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Wiping the blood from my brow, I glared at Tito. The wound stung as sweat trickled into the open cut just above my swollen eye. He moved quickly, but I had more power. It felt like a game of cat and mouse. I let him feel confident in his abilities, before I made my move to take his ass down.
A sharp pain in my ribs stole my breath as I kicked him in the thigh before the bottom of my palm connected with his chin. As his head flew back, I grabbed him around the waist, lifting him off the ground, and threw him on his ass. When my body crashed on top of him, the dull pain in my ribs became excruciating. I couldn’t relent or release him. I fought through the discomfort and held him down as he kicked and flailed like a trapped bitch.
His grunts grew louder and I took the opportunity to hit him in the face as he was locked in my grip, turning red in the crook of my arm. The back of his heel connected with my calf and the muscle instantly tightened. My body may have been screaming for me to stop, but my determination to win the match had me push through the pain and not let go.
Blowing the whistle, the ref called the match to a close. Releasing him, I limped to my feet and held my ribs trying to catch my breath. I smiled for the cheering crowd as Tito crawled toward his trainer. I wanted to fall down and sprawl out against the cool plastic material, but I couldn’t, not yet at least.
“You won,” Rob yelled in my ear as he smacked me on the back.
I winced, closing my eyes to block everything out. Through gritted my teeth I said, “Fuck, don’t do that shit.” I exhaled slowly with shaky breath before opening my eyes to look at Rob.
His eyes grew wide as he searched my face, honing in on my hand. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
“My fucking ribs. I think they’re broken. I can’t breathe,” I huffed out, struggling to speak.
“Let’s get you checked out. Make sure you didn’t puncture a lung or some shit,” he said as he wrapped his arms around my body and helped me out of the cage.
I closed my eyes and listened to the noise outside the room. Voices carried through the hallways – the cries, yelling, beeping, and telephones made it impossible to rest. I concentrated on my breathing, taking small shallow breathes to stave off the stabbing pain.
“Mr. Gallo,” a voice said from the doorway.
I jerked to sit up but the pain sliced through my chest like a knife stabbing me. I collapsed against the mattress and raised my hand. “Here,” I said before resting my hand on my chest.
Placing her hand on my shoulder, she smiled at me. “I see you’re here for your ribs.”
“What gave that away?” I said, a little pissed off.
She pulled her lips in her mouth hiding her smile. “On a scale of one to ten, how severe is the pain?”
“Seven when I breathe too deep and about a two if I don’t move and take short shallow breaths.”
“I need to remove your shirt,” she said, touching the bottom of my tank top. “This is going to hurt.”
“I can handle it, Doc. Do your worst.”
Her fingertips touched the flesh of my stomach and I twitched as her nail grazed the spot just above my shorts. “Sorry,” she said, blushing. “It may be easier if you sit up. Take my hand,” she said, releasing my tank and holding out her hand to me.
Holding my breath, I used my free hand to pull myself up with her help. It hadn’t been as painful as when I tried it on my own, but wasn’t comfortable either. “Whew,” I said as I inhaled and winced.
“Just sit there, sir, and I’ll do the rest.” Placing her body between my legs, she reached for my shirt again.
When a beautiful woman says she’s going to undress me, then have at it, I’d just sit back and watch.
Her facial features were petite, small nose, high cheekbones, and large hazel eyes. She glanced up at me as she pulled the material up, exposing my stomach. The feel of her fingers moving up the side of my body sent a shiver down my spine.
“Can you raise your arms or shall I cut it off?”
“I can do it.” I raised my arms, smiling through the pain, holding my breath.
“There,” she said, pulling it over my head. Moving to the side of me, she placed one hand on my back and the other on my chest.
Her touch seared my skin.
“Lie back,” she said softly.
With a very serious look on her face, she tried to hold up my body weight as I reclined.
“Which rib is giving you the problem?” she asked, looking down at my chest. She tilted her head; her eyes raked across my skin as her tongue darted out, sweeping against her bottom lip.
I needed to think of something else beside her sexy ass mouth.
Being in this position, a hard-on would be embarrassing.
“Left side.” I tried to think of the fight, or my sister sitting in the waiting room, as her fingertips glided across my skin. I felt the Doc’s touch everywhere, moving down to my toes. I stared at the ceiling and tried to wipe out all thought of her, but it’s pretty fucking impossible when a gorgeous woman is touching me.
“Right here?” she asked, pressing down.
My entire body jerked. My head flew off the tiny crappy pillow and my muscles tensed. “Fuck, Doc. Warn a person first, will ya?”
She bit her lip, her cheeks turning pink. “I’m sorry. Guess I did my worst.” She chuckled. “I think you need an x-ray to be sure you haven’t punctured your lung. How did you do this anyway?”
“I had a fight and the guy kneed me in the rib cage.”
She grimaced and sighed. “Men, I’ll never understand them.”
“Doc,” I placed my hand over hers, stilling her movement before I pitched tent. “It was a pro fight. I don’t do street fights and I’m not into bar room brawls.”
“Not much difference in my eyes when someone ends up here. Violence is violence.”
I said with a grin, “Oh, come on. You’ve never hit someone?”
“Not unless I was defending myself.” She pulled her hands back and picked up the chart from the table next to the gurney.
“Well, I was defending myself from his damn knee,” I laughed. “Ouch, fuck.”
“Did you win?” Raising her eyebrows and cocking her head, she stared at me with parted lips.
I wanted to grab her and sweep my tongue inside her mouth. Show her how a real man does it. My strength wasn’t only good in the ring, but I could hold her against the wall and make her dirty with barely any effort. “I always win.” I grinned, winking at her.
“Cocky bastard,” she muttered under her breath.
“My ribs hurt, but my hearing is fantastic, Doc.”
She ran her hands down her face to hide her smile. “I’m sorry, that was rude of me.”
“Make it up to me with dinner.” I touched her hand and saw her body twitch from the contact.
She felt it too – the connection… the spark between us.
“I don’t date men who use their fists, Mr. Gallo.”
“My hands have many other uses that you’d quite enjoy.”
She swallowed hard enough that I could hear it before she looked down at the chart and back at me. “I don’t date patients or cocky bastards,” she chuckled.
“Don’t know what you’re missing.”
“I have to go order your x-ray, Mr. Gallo, and I have other patients to see. I’ll be back to see you as soon as I get the results.”
“Just think about it, please? You’ve wounded my pride.” Pretending to be hurt I gripped my chest.
“You’re pride is just fine, it’s your lung I’m worried about. Stay put,” she said, as she started to walk away.
“Where would I go? I can’t even sit up without your help.”
“Good, then I’ll know where to find you,” she laughed and