#3.5 The Beat and The Pulse
Spike (#3.5 The Beat and The Pulse) by Amity Cross
Copyright © 2015 Amity Cross / Nicole R. Taylor
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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About the Author
Hang in there love,
You’ve gotta hold on and be strong enough to love.
I looked out over the empire that Ash had built and smiled.
Pulse Fitness was booming six months after its grand opening. The machines were almost full, the classes were selling out and there were plenty of people wanting to sign up for the full package. Personal training, nutrition and more. We’d had to bring on more staff to keep up with the demand.
My sexy as hell boyfriend, Ash Fuller, was at the helm of it all, pulling the strings like a puppet master. He was even training a couple of up and comers for their shot at the big time. Troublemakers who had talent but lacked the discipline to get themselves there. Ash had said they were just like him when he was their age, and I guess that’s why he took them under his wing. They were just like him when he was their age, Ash had said, and I guess that’s why he took them under his wing.
Ash had his fair share of naysayers in the beginning, but he’d proven them wrong time and time again.
I turned down a lucrative professional fighting deal to slum it at everyone’s favorite illegal cage fighting hot spot, The Underground. Ash had turned it down to build his fitness empire.
So far, the kingdom was looking pretty bloody great.
A pair of huge hands covered my eyes from behind, and a hard chest pressed against my back.
I smiled as I felt Ash move against me. “What’s with the blindfold, He-Man?”
“I am the master of your universe,” he shot back, biting my ear.
I grasped his wrists and tried to pull his hands away, but he was way too strong. “Seriously, what gives?”
“I’ve got a surprise for you upstairs.”
“Upstairs, huh?” He started to lead me across the gym, his back pressing against mine. Stumbling over his big feet, I said, “How about you cover my eyes when we get to the door.”
“I get to have your ass rubbing against my cock this way.”
“Filthy bastard,” I declared.
“You love it just as much as I do, Spitfire,” he replied, his voice low and husky. “Up.”
My foot hit the bottom step, and he lifted me gently, keeping one hand over my eyes. He was right about one thing, I did love the dirty talk just as much as he did. Ash Fuller had been dubbed a beast during his time at The Underground, and it extended outside of the cage and right into the bedroom. I wasn’t complaining at all if you know what I mean.
After what probably looked like a comedy routine to any bystanders, we made it to the top of the staircase in one piece and we moved down the hall.
“Have you finally finished the apartment?” I asked, still blinded by his hands.
When he first bought the derelict warehouse, Ash promised to build me a home in the space above the gym. I’d lived above my dad’s boxing studio, Beat, for a couple of years now, and I couldn’t imagine being away from a place that held everything I loved.
It wasn’t like that in the beginning though. Dad had stuck me in the storeroom like a dirty little secret, and I’d been ashamed over my living conditions for a long time. He didn’t want to introduce me to his family or take me in, so I’d been locked away in the cupboard like some kind of fucked-up Cinderella. Things had gotten better after Ash and I had found one another, but that was another long-winded story full of more drama than I could poke a stick at.
“Hold onto that thought, Spitfire,” he murmured.
Ash let one hand drop from my eyes as he unlocked the door to the apartment and pushed it open slightly. His hand returned to its position as my makeshift blindfold, and we were walking forward again.
“Let me see already!” I complained, too excited to put up with his theatrics a second longer.
Ash pressed his lips against the back of my neck, and for a moment, I thought he was just pulling me up here for a quickie, but then his hands dropped away, and all was revealed.
“What do you think?” he murmured, an unmistakable hint of nervousness in his voice.
I stood there, open-mouthed, taking in the apartment Ash had built for me.
The living area was open plan with a black and white kitchen dominating one end with a dining area to the right. In front of us was a large living room with all the essentials—a plush leather couch and armchairs, a dark cobalt blue rug, black coffee table and a wall-mounted television that must’ve been at least seventy inches. That was all great, but it was the little touches he’d put in that had me star-struck with him all over again.
There were shelves set into the wall with photos and ornaments, all of them fighting related. The frames held pictures from our recent holiday to Thailand, from candid snaps of us on the beach to full-on action replays of our time training at the boxing studio we’d been invited to.
It was simple and no fuss. Just how I liked to keep my life. I didn’t have any words, so I didn’t say anything.
“Fuck,” Ash spat, taking my silence to mean that I hated it.
“Calm the farm, Fuller,” I said, trying to hold back laughter.
“Then say something, Spitfire. You’re putting me on edge.”
“I haven’t seen the bedroom yet,” I said suggestively. “Or the bathroom.”
“Shower time with Ren Miller,” he said dreamily. He was totally taking the piss, but I loved him for it. He was much more chilled these days, and mostly I put it down to finally finding his calling in life. Coach Fuller had a nice ring to it.
Moving through the living room, I noticed a row of large photos on the wall. I went there first, stopping to study each one. There was one of my dad and I at one of my qualifying bouts when I was trying out for the AUFC. His arm was around my shoulders, his expression hard as he spoke into my ear, his free hand raised. My skin was glowing in the aftermath of the fight, my brow furrowed as I listened to what he was saying. It was a snapshot of something larger, a moment in the grand scheme. That had been a dark time for me. It was when Ash had left me high and dry, and I’d thought he’d murdered Hammer in my name, but Dad and that place had gotten me through.