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Beneath the Silence Sample #2

Subject to change.

Release Date: TBD



I was glad Rell said I could take it easy tonight.

He’d agreed that I needed to spend more time on my recovery after taxing contests like my last one. Especially since I was fighting so often.

But despite today’s workout being only about half of its usual intensity, I still battled fatigue.

“We’re being a pussy today, E? Arthritis creeping up, baby girl? You are getting up there in age, aren’t you?” Rell taunted, squatting and giving me just a second to prepare before he attacked my legs and yanked. I stumbled but regained my balance, freeing my limbs and kicking towards his face with speed and power that would’ve knocked him out cold if he hadn’t tossed up a padded hand to catch the brunt of it.

He was being a pain in my ass today but I was aware that I looked lackluster at best. And he, just like every damn body else, knew the quickest way to light a fire under my ass was to talk shit.

Squaring my shoulders, I clenched my fists, watching for any small movements of Rell’s that might tip me off to his next attack.

If fatigue hadn’t broken my focus, then the heavy pressure of eyes on me would’ve. I knew they were coming from the front of the room but looking away for even a split second would give Rell the opening he was looking for to take me down.

Suddenly, he lunged and I moved, smoothly twisting out of his grip before ducking under the swing he followed up with and punching full force towards his face, stopping my fist mere centimeters from his nose.

“That would’ve definitely been a concussion.” My serious expression cracked, lips lifting into a mocking smile. “What’s the matter, Rell? Age creeping up?”

He scowled, knowing I'd bested him. “Water break.” He mumbled, walking off before I could respond.

Finally, I gave in to the temptation and looked in the direction where a heavy gaze haunted me.

The first thing I noticed was his massive size. Clad in all black workout gear, he was huge, pushing at least six and a half feet. After getting my fill of his height, I locked in on his smooth, bald head, lifeless eyes, and blatantly disinterested gaze.

The girl, or woman, standing next to him looked excited and amused while he simply looked as if he had better things to do. The focus of his gaze seemed to be my sweat-drenched legs so I shook them out. To relieve the tense muscles and hopefully break up whatever trance he was in.

That aloof gaze lazily flicked up to meet mine and I tensed, stilling like a hunted animal that had caught the whiff of a predator nearby.

I knew violence when I saw it. I was familiar with it, I’d breathed it… I had an intimate knowledge of it. Both on the receiving and giving end.

I could recognize it better than the face I saw in the mirror each morning.

While I merely had a relationship with it, this man was violence. Just his presence in the room felt menacing.

His cool, detached aura might fool others, but I sensed it in the air. And it made my skin tingle with a feeling I could only describe as wariness.

I’d learned to stay far from men like him. Men who raised my hackles and sent all my alarms ringing.

On cue, his gaze turned hard and threatening at my open gape but I didn’t flinch or look away.

The woman standing next to him said something else and though I couldn’t make out his response, a low, rumbling tone broke the otherwise silence, sounding like a clap of thunder warning of an approaching storm.

Even from here, I recognized there was no emotion in the response that was directed towards the woman that was either a younger sister or close friend. There wasn’t an ounce of sexual energy, tension, or attraction between them.

She kept sneaking admiring glances at me but I ignored them, used to people gawking. I still hadn’t learned whether it was the fact that I was a black woman skilled in mixed martial arts, my curvy shape, or the seriousness I emanated when in the ring.

“Water break over. Get your ass in gear.”

Rell wasted no time diving back into grappling maneuvers.

And while I gave it my all each time he lunged, I still was aware of him and his overpowering energy. Again, I only snapped out of the trance when that sudden surge of energy disappeared.

Glancing up, I looked around, noticing him and his little friend were gone.

I bounced on the balls of my feet and rotated my neck, hoping to shake off the weirdness he’d caused while glaring once again at Rell with a spiking temper.

Men didn’t make me nervous.

No matter how big, tough, or mean they were… I was never affected and never shied away from going toe to toe with one.

But that one?

That darkness surrounding him like a cloak of protection sent chills racing down my spine and I fucking hated it.

I hadn’t earned the nickname Menace by being a scary bitch.

“Focus, E. Before I put you on your ass.”

I smiled to myself. He had no clue about the hurt I was about to put on his ass. Someone had to pay for the mood that man had left me in and Rell’s taunting ass was the perfect candidate.

With a mocking salute, I nodded, signaling I was ready. “Yes, sir.”

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