Privilege, poverty, death, and self-loathing; these are the backgrounds of the men of the internationally famous rock band, Sphere of Irony.
Dax Davies has one job to fulfill in the Davies household. Earn money at the family business. The problem is that the family business is illegal underground fighting.
From a young age, Dax and his brothers are groomed to become money earners in their father’s club. Broken bones and bruises are commonplace. Their father pits the brothers against each other to ‘toughen them up’ for the ring. His future is in the cage, not on stage where he dreams of being.
Kate Campbell loves one thing in life. Well, two. Soccer and Dax Davies. Growing up in the poorest part of London, soccer is her personal escape from reality and the fact that Dax doesn’t seem to know she exists. She figures if she can be good enough at it, maybe she can get away from Hackney, and leave the poverty behind.
Kate doesn’t plan on ever getting a chance to know Dax as more than an unattainable dream. After a mutual acquaintance brings them together, it only takes one ill-fated night at the fight club tear them apart.
I follow Adam’s gaze to see Ellie hurrying towards us, towing a friend by the hand. Ellie immediately latches on to Adam, prattling on about something or other. Tuning out the happy couple, I take a moment to check out Ellie’s friend, Kate. I’ve seen her around, mostly with Ellie, but she’s in my maths class as well. In fact, now that I think about it, we’ve been in school together a long time.
The fact that I didn’t remember her until now makes me frown, which in turn, makes Kate’s eyes go wide with fear. The girl is fiddling with her hair, pulling it up into a ponytail. She’s clearly uncomfortable around me, so, being the heartless prick that I am, I decide to make it worse.
When impossibly green eyes shoot up to meet mine, big and innocent looking, all of the smartass comments I have at the ready fall away. Smooth, lightly freckled skin flushes pink and full lips part, making my cock sit up and take notice. It’s then I realize I’ve never really looked at Kate before.
How did I not see how gorgeous this girl is? She’s not obvious or flashy—no, she’s very… girl next door. Sporty and fit with tawny brown hair always pulled up on her head, showing off two very high cheekbones. I’m surprised how affected I am by her. My heart has begun thumping hard and my palms are sweaty. How angry would Adam be if I shagged Ellie’s best friend?
Probably very. Not that I care much what he thinks.
While I’m thinking of how she looks naked, she gathers herself together and answers my question. “Yes. I’m Kate.” Shit, even her voice affects me—soft and slightly scratchy in a sexy kind of way. Now my dick is throbbing, pressing uncomfortably against my zipper. I need to hear that voice again.
“I’m Dax. You’re in my maths class.”
Those emerald eyes get even wider and her jaw hangs open. “How do you know who I am?”
“Why wouldn’t I know who you are? Haven’t we been in the same year for ages?” I furrow my brow, trying to decide if I’m thinking of a different girl. But no, it’s her, I’m sure of it.
“Y-y-yes. Since third year.”
I hold back a smile, keeping my cool exterior. At least I got that right. “Well then, apparently I’m not as stupid as some might say.”
Kate’s fingers untwist from her hair, settling on her hips. Lush, ruby lips turn down in the corners and her eyes narrow. She looks downright offended. “Who says you’re stupid? You’re in my advanced maths class, so I know that can’t be true.”
For once in my life I’m speechless. No one ever gives me the benefit of the doubt or defends my intelligence. Do I bother explaining to her that most people associate a big, muscled guy with an empty skull? Add in the underground fighting and they assume I’ve taken enough hits to the head to be rendered daft and dumb.
No one talks about it, but the teachers here know what I do—what my dad’s business is. I am the fourth Davies son at this school after all and they treat me accordingly. They don’t even bat an eye at the bruises anymore.
I tilt my chin to look down at her. Kate’s not at my eye level, but for a girl, she’s fairly tall—maybe five foot seven or eight? In those eyes, eyes as green as the stripes on the Davies family tartan, I see something I haven’t seen on a girl’s face in… well, ever. Admiration? Respect, maybe? Is it possible Kate respects me? That she sees past my intimidating exterior to the man beneath the brawn? That she sees more than just a conquest to brag to her friends about?
One of dad’s rules pops into my head.
Rule 2—Never let your emotions show.
I lock down the surprise on my face, keeping it to its usual icy façade.
What if she doesn’t like what she finds? I don’t know why I care, but suddenly, I don’t want Kate to know about the fighting, the girls, my family… those goddamn rules. For the first time in my life I’m not proud of my wins, of all the girls I’ve shagged or had suck me off at the club or behind the school. For once, I’m truly ashamed of what I am.
After growing up in New England, I currently live just outside Atlanta, GA. I love the Red Sox and hate the Yankees. I love hot, sexy romance novels, but hate long, drawn out misunderstandings as a plot line. I love book series, but hate cliffhangers. I love alpha males, but hate when they borderline on abusive. Mostly? I love love love chocolate.