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       The Battle, p.1

           t. h. snyder
 
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The Battle


  the Battle

  Fight Serial Series, #2

  By t. h. snyder

  © 2015 t. h. snyder (Tiffany Snyder)

  Published by t. h. snyder

  First published in 2015. All rights reserved. This book is copyright. Apart from the fair purpose of private study, research or review as permitted by the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced without written permission.

  This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  Image Copyrights

  Cover Artist Kellie Dennis, Book Cover By Design

  Photographer Golden Czermak, Furios Fotog

  Model Vinny Lawdenski

  Special thanks to Author Skye Turner for providing a snippet of her March 13, 2015 release

  James Black

  Acknowledgements

  This is seriously the hardest part of the freaking book for me to write. So many people have come and gone throughout the journey of writing a book, I never want to forget someone that had an impact on my sanity. So here it goes…..

  My FAMILY! For realz where would I be without you? My AMAZING seesta Angie has been my live in BFF, Nanny and ROCK. My Mama, even though you are thousands of miles away, you still are with me every day. My babies Rae and Mason you are my WORLD. Love you to infinity and beyond.

  My BETA GIRLS! You stick with me and wait…and wait…and wait till I finally add a chapter to our group. Your patience, support and belief in me are unreal. Thank you for stopping what you’re doing to read my jibber jabber. I appreciate you more than you know. Love you ladies Ashley Lighthizer, Marina Marinova, Carrie Moore, Jennifer Balmer, Jamie Bourgeois, and Matt Zeeman.

  My READERS, I wouldn’t be here without you. Thank you for sharing in my stories and allowing your minds to live in the lives of my characters. I love receiving your words of encouragement and telling me how much you love the craziness that runs rapid through my head.

  My #Pimpette4Life and #TeamhotnessNink, the BEST street team any author could imagine. You pick me up when I am down, make me laugh till I spit liquid through my nose and come up with the CRAZIEST stuff known to man. I love each of you for making me smile every day.

  These two women are my QUEEN Pimpettes and I couldn't thank them enough for all that they do for me and my stories. Not only are they amazing chicks, they are my personal friends. I love you Traci Hyland and Jamie Bourgeois. This series is dedicated to you both.

  My POOPSIE, even though our lives are crazy and insane AND we live WAY too far apart, you’re always on my mind. We’ve been through a lot in the past year and half, but I wouldn’t take a second of it back. I love you like a sister and glad to have you along for this bumpy ride.

  My #OverAnalyzeThis girls, my redheaded sistas. These two women know how to make me scream, cry and beg for more. Between our insane selfies, videos and chit chat, I’d be lost without them. Love you both long time Skye Turner and JM Witt.

  I don’t know if I could find my head without these two chicks. When I forget my name, number or the color of my eyes, I can call on them. They know when I’m upset or happy most of the time before I do. They are truly a God sent to me. Love you Carrie Moore and Ashley Lighthizer. Thank you for always having my back and giving me a good smack on the ass when I need it.

  My #PocketCrew my stability when I’m about to go batshit crazy or rock in a corner. These people are my long lost family and I don’t know if I could go days without talking to them. I love you all so much Lance Jones, Alex Hardesty, William Scott and Melanie Picher.

  My #JYFAM these two people recently came into my life and I know without a shadow of a doubt we are in it together for the long haul. Jason Kercheski and Samantha Barnard I love our crazy and can't wait to see where our lives take us #TroubleofTrifecta.

  A special shout out to a few authors that I know and LOVE very much. Without your support and encouragement, I’d be lost. I love you Joanne Schwehm, Jaime Whitley, Kathy Coopmans, Vicki Green and Heidi Jo B.

  The TALENTED Kellie Dennis, who has once again created an amazing cover….thank you girl!

  My CRAZY-FUN editor that knows when to bug me to write and ask how soon I’m giving her more. Thank you for staying on top of me and pushing me along Missy Borucki.

  HUGE shout out to my proofreader Monica Cervantes….talk about coming to my aid in a crunch. You’re now stuck with me for life lady.

  HOT DAMN Golden Czermak. Thank you so much for capturing another incredible photo for me. It’s always amazing to work with you and I can’t wait to share many more covers together. Let’s see who’s stalking who in 2015 #BingBong.

  Last but not least, my cover model Vinny Lawdenski. Thank you for allowing me to use you as my MUSE and your image for Mike. This story truly came to life and I will say, Mike loves the ‘flow’.

  Prologue

  Pacing throughout the living room, hands shaking by my side, I impatiently wait to be with my girl.

  Wait, what the…

  My feet instantly stop moving, brows scrunching tightly together as I think about that statement for a moment. Well, technically she’s not my girl…yet. Fingers running through my thick black hair, I tug on the ends slightly to relieve the stress building within my skull. A million thoughts begin to rush through my mind and I can’t get over the fact that she’s still not my girl. After all these years, all the time I’ve invested in making a point to be by her side, she’s still being the stubborn ol’ Taryn I know and admire.

  Shrugging off my inner thoughts, I continue to move through the living room of the Morris home. Now that Taryn is back in Brooklyn, I’m determined to see things through with her. As much as she’s fought her feelings for me, it’s time to lay it all out on the table. My nerves are shot, palms sweaty and my chest constricting beneath my shirt. Taking in a deep breath through my nose I close my eyes, count to ten, and exhale the pent up air through pierced lips. It’s now or never. I’ve waited long enough and I don’t want to waste another second.

  The past four years I’ve traveled back and forth to NYU to see her. Through miles of bumper to bumper traffic, blizzard like conditions, and sweltering hot summer days, I had to be with her. I couldn’t stand the distance, whether it was thirty miles or not. I was just too damn used to her always being here, in Brooklyn, with me and the guys.

  Knowing she was in another city meeting new people scared the shit out of me. I feared that one day I would lose the only girl I’ve ever loved. Morning, noon, and night she’s all I could think about. It made me sick to my stomach thinking about how she could’ve been with another guy. As hypocritical as it may be, I sure as hell had my fair share of random hookups. It’s just that no one ever compared to her, at least what I imagined it would be like to finally be with her. The way her eyes would shine when she’d look at me, her soft voice telling me that she’d always been there for me, and the way it felt to have her arms wrapped around me when she’d greet me at her apartment door. There wasn’t a moment we weren’t together that the thought of her fell from my mind. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw her long blonde hair, deep hypnotizing brown eyes, and that smile that made my heart melt.

  Not quite sure what, but something was always pushing her away, holding her back from letting herself go. I don’t know w
hy or who it was, but now is my time, my chance to show her that things could really work between us. I’d never stray, never make her feel unwanted; instead she’d be the first and last thing I’d think of everyday. I would make her the happiest woman in the world, if only she’d give me that chance and let me in.

  I’ve been in love with Taryn since I can remember.

  My childhood wasn’t the best, in fact it was dreadful. She gave me a reason to wake up every day. I didn’t have the love and support of my parents like she, Hank, and Trenton did. Instead, I was an only child that learned more about hatred, anger, and lies. My parents basically despised each other and I was the nuisance that stood in their way of a better life. No matter how hard I tried, got good grades in school, and played football to make my father proud, I wasn’t enough. I was their burden.

  With the absence of parental affection, Taryn showed me how to love, how to empathize, and how to be happy. If not for her, I don’t know that I’d ever have wanted to get up and do something with my life. She’s always been my lifeline.

  Growing up as friends, maturing into adults, and seeing her turn into a beautiful woman has solidified my true feelings for her. She’s all I’ve ever wanted, all I’ve ever needed and now…now I will do everything in my power to show her, tell her, and make her understand that we are meant to be together. It’s time to finally be the man she needs me to be, I have to tell her how I feel and what I want.

  Stepping out of the living room, my eyes catch sight of her long blonde hair pulled into a ponytail on top of her head. Her body shifts as she steps toward her father and my heart skips a beat at the sight of her. A huge smile pulls at her luscious lips as her amazing brown eyes light up. I pause in my tracks and watch as she throws her arms around Birch. Watching as the two of them embrace, my heart pounds rapidly against my chest. My feelings started as an infatuation, but now the way I feel for her is turning into an unhealthy obsession.

  God, this woman makes me a fucking mess.

  Running my fingers through my hair, I try to pull my thoughts away from her and back to my surroundings. Sounds of friends and family fill the space between us taking my locked gaze away from her. These people are here for her, to congratulate her on the success she’s earned. She was always the smartest of our friends, the one that set goals, and busted her ass to achieve them. No matter what obstacle stood in her way, she’d stand tall and work that much harder to make things happen. I’m so damn proud of her and can’t wait to start our future here in Brooklyn.

  The majority of our close friends went off to college after high school. I just wish I would have gotten my head out of my ass and did the same. Instead, I focused on things that, at the time, seemed to be a priority. After high school I followed my best friends, Hank and Trenton, into the Cage. Hours, days, and years of struggle, pain, and strength fed my obsession. I enjoyed being between the metal wires of the cage, it was a thrill and high that I was unable to find anywhere else. I’ve proven to myself that I’m finally good at something, regardless of what my parents lead me to believe. They’re a part of my past I refuse to let my future be tainted by any longer. I’m a fighter and a damn good one at that. No matter who I’m up against, it’s always a battle I know I’ll win. Looking back now, I know I made the right decision for me. I was born and trained to be a cage fighter. I’ve never given up in the cage and I don’t plan on giving up on what Taryn and I could have.

  Making my way through the remainder of the house, my emotions make me feel as if I’m floating. The rapid beats of my pulse echo throughout my ears. With each step I take, I can feel a lump form in my throat and the palms of my hands begin to sweat. Running my hands along the fabric of my jeans, I lock eyes with Birch. His brows are scrunched and I can only imagine the thoughts coursing through his mind.

  His boisterous voice catches my attention and suddenly my nerves are heightened. What if he doesn’t approve of me, of us together, or worse yet, wants me to have nothing to do with Taryn? Fear starts to creep through my spine as I approach. His eyes never fall from mine as he releases the bear hug he’s been giving his daughter. With his arms falling to his side, he stretches his back standing much taller than our girl and squints his eyes, intensely staring into mine.

  “Don’t hoard her away too long, she needs time to visit with everyone here, not just you, Mike,” he says in a deep and firm tone.

  Damn it to hell, I don’t need this right now. Shit! I’m not backing down. I refuse to give up. I need to do this, no regrets.

  I give him a nod and move my attention to my target, Taryn.

  Taking a step directly behind her, I wrap my arms around her waist and pick her up. She’s light as a feather as I move her through the crowd of guests and move back into the living room.

  “Michael Lawdenksi, put me down right now, you big brute,” she remarks with a giggle trying her damnedest to get out of my hold.

  With her body squirming against mine, I have to remind myself what it is I’m here to do. The feel of her in my arms consumes my every thought, my every sense…God, the things this woman does to me.

  Trying my best to refrain from focusing on the hard-on her ass against my dick is causing, I slowly set her down so that her feet are planted firmly on the hardwood floor. She turns around to face me, eyes staring back into mine.

  “What’s so important that you had to pull me all the way in here? Everyone is out in the kitchen and dining room. Don’t tell me you’re being anti social, Mike,” she remarks placing her hands on her hips.

  Her tone is firm yet simple, yet I can’t help but stare back at her. She looks so damn cute standing there with an attitude and her resting bitch face smirk. My mind is a blur, I can’t seem to pull my shit together. No matter how hard I try to form a sentence, let alone a word…I can’t. She’s taken the breath out of me and I’m standing in front of her like a fucking idiot.

  “Mike,” she shouts, smacking her hand against my arm.

  I snap out of my trance, my eyes looking around the room behind her.

  “Yea, um, sorry. I got lost in thought there for a second.”

  “Obviously,” she replies with a wink. “So, what’s up?”

  Moving my weight from side to side, I stick my hands in my pockets. The sound of my heart rapidly beating can basically be heard over the conversations within the house, at least it seems that way in my head.

  “I needed to sit down and talk with you about something.”

  The words come out of my mouth in a whisper and I’m honestly not sure if they even made sense.

  “What are you talking about, Mike? I’ve got to get back out there; I don’t want to upset anyone that came to see me today. Out with it, what do you need to talk to me about? I mean, can’t it wait ‘til later?”

  Feeling like a hot poker has just been lodged in my spine, I can feel the pain of defeat. She’s right, this is her party and I’m being selfish to keep her from meeting up with the friends and family that came to see her.

  Shit, piss…..ugh! I can’t take up any more of her time, this will have to wait.

  “You’re right, I’m sorry. Yeah, we can talk about it later, it’s really not a big deal. I’ll catch ya when everyone’s left.”

  Taking a step forward, she reaches her hands onto my shoulders and leans in towards me for a peck on the cheek. Had my reflexes been alert enough, I could have turned my face in time for her lips to touch mine. Instead, I’m frozen. As she turns to walk away, I allow my feet to stand cemented to the floor cursing myself for not being brave enough to tell her what I’ve been dying to let her know.

  No matter how much it kills me now, I know that I’ll have my chance. Taryn Morris is not a battle I’m willing to lose, she will be mine.

  Chapter 1

  3 Weeks Later

  Watching out the passenger’s side window of Hank’s truck, my heart races like a dog that’s been pent up in a cage for days. It’s almost impossible to wrap my mind around what’s taking place in this e
xact moment.

  Hank loves me…

  Hank wants me…

  Hank needs me…

  What the hell is going on right now? The emotions and physical connection I’ve felt toward him for years has finally been verbalized. We’ve admitted things that have never been spoken, until just a few moments ago.

  Is this real?

  For so long, Hank and I didn’t speak. We purposefully avoided eye contact and made a point to not cross paths; yet there’s always been an unconscious pull towards him. We grew up together for God’s sake, played in the dirty alleyways and ran through Daddy’s gym like we were hyped up on sugar. But that one moment, even if not for him, it changed everything for me.

  I can remember that day like it was just yesterday, but in reality it was six long years ago.

  Everything was perfect. My friends and family were all there celebrating in my sweet sixteen, but the one person I wanted by my side was nowhere to be found. After looking throughout the house, I finally decided to go outside. Mike had been following me like a love sick puppy dog and after a while I told him I needed some air. Deciding to go for a walk, I found myself along the back alley of my house. Heading in the direction of my neighbor Monica’s house, I heard a noise coming from the shed in her yard. Being the inquisitive girl that I was, I went to see what was going on. When I opened the shed door, never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined what I saw. Hank was leaning up against the interior wall of the shed, his jeans pulled down his thighs, and Monica kneeling down in front of him.

  It was him…with her.

  My heart was instantly shattered, torn into a million pieces. She was with the one boy I had a crush on. He just didn’t know it at the time. With my mouth wide open, my chest fighting to calm my rapidly beating heart, and the tears falling from my eyes, I ran away as fast as I could. Refusing to stop when I heard him calling my name, I kept going ‘til I neared the back porch. By the time I made it back to my house, I fell onto the concrete steps, out of breath, my body trembling like a leaf and my entire soul broken. The more he spoke the more it hurt. I couldn’t tell him, wouldn’t let him know what he had done to me. After that moment in time, I told myself I’d never let him affect me that way again. I didn’t want to feel the heart ache of losing someone I cared for so badly again.

 
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