Title: Fighting Dirty
Series: Worth the Fight #5
Author: Sidney Halston
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 5, 2016
In Fighting Dirty, a geek-chic cage fighter proves that appearances can be deceiving . . . and oh-so-tempting.
With his preppy clothes and horn-rimmed glasses, Enzo Silva is the last guy anyone expects to find in a mixed martial arts gym. A wealthy Brazilian banker who never had to fight for anything, Enzo’s stuck in the amateur circuit—but he burns to make the pros. Maybe that explains the heat he feels whenever he’s around Jamie Lynn Calhoun. The pint-size, magenta-haired bartender with the Texas drawl is everything he’s not . . . and everything he craves.
Tough as nails and independent to a fault, Jamie Lynn—JL to her friends—works hard to pay her bills and keep life simple. Enzo is doing his best to complicate that. Even though she likes to bust his balls, he’s got some kind of a nerdy-hot vibe that makes JL wonder if she might finally be able to let her guard down. It might do the boy some good to spend some time in her world, where blood, sweat, and victory are as sweet as the first taste of real love.
Lorenzo Silva sat on a stool at the Pier, the local bar where everyone in the small town of Tarpon Springs hung out. Not an hour ago, he’d signed his divorce papers and overnighted them to Brazil where his ex-wife, Marianna, still lived with his now ex-best friend. And all he could think was that he was finally free.
He almost wanted to stand up and do a little happy dance.
That would be something very unbecoming of a Silva.
Instead he stared across the bar at the object of his insane attraction for the last year: Jamie Lynn Calhoun, or JL, as everyone but him called her. She was five foot nothing, and today her short pixie-like hair was a light pink, with red nails on one hand and black on the other. The liner around her blue eyes was heavy, and her red lipstick contrasted quite severely against her pale skin. Her overall style made her seem a decade younger than her actual age, thirty. She had on the required shorts and T-shirt that all employees of the bar wore, but she’d added black combat boots that went past her ankles and weren’t even completely laced. She had an intricate tattoo along one entire arm that resembled a lace pattern, while the other arm was bare. He wondered where her other tattoos were hiding. His eyes roamed up her body as her legs moved in his direction.
She leaned her forearms against the bar, giving Enzo a peek at her small, perky breasts. “Were you starin’ at my ass, sugar?”
What he liked most about her was that southern drawl she had from being born and raised in Texas. It seemed out of character with her punk rocker image; it made her seem . . . softer.
“I may have been.” He lifted his beer at her and winked.
She reached forward and straightened his glasses. “You seem different today. Happy?”
“Happy isn’t quite the word I’d use. More like ecstatic.”
She leaned closer, her familiar flowery scent flooding his senses. “What could’ve possibly been that exciting at the bank that would make you ecstatic?” She loved to tease him about his job, which for some reason she thought was at a bank. Probably because he was always wearing suits—unlike most of the laid-back people he’d met in town.
“You do know I don’t work at a bank right?”
She tilted her head to the side, genuinely surprised. “Really?”
He laughed. “Yes, really. I help run my family’s business. We acquire properties and businesses and—”
She held out her hand and cut him off. “Yeah, banking seems to sum that up nicely.” Then she leaned over the bar and gave him a once-over. “Damn, are you wearing flip-flops? Are those cargo shorts? On a Wednesday at one in the afternoon? Where’s the rest of your business suit? Oh my God.” She put her hand over her mouth in an over-the-top gesture. “Did you finally have that stick up your ass surgically removed, Pretty Boy?” She slid back down to her side of the counter but reached her palm to his head. “Or maybe you’re sick or something? Fever?”
“Ha ha. No, I took the day off,” he said looking down at his clothes. He was wearing his favorite designer polo shirt and linen shorts. It wasn’t like he was wearing a ratty shirt with holes on it or anything. “I signed my divorce papers today. I’m finally free of that evil witch.” He pumped a fist into the air. “Come, have a drink with me. I’m sure you can cut out early.”
“Just because this doesn’t seem like a lucrative career choice compared to the small empire you’re running, it doesn’t mean I don’t have responsibilities. I can’t just ‘cut out early,’” she said with an indignant glare.
“I wasn’t being judgmental. Sorry if it came across that way. I just want to have a drink with you, maybe even a meal.”
After making him suffer a little, she finally relented and said, “Just a quick one. Gotta work.” She lined up two shot glasses, filled them with tequila, and handed him one. Then they clinked glasses. “To divorce!” she cheered before tipping it back.
He held his by the rim and laughed. “No. That’s a terrible toast. Not to divorce. To getting rid of my money-grubbing unfaithful ex-wife. May she rot in hell!”
“Nah.” He shrugged. “I’m over it. Just wanted to get that out. I’ve never done that before.”
“Call her out. I just really needed to get that off my chest.”
She laughed. “That was it? You can do better than that. Last guy I broke up with, I burned all his clothes.”
“Damn,” he said, looking worried. “Well, I’m done talking about her. Go out with me, Jamie Lynn. I want to celebrate.”
“Can’t. Told you, I’m working.”
“What time do you get off?”
“Okay, here’s the plan. I’m going to get in my workout at the Academy, then I’ll meet you back here at five. You’ll spend the rest of the day with me.”
She snorted and rolled her eyes as she walked away to tend to another customer. “Keep dreamin’, darling,” she said over her shoulder. “The answer is still no. Just ’cause you rule that little empire of yours with an iron fist—”
“What?” he said with a snort.
“Just assuming from your usual staid personality that you’re some sort of a hard-assed boss. But that’s not the point. The point is that I’m not one of your employees, someone you can dictate orders to,” she said as she mixed drinks. “Besides, I have plans.”
This was the second time she’d rejected him because of “plans.” He’d asked her out repeatedly for months. And five weeks ago, he had even grabbed life by the balls and kissed her—a brazen act that had surprised both of them. The kiss had been off-the-charts hot, startling even him. She’d melted into his arms and given herself over to him completely, and for the minute their mouths had been connected, he’d thought there was no possible way she’d turn him down again. Except she had, even though he knew she wanted him as much as he wanted her. That kiss had said it all. The way she’d trembled in his arms and moaned softly couldn’t be denied. Why she was so hesitant to go out with him was something he couldn’t understand. He didn’t know what was holding her back; he didn’t think there was another man, though he couldn’t help but wonder.
Enzo finished his drink, slapped more money than necessary on the counter, waved goodbye, and left. He wasn’t going to give up. Not at all. Tomorrow he’d try his luck with the little pixie again.
USA Today bestselling author, Sidney Halston lives her life with one simple rule: “Just Do It”–Nike. And that’s exactly what she did.
After working hard as an attorney, Sidney picked up a pen for the first time at thirty years old to begin her dream of writing. Having never written anything other than very exciting legal briefs, she found an outlet for her imaginative, romantic side and wrote Seeing Red. That first pen stroke sealed the deal, and she fell in love with writing. Sidney lives in South Florida with her husband and children. She loves her family above all else, and reading follows a close second. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading and reading and reading. She’s a reader first and a writer second. When she’s not writing or reading, her life is complete and utter chaos, trying to balance family life with work and writing (and reading). But she wouldn’t have it any other way.