Side by Side by Wendy Louise
What would you do if your childhood best friend, your soul mate, and the one person that means more than anyone else in the world was suddenly in front of you after disappearing from your life ten years ago?
Would you risk your stable life, to allow them back in to your heart, even after they had left you without any explanation?
Katy Lou Reynolds needs to make a choice. She can either ignore the fact that Elijah Trent is standing in the middle of the cage about to fight, or she can face him and demand answers as to why he left her.
Is it worth risking her heart for her one true love even though she knows it may get broken again, or is it better to let him walk away?
When Katy Lou tags along with her boyfriend to an Underground Cage fight, the last thing she expects to find in the ring is her childhood best friend, Elijah. Seeing him again brings back distant memories – a drunken mother, an absent father and relentless school bullies. Most of all, it re-awakens the feelings she had for him. Elijah has always held her heart; but after he left her when they were fourteen, without a word, can she risk everything to let him back in to her life again?
Elijah is a great fighter. He channels all the aggression he suffered at the hands of an abusive father in to every fight, every time. His success feeds his lifestyle of new cities and endless women, eager to spend time with him. His one regret has always been leaving behind his best friend, Katy Lou. There’s nothing he wouldn’t give to see her again, but if he does, would she forgive him for leaving her and risk her heart?
The familiar sound of the announcer’s voice booms through the speakers as he runs through the program for the night and mentions the names of the fighters competing. Lijah is up first with some guy called Tyler the Tormenter Thomas. I haven’t seen him fight before but when I see him round the corner with his entourage and climb up in to the ring, I feel sick. He is huge and ripped, and has hands the size of which I have never seen before. He looks like he could flatten the Incredible Hulk with one punch. Elijah is big, but this guy makes him look like a munchkin from The Wizard of Oz.
Mindy feels it too because she glances at me and takes my hand, rubbing her thumb over my palm. I can feel the flutter of her pulse in her touch and her heart has doubled in rhythm just the way mine has. We are both wondering how the hell Elijah is going to go up against such a beast of a man and survive at the other end.
His familiar music fills the stadium, and I find myself humming along to Shut Up, by the Black Eyed Peas even though I hate the memories it evokes. Lijah rounds the corner in his signature blue silk robe, punching his hands out in front of him trying to maintain the body heat he would have worked up prior to coming out here. He looks breathtaking and primal and for a moment I pretend that he is mine, all mine, and a spark of awareness travels through my body as he searches me out in the second row and smiles at me.
My hormones surge.
My heart doubles its rhythm.
Mindy whistles as he makes his way in to the ring and discards his robe, handing it to Caleb.
Both fighters take their place in the middle of the cage. Neither have boxing gloves on, just taped up hands that leave their knuckles bare, ready to make some damage.
The fight begins and Lijah’s face grows determined. He is in the zone and nothing will pull him from it while he is up there. I sit, trying to remember to breathe, and all the while, I feel like my lungs can’t inflate to their full capacity. If anything ever happened to him up there, I don’t think I’d survive it, and watching him up against this giant of a man is seriously affecting my ability to stay put in my seat.
They trade blow after blow. Both equally matched. Neither is dominating at this point, both are causing damage, split lips and pummeled ribs will be worn by both of them tomorrow. The only bright point on that stage is the fact that the Tormenter looks to be getting tired. He may have the brawn but he obviously doesn’t have the stamina. Elijah senses this and goes in for the kill, landing punch after punch until the Tormenter falls to his knees and raises his hands to protect his head as Elijah lands an uppercut on his jaw that has him falling to the mat.
Elijah is declared the victor and the crowd goes wild. Mindy and I are on our feet cheering and screaming with everyone else and I am so proud of Elijah in this moment that I may burst. His left eye is swelling and he has blood running from his lip, but his smile is huge and his eyes are alight.
His toned olive skin is dripping with sweat and his chest is heaving, but you can just see the adrenaline pumping through his system. He looks like he could still run a marathon and climb the tallest mountain without missing a step.
Lijah makes his way through a number of opponents throughout the remainder of the night. Some I have seen him fight previously and some new. He drops each one of them until he is declared the victor and he is one step closer to the finals.
All the while, I have spent the night on edge. Proud to watch him doing what he loves, what he is good at. Terrified every time one of the other fighters gets a good punch in. But most of all, I have this awareness buzzing through my veins that I have had all day. Knowing that our time together is coming to an end it feels like tonight is important, like it will be a turning point.
Like I need to make it count.
Watching him up there turns me on. It makes me want him even more. I want to claim him and I want him to claim me.
I want him to be mine and most importantly I want to be his.
Wendy Louise Bio:
Hi, I’m Wendy Louise. I’m a wife and mum living in Melbourne, Australia. I love to read and write, and I somehow managed to fit writing this book in between my regular day time duties, which include a full-time job and life in general with two busy children.
Two years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After many surgeries and treatments, I learnt that life is short and you need to grab it while you can. I always wanted to write, and I realised that it was now or never.
You can usually find me with a few books on the go at once – whether that be reading them, or writing them. I love chocolate and trashy reality TV. It’s not unusual for me to combine all these and attempt to write, while watching an episode of the Kardashians or The Bachelor, and devouring a block of Cadbury Dairy Milk…..
I am so excited to bring ‘Side by Side’ to you all. It has been such a labour of love for me. I presently have four other novels nearing completion, so I am excited to follow this up with many more.
I hope you enjoy reading Elijah and Katy’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it.