The Ballerina & The Fighter
Ebook ISBN: 978-0-9859646-2-7
[ Contemporary New Adult Romance, MF ]
All I ever wanted to do was dance, as did my best friend. We’d made so many plans together, but one night an explosion changed it all. Only one of us survived, and I promised myself I’d succeed for us both. And I did, until an accident almost ruined my career, but Maze came back into my life when I needed him most. He pulled me out of the depths of my despair. But could I save him now?
The first time I saw her it was evening, that time of day when the setting sun hit the ocean and turned it a burnt orange. Most of the vacationers had deserted the beach for the restaurants, swarming the main drag or the barbecues in their rented back yards. There were only a few folks here or there walking or hanging around the water’s edge, but it was a great time for my run. Even though I was on down time I never stopped training. I listened to an Eminem track on my iPhone, perfect for my pacing.
The breeze from inland drew the heat from the sand beneath my bare feet and the salt spray from the ocean cooled my body as I ran through the waves lapping at my ankles. My stride went from a jog to a walk until I stopped altogether, and pulled my ear buds outta my ears. She was doing these beautiful leaps into the air, but the one that stopped me in my tracks was the firebird. At the time I didn’t know what any of them were called, only that the beauty of the evening paled in comparison to the female that stole my attention, as she propelled her body through the air. Like gravity had no hold on her. As a mixed martial artist, I understood the way gravity could be manipulated but this girl took it to another level. I’d been studying martial arts all my life and had never really seen anything like it. But from some part of me the word ballet whispered across my consciousness.
She landed perfectly on the sand on her toes, while the other leg was stretched in a straight line, aiming for the sky. Her upper torso leaned slightly forward, one hand reached toward the sand and the wind whipped her long hair about hiding her face from me. The ballerina, that’s what I decided she had to be, lowered the airborne leg, and as soon as both feet were on the ground she ran toward a white girl who held a camera. Then it dawned on me, they were taking pictures. They were both around the same age, anywhere from sixteen to nineteen. They were huddled over the camera screen. I was kinda curious to take a look at those pictures myself and see the face of the girl who could fly so effortlessly through the air.
I didn’t even realize I was headed in their direction until the girl with the camera glanced up and gave me an eye fuck, before nudging her friend who raised her head and our gazes locked. I stumbled. I never stumble. But even from twenty some feet away this chick had some kinda hold on me.
“Nice moves,” I said, as I approached them. I stifled a groan. Could I be any more lame? Still both girls smiled at me. Damn ballerina had the cutest set of dimples. I wanted to dip my tongue into them.
Brown eyes with a hint of green in the center stared unblinking back at me. A face some might call oval, I called perfect, was the canvas for a button nose and sexy ass lips that screamed for my mouth on hers. Fuck this girl was hot. Her body had a natural tan and the time in the sun had added a hint of gold to her already dark honey complexion. She had on those kind of low cut short denim shorts that could pass for panties and a cropped red top that showed off a flat stomach. She wasn’t as curvy as most of the girls I normally go for, her breast would barely fill my hand, but hers was a finely toned slightly muscled body. That of a dancer. And her legs. I shit you not, her legs would wrap nicely around my waist, or another image flashed across my mind that had the blood rushing to my dick. I knew she’d be flexible enough to wrap those legs over my shoulders as I pushed all the way deep into her.
I don’t know how long we stood there checking each other out. Now I knew what that shit means, ‘when time stands still’. What the fuck? But there it was. She blinked and glanced over at her friend. I’m glad she broke eye contact because it freed me from whatever the fuck was happening to me. I shook my head to clear out any damn cobwebs trying to take root and opened my mouth.
“Can I see?” I kept my hands at my sides, not trying to come off too pushy by reaching toward the camera.
Her friend had a dancer’s body also and was pretty too, they both carried an air of refinement about them, but I only had eyes for my ballerina. Damn, I already thought of her as mine. I was obviously out of my mind or horny as hell. Both maybe. The girl with the camera turned it around so I could look at the pictures they’d taken. I stepped closer and touched the side of the camera and looked at the screen. Shit, if I didn’t want this girl more. I was glad I wore loose cropped sweats to hide the fact my dick was awake and taking notice.
“Damn. These are really good.” There were pictures of the other girl too doing leaps but she didn’t quite have her friend’s flexibility. I didn’t think many folks would. “Are you ladies ballerinas?”
“Yes,” the one with the camera answered. “My name’s Shelly.” She glanced slyly at her friend and grinned. “And this is Ivy.”
I flashed them both my best smile. I’m not bragging, but getting girls had never been a problem for me. I was well aware of my looks, had been since I was thirteen. I’d even had men come on to me. I don’t walk that way, but I’d walk along and do other things just fine with Ivy. My gray eyes locked with Ivy’s when I spoke my name. “Maze.”
“So Maze, you staying around here?” Shelly asked.
I briefly glanced at Shelly, her blue eyes still sparkled with interest, but I turned my attention again to Ivy. “About two miles down the beach. I’m staying at an ocean front house called Glory Days. It’s just yards from the beach, only thing between it and the ocean is sand.”
The house in Duck belonged to a friend of my trainer, manager and stepfather, Joe Chang. He’d raised me since I was five years old and my mom died in his arms from a gunshot wound. He and my mom weren’t exactly married but they’d been living together for about two years and had a little convenience store in a small shopping center in Baltimore, Maryland. Not the best of neighborhoods but not bad either. Until two fuckers came in after the morning rush and put two bullets in my mother and one into Joe. I had been asleep in the back. To this day a car back firing had my heart racing and blood rushing through my system preparing for flight. I blinked to stop the dark thoughts. It had been a long time since I had nightmares about that day, and how I lived in fear that Joe would abandon me too. I don’t know how Joe, a single Chinese man, managed to do it, but he adopted me, a Caucasian boy. I tell people he’s my stepfather, he’s really more father to me than the one whose sperm was donated for my birth, and who disappeared at that time.
“We’re in the second house on the left of the walk way over there.” Again it was Shelly who spoke as she glanced over her shoulder in the direction of the walkway. I had yet to hear my ballerina speak and found myself wanting, needing to hear the sound of her voice. I was seriously fucked up.
“How’s about I take a couple of shots of the two of you?” I offered again flashing them my best smile.
“That would be great!” Shelly raised the camera strap from around her neck and took it off, handing me the camera.
She pointed at a button on the top of it. “Just look through the viewer and press that button. It’s already set so there’s no flash, and it’s an automatic focus so just press and you’re good.”
I nodded. “Easy enough. Let’s take some here on the sand then move back over to the water.”
I took pictures of both girls for several minutes. It didn’t escape me that so far Ivy hadn’t said more to me than hi. But her eyes kept checking me out when she thought I wasn’t paying attention. I always paid attention. It’s why I was such a good fighter. It was the tells, those slight moves, a tiny shift to the left or right that let me know in which direction a punch or kick would come from, or a fraction of a blink the second before an opponent made a move. Being able to read those tells provided me with all the warning I needed to put up a block or get the hell out of the way of a punch or kick.
“Hey,” Shelly said, coming toward me, Ivy following behind her. Her face flushed from all the moves the girls had been making and damned some of them were hawt! “How about Ivy take a couple of pictures of us and then I’ll take some of you and Ivy?”
“That’s cool,” I said, trying to hide my grin and so failing because hell yeah alls I could think was my hands are so going to be all over Ivy. I handed her the camera and winked, she smiled shyly back at me.
After she took a couple of pictures of Shelly and me, Shelly took her arm from around my waist and stepped toward Ivy with her hand outstretched. “My turn,” Shelly said.
I could have kissed Shelly after she said that, I settled for a grin. The girl was trying to match us up. Thank you God for small favors. Because when Ivy came to stand beside me, she put her arm around my waist, casual like Shelly had done. But I was going for anything but casual. Besides I had no choice the moment her bare arm connected with my bare skin, electricity surged through every cell in my body. I felt a tremor go through her body, too. She felt the same charge I had and I didn’t want to back away from it. No, I wanted to immerse myself in the currents coursing back and forth between us.
Then Shelly began to call out instructions and position us. I was good with that too, all of it. Cause her positioning involved a lot of touching. Me touching Ivy and Ivy touching me. The first time she placed her hands on my chest I felt the tremor in them, I knew she felt the way my heart banged against my chest. This torture sure as shit had better been mutual. When Shelly told us to face each other and Ivy’s arms wrapped around my neck, our gazes locked. I damned near bent my head to kiss her right then. Cause damned if that light in her eyes wasn’t telling me to do just that. But I could control myself, barely.
Oh I planned on kissing her all right, later. For now I came in close, only a sliver separated our slightly parted lips. I felt her warm sweet breath like a peppermint brush against my mouth. She didn’t flinch or move away, she held her ground, but I could feel the pulse of her heartbeat throughout her body moving in rhythm with mine. I so loved that.
But then she sucked her lips in like she was moistening them. “Damn, girl,” I moaned. She blinked up at me and grinned.
“Don’t do that,” I gritted out, unable to take my gaze off her lush mouth.
“You know damned well what.”
She frowned; she seemed a little confused. Hell maybe I was wrong and she really was just wetting her lips. But it was sexy as hell and I had her in my arms. “Never mind. Sorry.”
“I got some great shots.” Shelly’s voice cut through the spell between Ivy and me. But it was too late. I was hooked.
Ivy released her arms from around my neck and turned away to take a look at the camera screen. All I could think was I wanted her hands back around my neck. I wanted Ivy’s hands all over my body.
It was getting dark and it was harder to see the pictures on the camera screen, but damn those shots of me and Ivy were smokin’. The attraction between us jumped off the screen, the lust in my eyes sure as shit reflected back in hers.
“Can you send me those pics, the ones of Ivy and me and some of the ones you all took on the beach?” I knew I was being bold but I had to have them. Didn’t hurt to ask.
“Why?” Ivy asked glancing at me.
“So I can put them up on my social networks about the hot girls I met on the beach.” I smiled.
“Sure,” Shelly said pulling her phone out of her back pocket. “These files are large. What’s your email?”
I gave it to her. “What are you ladies doing later?”
Shelly shrugged. “We’ve got to do dinner with the folks and then were just going to hang out.”
I crossed my arms over my chest so I wouldn’t try to reach out and grasp Ivy’s hand. I missed the feel of her hands on me and mine on her. I can’t believe I was being such a pussy with want for a girl. But she wasn’t just any girl to me. “I’m going to be at the skateboard court later. Maybe you can meet me there.”
“Sure,” Shelly nodded. “Later.”
Shelly turned to walk away but Ivy hesitated like she wanted to say something to me but didn’t. Instead she just smiled at me. But as she began to turn away I gave into my urges, one of them, I grabbed her hand. She stopped and turned to look at me.
I pulled out my phone from my back pocket and one handed entered the passcode then handed it to her. “Put your phone number in there for me. I’ll text you if I won’t be there.”
She took the phone from me and looked at our joined hands. “You can do it one handed.” I grinned. She snorted. But she did. She punched in her number and handed the phone back to me. I took it from her and hit call. A second later I heard buzzing coming from her pocket. “Now you can call me or text me if you can’t come. So, see you later?”
“Perhaps.” She grinned and glanced over her shoulder. Shelly had stopped at the path and waited for her there. “I’ve got to go.”
Still she made no move to pull away from me. “I’ll see you later.” I made it a statement this time but needed to hear confirmation from her.
I smiled and only then did I release her hand.