Publication date: March 29th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
I was twelve when a stranger at a train station taught me the meaning of ugly. He forced himself on me and threatened to kill my family if I told.
I stayed silent and the ugliness grew.
Now, that word rolls in film clips through my mind. All I’ve done since my best friend, Keyon Arias, left town is cement how ugly I am. Ugly on the inside—deep down to my core. On the outside… I am a Vixen. I flash men a smile and make them moan out pleasure I control.
Not them. Never them.
After five years of being away, my beautiful boy has come back to town for his father’s masquerade ball. He’s different. Hard muscle supersedes the skin and bone of his once boyish frame. One thing hasn’t changed though: the murderous look in his eyes when he slaughters his opponents. In the ring, I see the bullied boy, all grown up, dominating in ways he couldn’t in high school.
He’s the mayor’s son. The rising MMA fighter. The beautiful one.
I’m not the Paislee Cain of before, not the sweet girl he once knew, the one who chased away his bullies. I’m the town slut. The dirty girl whose shame will never fade no matter how many men I use. He’d disown what I’ve become.
Because beautiful can never love ugly.
They keep asking me stuff, but I’m falling.
I can’t speak right now.
I’m Light Heavyweight. That’s what I am. Whenever the weight cut schedule clamps its iron belt around me, I want to hurl out my disgust over everything my life demands.
Nothing matters when you can’t speak, when you can’t walk without tripping. From the recesses of my brain, conviction keeps me going. When I want to give up—when I’m dying for water, when I hallucinate of desert oases with fountains and palm trees and Paislee emerging from freshwater dives—I focus on my goal.
I’m going to Vegas. I’ll be there, contracted, ready to do what I love and make a damn good living of it. I’ll become a legend, someone so far from the kid who once trembled in Rigita.
The fighter who masters cutting weight has the upper hand.
I faint in the sauna, dehydrating.
“Three more hours and we’re weighing in.” Dawson’s voice is implacable, like it should be. I’m a fucking baby as he feeds me Pedialyte, but I’m too weak to care. I resurface. Slowly.
“No matter what, you’ll always be Light Heavyweight,” he repeats my sentiment out loud. “But for an hour, you need to be Middleweight.”
I nod weakly while he points at the treadmill. Back to running. My eyes do their own thing, focusing, defocusing, while Robbie and Dawson lead me to my next workout.
Robbie holds out the sauna suit I’d rather not wear again. I flick to his face but don’t find compassion. Of course not. We all fucking chose this.
I blow air out through my lips, resigned and smirking a little at the same time. He catches me as I fall. “Dude. Dawson? I think he’s had enough.” He says it as my eyes roll back into my head.
“No!” I manage pretty loudly. “No. This is happening. Half a pound left?”
About the Author
Between studies, teaching, and advising, Sunniva has spent her entire adult life in a college environment. Most of her novels are new adult romance geared toward smart, passionate readers with a love for eclectic language and engaging their brain as well as their heart while reading.
Born in the Land of the Midnight Sun, the author spent her early twenties making the world her playground. Southern Europe: Spain, Italy, Greece–Argentina: Buenos Aires, in particular. The United States finally kept her interest, and after half a decade in Los Angeles, she now lounges in the beautiful city of Savannah.
Sometimes, Sunniva writes with a paranormal twist (Shattering Halos, Stargazer, and Cat Love). At other times, it’s contemporary (Pandora Wild Child, Leon’s Way, Adrenaline Crush, Walking Heartbreak, and Dodging Trains, coming in late March 2016).
This author is the happiest when her characters let their emotions run off with them, shaping her stories in ways she never foresaw. She loves bad-boys and good-boys run amok, and like in real life, her goal is to keep the reader on her toes until the end of each story.