Gunner

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Summary

A HEA second chance comedy/action-packed/adventure sports romance story. Gunner wasn’t looking for love; he was on a mission to find justice for his murdered father and fiancée. Then, one night at the least expected place, a beautiful young woman caught his eye. After meeting and getting to know Aria, he saw something in her that attracted him more to her. So, on top of doing what he’s been trying to accomplish. Gunner was also on a mission to get Aria to discover who she indeed was. Gunner noticed that Aria was portraying herself as a woman she wasn’t—someone she thought others around her wanted her to be. But, while helping Aria find herself, he realized that he, too, was hiding behind his thick, tough skin. They were also learning together how to use mind over matter and willpower—something Gunner always thought he had. Using discipline and punishment was their way of growing stronger as a person—together. Credit for cover: selfpubbookcovers.com/kshipley

Genre:
Romance / Humor
Author:
Jeni Rae D
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
36
Rating:
5.0 15 reviews
Age Rating:
18+

1- Aria

“I have an extra ticket to tonight’s MMA fight, and I thought it would be nice if you would come along.” My brother Justin kindly begged. “It will be one amazing fight and one you don’t want to miss,” Justin added, then excitedly said who the fighters were. MMA was something I’d never been interested in, so I couldn’t care less who was fighting.

I know how much Justin and his friends enjoy going to these types of things, as they’ve been into fighting since we were kids. I, on the other hand, have never found fighting fascinating. Or understand why men find it so thrilling. Why anyone is willing to fight someone for no reason is beyond me.

I googled the fight he was talking about, then rolled my eyes after seeing who’d be fighting. Big whoop-dee-do—these guys mean nothing to me. I sighed, “Why don’t you bring Nikki? She likes watching guys fight and breaking each other’s noses.”

“She got called into work and the entire reason for my extra ticket.”

At least it’s good to know I was his second choice, asking to come along. “Isn’t there anyone else? There must be someone who would enjoy that free ticket,” I groaned.

“Aria, please? They’re excellent seats, and I mean excellent seats. It might help you see why they do what they do and why I love it.”

I laughed. “Your joking, right? I mean, think about it? What is so exciting about watching two people who know absolutely nothing about each other go into a cage and start punching and kicking one another for no reason?”

“For the fun, the thrill, and to show who’s boss. Why do you think the fight goes on? Once a fighter gets that first punch to the face or the abdomen, it pisses the other fighter off, and they’ll do whatever it takes to knock them down—showing them they’re the better one,” he said with excitement in his voice. “Please, Aria? Come on,” he emphasized. “It’s been a long time since you and I have hung out together. Besides, you owe me for that time you dragged me to that damn ballet. What was it called again? The Nutcracker? And from what I remember, it cracked my nuts, trying to make it until the end of the show.”

I giggled.

Now that I think back to that night, I can’t believe I talked him into going. I’m also still amazed that he lasted the entire ballet. He may not have cared for it much, but that’s what big brothers are for. To annoy...

“What are you talking about? That was the best ballet I’ve ever been to!”

“Not funny, Aria. It was terrible. I look at this because you made me sit through that entire show watching girls dancing on their tippy-toes; you can sit next to me and watch a fight. It’s so much more exciting than a damn ballet.”

Fuck...

I guess I do owe my brother this. I heavily sighed. “Who’s all going?”

“Me, Dan, Melinda, Jake, and Lakesha.”

Ugh. Of course, Justin had to bring up my making him sit with me at the ballet. Something I insisted he does with me after my no-good ex-boyfriend bailed on me, saying he had to work late. He had to work late, all right, to bang his secretary.

Asshole.

Since Melinda and Lakesha are going, I might as well tag along. “Fine, I’ll go,” I grumbled while staring at my laptop. I stared at the screen, then clicked on the picture of the fighter Justin was excited about seeing. My neck extended forward, wanting to look closer at the man with the most fantastic muscular body I’ve ever seen. My brows raised towards the ceiling. How can someone as good-looking as he deliberately want to destroy a face looking like the eye candy he is?

My brother excitedly hollered and clapped on the other end of the phone. Then, growling, I said, “Don’t expect me to enjoy this. I’m only going because you said please. And because of the ballet incident.”

“You’ll have fun. I promise. Plus, after the fight, we plan on heading to that popular nightclub down the street.”

Great. I will be puking my lungs out from the sight of blood and the sounds of bones breaking, but I’ll also be re-filling my insides with liquids to help encourage my regurgitating. “Exactly what I’ll need afterward,” I exhaled.

"Oh my God, Aria. It’s not as bad as you think it is. Just put on your big girl panties and have some fun for once. I’ll be at your place in about an hour. Be ready,” Justin demanded before hanging up.

I had no clue what to wear to something like this. So I scrolled through pictures online of previous fights—looking to see what women typically wore to these events. Of course, there were more men than women attending, but from the women I did see in the crowd, they looked to have dressed more casually, all except for the women sitting in the front row. They were mainly wearing something a bit more revealing.

Of course, they would.

Knowing Melinda with her naturally bright blonde hair and nice double D breasts, she’ll wear something sexy. She always does. Plus, her boyfriend Dan likes her wearing clothes that show off her tits. And I think the reasoning behind that is it’ll give him an excuse to get into a fight if any guy were to look and admire her chest.

As for Lakesha? She has beautiful tanned skin, long thick curly black hair, and beautiful curves that cause all the guys to drool. And because of her spectacular-looking body, I’m sure she will wear something like Melinda, which will only upset Jake. He absolutely hates her wearing anything revealing. But if anyone were to ask me, I think he secretly enjoys it because he, too, likes to fight.

I groaned while rummaging through my closet. I must have something sexy to wear. But then again, why in the hell would I wear something so provocative while hanging out with my brother?

Gross...

After much thought, I decided to go with something more casual. Since we’ll be inside an arena surrounded by hot bodies, a bunch of hotheads, and my obnoxious brother, I felt wearing a pink tank-top, and white shorts would be just fine.

While applying my makeup, my stomach felt like the time it did in my fifth-grade gym class, when the teacher had us climb up a knotted rope and get to the top. And once I got where I was supposed to be, I became numb and unable to breathe after I looked down.

I didn’t know why I felt nervous or sick to my stomach; it’s not like I knew the people who would be fighting. Then I thought about my brother’s words and quietly groaned, ”Put on my big girl panties.”

Ugh.

Justin let me know he was outside by honking his horn. So I grabbed my purse, walked out, and as I headed towards his car, I noticed the massive grin on his face—one he always had before getting into a fight himself.

“No getting into fights tonight, or I’ll never hang out with you again,” I scolded as I got into his car.

“Did you put on your big girl panties? Or did you put on grannie panties?” he teased.

With a smile, I raised my hand and gave him the bird. “Let’s go.”

“Thanks,” he chuckled. “I love knowing you think I’m number one. But since I already know I am, you don’t have to keep reminding me that, either,” he joked while speeding off.

I wanted to prepare myself for what I was getting myself into. So, along the way to the arena, I watched a couple of MMA fights they had on YouTube. ”I can’t believe you’re making me come along to watch such violence,” I hissed.

"Relax, sissy; it’s much more fun seeing it in person. I’ll guarantee you’ll love it.”

Yeah, right...

We walked into the arena, then headed toward the area we were supposed to be. As we walked down the steps, I noticed how close we were to the cage and the front row and nudged Justin, saying, “Please don’t tell me we’ll be close to the fight.”

His head snapped towards me, showing a wicked grin. “Of course! I told you they would be the best seats in the house.”

I should have known.

Front fucking row. “How did you manage to get these seats? They must have cost a fortune!”

Justin laughed. “Nikki knows someone who works here and worked her magic—scoring us these seats.”

“What did she do, give him a blowjob? Have an all-night rendezvous with him?”

“Very funny,” he retorted.

“From what I saw online, these seats can range anywhere from five thousand to thirty thousand dollars. So Nikki must have done something to get six tickets for nothing.”

His brows drew together, looking pissed and as if he were about to snap at me. “If you’re accusing Nikki of cheating on me, don’t talk to me. You, of all people, know her the best and know what she’s all about. You also know that she would never cheat on me.”

My mouth slowly curved upward. I know Nikki very well. Since we were little kids, she’s been my best friend, and I know she would never cheat on anyone, especially my brother. I was only trying to be funny—to rile him up. Now I feel that may have been a mistake. Knowing how he likes to fight, I should have just kept my mouth shut.

“Damn, Justin. Don’t get so damn defensive. I was only giving you shit,” I said, hooking my arm over his shoulder. “I know Nikki would never do that to you. I only said that because I know how hard it is to get tickets like these.”

“For your information, her cousin’s fiancé works in the office, who organizes these events. That’s how she got the damn tickets. I thought you already knew that?” he growled.

I did. I just forgot. “My bad,” I giggled.

I sat quietly in my seat—looking at all the spectators looking for their seats, finding their spots, and then sitting with excited smiles on their faces. Guys were fist-bumping one another, riling each other up, with some of the guys punching their fists into the air, acting like they were the ones preparing to fight. Then there were others, minding their business, anxiously anticipating the fight to begin.

I discreetly looked at Lakesha sitting next to me, eyeing what she was wearing. Then my eyes wandered away from her and over to the other side of Justin, looking to see Melinda’s choice of clothing. Seeing what their attire was, I felt a bit underdressed.

Oh well.

Justin pulled me to stand when the announcer started talking into the microphone. “Ladies and gentlemen ...” he started saying. Then, before one of the fighters came out, he riled up the crowd again by announcing his stats. Then the fighter’s music started playing, exciting my brother and his friends.

I felt my arm being squeezed and turned my head towards Justin. “Do you mind?”

“The one we’re here to see will be announced next!” he said excitedly, squeezing my arm tighter and shaking it. “This guy, Gunner, who’s about to enter the cage, is the fucking bomb! He never loses a fight, and we’ll see it all up close! Right in front of our eyes.”

I thought Justin was about to pass out from the excitement when the announcer started announcing Gunner’s stats. He was hooting and hollering, letting everyone inside the arena know he was there.

This is by far the opposite of ballet.

"And now. The one you’ve been all waiting to see. The one. The only. Gunner!” the announcer yelled.

Gunner’s introductory music came on, which I recognized as Metallica’s, Don’t Tread on Me.

Intimidating...

My brother jumped, yelled, and clapped while trying to get me to be in the same mood as him. The song was very fitting for where we were and what we were about to see—a fighting war song that only riled the crowd up more than ever, including my brother.

I had to laugh. Justin looked like a little kid who was excited to be getting something he wanted.

I followed the spectators’ eyes over to the opening, and as this Gunner guy exited the cave, the arena got loud. Very loud. I locked my eyes on him and watched his every move. And as he walked towards us, my heart pounded against my chest faster. His expression was powerful, showing toughness and confidence—a look as if he knew he would win tonight.

His abs. Oh my God, his abs. His abs looked rock-solid—strong. And is that a six-pack he’s sporting, or is that an eight-pack?

Can someone really have an eight-pack?

The next thing I felt was my body on fire after inspecting him further. His meaty, beefy arms, narrow waist, and strong legs sent the fire burning inside me down to the sensitive area between my thighs, causing it to throb and my panties to moisten.

Oh my God. Gunner’s fucking hotter in person than in the pictures I saw.

The man was so damn gorgeous that my eyes refused to look away from him. Then he stopped right in front of us, locking his eyes on me while getting checked out before entering the cage. And the longer he gazed into them; my knees started wobbling.

Is he looking at me?

He looked away and over at the guy, trying to get him to drink water. And instead of allowing the guy to squirt water into his mouth, he grabbed the bottle from his hand, took a long chug, then shoved the bottle back in the guy’s hand before entering the cage.

I looked at Justin. And since he looked like he was in a world of heaven, I shook him, nervously asking, “Did you see that?”

“See what?”

“He was staring at me.”

He laughed and shrugged his shoulders. “I’m sure it just looked like he did,” he said as the crowd roared even more. I looked away from Justin and over to Gunner. He was moving around the cage, getting everyone in their seats pumped and ready for what he was about to accomplish. Then, when he got back to our area, his eyes locked once again to mine, and he extended his arm towards me.

My heart stopped, and I dropped into my seat.

He was looking at me.

He still is.

“You all ready for this?” the announcer yelled into the microphone.

“Yeah!” the crowd roared.

The fight started with them standing toe-to-toe. Then, my eyes widened when The Crusher took the first punch—an upper right-hand hook to Gunner’s chin—taking the punch like it was nothing. Then Gunner swung his two fists, punching him twice in the face. Next, they danced around, swinging their fists. Finally, the Crusher extended his fist toward Gunner and missed. Gunner then twirled his body around with his leg in the air, kicking The Crusher in the face. Next, they clinch with Gunner, holding The Crusher against the cage.

The crowd went wild.

And so did my obnoxious brother.

Finally, The Crusher broke free, and they both started dancing their feet side to side, forward and back, all while taking jabs at each other. Gunner then showed he was the aggressor and did a left uppercut to The Crusher’s face, punching the guy hard in the jawline, causing blood to shoot out The Crusher’s mouth.

“Kill the guy!” my brother yelled. “Come on, Gunner! Kill the fucker!”

“Gunner! Gunner! Gunner!” The crowd chanted after Gunner pinned the guy to the ground. Then, the arena got even louder when he tried wrestling and punching out of Gunner’s hold.

I wasn’t sure how much longer I could watch these two take punches and kicks to the face or stomach. Gunner’s face wasn’t hard to look at, but it sickened my stomach to see how The Crusher’s face was bludgeoned and bloody.

The Crusher wasn’t ready to tap out just yet, but I was and leaned to Justin’s ear. “How much longer until this is over?”

“They’re on their third and final round. But with how Gunner’s opponent looks, I don’t think he’ll make it the entire five minutes,” he said enthusiastically. “I thought I said to put on your big girl panties and not some old grannie panties?”

I didn’t want to admit this to my brother. But this fight has been a little exciting to watch. I found myself at the edge of my seat, and I was also yelling at Gunner from inside my head for him to block the other guy’s punches and kicks. Only because I couldn’t stand seeing his beautiful face take a beating like he was doing to his opponents.

Finally, The Crusher was getting tired. And as blood pooled from his eyes, blocking his line of vision, Gunner punched the final blow, knocking him to the ground. After a few seconds of lying with his face flat on the mat, The Crusher pounded his fist onto the mat, tapping out.

The crowd roared, then roared even louder when the referee held up Gunner’s arm, announcing him as the winner, relieving me the fight was over. And now that it is, I was feeling more than anxious to get a drink or two to calm these nerves and untie the knots in my stomach.

Gunner exited the ring, and as spectators reached over the rail wishing to congratulate him, he fist-bumped them. Justin was excited as well, and to get his attention, he leaned over the railing, yelling and waving for Gunner to come over. Gunner looked our way, and with his eyes on me, he slowly grinned, then headed our way.

The closer he neared us with his eyes on mine, ignoring the other fans wishing to get a fist bump, my beating heart thumped harder and faster. Hammering hard against my chest, I thought I was about to have a heart attack.

Gunner stopped directly in front of me, asking, “Did you enjoy the fight?”

“Hell yeah, we did!” Justin loudly blurted.

He looked away from me and over at Justin. “I’m glad you enjoyed the fight. But did your girl here enjoy it?”

He didn’t just say I’m my brother’s girl, did he?

Gross!

My eyes widened, and as I looked at Gunner, I pointed my finger back and forth from me to Justin. “Oh, we’re not together... he’s my brother.”

An enticing smile formed on his face, causing my racing heart to stop and my body ready to burst into flames. But then, he leaned closer with his face mere inches away from mine, and when he spoke, it caused my breathing to hitch. “Did you enjoy the fight?”

No, I didn’t enjoy the fight. Fighting makes me sick.

I didn’t know what to say. So I slightly nodded.

“Of course, she enjoyed the fight,” my brother chimed in, then with a proud smile, he added, “Believe it or not, but this is the first time my sister’s ever been to one of these.”

Gunner looked extremely amused that this was my first time attending a fight. And then there’s me, ready to faint. This gorgeous human being standing before me made me nervous and had my nerves feeling like they were a complete mess. I’m also highly embarrassed. All because of how this man looked at me and how my body reacted to his gaze. And the longer Gunner’s eyes burned into mine, the more it felt like my nipples had erected, and they were poking through my tank top.

I looked down, saw the mountain peaks, and snapped my head up, wide-eyed.

Now I want to leave this arena.

Immediately.

“Really... first time, huh?” The corner of his lips raised higher. “She’ll have to come to one of these again.”


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