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Authors: Ty Langston

Tags: #Erotic Contemporary

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BOOK: Knocked Out: A Red, Hot and BOOM! Story
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The smell of his large travel mug full of caramel coffee filled the car. Its strong scent already was waking him up despite him not taking one sip. He was exhausted from a late night of struggling to paymounting legal debt thanks to a drug addicted ex-wife and his 5 year-old daughter’s private school tuition. Taking a long sip of his coffee, the dark and overcast day reminded him of the decisions he made.

If you want to keep her daughter, then this is what you have to do.

His daughter’s smiling face filled his thoughts as he turned off the ignition. Faint raindrops fell against his black hooded sweatshirt and jeans while he walked with coffee in hand through the gates and into the break room where the timecards stood at attention.

“This place is becoming more and more like a ghost town.” Said Evan’s friend Matt said.

Punching his timecard, Evan snickered through his 5 o’clock shadow and replied. “You’re not

kidding. Where the hell is the overnight shift? They’re usually running past us to get home. ”

A longtime friend of Evan’s, Matt, was tall with silver hair and matching beard. He had worked

at the mill for as long as Evan could remember. When Evan lost his job as a bouncer, Matt was nice enough to get him this job. .

“Heard their hours got cut. Guess there’s not enough work to spread around.” Matt told him.

“Not even with the Halliburton contract?” Evan asked as he took another long sip of his coffee.

“You didn’t hear, Evan? Halliburton pulled out. They got a better bid by Emerson Steel.” Matt

said taking a sip of his own coffee.

Evan’s eyes opened wide and closed. He had only been with the mill for less than a year. The

only reason why he had a job was due to that contract.

“Fucking A.” he mumbled.

“What’s wrong?” Matt asked.

Evan drank the last of his coffee and placed his travel mug on the counter. “Matt, I don’t know if I can deal with cut hours. Tamara’s trying to get custody of my kid and I’m still 2 months behind on my mortgage.”

Matt’s eyes narrowed. “Are you kidding me? When did Tamara pretend to care about your

daughter?” Evan’s eyes rolled at the craziness of the situation. He raked his hands through his dampened brown locks, made curly through the rain. “Since she got clean and found herself a new chump to manipulate.”

“Oh no, she didn’t.” Matt asked.

Evan nodded. “He’s some new, hot MMA prospect at Contact Sports. Rising star, moving up the

ranks, people throwing sponsorship money at him left and right....”

“And there’s Tamara with her movie star looks and a vagina that’s a bottomless cesspool of shit

just waiting for her new boy toy to hit the magic seven figure deal.” Matt said while he threw out his coffee cup.

Evan’s chiseled jaw tightened. “You got it.”

The two men walked out of the break room and headed towards the bowels of the mill while Evan

continued. “I can’t go back and bounce, Matt. Not with a 5 year old and a mother who already does too much already.

“You could go back and fight a match or two, Ev.” Matt suggested. Evan eyes almost rolled out

of his head at the thought. He refused. His MMA career in his mind was over the day his daughter, Everly was born. If if weren’t for his mother, his aunts and his cousin, he and Everly would have been homeless. Despite having lucrative endorsement deals, the money that Evan thought he saved while he was fighting, was gone in large part to Tamara’s drug addiction and his late father’s illness.

“Not an option.” Evan told him bluntly

“Hate fighting in the cage that much?” Matt asked.

“The total opposite. I love it
too
much. There’s nothing like hearing the sound the crowd makes when you enter the Octagon. You can’t help but to get pumped up and show everyone what you can do.

Every move you make; the crowd lets you know if they love or hate you. You and your opponents are warriors; you do what you have to do to win when you’re in that cage. It’s a hunger that never sated, a thirst that’s never quenched. For me, it’s a drug. I’ll never recover from. If I take one more fight, I know I’ll want to do another because it’s the way I’m wired. It’s not a good time for me to be even thinking about that now. ”

“Sometimes, you have to do what you have to do. You’re one of the lucky ones that
have
a choice. If I had to choose between this and doing something I loved, I’d be out of here.” Matt told him as the two walked to their stations and to begin their day.

Chapter Three

With Tucker Gray in tow; Hayley spent the next several weeks travelling from gym to gym in

search of their top six prospects. Their latest stop took them to another Rounders Gym that Tucker owned which was about 100 miles south from where she first met the former champion. Since they were close to the gym, she and Tucker decided to stop for gas and take some snacks. She rolled into a truck stop; the warm sun turned her classic 1967 VW Bug, into a small oven.

Wearing a pair of Khaki and a blue t-shirt, Tucker wiped the beads of sweat from his forehead.

“Thank the lord. Water.” He told Hayley whose long hair was a damp mass of curls. “I’m sorry for not having any air conditioning, Tuck. Welcome to life after grad school.”

“Talk about antiques. I’m surprised this little car has gotten us as far as it has.” He said.

“Bug was my mom’s car if you can believe it. “ Hayley said as she turned to Tucker. “This little thing took her to and from college and across the country not once, but twice. She is the little engine that could. ”

Tucker opened up the door said with a laugh. “Remind me to tell Ella when this show is over to

get to you raise. Bug deserves t retirement or an air conditioner.”

Hayley giggled as the two of them got out of the car, “Will do.”

While Tucker went to grab some drinks for the two of them, Hayley went into the ladies room

and sat in the stall. She was hot, hungry and dog-tired. This was their last stop before the actual show began in a couple of weeks. Her mind raced with fear over what would happen if they found no one.

There has to six guys who fit the bill, right?

Hayley was close to giving up. All of the tapes and tryout camps that she and Tucker had gone to or observed were disappointments. Most of the people either could work but not have the charisma that Contact Sports wanted, or had the looks but not a lick of athletic ability.

She took out her flip cam and turned it on herself. With the rent and a large student loan, being unemployed, and homeless were not options. Hayley decided that as part of her hosting duties that she would document her crazy journey for the public. She had three video journals completed and her boss, Ella loved the premise so much, that she decided that these ‘road diaries’ would be a part of the show.

Taping herself was both cathartic and daunting. On the one hand, it was freeing to get her frustrations out, but, on the other hand, she bared her soul to millions of people every week. It was raw, naked and organic. The perfect way to introduce Hayley to the viewing public, but it was also a way for the audience to root for the prospects once the show began.

Time for some broadcast therapy.
She figured she had 3 minutes to spare before some tourist walked in with a bunch of screaming kids messing up her train of thought. If there were a chance to do this; it was now. She pressed the record button.

“Damn; I look like shit...oh well, whatever. It’s 90 degrees out, and his bathroom is the coolest place I’ve been in the last 24 hours. I’m your host Hayley Monroe, and today’s journey on finding the

‘Next Great Hope’ is in Brockton, New York. Tucker Gray and I are about 15 minutes from one of the Rounders University gyms he owns, and there are supposedly a few people who are ready, willing and able to take on the challenge of seeing if they have what it takes to be a contender. So far, no one’s brought it. Let’s hope today they can. “Hayley said.

The record button flashed like crazy in the corner of the screen as the screams of a young girl

automatically finished Hayley’s video diary for her. “Mommy, hurry up, I have to pee!” As quick as Hayley pressed the stop button, she heard the thunder of little feet sprinting into the bathroom.

My cue to exit.
She placed the flip cam back into her tote, opened up a stall door and left the restroom. Tucker was waiting for her with 2 large water bottles and a couple of large plastic bags.

“All set?” he asked, giving her one of the water bottles.

“Yep”. She replied. “I even finished another video journal.” She added as she pointed to the bag.

“Oh, these are a couple of Turkey subs. I figured that since we’re in for a long day, we might as well eat something before things get too crazy.” Tucker explained to her while they walked back to her car.

“Tucker, do you think that this group is
the
group?” She asked.

His eyes glimmered with optimism. “I do. These guys are a bit different from the others. Not only are they ranked nationally, but they have experience in dealing with the media. Billy and I pulled out all the stops on this one.”

“I wish I could be so confident. I’m not doubting you, but we’re getting down to the wire. I’m

just worried that if we don’t find what we’re looking for today, I’m out of a job.” She said in a grim tone.

“Not happening.” Tucker explained. “Ella told me you’re doing a fantastic job. If we can’t find what we’re looking for in this group, she told me they’ll delay the show until we do, with you on board.

What’s good about this group I’ve invited is that they’re already in fighting shape. All they need to do is be ready to turn it up when its game time.”

His reassurance was addicting. The more Hayley listened to him, the more determined she got.

“Ok, that makes me feel better. Guess it’s time to see who passes go and collects $200 now, huh?”

“That’s my girl.” Tucker said as their got into the car and headed towards the gym.

***

At Rounders University, the place was packed full of men in various sizes, shapes and styles.

Tucker was right. This group was definitely different from the previous ones she had witnessed. Cameras were stationed all around the gym, catching every single drill Billy and Tucker put them through. Hayley watched everything on a TV screen in Tucker’s office. She was impressed with how well the 20 men were holding up through the grueling workouts and an obstacle course that needed to be finished to move onto the next round. .

Twenty went down to 10; more workouts resumed. Only this time; there was a mock interview

session where the candidates they had to tell the public what being the ‘Next Great Hope’ meant to them.

At midnight, the top 10 became the top five. If these five got through their background checks, she could have them on a plane and into the training house in the undisclosed location of Los Angeles by the end of the week.

It was after midnight; she watched the last interview with pride. The candidate she watched was

named Mike Tunney. He was young, talented, and could charm his way out of the match with Jackson Briggs if he had to. His smile was infectious, and one couldn’t help but to be drawn to his passion of the sport. She was relieved at this group that Tucker and Billy brought in. Her enthusiasm couldn’t be contained when Tucker and Billy walked into Tucker’s office. Hayley sprang up and drew the two men into a hug. “Oh, my god, thank you! All of these guys were fantastic.”

Soaked in sweat with a towel draped around his head, Billy asked with uncertainty, “Yeah?”

Hayley was all smiles as she nodded. “Hell yeah. This was excellent. Now, these five men are

guys that I’d want to see on my TV! Where in the hell have you been hiding these guys, Tucker?”

“Deep in my basement.” The middle aged man had quipped before he continued. “They’ve

always been here. They wanted a chance to show you what they could do, since they heard about the show. They figured it was the one of the only ways to get to the next level.”

She sat back down and told them both. “And then there is one…”

Billy sat on the edge of the desk. “See anyone else in the files that you can pull?” he asked.

“If Hayley couldn’t find them before, I doubt she’d find them again.” Tucker said.

“Are there any gyms we missed?” she asked with interest.

“There are a couple of smaller ones I can check out in the morning. But Hayley let me ask you

something. If you want the people with you, then why don’t you let them choose the last one?” Tucker suggested.

Hayley’s eyes rose. She wrapped a strand of long hair around her ear and took a long swig of her water. “I want to give this one more try. I want authentic athletes like the five we have. They’ve got stories compelling enough to make you want to root for them throughout the series.”

With a half-yawn, Billy said, “Back to the drawing board.”

“We’ll try the gyms once more. If we can’t, then I promise to go on TV and appeal to the public.”

Hayley suggested. “Deal?”

Both men nodded. “Deal.”

Chapter Four

“I’m sorry Evan. We’re going to have to let you go.”

It was the news he dreaded while sitting in his foreman’s office. How would he explain to his

mother, attorney and the bank that held his mortgage that he was unemployed-again?

“Isn’t there anything you can do for me? I’ll do anything. Hell, I’ll sweep floors if you want me to.” Evan pleaded.

The foreman sat staring at him with a grim face. “You know I would if there were something, but

our whole section has been cut including me. Management put everything they had into that Halliburton deal and came up empty. I’m sorry, man.”

Evan’s blue eyes turned from concern to anger. “Sorry,’s not going to pay my mortgage.” He said

as he got up from his chair and left the mill.

When he arrived home, he was so mentally worn-out from what had happened to him at the mill,

that he realized it was only 8:30 a.m. He was thankful that his mother, Edna lived with him and could take Everly to school. After that, his mom would then go to her sister’s for a few hours before picking up his daughter around 3.

BOOK: Knocked Out: A Red, Hot and BOOM! Story
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