Title: Craving the Fight
Series: Gloves Off – Next Generation
Author: L.P. Dover
Romantic Suspense; MMA Fighter Romance; Secret Affair; First Love; Mafia; Alpha Male
As hidden truths are revealed, Carter and Emma find that no one in their circle is safe…
and this is only the beginning.
L.P. Dover, the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who brought you the tantalizing Gloves Off series, presents Gloves Off – Next Generation. This brand-new saga of interconnected standalones unites new characters with beloved originals in dark and sexy stories laced with suspense!
Fame. Money. Status. An infinite number of women standing ringside in hopes of one night with him. These are all the things Carter Reynolds loves about being MMA royalty. As a UFC Heavyweight champion, and the son of the illustrious Matt Reynolds, Carter thinks he has everything he could ever want.
Until he comes face to face with Emma Jameson—the one who got away. The pair are bonded by a secret from their past, one that none in their inner circle can ever know about…
Thanks to her father, Emma is no stranger to the MMA world. UFC Middleweight champion, Ryley Jameson, is known far and wide for his scandalous antics in and out of the ring. His fame put her in the spotlight at a very early age. It even led to her lucrative modeling career and the opportunity for her to travel the world. Now Emma is back with the family of fighters she left behind and quickly discovers a darkness that has wriggled its way into the MMA fold.
Someone demands retribution for the sins of the past, and they’ve chosen to make Emma their first target. Determined to keep her safe, Carter will do whatever it takes to protect her, even if that means putting his life on the line.
As hidden truths are revealed, Carter and Emma find that no one in their circle is safe… and this is only the beginning.
No cheating. No cliffhangers. Just hot, dirty-talking fighters who want to take you down to the mat.
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Out of all the jobs I’ve had to do in my lifetime, this one was the hardest. I couldn’t concentrate with Carter’s hands on me. My photoshoot with Ryan only lasted a few minutes, but it felt like an eternity with Carter.
Chris clapped his hands. “All right, we’re done. You two sure did steam up my camera.”
Heat rising to my cheeks, I walked away to put distance between Carter and me, but he followed close on my heels. “We need to talk,” he demanded.
I jerked around, wishing like hell I didn’t have to look in his eyes. They were easy to get lost in, which was the last thing I needed right now. “About what?” I challenged, knowing he would keep following me if I didn’t acknowledge him. “You have your own life, and I have mine. Isn’t that what you wanted?”
Carter’s eyes darkened as he looked down at me, his body towering over mine. “It’s what you wanted too. Or am I wrong? You seem pissed, and for the life of me, I don’t know why. I did exactly what you wanted.”
That wasn’t true. At the time, I was too afraid to tell Carter what I truly wanted. It was best to cut ties and lose him for good than really get my heart broken. Sadly, who was I kidding? It broke anyway.
A laugh escaped my lips, but there was no humor to it. “That’s for damn sure. The second I left for New York, you ended up cock deep in every woman you could get your hands on.”
Carter stepped closer, and I had no choice but to back up. “And you ended up with that fucktard downstairs. Are you two getting back together?”
The audacity was mind-boggling. Carter had no right to be angry about anything. Crossing my arms over my chest, I shot him a nasty glare. “That’s none of your business.”
The door opened, and Aleah came out, carrying my bag. What was she doing? She waved at me with a sheepish grin on her face. “Hey, girl. I’m going to be a while finishing up the interview with Ryan. Do you mind if Carter gives you a ride back to my place?”
“Wait, what?” I gasped, panic rising in my chest. “No, that’s not going to work.”
“Please,” she begged. “I don’t want you having to stay here. You’ll be bored out of your mind.”
Shaking my head, I said no a million times, but she completely ignored me. Aleah handed my bag to me and quickly took off for the door, waving as she hurried away. “I’ll see you later,” she shouted, the door shutting behind her.
Everything happened so fast that all I could do was stand there in shock. “This can’t be happening.” But once the shock wore off, I stormed to the door. “I’m calling a cab.”
Carter ran up beside me and slammed the door when I tried to open it. “No, you’re not.”
My eyes burned so hot I could feel the fire in my veins. “Like hell, I’m not. Get out of my way, Carter.”
He kept his hand on the door. “I heard about the letter, Emma. It’s not safe for you to be out and about alone.”
Of course, someone had to tell him. “I’m fine,” I snapped. “I can take care of myself. If you want me to show you, I can.” Carter smirked, and I shook my head. “Never mind. You’d probably like that too much.”
Carter shrugged. “Maybe so. But right now, you’re coming with me, even if I have to haul you over my shoulder and carry you right past your boyfriend. That’ll end up a giant fucking mess. He’s already told me you’re off-limits. I’d hate to have to break his legs before his next game.”
Carter had always been true to his word, and I had no doubt he wouldn’t hesitate to follow through on his threat. I couldn’t let that happen. “Fine,” I grumbled. “Take me to Aleah’s. The sooner we get out of here, the faster I can get away from you.” Carter opened the door, and we stepped into the elevator, his body so achingly close. “Seriously? Can you give me some space?”
“Nope. I like where I’m standing,” he countered, his tone smug.
Much to my dismay, I liked it too. “You’re such a pain in the ass.”
Carter chuckled, his laugh sending shivers through my body. “Me being this close never bothered you before.”
I didn’t want to hate Carter, but I did. Yes, I decided to move to New York, and I knew something serious wouldn’t work between us, not when he was about to start competing in the UFC. The distance would’ve torn us apart. I never realized how angry and bitter I’d become seeing him with all those different women. Over time, it was easier to despise him than hold onto my true feelings.
When the elevator doors opened, I stepped out into the lobby and glanced over at Carter, still bare-chested in his athletic shorts. “Don’t you have some clothes you can change into?”
“Yep,” he answered. “That’s why you’re coming with me to the hotel.”
I stopped right in the middle of the lobby floor. “I’m not doing that.”
Carter turned around, his face grave as he moved closer. “Believe it or not, Emma, but I’m honest to God, truly worried about you.” Quickly, he glimpsed around at the people in the lobby who’d all stopped to watch us. “Now that I’m here,” he said, his voice smooth and deep, “I’m not leaving you alone for something to happen to you.”
His protectiveness was what made me fall for him in the first place. He had always been the serious one out of our group, but he was gentle when he needed to be. Hearing his words only confused me more.
“Why do you care?” I breathed.
Carter brushed a thumb over my cheek. “Because I do.”
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author L. P. Dover is a southern belle living in North Carolina with her husband and two beautiful girls. Everything’s sweeter in the South has always been her mantra and she lives by it, whether it’s with her writing or in her everyday life. Maybe that’s why she’s seriously addicted to chocolate.
Dover has written countless novels in several different genres, including a children’s book with her daughter. Her favorite to write is romantic suspense, but she’s also found a passion in romantic comedy. She loves to make people laugh which is why you’ll never see her without a smile on her face.
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