Champion Moves

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Chapter 9

The next couple of weeks were spent in hard training for Lyra. She was up at five every morning for a good run and brought Cherry along with her. Her grades were on point and she was ahead in a couple of her classes. Her mom was anxiously waiting for her first bout and had invited her work group to the event. She trained every spare minute she had. Her dedication was a thing of beauty and she easily won the respect of the other fighters.

“Come on, Lyra! You can hit harder than that!” Dante yelled at her as she traded punches with him in the ring. He was pushing her, taunting her to try to rattle her focus. She was exhausted, her muscles ached but she was not going to back down. She was not going to give in. She was a Salvador! Giving up was not in her genetic makeup. Grunting, she put everything in her punches and hammered back at Dante until he was backed against the ropes.

“Ok, love that’s enough for today,” he grinned. She slumped to the floor and laid herself out, breathing heavily. Dante laughed, looking down at her in amusement. “Take tomorrow off. You need to get plenty of rest and allow your muscles to recuperate before your fight.” She nodded tiredly, holding her hand up for him to help her stand. Pulling her up, she stumbled into him but didn’t have the energy to do anything about it.

“You are not my friend, Dante,” she huffed. “Not even Tio works me this hard.” He chuckled, stroking her sweaty head.

“You’ll thank me when you win, love. Now get in the shower and get cleaned up. I’m taking you to dinner.”

“Ok. Maybe you can be my friend again since you’re feeding me. There better be some chocolate in there somewhere.” She lifted up and trudged out of the ring, heading to the showers. Stripping down, she practically crawled into the stall as the hot water pounded down on her sore muscles. She groaned out loud, lifting her face into the healing spray. Soaking her hair, she leaned her forehead against the tile as the water cascaded down her back. Grabbing her shampoo, she dumped a healthy amount on her head.

“Damn it where are those magical bath fairies when you need them,” she muttered. She scrubbed her body clean and stepped out of the shower. Getting dressed was another matter. Pulling on her leggings and hoodie, she threw her hair up in a messy bun and made her way back out to the main gym. Dante was waiting for her by the door, hair still damp from his own shower. The image of his strong chiseled body under the streams of water and steam caused her to stumble a little. She shook her head to dispel it and looked at the floor to try to hide her blush. Lord this man had her torn up!

She threw her bag in the back of Dante’s Jeep and settled in the passenger seat. She sent a quick text to her mother to let her know Dante was treating her to dinner for training her so hard.

L: Hey ma, Dante is taking me to dinner. I’ll be home later.

M: Ok mi preciosa. You realize I need to meet this boy.

L: I know lol. You will at the fight. He’s my coach remember?

M: yes I remember. Tio will be here in the morning.

L: I know I can’t wait! Love you ma!

M: Love you too baby!

She squealed a little as she put her phone away. Dante chuckled at her. “What’s that about?”

Tio will be here tomorrow. Mom said I can miss school to spend time with him. Just got excited,” she giggled. “I have missed him like crazy. He’s been the closest thing I’ve ever had to a father.” Dante reached over and gently grasped her hand.

“I’m pretty excited too. I mean, who wouldn’t be standing face to face with El Diablo?” he chuckled. “Is he the one who gave you your fighter name?” She grinned, nodding her head.

“Yeah, he said I fought like a hellcat but he didn’t like the way it sounded in Portuguese. So, he named me la diabla which means she devil. The first time I fought under that name, I won with a TKO in the first round. Tio said I went in that ring with the fires of hell at my heels. I’ve been La Diabla ever since.”

The little diner was adorable. They were greeted by a petite woman with white hair that was braided in pigtails. She was just as adorable as the diner. Her brown eyes sparkled when she caught sight of Dante. “Oh my handsome boy!” she cooed, pinching his cheek. He laughed and scooped her up in a hug. When he sat her back down, she patted his arm and giggled like a school girl. “You always give the best hugs! And who is this gorgeous young lady with you?”

“June this is Lyra. She’s one of our new fighters.” June smiled and engulfed Lyra into a hug.

“So nice to meet you,” she said, patting Lyra’s cheek. “I am June. Please come in. Let’s get you something to eat.” June led them to a booth and settled them in. “Ivy will be right with you.” With a wink, she whispered in Dante’s ear, causing a big grin to cross his face. He laughed and shook his head. A cute little redhead with quirky curls brought their menus. A hug and kiss later, they had ordered their food.

“So who’s the girl?” Lyra was surprised she had felt a stab of jealousy when the girl had launched herself into Dante’s arms.

“That’s Ivy, June’s granddaughter and she’s fifteen.” He reached across the table and grabbed her hand, giving it a squeeze. “There’s only one girl who has my attention.” Lyra could have melted in her seat. “If you haven’t noticed, Lyra, I can’t keep my eyes off you or my hands to myself when it comes to you.” Her heart somersaulted into her stomach. “I think there’s something between us, beautiful, something I really want to explore.” Oh boy. “I’ve never connected with a woman the way I do with you.”

“Um…are you sure it’s not because we both like to fight?” She could barely get her words out. Dante smiled and kissed her wrist. Sighing, she gathered her courage. “I like you, Dante, probably more than I should but I do.” She felt the connection between them. It was unlike anything she’d ever felt before but she wasn’t afraid of it.

“You’re an amazing woman. Drop dead gorgeous, sexy as hell, and a beautiful heart that took in a broken bird and taught her how to fly again.”

“Cherry was easy. I saw myself in her but I see the strong kickass woman she can be. I wanted to help bring that out.” She hooked her ankle around his leg under the table. “So, what are we going to do about it?”

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