Control (Everyday Heroes #3.5)(7)

By: K. Bromberg


Yep. He’s still handsome.

And I’m now flat on my ass looking up at him.

“You see,” Reznor says to our group as he offers me a hand to pull me up, “Desi tried to get cute. And the shock value might work in some instances. She licked my palm, and it sure as hell caught me off guard, but it wasn’t the safest action to take. If I’m a sexual predator high on adrenaline, it might turn me on even further.”

I take a little bow, owning the criticism because hell if hearing him say I might turn him on isn’t something that’s on repeat in my head. I’ll use any distraction I can get to take my mind off the fear just being put in that position evoked in me.

“You can curtsy all you want,” Reznor says with a sarcastic tone and a shake of his head, “but it’s not going to save your ass.”

My spine stiffens at his comment. “Loosen up, I was joking.” I roll my eyes for added humor but when I look back to him, there is absolutely no amusement in his expression.

“I’d love to loosen up”—he turns to face me—“but that would mean you wouldn’t be getting what you came here for. To learn how to fight back and defend yourself. The comedy club is that way if you want to be the funny girl and make jokes.” He hooks a thumb over his shoulder as the two of us wage a visual war. “Because roughly seven out of ten women will be assaulted in their lifetime…of the ten of you standing here, seven have already or at some point will be a victim… Now, I might not be a genius, but I put my money on the fact that they want to be taught what to do.” He pauses as my eyes burn into his. “Shall we continue?”

No one likes to feel stupid.

And of course that’s how I feel, but hell if I’ll give him the satisfaction of knowing how hard I want to pull that stick out of his ass when he’s right on the money.

“Then maybe you should tell me what to do.” I sound snotty when I speak no matter how hard I try. Because there’s being chastised, and then there’s being chastised by the man you were pseudo hitting on earlier. Now, no matter how hard you tell yourself it isn’t the case, you feel a little rejected.

He flashes me a brilliant smile that grates on my nerves. “Gladly.”

And for the next hour and odd minutes, I’m on my back. Up against a wall. Up against him. Any way you can imagine it, Reznor uses me as his dummy to demonstrate what to do, and what not to do.

All with his body against mine.

“That’s all for today’s class. Ladies, I hope you learned something today, but remember your number one goal is to escape to safety, not fight. If your attacker is coming toward you, the three simplest moves you can use to defend yourself are the down slap to the forehead, the Dracula, and the throat strike. Stay safe and we’ll see you next time.”

A round of clapping starts, and all I do is sag in relief because I’m exhausted.

And pissed off.

I don’t clap. I don’t even look his way as I stalk off the mat and head toward the bleacher at the far end of the gym where my stuff is. Noise erupts as the other classes end and women begin chatting.

I need to get the hell out of here.

I’m tired. I’m sore. And…and I’m not sure how I feel, but I don’t like it.

“Desi.”

When he calls my name, I’m primed for a fight…especially with him.

“Go away,” I mutter as I keep my head down, knowing how anything I do can and will be used against me. Sunnyville might not be a Podunk town, but it has one whopper of a gossip mill, and I’m the last person who wants to take center stage in it.

I take my time gathering my keys and water but can feel his presence at my back.

“Thanks for helping today.”

I whip around to see him standing there, shirt off and balled in his hands, pants slung low on his hips, a towel scrubbing through his hair. The typical look of a guy who knows he has a hot body and is so damn comfortable with it he doesn’t give a second thought that most people can’t do that and look sexy.

“Helping?” I grit out. “How about being your human punching bag for the past hour? The one you continually said was doing the wrong thing. How about that, huh?”