EXCERPT FROM ON THE BRINK
They arranged to meet in Hart’s dorm room in Fueger Hall during a time when his roommate Austin had class.
Under his wool coat and scarf, Jeremy wore jeans and a long sleeve, Holtzer U T-shirt and Hart could detect a spicy cologne, even over the stench of Austin’s crap. He resisted the urge to lean closer so he could smell it more.
“So, have you ever been in a fight?” Hart asked.
Jeremy colored. “Not really. I shoved a guy once, but he backed off.”
“Well, like I’ve been telling you, I think that might change sometime soon and you need to be ready. So, let’s start with the number one thing. Keep your damn eyes open. Be hyper-aware when you’re going to or getting gout of your car because that’s how the haters will be identifying you.”
“Yeah, I think that’s what happened last time. I was so stupid. I got this weird feeling but I ignored it because so many people had been telling me how great they think the car looks.”
“Trust your weird feelings. All the time. Better to be safe than sorry.”
“Yeah, no kidding.”
“Obviously, if you can avoid the fight by getting away or locking yourself in your car, that’s best, but that might not always be possible. So, let’s start with a basic block. Say someone’s got you by the shirt and is punching you like this.”
Hart got a fistful of Jeremy’s shirt and pretended to punch him in the face. Jeremy had no reaction of course. Except for cringing. Jesus. Hart dropped his hands.
“What you want to do is, pretend you’re answering your phone. Good. Now flatten your hand so it’s covering your ear and raise your elbow so your arm is protecting your face…exactly. Now block me.” Hart made as if to punch him again and Jeremy was a little slow to perform the move, but when Hart did it again and again, he got better.
“Okay, I think we have that down. The next thing I want to show you is what to do if they grab you by the throat. You ever watch MMA?”
“Well, in MMA, you can’t wrench a guy’s fingers and you know why that is?”
“Because you’ll break them?”
“Yup. So grab me by the throat.”
Jeremy did and Hart tried not to think about how their bodies were touching—Jeremy’s front to Hart’s back. If he didn’t fixate on the fact that Jeremy’s groin was pressed up against his ass right now, he’d be fine.
He exhaled hard. “Okay, good. Now what you want to do is grab one or two of the guy’s fingers and pull them backwards as hard as you can, like this.”
“Ow, shit. That hurts!”
Hart nodded. “And I was barely even pulling. You do that really hard and I guarantee they’ll let go of your throat.”
Next, Hart showed him what to do if someone jumped him from behind. Granted, this wasn’t something he’d known before. Hart had realized he hadn’t been in enough recent non-hockey fights to know what to do, so he’d done some research. There were a lot of great how-to’s on the internet. He also showed Jeremy all the vulnerable areas and how to fight dirty, because that’s what Jeremy needed. Jeremy was fit and muscular with cut abs, but he was also pretty lean, so he needed some tricks to even things up. Number one was going to be the element of surprise, because the asswipes who jumped him weren’t going to expect him to know how to fight. They were going to be expecting a pushover and Hart was determined to make Jeremy anything but.
After about an hour of sparring, Jeremy was jabbing at Hart’s face with a palm strike and he accidentally made firm contact.
“Fuck!” Hart turned away, a hand to his mouth.
“Hart, shit. I’m sorry. Are you okay? Let me see.”
As Jeremy peered closely at Hart’s lower lip still apologizing, Hart forgot about the pain. He stilled. His heartbeat stumbled and he felt a strong surge of heat in his groin. Jeremy’s thumb brushed gently across his lower lip and Hart had trouble breathing.
“I’m fine,” he said. His mouth didn’t seem to want to work right.
“It’s not bleeding,” Jeremy said. “Does it hurt?”
Hart took a slow, deep breath. “No.” It was the truth. He felt absolutely zero pain.
They stood there for a moment, staring at each other. Hart couldn’t seem to move. The sharp smell of Jeremy’s sweat stung his nostrils. It woke up his entire body, and he wasn’t sure if he liked it.
Available June 28, 2016!
by Kate Willoughby
Released: June 28, 2016
Series: In the Zone #0.5
Published by Self Published
Due to popular demand, Kate Willoughby brings you Hart Griffin and Jeremy Fenton's origin story. Find out how these two met and fell in love...
Holtzer University junior Hart Griffin won't let anything interfere with his future as a professional hockey player. No way, no how. He's the star forward of his college team and a first round NHL draft pick.
One hot night with a male super fan calls into question everything Hart thought he knew about his sexuality and launches him on a soul-searching journey in which nothing is as it seems and his entire world is turned upside down.