Emily McCarthy is living in fear of a dark and dangerous past. A gifted mathematician, she is little more than a hollow, broken shell, trying desperately to make ends meet long enough to finish her degree. Through an unlikely friendship with the aging, cantankerous owner of an old boxing gym, Em is thrown into the path of the most dangerous man that she has ever met.
Cormac “the Hurricane” O’Connell is cut, tattooed and dangerous. He is a lethal weapon with no safety and everyone is waiting for the misfire. He’s never been knocked out before, but when he meet Em he falls, HARD. Unlike any other girl he’s ever met, she doesn’t want anything from him. Just being around her makes him want to be a better person. They are polar opposites who were never meant to find each other, but some things are just worth the fight.
I’d barely even made it through the door before Tommy was throwing his sweaty arm around me and trying his luck. I couldn’t help but laugh, but my laughter didn’t seem to put a dent in his ego.
“Tommy, get your arm off her right now, or I’m gonna break it in at least three places,” O’Connell shouted down from the ring, as Kieran helped him on with his gloves.
“Fuck off, O’Connell.” He smiled in good humour. “She’s totally into me.”
Tommy was clearly just yanking O’Connell’s chain, but both O’Connell and Kieran stopped, stock still, and turned to face Tommy. Suddenly, I wasn’t so sure he was joking when he’d threatened Tommy, and from the speed at which he moved his arm, neither was Tommy.
“Chill out, guys. I was only kidding.” He turned and gave me a quick peck on the cheek before legging it to the locker room.
I was still standing there like an idiot, when Kieran climbed out of the ring and walked over to me.
“Hello, darlin’. You’d best go and say hello to your man before he goes at it with Shane. He’s all fired up tonight, and he fights badly when he’s in a temper.”
“He’s not my man, Kieran,” I pointed out.
“Well, Em, someone best tell him that, and it ain’t gonna be me,” he said, as he ambled off to start with his own training.
I looked back at O’Connell shadow boxing in the ring, and I could see that Kieran was right. He was always full of energy, wired almost, which was weird to see in a guy his size. But tonight something was wrong. He seemed edgier and darker than usual, like he was boxing to kill, not hurt. I walked tentatively up the steps to the ring and rested my
arms on the top ropes. As soon as he saw me, he stopped and walked over. There was no easy grin tonight.
“Hey, sunshine,” he said, “you okay?”
“I’m fine thanks. How are you doing?”
“I’m better now that you’re here.” He hung his head as he banged his gloves together, and I had the strongest urge to run my hand through his hair, like you’d do to comfort a small child.
“You know a problem shared, is a problem halved,” I told him, hoping to lighten things up a little.
“Thanks.” He smiled sadly at me. “But sharing my crap just drags you into it. Tell me about your day; that will help.”
I hated that he was clearly upset. I wanted him to open up, but our friendship was still too new and fragile to push it too far, so I struggled to think back over my highly uneventful day.
“Nikki gave me a hard time for not jumping your bones, but I got an A on my spot test, so it wasn’t all bad.”
He wasn’t better, but I’d managed to get a smile out of him, at least.
“Well, I’m in Nikki’s camp there,” he spoke softly. “You heading off to the office to work?”
I nodded my head in agreement. He ran the back of his glove along my cheek gently.
“Okay, sunshine. I have to train late tonight, so Kieran’s gonna walk you home later, but I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”
He looked so sad, that the urge to kiss him, to comfort him, was overwhelming. But I didn’t. Because guys like him didn’t kiss girls like me. I just gave him a small nod and walked down the steps toward the office. Just as I reached the door, I stopped and turned. Only part of the ring was visible, but it was all I needed to see. He rolled his shoulders and looked up toward Shane. In that instant, all trace of sadness and vulnerability was gone, and in its place was pure, unadulterated rage. The bell rang out and O’Connell’s wrath was unleashed. He bounced up and down on the canvas like he had too much energy to keep contained, ducking and weaving as he did, with a stealth that belied his size. He eyed Shane like a predator sizing up his kill, and as Shane made the first lunge, O’Connell dodged left and slammed into his midsection, with a rib crushing right hook. I’d taken a few right hooks in my life, so by all accounts, this show of violence from O’Connell should be freaking me out. But I was so turned on I couldn’t see straight. My heart was beating so loudly that I couldn’t hear anything else. Everything just faded into white noise. Considering that they were supposed to be sparing, he wasn’t pulling any punches. The sweat beading around his forehead trickled down his cheek and splashed onto his chest, and damn if I didn’t want to follow its path with my tongue. I imagined the feel of those tight, sweaty abs beneath my fingertips and how the silk of his training shorts, encasing all that hard muscle would feel pressed up against me. There wasn’t a single part of my body that wasn’t totally aware of every single part of his, and the more he lost control of himself, the more I lost control with him. By the time he’d knocked Shane out with another killer right hook, I was a mess.
“For fuck’s sake O’Connell, you’re supposed to be fucking sparring, not knocking him into next week. I’ve warned you before. This has got to fucking stop.”
Danny was going ballistic, and O’Connell, still breathing hard, dropped his hands to his sides while he tried to control himself. I knew that I couldn’t be right in the head to be this turned on when he’d just knocked a man he called a friend into unconsciousness. I was breathing as hard as he was, as though my lust, like his temper, was something we could rein in. He turned and caught my eye, and he knew I’d seen the whole thing. His mask of indifference was replaced with a frown, and I guessed he was worried that he’d scared me with his performance. Before he decided to come over, I turned and shut myself in the office. I couldn’t deal with O’Connell when I was in this state. Christ, even being a foot taller than me, I’d have his back flat against the door the second we were in a confined space. What I needed right now, was to pull myself together.
About the author:
R.J. Prescott was born in Cardiff, South Wales and studied law at the University of Bristol, England. Four weeks before graduation she fell in love, and stayed. Ten years later she convinced her crazy, wonderful fire fighter husband to move back to Cardiff where they now live with their two equally crazy sons. Juggling work, writing and family doesn’t leave a lot of time, but curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a bar of chocolate for family movie night is definitely the best part of R.J. Prescott’s week. “The Hurricane” is her debut New Adult Novel.
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