Real, Book 1
HOT. SEXY. POWERFUL. PAINFUL. REAL. The scorching international bestseller that strips away everything you’ve ever believed about passion…
Remington Tate has a bad-boy rep in and out of the ring, a granite-hard body, and a raw, animal power that sends his female fans into a frenzy. But from the moment their eyes lock, the only woman he wants is Brooke Dumas. His desire is pure, all-consuming, and REAL.
Hired to keep his perfect body working like a machine, Brooke finally has the lucrative sports therapy job she’s been dreaming of. But as she tours the dangerous underground fighting circuit with Remy and his team, Brooke’s own body becomes alive with the most primal of hungers. If what happens between Brooke and Remy is ever as light as a flirtation, it quickly becomes an erotic obsession for them both, and promises so much more.
But their white-hot lust has a dark side—and when Remy’s deepest secret comes to light and Brooke’s familial duties demand action, will the pair be able to hang on, or will everything that once seemed so real suddenly fade away like an illusion?
Chapter One: “I’M REMINGTON”
Melanie has been shouting in my ear for the past half hour and my nerves are so frazzled by what we’re witnessing, I can barely even hear anything. Only my heart. Beating like crazy in my head as the two fighters in the underground boxing ring lunge at each other, both men equal in height and weight, both extremely muscled as they pound each other’s faces in.
Every time one of them lands a punch, cheers and claps burst across the room, which is crowded with at least three hundred spectators, all of them thirsting for blood. The worst part of it all is that I can hear the god-awful sound of bone cracking against flesh, and the hairs on my arms are pricked in utter fear. Any minute now I expect one of them to fall and never, ever, get up again.
“Brooke!” Melanie, my best friend, squeals and hugs me. “You look ready to puke, you are so not cut out for this!”
I’m seriously going to kill her.
As soon as I take my eyes off these men and make sure they’re both breathing when they finish this round, I’m going to murder my best friend without mercy. And then myself for agreeing to come here in the first place.
But my poor, dear Melanie has a new man-crush, and as soon as she found out the object of her nightly fantasies was in the city participating in these “private” and very “dangerous” underground club fighting games, she begged me to come with her and watch him. It’s just hard to say no to Melanie. She’s effusive and insistent, and now she’s jumping in glee.
“He’s next,” she hisses, uncaring of who won this last round, or if they even survived. Which apparently, thank god, they both did. “Get ready for some serious piece of eye candy, Brookey!”
The public falls silent, and the announcer calls, “Ladies and gentlemen, and noooww … the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the man you’re all here to see. The baddest of the bad, I give you, the one, the only, Remington ‘Riptide’ Tate!”
A shiver runs along my spine as the crowd goes crazy over the name alone, especially the women, and their eager shouts tumble one atop the other.
“Remy! I love you, Remy!”
“I’ll suck your cock for you, Remy!”
“REMY, POUND ME, REMY!”
“Remington I want your Riptide!”
All heads turn as a figure in a hooded red cape trots toward the ring. The fighters tonight apparently don’t wear boxing gloves, and I see his fingers flex and fist at his sides, his hands enormous and tanned, his fingers long.
Across the ring from me, a woman waves a poster reading “REMY’S #1 BITCH” proudly in the air, and she’s screaming at the top of her lungs in his direction—I guess in case he doesn’t know how to read or misses the neon pink letters or the glitter.
I’m so astounded, only now realizing my crazy best friend isn’t the only female in Seattle who’s apparently lost her head for this guy, when I feel her squeezing my arm. “I dare you to look at him and tell me you wouldn’t do anything for that man.”
“I wouldn’t do anything for that man,” I instantly repeat, just to win.
“You’re not looking!” she squeals. “Look at him. Look.”
She grabs my face and swings my gaze in the direction of the ring, but I start laughing instead. Melanie loves men. Loves to sleep with them, stalk them, drool about them, and yet when she catches them, she can never really hold onto them. I, on the other hand, am not interested in getting involved with anyone.
Not when my romantic little sister, Nora, has had enough boyfriends, and drama, for both of us.
I stare up at the stage as the guy whips off the satin red robe with the word RIPTIDE on the back, and the spectators stand screaming and cheering as he slowly turns to acknowledge them all. His face is suddenly before me, illuminated by the lights, and I just stare like an idiot from my place. My god.
Dark scruffy jaw.
Boyish smile. Man’s body.
A shiver shoots down my spine as I helplessly drink in the entire package everyone else seems to be gaping at.
He has black hair, standing up sexily as if women have just had their fingers there. Cheekbones as strong as his jaw and forehead. Lips that are red-kissed and swollen, and as a souvenir from his walk to the ring, there’s lipstick on his jaw. I look down his long, lean body and something hot and wild settles in my core.
He’s mesmerizingly perfect and incredibly hard. Everything, from his beautifully slim hips and narrow waist to his broad shoulders, is solid. And that six-pack. No. It’s an eight-pack. The sexy V of his obliques dips into his satin, navy blue shorts, which gently hug his powerful legs, thick with muscle. I can see his quads, traps, pecs, and biceps, all gloriously tight and cut. Celtic tattoos circle both of his arms, exactly where his bulging biceps and the rigid square deltoids of his shoulders meet.
“Remy! Remy!” Mel shouts hysterically at my side, hands cupped to her mouth. “You’re so fucking hot, Remy!”
His head angles to the sound, one dimple showing with a sexy smile as he faces us. A frisson of nervous energy passes through me, not because he’s extremely gorgeous from this perfect view—because he is, he definitely is, goodness, he really is—but mostly because he’s looking straight at me.
One eyebrow cocks, and there’s a glimmer of amusement in his entrancing blue eyes. Also something … warm in his gaze. Like he thinks I’m the one who shouted. Oh, shit.
He winks at me, and I’m stunned as his smile slowly fades, morphing into one that’s unbearably intimate.
My blood simmers.
My sex clenches tight, and I hate that he seems to know it.
I can see he thinks he’s the ultimate creation, and he seems to believe every woman here is his Eve, created from his ribcage for him to enjoy. I’m both aroused and infuriated, and this is the most confusing feeling I’ve ever felt in my life.
His lips curl, and he turns when his opponent is announced with the words, “Kirk Dirkwood, The Hammer, here for all of you tonight!”
“You little slut, Mel!” I cry when I recover, shoving her playfully. “Why did you have to scream like that? He thinks I’m the nutcase now.”
“Omigod! He did not just wink at you,” Melanie says, visibly stunned.
Oh my god, he had. Hadn’t he? He did.
I’m just as astounded as I relive the wink in my head, and I’m totally going to torture Melanie because she deserves it, the little tramp.
“He did,” I finally admit, scowling at her. “We telepathically communicated, and he says he wants to take me home to be the mother of his sexy babies.”
“Like you would have sex with someone like him. You and your OCD!” she says, laughing her head off as Remington’s opponent takes off his robe. The man is all beefy muscle, but not an ounce of him can visually compete with the pure male deliciousness of that “Riptide.”
Remington flexes his arms at his sides, stretches his fingers out and forms fists, then bounces on his calves. He’s a large, muscular man but surprisingly light on his feet, which I know—because I used to compete in track—means he’s incredibly strong to be able to keep his body aloft in the air with such a minor tap of his feet.
Hammer throws the first punch. Remington evades it with a smart duck, and he comes back up with a full swing that connects and knocks Hammer’s face to the side. I inwardly flinch at the power in his punch; my body clenches at the sight of his muscles contracting and tensing, working and releasing, with each punch he delivers.
The crowd watches, enraptured, as the fight continues, those awful cracking sounds filling me with goose bumps. But there’s something else bothering me. The fact that beads of perspiration pop on my brow, in my cleavage. As the fight progresses, my nipples strain, even more puckered and tighter, against my top, pushing anxiously against the silk of the fabric. Somehow watching Remington Tate pound a man they call “Hammer” makes me squirm in my skirt in a way I don’t like, much less ever expected.
The way he swings, moves, growls…
Suddenly, a chorus begins, “REMY … REMY … REMY.”
I turn and see Melanie jumping up and down and saying “Omigod, hit him, Remy! Just knock him dead, you sexy beast!” She screams when his opponent falls to the ground with a loud thump. My panties are soaked, and my pulse has gone haywire. I’ve never condoned violence. This isn’t me, and I blink in stupefaction at the sensations whipping through my system. Lust, pure, white-hot lust, flutters through my nerve endings.
The ringmaster lifts Remington’s arm in victory, and as soon as he straightens from the knockout blow he just delivered, his gaze swings in my direction and crashes into me. Piercing blue eyes meet mine, and something knots and pulls inside my tummy. His sweaty chest rises and falls in a deep pant, and a drop of blood rests at the corner of his lips. Through it all, his eyes are glued to me.
Heat spreads under my skin, and the flames lick me all over. I will never admit this to Melanie, not even to myself out loud, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a hot man in my life. The way he stares at me is hot. The way he stands there, with his hand held in the air, his muscles dripping sweat, with that air of authority Mel told me about in the cab.
There’s no apology in his stare. In the way he ignores everyone that shouts his name and stares at me with a look that’s so sexual I almost feel taken right here. An awful awareness of the exact way I look to him sweeps over me.
My long, straight hair, the color of mahogany, falls to my shoulders. My button-up white shirt is sleeveless, but it goes up my throat in a lacy mock-neck, and the hem is tucked nicely into a pair of high-waisted, but perfectly presentable, black pants. A small set of gold hoop earrings nicely complement my honeyed whiskey eyes. Despite my conservative choice of clothes, I feel completely naked.
My legs wobble, and I’m left with the distinct impression this man wants to pound me next. With his cock. Please, god, I did not just think that; Melanie would. Another tightening in my womb distresses me.
“REMY! REMY! REMY! REMY!” people chant, growing in intensity.
“You want more Remy?” the man with the microphone asks the crowd, and the noise builds around us. “All right then, people! Let’s bring out a worthier opponent for Remington Riptide Tate tonight!”
Another man steps into the ring, and I can’t bear it anymore. My system is on overload. This is probably why it’s not a good idea to forego sex for so many years. I’m so worked up that I can barely talk right or even make my legs move as I turn to tell Mel I’m going to the restroom.
A voice blares loudly through the speakers as I charge down the wide path between the stands. “And now, to challenge our reigning champion, ladies and gentlemen, is Parker the ‘Terror’ Drake!”
The crowd comes alive, and suddenly, I hear an unmistakably hard slam.
Resisting the urge to look back at what’s causing the commotion, I round the corner and head straight for the bathroom hall as the speakers flare up again. “Holy cow, that was fast! We have a KO! Yes, ladies and gentlemen! A KO! And in record time, our victor once again, I give you, Riptide! Riptide, who’s now jumping off the ring and—where the hell are you going?”
The crowd goes crazy, calling all the way to the lobby, “Riptide! Riptide!” and then they fall completely quiet, as though something unscripted has just happened.
I wonder about the eerie silence when pounding footsteps echo at my back. A warm hand engulfs mine, and the touch frissons through me as I’m spun around with surprising force.
“What the…” I gasp in confusion, and then stare into a sweaty male chest, and up into glowing blue eyes. My senses reel out of control. He’s so close the scent of him tears through me like a shot of adrenaline.
“Your name,” he growls, panting, his eyes wild on mine.
“Brooke what?” he snaps out, his nostrils flaring.
His animal magnetism is so powerful I think he just took my voice. He’s in my personal space, all over it, absorbing it, absorbing me, taking my oxygen, and I can’t understand the way my heart is beating, the way I stand here, shivering with heat, my entire body focused on the exact spot his hand is wrapped around me.
With trembling efforts, I pry my hand free and glance frightfully at Mel, who comes behind him, wide-eyed. “It’s Brooke Dumas,” she says, and then she happily shoots out my cell phone number. To my chagrin.
His lips curl and he meets my gaze. “Brooke Dumas.” He just fucked my name right in front of me. And right in front of Mel.
And as I feel his tongue twist roughly around those two words, his voice sinfully dark, like things you crave to eat but really shouldn’t, desire swells between my legs. His eyes are hot and almost proprietary when he looks at me. I’ve never been stared at like this before.
He steps forward, and his damp hand slides into the nape of my neck. My pulse skitters as he lowers his dark head to set a small, dry kiss on my lips. It feels like he’s marking me. Like he’s preparing me for something monumental. That could both change and ruin my life.
“Brooke,” he growls softly, meaningfully, against my lips, as he draws back with a smile. “I’m Remington.”
He comes into the room carried on the shoulders of four guys. My heart stutters. He’s got this big smile on his face, cocky Remy to the tenth power, high on his wins, and the women scream, high on him. “Remy! Remyyyy!”
“That’s right, who’s the man?” he shouts, and pounds his fists on his chest. I laugh, completely sucked in, mesmerized and enchanted by him. The aura he emanates makes him blaze like a sun tonight. If right now he says he can fly, I think we’d all believe him. Everyone present seems magnetized by him, helplessly gravitating to where he is. He spots me, and his smile softens and his eyes alight with a strange, hungry, and somehow glowing look. “Brooke.”
He hops down to his feet and beckons me forward, and the crowd parts to let me pass. He smiles at me, and his dancing blue eyes hold mine as he slowly walks forward and meets me halfway. He lifts me in his powerful arms and swings me around, and then he kisses me.
The instant he takes my lips, fireworks shoot off in my body.
All the pent-up desire of days and weeks adds up to this one moment when everything that I am, and everything that I want, is narrowed down to this. To me, pulling Remington Tate’s dark head closer to mine as I open my mouth and let him give me anything and everything he wants to.
His kiss spins my stomach into a wild swirl. He holds me tightly by the hips and deftly moves his lips as he rubs his tongue to mine. A rumble vibrates deep in his core as he gathers me closer and forces me to feel his erection, all while he angles his head and fucks my mouth like there’s no tomorrow.
People whoot loudly nearby, and when they tell him to “Go fuck that pussy!” Remy tears free. He breathes harshly through his nose as he drags his mouth to my ear, where he whispers, hot and gruff, “You’re mine tonight.”
A fevered moan escapes me. He cups my face in those big hands that make me feel fragile and tiny, and he hungrily recaptures my mouth. He takes it slowly this time, as if I’m precious and valuable. “Tonight you’re mine.”
He looks into my face again, his eyes seething with desire. I think I just nodded in agreement, but I’m too shaky to know for sure. A sweltering fever runs unleashed through me. My legs won’t stop trembling as every one of my cells scream in lust because I want him now. I want him now.
“Remy, I want you, take me!” a woman shouts, but he ignores her, ignores everything. But me.
His eyes dark and intent, he scrapes the sides of my face with the pads of his big, callused thumbs, then spreads his fingers wide over my scalp as he kisses me again, our mouths hot and wet as they blend, thirsty and anxious. I grip the soft gray of the t-shirt he wears in my fists, dying with sensations. I don’t even care who’s watching, am oblivious to the crude things they’re whistling. I hadn’t realized how much I want this, need this, until these shivers ripple through me and I’m in a flux under his insistent sexy mouth, the look in his eyes that makes me feel like I’m the only woman alive to him.
“Take her to your room, Tate!” someone yells. But he seems engrossed only in me, and me in him.
Holding me protectively in his strong arms, he brushes my hair back as his lips buzz along the bare curve between my neck and collar, his fingers sliding up my neck as he once again, like a chant, nuzzles my ear and tells me, “Mine. Tonight.”
“So are you.” I cup his jaw and search his darkened gaze when, suddenly, he’s plucked by four men who swiftly swing him up in the air once more.
“Remy, Remy…” they chant, bouncing him in unison. Laughter fills me, and bubbles of happiness pop inside my chest. I’m happy for me. For him. For this night.
Nearby, Pete and Riley watch the scene with faces so bleak and pinched, it feels like they’re burying a cadaver tonight.
“Have fun, guys!” I say laughingly as I approach. Very possibly both my grandfathers party better than these two. But they just shake their heads and keep looking positively glum.
“He’s getting speedy,” Pete mutters, mostly to Riley.
“I know, man. Shit.”
Exactly 1 year ago I clicked “Publish” on Real. And wow, if you’d all seen me that day. I was biting my nails, pacing back and forth, checking my emails, wondering if you guys would read it, feel it, love it like I do? Truly, I could never in my life have imagined how many of you would!
Thank you all SO SO MUCH for an amazing, very REAL and yet very incredible year!!!
And with much gratitude as well as to celebrate today, Gallery Books has made REAL’s extended ending (the full extra chapter from the limited print Target edition) available online to read! Click HERE TO READ NOW and thank you, once again, to each and every one of you for your amazing support for these characters and this series. ♥
P.S. The extended ending begins from the moment in that last REAL scene where Remy tells Brooke “You don’t sing for shit, baby….”
(Katy in April 2014)
These are some of the songs I listened to while writing Real. The first two are so meaningful, you might enjoy listening to these particluar two songs while Brooke and Remington do. 🙂
“Iris” by Goo Goo Dolls
“I Love You” by Avril Lavigne
“That’s When I Knew” by Alicia Keys
“Love Bites” by Def Leppard
“High On You” by Survivor
“Love Song” by Sara Bareilles
“In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel
“Kiss Me” by Ed Sheeran
“Come Away with Me” by Norah Jones
“All I Wanna Do is Make Love to You” by Heart
“Any Way You Want It” by Journey
“Pull Me Down” by Mikky Ekko
“Love You Like a Love Song” by Selena Gomez
“My Life Would Suck Without You” by Kelly Clarkson
“Flaws and All” by Beyoncé
“The Fighter” by Gym Class Heroes