Pinstriped – CHAPTER 1*
“One! Two! Punch! Kick!” Diesel Reed barked at the sweat-drenched woman before him, who attacked the padded hand mitts he held to his rhythmic commands. Despite his sharp tone, he admired his beautiful client—Carina Parker—who stood in a perfect fighting stance, ready to lay into the mitts with a roundhouse kick. Her face bore a look of a determined warrior, as she fought to get back in shape through fitness kickboxing. Five days a week, two hours a day, Diesel gave her the intense personal training she desired. Diesel admired her hard work and dedication, but there was something else about her that intrigued him. Something deeper. He sensed a deliciously sexy edge of this plus-sized woman that was kept hidden under her self-doubt. How could someone like her not be happy with herself? In the two months he’d known her, he’d kept this and other questions to himself, knowing it wasn’t ethical to prod into a client’s personal life.
Diesel watched her body move. Her big belly, voluptuous breasts, and matching round ass, all of which he adored, were the most noticeable aspects of her weight. She was thicker than the average woman, but hardly out of shape, compared to some of his past clients. Carina was perfect. She wore the weight well and looked especially sexy in spandex, which revealed every curve. The bottom of her grey, sweat-soaked tank top was hiked up slightly, revealing a small portion of her bare, caramel-toned belly beneath.
He swallowed, his weakness for curves sending shockwaves of pleasure straight to his dick. So what if she was a client? He’d love to get to know her more. For the few months he’d trained her, he’d watched her transform from a timid, self-conscious doe who was afraid to set foot in his gym, to a sassy tigress.
A tigress… A mate…
The hand mitts yielded to another one of Carina’s swift, accurate punches, and he snapped out of his thoughts. They’d been going at the drill for fifteen minutes straight, and she continued pushing herself harder.
“You’re doing great, Ri,” he lauded. “Again.”
Carina gritted her teeth and slammed a roundhouse kick into the left mitt. The impact moved him back an inch. Damn. Her beauty was matched by her strength—just two of many things he loved in a woman.
His arm flew back from the force of a powerful punch, and he started, his fantasies dissolving.
Carina huffed. “How’s that?”
Fucking amazing. He grinned and lowered the mitts. “Damn, girl, I know grown men built like football players that can’t hit as hard as you.”
She let out an airy chuckle. “So you’re saying I hit like a girl?”
“A girl? Hell no. You hit like a badass woman!”
“That’s because I have a drill sergeant of a trainer.”
“Hey, I’m not that bad…” He paused, then smirked coyly. “Unless you want me to be.”
“Have I not sweated enough?” She plopped down on a nearby bench. She retrieved a water bottle from her black gym bag and tilted her head back, guzzling half its contents. A trickle of water dripped down the side of her mouth, her neck, then trailed down her chest, where it disappeared in her cleavage. What he wouldn’t give to chase that lucky little drop of water with his tongue.
His gaze then flicked to her tank top, where the small beads of her nipples visibly protruded beneath. The stretchy ribbed fabric strained across the span of her captivating breasts, which jiggled and bounced with the rest of her body’s movements. He drifted off in his thoughts again, to his private office in the back of the gym, and Carina splayed topless across his desk while his mouth had his way with her nipples—licking her, sucking her, and teasing her until she screamed his name. His dick steeled at the fantasy. His vision blurred, and for a moment, the colors in his vision began to dull—a clear sign of his eminent losing control of his tiger. He clenched his jaw as he fought with every ounce of his willpower to reel in the beast that fought to rip through his subconscious and claim this woman.
“So how much longer do you think it will take me to lose this?”
Diesel snapped his gaze back to her face. The colors in his vision returned to their vibrant hue. Gathering himself, he felt the animal in him return to its slumber. She was looking back at him expectantly, and part of him wondered if she’d caught him staring at her breasts. “Come again?”
She gave him a look and pinched and jiggled a handful of her belly fat. “I’m working so hard and I still can’t lose an inch. How much longer do I have to keep going through this sweaty hell?”
His attention zeroed in on the way she grabbed herself, and he swallowed, wishing she’d hadn’t done that. Pain surged to his hardened dick, as he wished he were the one grabbing her like that. He gritted his teeth and let out a small hiss. “I can’t… tell you when you’ll lose it,” he said, through the pain. Fuck… please don’t lose that sexy belly.
Rolling her eyes, she shouldered her bag and stood from the bench. “I guess I should’ve known better than to ask you.”
“You shouldn’t be so worried about it, anyway.”
Her eyebrows shot up, and she looked at him as though he were from another planet. “Are you serious, D? I’m thirty-five and still single because I had to learn the hard way that guys don’t like girls with too much weight in the middle.”
A low growl rumbled in his throat. He’d love to meet the bastard who told her she had too much weight and fuck him up until he was unrecognizable. “You just haven’t met the right guy,” Diesel said, trying to sound as calm as possible.
“I’ve met enough of you so-called ‘decent’ guys to know your real tastes in women. Trust me. This southern girl’s had more bad luck than a mouse in a tiger’s den.”
He fought down his smile, her strange analogy amusing him. “Hey, don’t lump me with the assholes you’ve been with.”
She looked at him for a moment then laughed. That laugh. So contagious, so sexy. “You’re right. You’re nothing like them. You’re my personal trainer, helping me to better myself. That’s more than I can say about those other guys.” She turned and started walking away. “Later, D.”
He ogled at the way her ample ass moved as she walked toward the women’s showers. Every day she walked off like that, he’d gotten a better view as it became a little more defined from the training. She might have not yet lost the belly fat like she wanted, but she sure as hell gained an even better ass. He’d been caught up with this woman since the day she’d first walked through the door of his gym, but she seemed determined to impress someone else.
He couldn’t bear to see her end up with another abusive asshole. But it seemed she had no intentions on giving him a chance. To her, he was just her trainer, and this was just a mutual teacher/student relationship. But his tiger demanded a mate—demanded her, and the beast would stop at nothing to obtain its prize.
The women’s bathroom door closed behind Carina, and Diesel once again became aware of the sights and sounds of the rest of the gym. It was four o’clock—time to get the hell out of here while the rest of his staff handled things until closing time. It was good to be the boss when he could set his own hours, and his awesome staff made the workload much easier.
Diesel was packing away his equipment in his gym bag, when something small and white poked out from one of the bag’s inner pockets. A business card. Curious, he picked it up and examined it:
Paranormal Dating Agency
Mrs. Gerri Wilder, Owner
Free consultation. 100% matchmaking guarantee!
He snorted at the card, remembering the day Vinny, one of his employees, slipped the card on his desk as a joke. Diesel had no luck in finding a mate back then, and he was among the few gym staff who were still single.
These days, he was the only one, and his staff had pretty much given up on the joke, convinced that he was content living a solitary life. In some ways, he was, being a tiger by nature. But the loneliness in his cabin only took him so far before thoughts of his past life haunted him. It was one of the reasons why he chose to move away from his old clan and begin a new life.
Diesel read the business card again and frowned. “100% matchmaking guarantee,” eh? Could Gerri persuade Carina to desire him? With that thought, he slipped the card back in his bag and wondered what it would take for this mysterious Gerri Wilder to perform such an apocalyptic-sized matchmaking miracle.
*This is an uncorrected proof version and is subject to change.
Pinstriped releases 4/10/2018 only on Amazon!