Pinstriped – CHAPTER 1*
“One! Two! Punch! Kick!” Diesel Reed barked at the sweat-drenched woman before him as she attacked his padded hand mitts to his rhythmic commands. Despite his sharp tone, he adored 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 the 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 that, under her self-doubt, this plus-sized woman hid a deliciously sexy edge. 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 plump 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 carried the weight well and looked especially sexy in spandex, which revealed every curve. The bottom of her gray, 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’s a client? He’d love to get to know her more. 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 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 said. “Again.”
Carina gritted her teeth and slammed a roundhouse kick into the left mitt. The impact moved him back an inch. Damn. Her strength matched her beauty—just two of the 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 and 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 protruded. 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, where he could have 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 sight began to dull—a clear sign that losing control of his tiger was imminent. 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?”
Giving him a look, she 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 hadn’t done that. Pain surged to his hardened dick, and 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 would love to meet the bastard who’d told her she had too much weight. I would fuck him up until he’s 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.”
Amused by her strange analogy, he fought down his smile. “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 her ample ass 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 had gained an even better ass. He’d been caught up with this woman since the day she 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 she didn’t seem to have any intentions of giving him a chance. To her, he was just her trainer, and theirs was just a simple 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 there 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, had slipped the card onto his desk as a joke. That was almost two years ago. 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. That was one of the reasons he’d chosen to move away from his old clan and begin a new life.
Diesel read the business card again and frowned. “100% matchmaking guarantee,” eh? Maybe this Gerri person would be able to help him find a mate. With that thought, he slipped the card back into his bag and wondered what it would take for this mysterious Gerri Wilder to perform an apocalyptic-sized matchmaking miracle.
*This is an uncorrected proof version and is subject to change.
Pinstriped releases 4/10/2018 only on Amazon!