“The second I finished this book, I started from page one again, it was that good.” — Susan Stoker, New York Times bestselling author
Strong and Steady an all-new slow-burn standalone romance from USA Today bestselling author Vanessa Vale is available now!
They don’t call him The Outlaw for nothing.
Grayson Green’s nobody’s hero. He’s just a hard-working cowboy who’s taken his share of knockouts over the years. A man intent on keeping to himself and leaving his past behind. Then Emory walks into his life. She’s different. She has no idea who he is or what he’s done… and she wants him anyway. When someone from his past is prepared to take him down—and Emory along with him—he’ll have to prove he’s more than a cowboy.
Warning! This slow burn has a super protective, super hot alpha male who will stop at nothing to protect his girl.
This book was previously published as Fight For Her.
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“Want to give it a try?” he asked.
I frowned. “What, me? In there?” I pointed to the ring, the walls made of black chain link fencing. “That looks like something out of a Mad Max movie.”
He smiled. “Come on. I’ll show you what I do, but you have to promise not to hurt me.”
He sat down on a metal bench that was next to the ring, took off his hat and toed off his boots and socks. He was serious, so I slipped off my flip flops. Leading me up the steps to the elevated fighting ring, he let me step in the ring first. The floor was firm, but it had a little give. “I have no idea what to do.”
“Okay, so you want to stand like this and put your hands up in fists, here and here.”He stood beside me, and I copied his stance. “Good.”
He moved to face me, hands up like mine. “Punch me.”
My eyes widened, and I dropped my arms. “Are you serious? I can’t punch you,”I said, looking at the other men who were over by the locker rooms, taking off their gloves and squirting water in their mouths from their water bottles. “Besides, we aren’t even wearing gloves.”
“Think of something that makes you mad. Got it?”
The first thing that came to mind was Jack. My eyes narrowed. “Yeah, I got it. My ex.”
He offered a quick smile. “Good. Now pretend I’m him. Punch him. Left, right. Like you mean it.”
I lifted my arms back to the position he’d shown me, then thrust out with my left hand. Gray’s arm came up to block my strike. When I shifted my stance and punched with my right, I felt my feet come out from underneath me, and the next thing I knew, his hands were on me and I was on my back on the ring’s mat with Gray sideways on top of me. In the blink of an eye—and with a care I doubted he gave to his usual opponents—he’d swept me to the ring floor. Gray’s chest was pressed into mine, and his face loomed over me. I was breathing hard, perhaps from the surprise move, but most likely because I had him on top of me, his mouth only inches from mine. There was no question he could hurt me, no way I could defend myself from him. Sure, I hadn’t really tried to punch him all that hard or quickly, but still. A champion fighter, he was so far out of my league. I knew, though, if I pushed against him, he’d let me up. I wasn’t afraid of him. I was in awe. And in lust. If I was this turned on with all our clothes on and in front of other people, what would it be like with him naked? And alone?
I licked my lips. My heart raced, and surely he could feel it. I could feel every inch of him, see the whiskers on his jaw, the darkness of his eyes. “Now what do you do?” I whispered.
Gray’s gaze lowered to my mouth. “If you were my competition, I’d try to either choke you out or do an arm bar.”
I felt every hard muscle of his torso, even though he held himself off of me with his forearms. Regardless, I felt pinned and at his mercy. I did not mind in the slightest.
“Choking doesn’t sound like fun, and I have no idea what an arm bar is,”I replied, licking my lips.
“Neither are fun,” he said, his gaze dropping once again to my mouth. “As for you—”
His eyes lifted to mine, and I blushed. “—I take you to lunch.”
He levered off me, stood and held out his hand. I just laid there for a few seconds and looked up at him. I had been ready for him to kiss me, and I’d loved how he felt pressing me down. My body felt taunted and now neglected. Was he torturing me on purpose?
Vanessa Vale is the USA Today bestselling author of sexy romance novels, including her popular Bridgewater historical romance series and hot contemporary romances. With over one million books sold, Vanessa writes about unapologetic bad boys who don’t just fall in love, they fall hard. Her books are available worldwide in multiple languages in e-book, print, audio and even as an online game. When she’s not writing, Vanessa savors the insanity of raising two boys and figuring out how many meals she can make with a pressure cooker. While she’s not as skilled at social media as her kids, she loves to interact with readers.
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