hottest, funniest, hottest guys I know. If he even noticed I existed, I wouldn’t have to settle for Sandy’s seconds. Not that Blade Saw isn’t a nice guy, but he’s not Tag.”

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