Benjamin Douglas or Sir Casanova had a reputation to live up to, known for tossing roses to beautiful women in the audience and stealing a smooch or two on the way in or out of the ring, well its all part of the act. Many believe the hype of his philandering when he’s away from his 10 y/o daughter, including his next door neighbor Serena Jameson.
Serena Jameson has had a crush on the single dad since she saw him tumbling with his daughter in the backyard, but she knows his altar ego is a playboy, yet her heart tells her it’s all an act. After he treats his daughter like the treasure she is, still Serena can’t get past the womanizing image. Yet she gives him a chance.
When an unexpected visitor emerges from Ben’s past the challenges faced will put their relationship to the test. Will the couple have a chance to endure to the last bell or will one tap out before the match has even begun?
His lips moved on hers, cool and firm, kindling desire that spurted, then roared to life. Serena wanted to push the man away at so blatant a kiss, but he held her close, feasting on her mouth as if it were a ripe, lush berry and he was savoring every drop of sweet nectar.
The shouts and cheers of the crowd faded as his arms cinched tighter around her waist and he hauled her against the hard planes of his body. She curled her fingers in the smoothness of his satin robe.
Desire danced through her veins, puckering her nipples and dampening her panties. He shouldn’t evoke this type of response. His kisses were part of his act, but he’d never singled her out of the crowd and made her part of his world. She couldn’t ignore the tingle of excitement coursing through her. There was one more thing she couldn’t ignore: kissing women was part of Sir Casanova’s act.
“I’ll find you after the show,” he murmured against her lips. He stepped away, but not before he tucked a white rose in her hair.
Serena stared after him, oblivious to the crowd screaming and chanting his name. Sir Casanova, or Ben, as she knew him, swaggered around the ring, tossing red roses indiscriminately to random women before he leapt onto the blue mat and ducked between the second and third ropes of the ring.
When she was nudged, she glanced down and to her left. A little girl around nine or ten with a mop of unruly, sand-colored hair stared up at her with a dimpled grin in her little apple cheeks. A smattering of freckles dotted those same cheeks, giving the child a cute and irresistible air.
Serena returned the smile with fondness. “Yes, sweetheart?”
“My daddy likes you,” the child said.
Heat cruised Serena’s cheeks and she pressed her hands to her flaming face. “It’s all an act, Becca. He just does it to amuse the crowd.”
Becca tilted her head to the side, an amber ringlet sliding over one eye. “Well, he gave you a white flower.”
Serena stared at the child a moment. Obviously this was a big deal, so she decided to humor the little girl. Serena surveyed the arena. The wooden bleachers were packed with fans, and almost all the folding chairs placed around three sides of the ring were filled. Sir Casanova was being patted down by a thin man in a black and white striped shirt and black slacks for illegal weapons, before Casanova sauntered to one corner, hopped on the top rope, perched his elbows on it to one side of the turnbuckle, then balanced with his feet up on the other side, making it seem like he was just lounging on the ropes.
“What’s so important about the white rose?”
“He likes you,” Becca said.
Several red flowers dotted the crowd, but no one else had a white flower. Could just be a coincidence. She scanned the people again. There. At the top. Another woman clutched a white flower in her hands so hard her knuckles were pale, even at this distance.
A wave of disappointment rippled through her. That Serena even entertained the notion she was special surprised her. Sir Casanova had a certain reputation to maintain, but getting past the hype was a little difficult, especially when he went around kissing random women.
She glanced at the youth at her side. Becca was focused on the ring, where a much larger wrestler sneered at the crowd and his opponent in general. He had to be well over six feet, with a barrel chest covered in a medium coating of hair. When he turned the crowd began chanting.
“Shave your back. Shave your back.”
Serena smothered a giggle. One of the other wrestlers started that taunt a few months back and apparently some of the more die-hard fans had not forgotten.
“Is he really going to take the challenge?” Becca whispered, eyes wide.
“What challenge, honey?”
“The Bear Hug Challenge. My dad’s never done one before and, well, Grizzly wrestles big black bears up north in the forests somewhere. I don’t want him to hurt my dad.”
Serena bit the inside of her cheek to keep from smiling. She knew most of the moves and holds didn’t hurt, but accidents did happen. “Did your dad talk to you before the match?”
A quick nod set the riot of sandy curls into motion.
“Then you know Grizzly won’t really try to hurt your dad.”
Becca’s shoulders met her ears, then sagged as she blew out a breath. “Okay. Just checking. I worry about him.”
She squeezed the girl’s shoulder. “I understand.”
The two men circled one another before grappling, ending in a collar and elbow tie up, one hand on the back of the neck while the other gripped the elbow. Casanova wiggled free and twisted Grizzly’s arm behind his back, then ran him into one corner of the ring. Once there he hopped on the second rope, still holding the man’s arm, viciously twisting until Grizzly howled.
Grizzly cocked back his free arm, curled one big hand into a fist, and caught the smaller man across the chin. Casanova doubled over. With one hand the large man grabbed Casanova by the throat and tossed him into the center of the ring. The loud smack echoed off the rafters as Casanova bounced once, then twice before settling on the blue mat.
Grizzly snagged a handful of the man’s toffee-colored hair and dragged him to his knees, then wrapped his arms around Casanova’s chest in the wrestler’s signature move, the bear hug.
Serena covered her eyes and heard a giggle from her left. She didn’t care if Becca was laughing at her. She always found it difficult to watch Sir Casanova being tortured in the ring.
A loud slap of flesh on flesh grabbed her attention and forced it back to the ring. Casanova was in the corner and Grizzly delivered several open hand blows across the other man’s chest.
And it was such a nice chest, too. Red marks crisscrossed Casanova’s well-toned pectorals, making the sparse brown hair on his chest more prominent, and Serena followed the trail down to his flat abs and narrow waist.
Where Grizzly had chosen to wear spandex pants, Casanova wore royal blue shorts which molded to the solid muscles in his thighs and buttocks. What she wouldn’t give to grab a handful of that firm behind.
Serena pressed her finger to her lips, remembering the heat of his kiss, and desire surged anew. She glanced from the ring to the little girl at her side. For the first time since she met Becca and her father, Serena was no longer certain of the role she played in their lives.