Real, Book 2
The heart is a hollow muscle, and it will beat billions of times during our lives. About the size of a fist, it has four chambers: two atria and two ventricles. How this muscle can house something as encompassing as love is beyond me. Is this heart the one that loves? Or do you love with your soul, which is infinite? I don’t know. All I know is that I feel this love in every molecule in my body, every breath I take, all the infinity in my soul. I learned that you can’t run if you tear a ligament, but your heart can be broken into a million pieces, and you can still love with your whole being.
I’ve been broken and put together again.
I’ve been loved, and I have loved.
I’m in love, and I will be forever changed by this love, by this man. I used to dream of medals and championships, but now I dream solely of a blue-eyed fighter who one day changed my life, when he put his lips on mine…
Official Back Cover Copy
“I will do anything to make her MINE.” —Remington Tate
In the international bestseller Real, the unstoppable bad boy of the Underground fighting circuit finally met his match. Hired to keep him in prime condition, Brooke Dumas unleashed a primal desire in Remington “Remy” Tate as vital as the air he breathes…and now he can’t live without her.
Brooke never imagined she would end up with the man who is every woman’s dream, but not all dreams end happily ever after, and just when Remington needs her the most, Brooke makes a discovery that forces her away from the ringside. Now with distance and darkness between them, the only thing left is to fight for the love of the man she calls Mine.
Welcome Back, Riptide!
It’s been two months, exactly sixty-two days, since I returned to him. A thousand four hundred eighty-eight hours of wanting, longing, and needing him. It has been even longer than that since thousands of women, men, and fans across the world watched him fall.
This is it. The first fight of the new Underground season.
He’s been training like mad. He’s put on more muscle. He’s more ripped than ever, and I know this season he’s ready to take what’s his.
The audience in the Washington, D.C., fighting arena consists of about a thousand people, and when the winner of the current match is announced, the crowd grows restless.
We all know it’s his time to be called. His assistant, Pete, sits tense and alert to my right. He’d told me he’s the “draw”—that most everyone in the arena is here for him.
I know I certainly am.
The air is charged with excitement and scented with perfume, beer, and sweat. The two previous fighters are exiting the ring now, one of them assisted by his team, and my heart pounds as I sit motionless in my seat, in the first row, at the very center, just where my man wants me. So here I am, waiting, my body hyperaware and my heart pounding his name. Remington, Remington, Remington…
The speakers crackle as the announcer turns on the microphone, and I almost jump out of my skin.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we all remember our crushed souls—our crushed spirits!—when the crowd favorite lost the championship final last year.”
The crowd boos in memory, and my throat clogs thinking about how Remy’s broken body had been carried out of the ring.
“Have no fear, people. Have no fear!”
“REMY!!!!!!!!!” someone screams.
“Bring him out already!” another yells.
“Oh, we will. Have no doubt about it, we will,” the announcer somberly says, painfully drawing it out for the crowd. “After much speculation and many rumors, it’s completely official. The man is fighting this season, and he’s taking no prisoners, people! Here he is, ladies and gentlemen. Here. He. Is! You all know who I’m talking about?”
The crowd roars, “RIP-TIIIIIIIDE!”
“One more time, ’cause I can’t hear you!”
“That’s right, ladies and gentlemen! Here’s our favorite bad boy with that infamous smile and those deadly fists, ready to carve R.I.P. into anyone who stands in his way this year. The one, the only, Remingtoooon Tate, your RIPTIIIIIIIIIDE!!”
Wild excitement rushes through me as the crowd stands and roars like never before.
“My god, the fans are thirsty for him,” Pete breathes.
And so am I. My god. So am I.
Across the ring from me, women are waving panties in the air. Panties! Another lifts a sign that reads PULL ME UNDER, RIPTIDE!
My mouth is dry, and a thousand and one winged things flutter in my stomach when I see a flash of red.
And then, he’s closer.
Trotting out of the walkway and to the ring.
To his ring.
My body enlivens with sensations as he breaks through the crowd.
Some fans have escaped their seats and make a grab for him, but he easily shoves his way through the throng, his face shadowed by the hood of his red satin robe. Remy. My Remy. The man I love with every ounce of me.
“Riptide, you put the sex in SEXY!”
“Remy, I want you to fucking impregnate me!”
He climbs into the ring with a fluid jump, and then he removes his RIPTIDE robe, slowly, without a hurrying. Hundreds of female screams ring in my ears as he goes to his corner to hand the robe to Riley, his coach’s second.
Riley pats his muscled back with a smile and tells him something. Remington throws his head back as if he’s laughing and then takes the center of the ring, spreads his long, ripped arms out, and starts doing his slow and cocky I-know-you-all-want-to-fuck-me turn.
I will never, ever, get used to the sight of him in that ring. My heart whams excitedly into my rib cage while all my insides pulse with need, and my chest feels like a balloon about to burst in excitement. Hard, lean, and perfect, he is all dangerous, all beautiful, and all mine.
My eyes absorb every inch of what every other woman here is drooling for, and I helplessly let my gaze run up and down his perfect athletic form. My eyes lovingly caress his tan and kiss the inky Celtic bands over his biceps. I admire his torso and his long, strong legs, his sculptured arms, his narrow waist and broad shoulders. Every muscle in his perfect body is so defined that you would know exactly where one structure ends and the next begins if you trailed your fingers along his magnificent form.
And as he turns even more, I see the washboard abs with eight squares—eight! Yes, it is impossible, but he’s got them …and his face.
Oh god, I can’t even take it.
The scruffy jaw. The brilliant blue eyes. The sexy smirk. The dimples. He’s got a smile on his face, his expression, one that tells you he’s got a whole lot of trouble planned for the evening and you don’t want to miss it, is playful and boyish.
A collective gasp spreads out in the rows behind me as he moves to face us.
The butterflies in my stomach burst awake when those dancing blue eyes start scanning the crowd, silently laughing at all of us. He’s clearly amused by our obsession over everything Remington Tate!
Beside me, a middle-aged blonde with too much Botox jumps up and down and screams like a lunatic, “Remy! Give me a taste of that Riptide!”
The impulse to drag the woman down by her hair seizes me, but at the same time, I know you can’t look at him without dissolving into a pool of lust.
He is a stud. He was made to mate. To procreate.
And I want him like my next breath.
I want him more than any one of these screaming women wants him.
I want every fragmented part of him. I want his body. His mind. His heart. His beautiful soul.
He says he’s mine, but I know that there’s a part of Remington Tate nobody will ever have.
I am his, but he is untamable and unconquerable.
The only one who can defeat Remington Tate is himself.
He’s up there, ever elusive and mysterious, a black box of mystery without end. And I want to get lost in him, even if I never come out the same.
My nerve endings stir and tingle in excitement as his twinkling blue eyes glide down the length of my row, where he knows I will be. I swear every part of me quivers in anticipation, waiting for those eyes to find me.
He electrifies me. Invisible currents leap between us. His smile blazes through me, and suddenly, the inside of my chest, where my heart beats, feels like a burning torch he’s just lit.
His eyes hold me clasped in the loving heat of his, and I can see his quiet joy tonight, his possessiveness, the territorial stare that tells everyone in this room that I. Am. His.
Then he points at me.
My heart stops.
It seems that everyone’s eyes follow the finger pointing in my direction, aimed straight at my chest, where my heart races for him, his red-hot blue gaze clearly saying, “This one’s for her.”
A delighted roar from the crowd explodes around me. It hits me like adrenaline, like a shot of tequila that flies straight to your head, the way his fans love him. The way he loves them back. The way he loves me.
I’m amazed by the way the public reacts to him and by the way he stands there, with his dimples flashing, sucking in all the energy in the room and channeling it into “Riptide.”
God, I love him, and I never want him to forget it!
Overcome with the impulse, I blow him a kiss.
He catches it and smashes it to his mouth.
The crowd grows even louder. Remy points at me, laughing, and I’m laughing too. My eyes burn a little because I’m so happy that I just can’t fit inside my skin. I’m happy that he’s happy, and he’s where he belongs.
This is his season. This year, nothing will stop Remington Tate from being the Underground League champion.
It’s dark and I’m snuggled into something hard, my face buried in the nook of a warm, thick, delicious neck.
Moonlight steals through the hotel room window, and it feels like all those cool rays want to caress is the flesh of the large form besides mine. The perfectly muscular form I have been sleeping with for the past sixty-three days. My insides warm, and when I run my gaze down the length of his large, ripped body, I want to bury myself against him for the next decade until I don’t know where he begins…and I end. He. He who occupies my every thought, embodies my every desire. The man I live with, love with, laugh with, run with, train with.
He’s been called many things in twenty-six years, this man. Crazy. Dangerous. Hot. He’s been called sexy, bastard, asshole, beast, a combination of them all. Mercurial. Rogue. Rich. Cocky. But nobody had ever called him their love.
Until I did.
He lies naked in my bed, Remington Tate. “Riptide.” Two hundred plus pounds of pure lean muscle, manly tan, and raw animal appeal. His assistant, Pete, and his coach’s second, Riley, have been letting us sleep until ten on off season, but it still doesn’t seem like I can ever spend enough time with him.
The new Underground season begins tomorrow, and I will sorely miss having him all to myself. His training hours will hike up. His fights will be lined up to several a week. All this might not be a problem if he hadn’t completely spoiled me during the fall. Where there were no women screaming his name, begging him to fuck them. Where there was nothing but us. Me and my real.
I feel that ache inside me grow, coupled with those butterflies that appear every time I wake up next to him.
“Remington,” I whisper, running my hand up the muscled curve of his back. He’s prostate face down, one arm slung around my waist, heavy like lead, the other over his pillow, where his face is buried. I lift the arm around me and bring his fingers to my lips. “Remy,” I try again in a whisper, kissing his recently bruised knuckles.
His breathing is slow and even, and he doesn’t stir. The clock keeps advancing on the nightstand, every minute approaching the time Riley will knock on our door. Restless, I tug the sheet down his narrow hips, down his perfect buttocks, and toss it to his ankles by the end of the bed.
His breathing halts, then he shifts his head sideways with a grunt as he palpates my body and grabs my hipbone to drag me closer.
“Come here,” he murmurs, pulling me into him. He spoons me, engulfing me in his arms as he starts to nuzzle my neck. His teeth catch a piece of my skin and his tongue steals out to taste me. Need rushes through me, and I close my eyes, absorbing the feel of his arms around me, his lips nibbling me.
He’s so big, he makes me feel small and precious.
I love that he’s always up for sex. Sometimes even more than I can handle, and I end up hearing him taking a shower in the middle of the night. But he loves it when I’m this wet and eager, so I take his hand and slide it down my abdomen. He instantly delves his finger at the apex of my thighs—and then into me. His groan, thick with approval and lust and warm against the back of my ear, races through me.
His thumb makes a pass over my clit at the same time he moves his long finger in the way that makes me catch my breath in red-hot pleasure. He grazes his teeth along the shell of my ear, lightly biting as he tenderly murmurs, “You’re so ready.”
I toss my head back against his shoulder with a moan, twisting in search of his mouth. “Remington…”
“Turn around to me,” he says, his voice rumbling from deep in his chest.
I turn in his arms, and our eyes meet in the shadows. Love races through me at the sight of his drop-dead gorgeous face and the soft, tender smile he wears. His eyes, those electric blue eyes that make me breathless, are full of heat as he slips his finger back inside me and watches. His gaze is so liquid, it melts me even farther.
Twining my arms around his neck, I rock my hips to his touch, opening my lips under his delicious mouth. I need him so much. I need him to make love to me before we need to leave this bed and I have to spend ten hours of the day wanting him. I’ve been back for two months, and I still can’t get enough. I crave him like air, water.
His thumb enters me. I gasp and bite his shoulder, my sex clenching desperately around him.
Sensing my urgency, or maybe seeing I couldn’t possibly get any wetter, he rolls me under him and curls my leg around his hips, then he enters me. I gasp and claw my nails down his chest, shattered with sensations. “Ohhh,” I moan.
His eyes glow on my face. We say nothing else, but quiet grunts and moans in the dark, the mattress squeaking with his rocking motions. I’m so soaked I hear the slippery sound of him moving in me, big and hard and so penetrating, I feel him up to my heart.
He kisses my mouth, gently but fiercely, then he ducks to suck my breast, grabbing it up higher to his mouth, taking possession of it like it belongs to him. Licking, nipping, sucking, kissing. He whispers against my nipple, beautiful…perfect…mine…, and I burst open in an explosion of colors, hearing my name in a deep moan against my flesh as he comes.
When I fall limp under him, he props up on his elbows to spare me his weight, our chests heaving in rhythm. His eyes are dark and liquid in the moonlight, and as he brushes my hair back, my chest floods with heat again.
I swear that I will never, ever, get used to the way he looks at me. He adores me with those blue eyes, up close and from afar.
I stare back at his beautiful face, his perfect jaw, the perfect curve of his smiling lips, smiling a dopey smile back at him. It’s not about sex with him. It’s about that other emotion I’m feeling for the first time in my life—and so is he.
I cup his jaw, run my fingers through his hair.
Tilting his head, he lands a dry kiss at the center of my palm, then buries his face in my neck and inhales contentedly. Easing his weight back down on me, his arms slide under my body, around my waist, and he shifts me so he doesn’t crush me, both of us struggling to calm down our breathing so we can sleep.
I wrap my arms around his waist and tuck my face into his neck, sighing.
I miss home sometimes. My family. I miss my best friend Melanie. But it will never compare to the way I missed him when I left. I can’t imagine ever leaving again.
Tomorrow I need to share him with the world, but right now, he’s mine, and as we drift off to sleep, he adjusts me against his body …letting me know I’m his.
“Iris” by Goo Goo Dolls
“Dark Side” by Kelly Clarkson
“I Choose You” by Sara Bareilles
“First Time” by Lifehouse
“Stay With You” by Goo Goo Dolls
“Beneath Your Beautiful” by Labrinth and Emile Sandé
“Breathless” by the Corrs
“According to You” by Orianthi
“Here Without You” by 3 Doors Down
“When You’re Gone” by Avril Lavigne
“Far Away” by Nickelback
“Hold Me Now” by Red
“Uprising” by Muse
“Demons” by Imagine Dragons
“Kiss Me” by Ed Sheeran
“From This Moment On by Shania Twain and Bryan White