Meet Tatum and Camden in this
second chance fighter Romance!
Love Tap releases on July 6th!
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Sitting at my desk I chew on the end of my pen waiting for Professor Kelly to finish writing on the whiteboard. This class always drags and it being at noon I’m always hungry half way through.
Bored I trace the words stenciled into the top of my desk with my index finger.
‘Lick it before you stick it.’
Where do people even come up with this stuff?
“I love how her hand erases half of what she writes as she moves across the board,” Keegan whispers next to me, bringing my attention from my tracing to Professor Kelly. Sure enough, the sentence on the left is half wiped off as she continues to write along the board.
Keegan is the only person I talk to here at UCLA. I don’t know if I would call her a friend, more of a roommate, and study partner. College isn’t any different than high school and I’d rather stay to myself. If you’re making friends then you’re a part of the drama. Who is screwing who, drugs, and mean girls, it’s a vicious circle.
Keegan and I click because she’s different. She has tattoos covering her arms and hands, and collects everything unicorn. Not to mention I love her outlook on life. She could care less what people think of her. She’s carefree and it scares people.
“Jacki, do you have your piece ready?” Professor Kelly asks.
Jacki who sits in front of me clears her throat, sitting straight in her seat.
“I’m just about done. I’m waiting for the owner of the restaurant to call me back,” Jacki replies.
I’m majoring in journalism. I figured if I can’t do what I love, I’ll do what comes next. Writing about it.
“Tatum, what about you?” I freeze.
“Yes, my piece is done,” I lie. I haven’t even started. Professor Kelly smiles at me, knowing I wouldn’t disappoint. Little does she know every piece I give her is last minute.
Jacki turns in her seat and eyes me with her fake green contacts. Here she goes. For some reason I am always the target of her bullying. I think it’s because a guy she was interested in sat next to me two classes ago. After ignoring him, he got the hint and moved back to the front of the class.
Either way, Jacki’s antics get old. I usually just ignore her. What is sad is she used to be friendly. Then she started sleeping with everyone and her ego became as big as the hole between her legs.
“Why do you dress like trash? It’s like, an embarrassment to the graduating class.” Her friends laugh and she smiles proud of herself.
“Ignore them,” Keegan mutters.
I always do.
Professor Kelly sits at her desk to work through the articles for the school paper, wasting the last ten minutes of class. Kicking my backpack out from under my seat I pull out my book and start to get lost in the pages of dragons and zombies.
“You know nobody has called me back?” Keegan interrupts my reading.
“All those applications, and not one news station has called. I should just give up, maybe I can be a maid,” she continues, and I know she’s about to go on her rant. I should give up reading, when she gets like this there’s no stopping her. Not one to give up, I narrow my brows to indicate I’m in some deep reading. “Ooh, I could be a sex maid. You know, the ones where I pretend to clean your house but then we have sex?”
I laugh, giving up on trying to read my book and close it.
“Yes, I know the kind. But don’t give up, the right job will call you back. Besides, you hate giving head and I’m pretty sure that will be a requirement when you’re a sex maid.”
“Shit, you’re right.” She sags in her seat like I just ruined her life goals.
“Speaking of shit, did you buy that bag from someone homeless?” Jacki flips her blonde hair over her shoulder as she eavesdrops. “I bet your mother is embarrassed to have you as a daughter, I mean, did you get your hair done by a hobo?” She continues to insult.
Something inside of me I thought was dead ignites, swimming through my veins like a wild fire as I pin Jacki with a stare.
“You should probably shut your mouth while you’re ahead,” I warn. Keegan looks at me like I’ve lost my mind. I’ve never reacted to Jacki’s insults. Today, though… I’ve had enough.
“Aww, did I hit a nerve?” Jacki laughs. Closing my eyes I try to push through the violence wanting to be released. “Do you even have a mother, or did she just give up when she had you?” She throws her head back and laughs, revealing the trashy pink lipstick that’s smeared on her teeth.
Anger thrusts through my arms and my hands curl into fists. I’m going to lose it. I’m going to lose my temper and become irate, right here.
“I need to get out of here.” I shove my book in my bag and stand, trying to leave before something horrible surfaces. I have been able to overlook anything and everything that triggers my temper, but my mom… that is one I clearly can’t overcome.
“Aw look, you made her leave.” One of Jacki’s friends taunts. I don’t even remember her name. They all sound alike anyway. Jacki, Judy, Janet.
“Good, maybe she can run back to her momma for some fashion advice,” Jacki continues.
I stall staring at the double doors that lead out of the auditorium.
Just leave. Keep going.
Closing my eyes, something I’ve suppressed for years breaks through it’s cage slamming full force in my chest.
I drop my book bag, and turn on my heel.
“What’d you say?”
Sitting sideways in her seat, tapping her desk with a pencil, Jacki giggles.
“You heard me, you’re a—“
I don’t let her finish. I leap over her friend and grab Jacki by the throat, pulling her from her seat. She screams, her fake blonde hair flailing everywhere as I drag her across the desks to the aisle.
The class screams with excitement as I drop Jacki like the sack of shit she is. God I feel fantastic! Like a tiger at the zoo finally being released into the wild.
I feel… alive. Day after day, I have sat in a chair behind a desk living a mundane boring life. Giving up on family, dreams, and most importantly, myself.
Jacki stares back at me with mascara smeared eyes, the look of fear fueling me to continue. I smile, and strike her in the face, throwing her back on the stairs.
But this, the violence, it’s what I long for.
She wails, cupping her nose. “You crazy bitch!”
Keegan jumps to her feet in her seat looking over Jacki laying in the aisle before looking up at me. “Holy shit!”
“What is going on?” Professor Kelly jumps from her desk making her way up the stairs.
“Run!” Keegan points at the double doors smiling just as big as I am.
Stepping over Jacki, I grab my bag but stop as I look at Jacki who is only a foot from me.
“Remember that next time you want to bully someone. Grow up.” I stand upright, shuffling my bag on my back, and I sprint out of class.
Quickly, I make it to my dorm room and throw what I can into bags. Drawers left on the floor and my mattress overturned, I make a mess of the room. Keegan is going to kill me when she gets back. Swiping my phone off the shelf where we keep the Ramen noodles, a pair of scissors fall to the floor nearly spearing me in the foot and landing on a magazine. I stare at the beautiful blonde on the front of the cover. I took this magazine into the mall months ago trying to imitate the model’s makeup. Hundreds of dollars later and I didn’t feel any prettier. I tried to fit into the LA lifestyle, I really tried but I’m just different. I don’t care about fashion, or chick flicks, or the so called normal shit that girls my age should like. If LA can’t turn me into a prima donna, then nobody can.
I glance up finding Keegan’s giant mirror with unicorn and mermaid stickers plastered all over it, my reflection looking back at me. My painted eyes and fake blush looking ridiculous on me.
Grabbing a couple of Kleenex I rub at my face, pressing as hard as I can to rub the shit off my eyelids and cheeks until my skin is near raw.
I’m done pretending.
Dropping the makeup smeared tissues to the floor I grab my bags and glance at the trashed room one last time.
My heart beats wildly as I flush my journalism career down the drain.
This isn’t what I wanted anyway.
I don’t want to report about the best fighters in the world.
I want to be one.
ABOUT THE BOOK
All I ever wanted was to be a female fighter.
It was in my blood to smack people around.
Some girls wore pink dresses and makeup, I wore sneakers and bruises.
I was a loner, stuck to myself because I was different, until Camden Steel moved next door.
I punched him in the mouth, and he saw me through rose colored glasses from that day on.
I had everything I ever wanted.
The boy next door, inspiring career… until I didn’t.
He hates me. I deserve that.
They say you have to fight for what you want… What they don’t tell you… is it’ll cost you more than you’re willing to give to reach the top.