The ultimate battle is waged with one's heart.
Paranormal Deathmatch, Book 1
Extreme fighting champion Quinn Padgett once had it all. Fame, fortune, freedom. One fateful night it was all stripped away, and for two years the alpha male has endured a torturous life, doing the bidding of a madman in a different kind of ring. The Deathmatch, where the only rule is kill or be killed.
It's as primal as it gets, and Quinn must draw on all his werewolf instincts to survive. Especially with Carri. Her very presence brings him to his knees, demanding he do all to protect her.
Carri had no idea how close danger lurked until she witnessed her boyfriend's sick idea of "entertainment". Now all she wants is to get away from the bastards who are hell-bent on ridding the world of that which they do not understand. But her boyfriend's reach is long--and brutal. Quinn is her only hope. And the only man who awakens a fire within her, body and soul.
As Quinn and Carri go on the run in a fight for their lives, they find themselves engaged in an even deeper and more dangerous battle--a battle of the heart.
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April 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Going the Distance by Mandy M. Roth
"You staying late?" Crosby asked as he held his bag over one shoulder. He was going through a painful separation from his long-time girlfriend and spent as much time as he could lending a hand at the gym.
Quinn glanced at his cousin, not really understanding the whole long-term relationship thing. When he found a woman he liked, he fucked her. That was all there was to it. He didn't ask for more and he didn't want more. Crosby was altogether different. He wanted to settle down and have the American Dream. The idea made Quinn shudder. Who in the hell wanted a picket fence and two point two children? Not him. "Yeah."
"Want me to stick around? I could help you train?" The hopeful look in his cousin's eyes was enough to make Quinn smile. As the Extreme Fighting Champion, Quinn was considered the shit around the gyms. Crosby got a kick out of the fact he chose to train in a gym in the area, rather than a big fancy one. The guy didn't have room to talk. He still owned a rundown hotel in the neighborhood and also owned a big swanky one in the city.
"Nah, you go on home. I have it on good authority your mother made a big dinner and is expecting you." One untimed hit by Quinn and Crosby would be dead. Didn't matter that the guy also carried the blood of the wolf in him, that he was a wolf breed, and had the ability to shift forms like Quinn. He didn't have the strength and the years of experience behind him. He wasn't an alpha like Quinn. Not yet anyway. In a few years, maybe. For the time being, it would be too easy to accidently hurt him and that wasn't something Quinn wanted to do.
Crosby groaned, kicking a foot out a little. "She called here lookin' for me, didn't she?"
"Maybe," Quinn said with a slight smirk. "It's a good thing. Means she cares and worries about you." He refrained from commenting on how much he'd give to have his mother alive and worrying about him. He motioned to the back of the gym. "Hit the lights for me back there on your way out. I'm gonna stay here, do some reps and then shower."
"Sure thing, man." Crosby did as instructed and hurried off.
Quinn ran through two sets of free weights and then moved on to jumping rope. It helped his speed and agility, plus he tended to get lost in thought while doing it. A faint noise cut through the silence of the gym.
"What the hell?" Quinn stopped his training, set the jump rope aside and listened with his ultra-sensitive hearing. Assuming he'd imagined the sound, he moved to the next step in his nightly routine. He stood before the heavy bag, his hands bare and ready to strike. His knuckles were long since scarred over, no longer requiring tape or attention. He struck the bag and at the same moment, the noise returned.
His body cramped. Never had he responded to a sound in that way before. It was crippling, seeming to center in his groin. Catching his breath, his entire body strained as he listened for more. He heard it again and this time it was unmistakable.
A woman's screams.
Not just any woman. One who was able to call upon his primitive side. The wolf that was as much a part of him as the very air he breathed raised its hackles, wanting to be freed. It was a side of himself he wasn't embarrassed by, but one he didn't let out often. When he did, bad things happened. In human form, Quinn wasn't a man to be messed with. In wolf form, he was downright deadly.
He couldn't deny going towards the woman in need. Her draw was unlike anything he'd ever experienced before and resistance was futile. She needed help and he needed her. It was basic but true.
Quinn had friends who had suffered through something similar--the inability to reject a certain pull or call to a female. In the end, it was because they were a destined pair. Mates. If it held true, that meant his mate really did exist and that she was in dire need of him.
"It's my fucking imagination."
He rolled his shoulders, doing his utmost to disregard what seemed painfully obvious. The odds were too high. There was no way he had a mate and that she'd be close enough for him to hear. The woman screaming was probably someone fooling around, having a laugh. The theatre district wasn't far from the gym and more than once the actors had left the buildings late at night, carrying on so loudly one would think Armageddon was nearing. In the end, there was nothing really wrong with any of them. Didn't stop Quinn from being fooled into checking on them. Not this time. No. This time he'd ignore their ruckus. He was sick of falling for their crap.
He placed his attention upon the heavy bag, doing all he could to clear his head. The screams came again, taking with them his ability to turn a deaf ear. Something was wrong. The terror in the female's voice was too real, too full of emotion to be staged.
He snarled, the beast moving to the forefront and challenging him internally. It wanted him to respond to the cries, to save the woman, his mate.
"Stop thinking of mates." He grunted. "All that leads to is a heap of bullshit."
As was often the case, the wolf in him tended to see past the bullshit and cut right to the point. When all else failed him, his beast saw the world with a clear head and it said go to her.
Thrusting open the door of the gym, Quinn bolted, running full force in the direction of the disturbance. It was late and this section of the city wasn't one to frequent after-hours. Various gangs had laid claim to it some ten years prior but that hadn't prevented Quinn from training at the gym where he had started his career. A creature of habit, Quinn had always been one to follow through with the norm, to stay the course. The old neighborhood was no exception. It didn't matter how well he'd done for himself or how many vacation homes he owned. The old gym was a part of him.
The woman's scream echoed off the buildings around him, drowning out the sounds of the city at night. Gone were the sirens and the seemingly endless sound of traffic. Even the dogs that spent their nights barking, keeping up anyone unfortunate enough to reside in the area, were silent. All that remained was her plea for help.
Still caught off-guard by the intensity of his beast's reaction to the sound, Quinn stumbled before catching himself with one hand. His knuckles scraped the brick of the building nearest him. The flesh ripped and blood pooled.
Sweat beaded on his brow, dripping down his face. His temples throbbed as his pulse sped. Her feelings beset him.
So much fear. So much pain.
The agony felt as if it were his own. Lifting his head, his eyes, now an icy blue because of the wolf within him, he stared out into the night. He was closer to the woman who called to him from blocks away. The one whose very cry had ripped him from his training, hardened his muscles and prepared his beast to strike. The hairs on his body rose as his senses heightened. She needed him.
The city's current heat wave meant the breeze carried hot air with it. Humidity clung to the air as did her scent, reminding him that he had to find her. The option to refuse the call was no longer presented to him. It was internal and primitive. Something he could never turn down.
The call of my mate.