Finding Perseverance(8)

By: T. E. Black

I met Lauren Roche when I started fighting professionally. She was as beautiful then as she is today. With hair so brown it appears black and the brightest blue eyes, she is mouthwatering.

Loving Lauren was something my mind learned before my heart. She has her flaws, but at the same time, her love is practical. She’s the perfect woman for a man of my stature. She’s beautiful, smart, and also knows what it’s like to be with someone in this industry.

She has understood from the beginning that I need something most women can’t give me. I need a strong woman with even tougher skin. This industry will chew you up and spit you out if you let it, so it’s almost a requirement.

The only thing that has changed since then and now is her marital status. Ten years ago, she was happily married to a trainer, Mark. He’s hated me from day one, but it didn’t keep me from politely chatting with his hot wife.

I kept our conversations as friendly as possible, never stepping over the line. Although, I wanted to. I respect the sanctity of marriage. I’d beat the piss out of any asshole who tried hitting on my wife if I had one.

Three months ago, she confided in me about her and Mark’s divorce.

I treaded lightly around the subject, still unsure about what she was implying. Nobody in the league knew, so why was she telling me? Well, I found out the moment our lips touched.

I was never one to reject a woman, but with Lauren, it was different. When her lips touched mine, I kissed her back. But, as soon as she straddled my lap, I froze, even though I wanted her in the worst way.

When I told her I didn’t think it was a good idea, she cocked her head to the side and gave me a smirk. “You know,” she said as she slid off my lap, “you’re one of the good guys.” She feathered another kiss across my lips and then left with a giggle. I had just sat there stunned.

For a week after, regret ate at me. I didn’t know if I should believe her about the divorce. Then another week went by, and no one said a damn word about it. She and her husband were still going to public events together.

It made me nervous.

I’m not that type of guy, nor did I want to be. I was so pissed thinking she tricked me. I didn’t tell a soul about it, though.

It might sound terrible, but the day the rumor hit my side of the gym, I was relieved. I was happy I didn’t kiss someone’s wife after being lied to. I wouldn’t have been able to forgive myself.

Their divorce spread like wildfire. The paparazzi got wind of it, and that was all they needed for a headline: “FIGHTING LEAGUE TRAINER AND WIFE GET IN PUBLIC BATTLE AFTER SEPARATION!”

In real life, they hadn’t even filed paperwork yet.

Since Lauren doesn’t have a dime to her name, Mark is letting her stay at their place until she can get back on her feet, which is another reason why I have to keep everything quiet.

I’ve told her a million times she can move in with me and we would tell Mark what was going on, but she makes up one excuse after another. It makes me wonder if there’s something I don’t know about.

Chapter Three


Have you ever found yourself ignoring someone because it hurts too much? The sound of their voice. The way the wind surrounds you with their scent—everything. Every single thing about them makes your heart ache.

It's not something you plan, and you sure as hell don't want it to affect you. But you have no control over what your heart wants. That’s exactly what happens when my ex-girlfriend’s name flashes across my phone for the second time today.

“Fuck,” I whisper under my breath.

Susan Cole—the woman who changed my outlook on life. She seeped into every ounce of my soul. She opened my eyes and cleared my clouded judgment of two women being together. Susan showed me that it was okay to love again and that I shouldn’t be scared to connect with someone else.

I never pegged myself for someone who would fall in love with a woman, but I did, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I was even the one who made the first move, shocking the hell out of her … and myself.

There is one problem I never saw coming, though. Susan hates my best friend. I can’t wrap my head around it. She’s an amazing woman, so why does she hate Trent so much?