CROW (Boston Underworld Book 1)

By: A. Zavarelli

After an imperceptible nod from Lachlan, Johnny shrugs and winks at me. “She’s earned her way in, Donny. She’s up for it.”

Sensing his skittishness, I turn my attention back to my opponent and crack my neck, hitting my wrapped hands together.

“What’s the matter princess, scared of a little girl?”

His jaw is popping now, his biceps flexing as tension seeps through his body. Boxing is considered a gentleman’s sport. Toss a woman into the mix and they have no fucking clue how to handle it. Lucky for me, this isn’t boxing.

Though I was trained as a boxer first and foremost, I wanted to be more. I wanted to be able to defend myself in any circumstances.

Many people think of MMA as a bunch of caveman crap, but I recognize it for the art it is. It isn’t just about brute strength. It’s about stamina, control, coordination, and learning to trust your instincts. To move fluidly and confidently. Never doubting yourself or letting your opponent see weakness. In my case, looks can be deceiving, and people have always underestimated me because of it.

“Are you sure about this, babe?” Donovan asks arrogantly. “I won’t hold back.”

“Yeah, yeah.” I roll my eyes. “You’re so big and tough and strong.”

Sick of the back and forth, I walk straight up to him and wait for Johnny to give the signal. He throws down the gauntlet, and I slug Donovan hard and fast with a right hook before bouncing back on my feet. When his head snaps back around, he’s stunned as hell, and the crowd is laughing their asses off.

“Come on,” I bite out. “Cut the bullshit. Let’s give these people what they came for.”

“You’re going to regret that kid,” he snarls under his breath.

I flash him a sweet smile and shift my weight to tighten my stance. Knees bent, elbows tucked and prepared to strike. Two shoulder rolls and a deep breath.

Johnny’s word is law in this joint, and he’s already started the match. There are no set rounds. We go until someone knocks out or taps out. The only rule? No hitting near the junk. Bunch of pussy ass men.

Without any more hesitation, Donovan comes straight at me and throws a quick combo of jabs and crosses. I block and dodge every one of them, which only pisses him off more.

This was one of the first things I learned. Footwork needs to come first, and the rest will follow. In order to be a good fighter, one must be centered and poised. Donovan’s footwork is sloppy. He relies on his fists too much to guide his movements whereas I use my whole body.

That isn’t going to save me though. He has a fight advantage, but they all do. I have the advantage of thinking with my brain and not a cock. Already it’s obvious that my shorts and sports bra are distracting him. Regardless of the fact that I just punched him in the face, he still sees me as a pair of tits and an ass. Go figure.

I use the opportunity to nail him with a left hook and a right low kick. A wheeze escapes his lungs when my heel connects with his shin, and his face contorts into a murderous rage. The crowd roars around us, shouting and cheering us on. Amongst the din, I can make out Scarlett yelling right along.

“Straight from the chin,” she yells out as I take aim. “You’ve got this Mack!”

So much for keeping a low profile. I block her out and focus on the task at hand. I’m not evenly matched in size and won’t have many opportunities to knock Donovan out. My best work with larger opponents is done on the mat. I’ve taken a liking to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo for situations exactly like these. When I was fighting in back alleys, my opponents were almost always bigger. It can be intimidating if you don’t know how to handle it. But I consider choke holds one of my specialties. I’m hypermobile and therefore it’s a lot easier for me to maneuver on the mat than most. I need to let Donovan get me on the ground so I can grapple with him.

He throws out a left hook that grazes me in the shoulder as I dodge to the side. It hurts like a bitch, and he can see it on my face. He smiles. I hit him with a quick jab-cross combo to throw him off balance and set him up for the power shot. An elbow uppercut strike to the jaw.

This one really pisses him off. And just as I predicted he charges straight at me and uses his brute strength to slam me on the floor. It knocks the wind out of me and sends my tooth into my lip. I make a big production of it with my facial expression and gasping for breath. The whole shebang.

For a split second, he lets his guard down and gets arrogant, thinking he’s already won. Typical of most men, he assumes that since he’s got me on my back he’s asserted his dominance already. A true fighter would know that’s never the case.

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