Jude (Cocky Cage Fighter, Book 2)
Jude (Cocky Cage Fighter, Book 2)
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One little secret will be his downfall.
MMA cage fighter Jude Malone leads a simple life - eat, sleep and train. While Jude's had his fair share of recent losses, he's better than his record. He just needs a chance to prove it.
When Jude is offered the fight of a lifetime by his head coach, there is only one tiny string attached. But that little string just might turn out to be the one that unravels him completely.
- Possessive Hero
- Male Virgin
- Coach's Daughter
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After a long day of blood, sweat, and coming damn close to tears, I'm so ready to head home, shower, and hit the sack. Tomorrow I’ll be back here at the gym, rinse and repeat. The same as today, the same as yesterday. Fighting is my life, but the monotony of constantly training for the past seven years is starting to wear me down. "Yo, Jude," Coach Briggs calls out when I walk past his office.
"What's up?" I ask, poking my head in his door. Like usual, his desk is littered with stacks of papers, coffee cups, and take-out debris.
"You in a hurry?" he asks. Leaning his rolling chair back, he adjusts the tightening waistband around his ever expanding gut. Coach is naturally a big guy, a heavyweight boxer back in the day, but now his muscles have turned to chub in his lazy, old age.
"Ah, not really. I think my bed can wait on me a few more minutes, but I better send her a text so she won't get pissed when I'm late," I joke. Other than training, eating and sleeping I don't have anything else.
"Shut the door and have a seat," he says, nodding to the blue plastic chair across from his desk.
Curious, I do as he asks. I have a feeling something is up, and that whatever it is, I'm not going to like it if it requires privacy.
"I need you to do me a favor," he starts.
After training with Don Briggs since I was fifteen, I don’t think he’s ever asked me for a favor. This must be pretty damn important.
"Sure, name it."
"It's about Sadie."
Now I really have no idea what he might want. Sadie is Coach's one and only daughter that hangs out in this place probably more than is good for a teenage girl. I know Coach divorced her mom years ago before they moved back here to his hometown of Silver Spring, Maryland, and, from what I hear, the girl has always lived with her dad, rarely visiting her mom up in Jersey.
"Her senior prom is this weekend," he adds.
"And her idiot boyfriend just broke up with her."
"That sucks. Do you want me to kick his ass?" I ask.
He chuckles and shakes his head. "Yeah, but that's not the favor I was going to ask you for."
"So what do you need?"
"I need you to take Sadie to her prom," he mutters, scrubbing a meaty hand over his face.
Laughter bursts from me and doesn't let up until my tired ass almost slides out of the plastic chair. "You're fucking hilarious."
"I'm worried about her Jude, and I don't want her to miss her prom because of that asshole."
"Coach, you can't be serious. Surely there's another guy at her school she can go with," I tell him, using the back of my hands to wipe my eyes from the outburst.
"Not on this short of notice. Everyone's already paired up."
"Well, that's too bad. Maybe she can go with a group of friends."
He just stares at me with a raised eyebrow, silently waiting. Waiting for me to agree to this silliness.
"No," I say, shaking my head to emphasize my response. "No fucking way! I'm almost twenty-damn-two. I'm not going to some school kid's dance. Ask one of the other guys. One of the younger guys!"
Our MMA gym, Havoc Fight Club, has at least forty guys training in it on a daily basis. There are probably ten or more fighters that are younger than me.
"Jude, please. I can't bear to see my little girl miss her prom. I'm worried about her. She's been so depressed lately. That jerk keeps on fucking with her…” He rambles on and on. “You know I wouldn't ask unless I was desperate, and I don’t trust any of my other fighters as far as I could throw them."
Of course he'd ask me because all fathers prefer to have virgins take out their daughters. Not that he or anyone else knew that for a fact, but it's a well-circulated rumor since I’m always here on nights and weekends.
"There's gotta be someone else, someone closer to her age that can take her," I reply.
"I'll pay you."
"I don't want your money," I scoff.
I'm not loaded, but I have a decent nest egg accumulated from fight purses. Good thing I get paid even if I lose. Plus it's easy to save money when you have no social life and no bills except for a truck and cell phone because you still live at home with your dad.
"So you'll do it for free?" he asks.
"Hell no!" I exclaim. "I'm not doing it. Period. Sorry, Coach, but there is no. Fucking. Way."
"If you'll agree to do this for me I'll get you signed up for the July Fourth pay-per-view title fight."
"You're shitting me," I say, freezing in my outrage as his words sink in. "You want me to fight Linc Abrams, and you think that would be you doing me a favor? He'll kill me, and you'll be charged as an accomplice."
"You can take him."
"No, I can't! He's the Jax of the welterweights. Why would his people even agree to let him fight me with my shitty ass record?" I ask skeptically.
"He'll agree. The purse will be huge, and he's cocky enough to think it'll be an easy win."
"Because it will be!" I laugh, swiping a hand over my sweaty forehead. "He's only lost once, and that was a ripped off split decision years ago that should've been in his favor. He's got at least ten knockouts. I don't want to get knocked the fuck out! There are three other guys in this country alone who deserve that fight more than me."
"Screw them. You could beat them all blindfolded. This is the fight you've been needing, Jude. You win this title, and you're golden."
"Yeah, and if I lose I may never walk again."
"Don't be a pussy. With the way you've been grappling lately, you're giving Jax a run for his money so you can take Linc. Just like Jax, Linc's a heavy hitter. If you can stay out of his reach and get him on the ground, I guarantee you'll win by submission."
My brother, Jax, has been the middleweight world champion for the last eight years. I'm about fifteen pounds leaner than him and have always fought in the welterweight class. I could easily put on the weight to bump up, but what would be the point? My brother is a legend in the league, having never lost a single professional fight. Not only does he win them, but he decimates his opponents, usually with a one-punch knockout in the first thirty seconds of the first round. And I'm just his little brother who will never live up to his legacy. I've only won three of my last five fights after coming back from a dislocated shoulder. A few more losses and stick a fork in me, because my career in the cage will be done and over.
"I'd have to be crazy to agree to that fight."
"You'd be crazy not to. You know you want this, and you're a helluva lot better than your record. This one win will prove that, and seal the deal on contracts with sponsors for years! Just the promotional hype going into it will be huge."
"I don't know," I reply, still shaking my head.
"If you don't take this one, then I’m not sure how long it'll be before another worthwhile fight comes around."
"You mean, if I don't fight this one, you'll hold a grudge. Then you won't book any other fights for me until you get the fuck over it."
Coach Briggs is also my and Jax's manager/agent, and in this moment I'm regretting the fuck out of that damn decision.
"Pretty much," he agrees with a smirk. He clasps his hands together in front of him on his desk, congratulating himself on fucking me over.
"Damn you, Coach. You've got me by the balls, and you know it!"
"Do this for Sadie and me. And for yourself."
When Jude is suddenly offered the fight of a lifetime by his head coach, there is only one tiny string attached. He decides to go for it, but that little string just might turn out to be the one that unravels him completely.
Sadie Briggs is a quiet, introverted tomboy. She was raised by a single father and grew up in his MMA training gym with dozens of sweaty, aggressive men. They only think of her as their sweet little sister, not as a woman who is getting ready to go off to college. That all changes when her longtime crush, Jude Malone, becomes her knight in shining armor after her boyfriend dumps her the week before her senior prom.
Jude feels like he's been sucker punched when Sadie's unexpected Cinderella transformation forces him to actually see her as a woman for the very first time. Overwhelming lust, jealousy and passion turn out to be the right combination to finally unlock Jude's cocky alpha fighter inside and out of the cage. Only one thing stands in the way of him winning the world championship welterweight title and a gorgeous girl. The truth.
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