For Her Protection(2)

By: Amber A Bardan



Charlize’s heart raced, adrenaline charged her system. She watched the woman’s fingers slide over purpling skin.

“And bruised,” Charlize said.

“I’m okay.” The woman stood and picked up her drink bottle and towel.

“Let me help you to the front desk, get you a cold pack or something.”

The woman shook her head and her cheeks flamed red. “No I can get there myself.”

Charlize frowned and watched her hobble away. She recognized damaged pride when she saw it but the woman wasn’t the one who should be embarrassed. She glanced over her shoulder.

The Twins leaned against a column, watching as if the accident was free entertainment. One of them smirked. Smirked for Christ’s sake. She shot to her feet. Blood throbbed in her ears, her cheeks, everywhere. The bastards, they didn’t give a crap that their actions hurt someone. Her nails dug into her palms and she inched forward. Clearly they were amused that a little woman had thought she could use their big-boy machine—just like half the executive team snickered at Charlize sitting behind the big-boy’s desk. Her breath hitched.

Her company—where, like here at the gym, everything was a fucking dick-measuring contest and she didn’t have one.

Time to flash some balls.



Shouts drew his attention, the high-pitched voice reaching him inside the studio. Connor set down the last of the equipment and shook his head, walking to the swinging doors. Dealing with brawling patrons was not in his contract. He stepped into the main gym area and his stride faltered.

The closest thing he’d ever seen to a fem-bot stood in the center of the free-weight area. One of her hands pressed to a narrow waist that flared to full hips and a cherry-shaped ass sketched directly from a fantasy. She waved her other hand toward two giant meatheads. He tried to decipher her screeched words but one look at that ass and he had a hard time making sense of English.

He slinked closer. Yeah fem-bot all right. With a slicked-back bun of jet-black hair, full-length black tights, matching tank, an MP3 player strapped to some fancy armband, and wearing high-performance sneakers, she was all otherworld sex-robot—untouchable but he’d bet worth a try.

What was a woman like this doing at Alicia’s family gym? She’d be more suited to the shmancy women’s only around the corner. Not that he cared right now why she chose Alicia’s—what he cared about was her turning around so he could see if her front matched the promise of her rear.

A few feet away and her words penetrated his haze.

“Misogynistic, sexist, inconsiderate…”

He groaned. Perfect. He got it now, the expensive gear, the severe hairstyle, the general untouchable vibe. A high-strung, corporate ball-buster—the kind who looked down their designer spectacles at him when he gave his self-defense seminars. He didn’t bother letting them in on the fact this lowly self-defense instructor also held a masters in criminology.

Connor reached her side and his estimation of Ms. Corporate Fem-bot turned from exasperated to downright pissed.

“Steroids must’ve done more than shrink your pricks—”

The two semi-identical meatheads’ expressions morphed into berserker masks and they stepped closer to the girl, who didn’t seem to have any idea what she’d invoked. But then they never did, that kind of woman. Too used to having everyone jump when they snapped their manicured fingers, they never saw the first fist flying—or worse.

He knew what to expect from these situations. Had seen firsthand too many times what could happen to a woman who pushed the wrong type of guy’s buttons. Those images still kept him up at night.

He cleared his throat. “Is there a problem here?”

Fem-bot turned and his thoughts collapsed into a hot mess. Holy shit. Who said fem-bot? The face that scowled up at him put a Disney princess to shame. It wasn’t the full lips pouting above a deep chin dimple that robbed him of sanity—it was the wide, almond-shaped eyes, the color of butter warming in a pan, that turned his brain to mush…even if those eyes were glaring at him.

No amount of hairspray or Lycra could make her less sweet.

“It’s none of your damned business.” She turned back to the pair towering above her.

He blinked. Did she just fob him off? And with a thick helping of attitude to boot? When he was trying to help her. He’d leave her to the hole she was digging if she wasn’t about to get hurt. Meathead one rubbed a palm with a fist. It’d only take another push. But this girl was like a firecracker, too busy exploding to notice what was happening right in front of her.

“I’m making it my business.” He placed a hand on her shoulder.

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