Flight or Fight #1
Re-Releasing Sept 8th, 2015
In the debut of Ashley Suzanne’s blistering-hot Fight or Flight series—perfect for fans of Monica Murphy and J. Lynn—two sparring partners put their hearts on the line and push their bodies to the edge.
Rian Fields is done being a punching bag. When Rian was thirteen, her only friend walked out on her, leaving Rian alone to mourn when she lost her mother three years later. Then he came back into her life senior year, igniting new desires—and breaking her trust permanently when he enlisted in the army. Now Rian has finally found an outlet for her rage against the world: mixed martial arts. But just as she’s learning the ropes, Garrett Rhodes turns her life inside-out one more time.
As much they hurt each other, Garrett never got over Rian. So when he gets the call that she’s in jail, he bails her out, no questions asked. The years have toughened her. Made her harder. Sexier. All she needs to make it as an MMA fighter is the right coach, and Garrett’s man enough to train her. He just has to go toe-to-toe with “Raven,” the fearless woman who takes control in the ring . . . without falling for Rian, the vulnerable girl who still drives him crazy.
After twenty-four grueling hours of interrogation by the police, the prodding and poking of doctors, and the analysis of every thought in my head by therapists, I’m finally cleared to go home. I’m not sure if I even a home to go back to. My momma hasn’t called or checked in on me. Thankfully, my aunt Elaine had the decency to keep an eye on me, since I’m still a minor and all.
Walking into my house, I wasn’t expecting it to look the same as it did when I had been detained—the blood stains still on the carpeting, the coffee table kicked over, everything scattered across the living room, and clumps of my hair sticking out from under the sofa.
I didn’t realize at the time, but Tom got in a few good licks while I was going bat-shit crazy. The doctors had to suture a cut above my eyebrow and a gash on my forearm, and address the giant bald spot I had in the middle of my head. I checked out all right, but seeing the aftermath just drilled the point home.
The cops told me that Tom was going to be fine. As bad as he looked when he was being wheeled away on a gurney, he had nothing more than a concussion, a broken nose, a cracked rib, and a few cuts that needed some stitches. He’d spend a day in the hospital, maybe two. They also told me that they would be picking him up directly from the hospital, as they wanted to press charges on him for beating up my mother. Thankfully, you didn’t need a victim to come forward in a domestic violence case; the state could prosecute all by itself—as long as it had enough evidence.
“Mom,” I call, walking into the kitchen to avoid the recent crime scene.
As I make my way down the hall, I pause outside my mother’s bedroom and an eerie feeling washes over me. I push the door open and find my mother lying in bed on her back, still wearing the same clothes as when I left. The bruise on her cheek has turned a nasty yellow and shows the clear imprint of a large hand.
“Momma? Are you okay?” I whisper, sneaking through the door and climbing in bed with her.
No turn of the head, no flutter of eyelids—just nothing.
“Momma, please talk to me,” I plead, lying down on a pillow and scooting as close to her as possible without actually touching.
“What did you do, Rian? What did you do?” Tears well in her eyes and I don’t understand it, but guilt crashes over me like a tidal wave.
“I’m sorry,” I mutter, trying to find the strength to not run out of this room. She should be the one comforting me, not the other way around.
“What did you do?” she repeats. Finally we have movement, but it breaks me into pieces. Gripping the side of her pillow, my mother rolls away from me, curling into a ball. Her shoulders violently shake with the tears she’s letting flow. I’d bet money that she hasn’t cried since yesterday, holding it all in until she knew . . . I don’t know what she needed to know . . . but she probably needed sort of reassurance before she let the dam break.
“It’s okay. Shhhh.” I cover her with my body, holding her, giving her some time to grieve whatever it is that she’s grieving. Her husband being in the hospital? That she let him put his hands on her? That her sixteen-year-old daughter protected her against a grown man? Her daughter being arrested?
I’m not sure. The only thing I know is that I want my carefree hippy mom back.
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Ashley Suzanne has been writing for as long as she can remember. As a youngster, she was always creating stories and talking to her imaginary friends. Thankfully, her parents also carried this love of fiction, and helped her grow into the bestselling author she is today. When Ashley isn’t coming up with her next story, you’ll most likely find her on the couch, telling her husband all about her new book boyfriend, or spending quality time with her two gremlins . . . er, adorable children.