she said. I got the feeling that, had she not been so exhausted both mentally
and physically, she’d be more impressed with her surroundings. “This place is
shrugged. “It’s home.” She nodded then stood there, fidgeting. “You need help?”
glanced up at me. “No. I’m good.”
I’ll leave it to you then. Do not lock that door. If you need help, I’d like to
be able to get to you without breaking down my door.”
didn’t move. She glanced up at me, then turned her back and stripped off her
T-shirt before tugging at the pins holding her hair up in those impossibly
tight braids. I sighed, knowing it was a horrible idea, but also knowing I was
doing it anyway.
I said. “I’ll help. Just… stand there.”
took a deep breath and let it out slowly, her shoulders slumping and hunching
in on herself. “I can do it myself.”
But it hurts you.”
of things hurt,” she said absently. Her body shivered, but it wasn’t from the
cold. She was barely holding herself together.
pulled the pins gently from her hair, and the ties at the end. Then picked out
the braids with my fingers. Once I was done, I let my hands fall to her hips.
She didn’t move away. Instead, she leaned back against me slightly. For some
reason, my stupid hands slid around her waist to cross under her breasts, and I
rested my chin on her head.
shrugged, but nodded. Taking another deep breath, she turned in my arms. “Will
you help me with my sports bra? I’m not sure I can do it with my ribs this
swallowed, looking down at her. Those impossibly blue eyes looked up at me with
such a combination of hunger, need, and pleading, I didn’t know what to do.
“I’m not sure that’s a good idea.”
Fury,” she said, one tear sliding down her cheek. “Just this once. I’ll never
ask you for anything again.”
not in the right state of mind, Noelle. I’m not taking advantage of you. Let’s
just get you a hot shower and to bed. If this is still what you want, we can
talk about it in the morning.”
turned around, nodding forlornly. God, she was breaking my heart. Gingerly, she
tried to pull her bra over her head. Her side was red and turning purple where
the bruise was. I knew it had to hurt. With a sigh, I helped her get it the
rest of the way off. When she went to drop her shorts, I stayed her hands.
them,” I said gruffly and gently urged her into the shower. When she would have
turned, I stepped in behind her and grabbed her shoulders. Last thing I needed
was to see her tits. Not now. Hell, not at all! I’d tried my best over
the past year to not view her as a desirable woman and only see the fighter.
But I’d had my fantasies. Noelle was at least fifteen years my junior, but she
called to me in ways I didn’t want to think about. Cause I could easily imagine
having the nastiest, raunchiest sex I’d ever had with anyone with Noelle. She
was strong, her body honed in battle. Just like mine. Noelle was a woman who
could take anything I needed to give her and come back for more.
the shower, she just stood there, the water cascading over us in a gentle fall.
My boxer briefs were soaked and did nothing to hide my raging hard on. Noelle
didn’t say anything. I just stood there with my hands on her shoulders.
one, Brawler. Wash yourself. I’m here in case you get dizzy. Don’t want you to
she reached for the shower gel, then squirted a generous amount on her hand.
Slowly, she washed herself, being careful when she touched a particularly sore spot.
She leaned her head forward and let the thick fall of water wet her hair before
she brushed it back with her arm and reached for the shampoo. She lathered then
conditioned it before giving her hair a final rinse. Just the simple act of
taking a shower had her whimpering when she used a bruised muscle. I wanted to
help her, but knew if I had to touch her that much, I’d not stop there. Not
with us like this.
reached around her and turned off the water, snagging a towel I’d hung over the
glass enclosure so it was within easy reach. Wrapping it around her body, I
guided her out of the shower and snagged another towel.
your hair up, and I’ll brush it out and dry it for you.”
looked up at me. “Do you even know how to do that?”
a fuckin’ brush. How fuckin’ hard could it be?” I was being mean, I knew.
Noelle didn’t seem to mind. In fact, she smiled.
like the grouchy side of you better.” Then a tear tracked down one cheek before
she dashed it away. “Not sure I can take much more of the kind and caring
can be nice.”
But it’s not your default setting.” She ducked her head. “Not something I’ve
seen a lot of.”
was right, I knew. And it had been on purpose. I didn’t want to get to know
her. Didn’t want her to get to know me. I would have pawned her off on someone
else if she hadn’t had all the talent she did. But she was just too good for me
to pass up. Noelle had a real shot at making it to the big fights. If word got
out about this fight, I doubted any manager in the big leagues would touch her.
never needed it before,” I admitted.