Ride Trilogy Book 1

By: Jayne Blue

Chapter One


Mace



After several months on the road, it was good to be home. But the trip had left him with a bitter reminder of the life he could not really have. The life that had been ripped from him.

He watched from the corner as other fighters trained and then pummeled opponents. It used to be his life too. All he could do now was hover ringside, lend a hand, but then fade into the shadows.

If they found him again, he would be their puppet. He was no one’s puppet.

Mace Alois knew it was better to live alone and hidden then to be under their control. No dream was worth the price they made him pay.

When he stopped letting them pull his strings, it got dangerous for everyone around him.

He saw to it that there was no one around him anymore for them to hurt. There couldn’t be.

Unfortunately touring with the pros ignited his old desire to fight. To be the best.

Mace was Zeke Powell’s sparring partner during the high profile 21C Fresh Blood Tour. Now that Zeke was out of the fight game Mace was out of it too, again.

Zeke had dropped out in disgrace. It was not Zeke’s disgrace; it was the disgrace of his father. Zeke’s predicament seemed minor to Mace compared to his own past.

His own disgrace was so much worse.

After touring with the 21C fighters and working out in the Great Wolves Gym, he knew he still had the fierce ground game he needed to ride any opponent into oblivion.

I was not worth his life, though, or his family’s life.

If he wanted to stay alive and keep his family safe, even be his own man, it meant never fighting professionally again. It probably meant another move soon too.

He shouldn’t have taken the job with 21C. He risked being recognized. He hoped that with his old beard gone and by staying away from the cameras, he was safe enough. The spotlight was on Craddock Flynn and Zeke. G-Man’s death took even more focus from Mace. All of that was good.

Mace was on the periphery looking in. He loved it and hated it.

It was time to go back to underground fighting. Fighting in bars paid the bills and there were no sports networks involved. The occasional bouncing job also kept food on the table.

He had dreamed of so much more.

The smell of the gym, the tape, the fierce drive, pushing your body and your opponents farther than you thought possible. He missed it all. Mace hauled his bag over his shoulder and squeezed his eyes shut for a moment. He was letting regret and the past overtake him. Normally he had it under control.

The image of her. That is what he needed to keep in the front of his mind. His MMA dream was tangled up in death and he did not want a part of that ever again.

He needed to put the thoughts of professional MMA fighting away. The 21C tour was over and so were his fantasies of reclaiming some kind of career.

Mace put the key into his apartment door lock and swung it open. He knew it would be empty inside, sparse, except for his beautiful girl Estelle.

She would be happy to see him. She would run into his arms.

She was his baby girl.



Raleigh



Estelle was a beauty. She had been with Raleigh for over two weeks. It made Raleigh angry to think about it.

It started with a knock on her door as she was about to start a morning walk with Andrew, her assistance dog.

That’s when Mrs. Strong, the retired woman a few doors down, showed up and said she needed help.

“I’m so sorry; I agreed to take care of her, but my sister in Pittsburgh needs me, right now. And he’s not answering his phone.” Mrs. Strong pointed to the brownstone next to Raleigh’s.

Raleigh had just moved in and her next-door neighbor had been AWOL since she had been there.

“I see you walking your dog and Estelle here is really no trouble, just a sweet girl, but I can’t take her with me to Pittsburgh.” Mrs. Strong was clearly distressed and distracted.

“But how long are the owners out of town? I don’t even know them?”

“Him. Mace lives here, and he said just a few weeks.”

“Just because I walk my dog doesn’t mean I can take her. I’m not a dog kennel.”

“You can’t possibly want me to take her to the pound?” Mrs. Strong lifted the tiny white face up and both looked at her with sad eyes. There was no way Raleigh could say no. This little furry bundle needed her.

“Give her here.” Mrs. Strong handed the little dog to her and then a bag of food.

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