An up-and-coming MMA fighter wants more than just one night from a woman fleeing her past in Lori’s irresistible new novel.
Heavyweight fighter Denver Lewis plays real nice, but he doesn’t share. That’s why he’s been avoiding top-notch flirt Cherry Peyton. But a man can only resist those lush curves for so long. Their encounter surpasses all his fantasies, bringing out protective urges that Cherry’s about to need more than she knows…
Denver’s combination of pure muscle and unexpected tenderness has been driving Cherry wild. Yet no sooner does she get what she’s been craving than old troubles show up on her doorstep. And this time, Cherry can’t hide behind a carefree façade. Because the man by her side is one who’ll fight like hell to keep her safe…if only she’ll trust him enough to let him…
Holding Strong is part of the Ultimate series.
The full series includes the following stories:
• Hard Knocks
• No Limits
• Holding Strong
• Tough Love
• Fighting Dirty
Shaking his head, Denver turned back to the bar—and almost bumped into Cherry Peyton. The time of the night and so much dancing had left her bouncy blond hair a little messy, her makeup a little smudged, her skin flushed and dewy.
She looked so damn hot, his guts tightened.
One hand on the stool next to him, she asked, “Mind if I join you?”
Struggling with himself, Denver hesitated too long, causing her to retrench.
“Unless you’d rather I didn’t?” Watching him with big dark eyes that now looked wounded, she let out a breath. “You’re probably hoping to hook up, right? Stack and Miles already did, so I didn’t want to get in their way.”
Yeah, until he’d gotten preoccupied with watching her, that had been the plan. A one-night stand with a nameless woman he’d never have to see again. Relieve some stress. Get his head together. Then walk away.
Man, had shit gone awry on that plan.
And again, he’d hesitated too long.
Twisting her mouth, she nodded. “Got it.” She tucked her hair behind her ear with trembling fingers. “Sorry I intruded. It won’t happen again.” Her cheeks were hot, her eyes glassy as she turned away.
“Hey.” Before she’d taken a full step, Denver gestured at the seat. “Suit yourself.”
Given the length of time it had taken him to issue the invite, she should have been insulted. He half expected her to tell him to go to hell.
Instead, after considering him for several heartbeats, she slid that shapely ass up next to him.
“You’re staying in the hotel across the street, too?”
Why did she ask about the hotel? Looking at her lips, he said, “Yeah.”
“So am I.”
Damn, he didn’t need to know that.
She blew a curl away from her face. “I’m glad I decided not to drive back tonight.” Releasing a deep breath, she closed her eyes. “I’m beat.”
Seeing Cherry rub her temples, he asked, “Headache?”
“It’s so loud in here.”
Frowning, Denver stroked back her soft hair and put his palm to her forehead. Damn it. “You’re hot.”
At first she froze, while the rise and fall of her breasts gave away her deeper breathing.
Because of a simple touch? How was he supposed to resist that? Slowly, he withdrew.
And she relaxed. “Thanks. I think you’re hot, too.” She smiled at her jest. “Too much dancing, I guess. It’s so noisy and warm and…I should probably turn in.”
Denver watched her slide back off that barstool without commenting, without an offer to walk her over, without…anything.
She hesitated, giving him plenty of opportunity, and he saw the moment she gave up—probably on more than tonight.
Maybe for good.
It’d be for the best, but damn, the idea bothered him.
After a soft sigh, she said, “Good night, Denver.”
He felt like a coward. “Cherry.” Reaching out, he caught her wrist.
She turned, her gaze searching his.
Her short, humorless laugh cut him. “Why?”
Without meaning to, he rubbed his thumb over her knuckles. Her hand was so small, delicate and soft.
There were a lot of rowdy guys hanging around, adrenaline pumping from the fights, either from watching or partaking, their discretion weakened by alcohol.
That excuse served as good as any.
“I’ll walk you over.”
“You really don’t need to do that. It’s just across the street.” She stared up at him. “Unless you want to.”
Yeah, he wanted that—and so much more. They both knew it. The only question now was whether or not they’d each follow through.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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