Is it too late for a sample sunday? 😉
Bella and Princeton have been screaming at me to share a little somethin’, somethin’ even though they’re not due until October. But since they (and all my author franz on Twitter LMAO) were so loud about unveiling themselves, here’s a teaser of what’s to come.
(Note: Sample is copyrighted, unedited, and subject to change)
They said I was supposed to have it – exude it – but I was losing all bets as I sat in the media section a few rows beyond the front of the ring, cringing every time Princeton Lattimore, better known as The Prince, threw a jab at his opponent’s chin. The poor guy didn’t stand a chance, outsized, outmatched, out-everything. Yet here he was, taking a brutal pounding for a check with enough zeros to cover his medical expenses and beyond.
Boxing was outrageous.
I wasn’t even sure how I became responsible for doing the write-up about this match. I knew the basics of sports, but it wasn’t exactly my thing, especially a sport as technical as boxing. And maybe that was why my boss wanted me here, to challenge me, force me out of my writerly comfort zone that usually focused strictly on pop culture and entertainment.
The roar of the crowd knocked me out of my daze, everyone standing up from their seats as The Prince delivered punches that seemed even stronger than the ones before according to the way his opponent’s head was flinging every which way until the referee slipped between them. And while my immediate reaction was to feel terrible about watching this man get his ass kicked live and in color, seeing the smile on The Prince’s face as his arms shot up in victory completely stole my attention.
He was… beautiful, if that was something you could call a 6’6”, 249 lb man who just beat another man’s face in. But there was a playful glitter to his eyes as he celebrated with his team of trainers, an extra charm to his smile that included dimples deep enough for me to see from my seat, and after spitting his mouthpiece out into one of his trainer’s hand, I realized that also included a perfect set of teeth, reminding me of his undefeated status.
As I watched their celebration, I made myself busy jotting down a bunch of notes in my phone for later; things I found interesting about the interactions amongst his camp, my observations of his demeanor going from serious and focused to fun and spirited – almost childlike. Even if I couldn’t write about sports specifically, I never had a problem writing about people. And Princeton Lattimore was already proving himself to be a very interesting person.
I quickly switched my phone from the notes app to the one I used for recording as the commentator took to the ring to conduct a post-fight interview just after it was announced that The Prince was still the champion; as if that was ever in question. And while my intentions were to snag a quote or two I could use in my write-up, it didn’t take long for me to once again get lost in the man himself as he thanked God, shouted out his father and camp, and then gave playful, runaround answers about what was next for his career, until it came to who he wanted to defend his title against.
“You have to fight the best of the best to be considered the best. And that’s the only thing I give a fuck about.”
The crowd gave another satisfied roar as I bit back my smile, finding the obvious determination in his response wildly attractive. In fact, everything about The Prince was becoming more attractive the longer I watched him maneuver around the ring, shaking hands and giving hugs to people important enough to already be in the ring with him, stopping to smile for pictures with fans of all ages, even going over to check on his opponent who was still moving about slowly in his corner. In fact, he seemed so concerned for the guy’s well-being that you would’ve thought he wasn’t the one responsible for putting him in that condition in the first place.
I suppose I could appreciate his sportsmanship.
As The Prince made himself busy bidding farewells, I settled back into my seat and jotted down more information, being sure to note how much it seemed as if Princeton was really a gentle giant.
A gentle giant who just gave another man a concussion with his hands.
Yeah, there was nothing gentle about that. But the hardened, angry man from the fight seemed far from the man who had just stopped to take a picture with a kid, bending down to match the kid’s fisting pose with one of his own and giving a smile that beamed throughout the now mostly-emptied arena.
The man was gorgeous.
I did my best to shake it off, quickly typing out the last few tidbits I wanted to make note of though I already knew what angle I would be taking with my article; an angle that would surely be different than the thousands of other articles that would be written about this fight. Most journalists would focus on the act, the fight, the beatdown. But me, I planned on focusing on the person responsible for it.
Just as I was putting my phone back in my purse, a security guard was motioning to tell me I had to clear the area. And after flashing my press badge, I slipped past him towards the backstage grounds, thinking I may be able to catch one last glimpse of tonight’s hero before I made my way home to work on the article about him.
To my surprise, it only took a few turned corners to find his dressing room, made obvious by the steady flow of people going in and out. But when I finally made my way deep enough into the room to spot him, I wasn’t at all surprised to find him flanked by women in dresses tiny enough to make me blush as I watched them both force engagements The Prince didn’t seem too interested in. In fact, it was almost as if he was purposely dodging their attempts for attention, his face scrunched as he blew them off with a wave of his hand.
One eventually decided to move on to a guy I remembered from Princeton’s team and the other made herself busy on her phone as Princeton answered a few questions from a reporter. But once the reporter was gone, phone girl was back, tossing a disgusted eye at her friend as if she was turning against her in order to earn her spot as The Prince’s girl for the night. And this time, he actually seemed interested, offering a smile as he put a heavy hand against her cheek that had her closing her eyes in ecstasy. But just as quickly, he snatched it away, the disappointment on her face settling in a few short moments later once she realized he had once again dodged her to do another interview.
He was mid-response when he peeked up at me with those piercing, hazel brown eyes, my heart skipping a beat and whatever I was thinking about was quickly replaced with erotic thoughts of him as his seemingly-bored expression turned into a grin that rivaled the one he gave his fans in the arena. I tried my best to regain my composure, taking a deep breath and pulling my shoulders back before I approached him. But my approach prompted him to stand up from his seat, only reminding me of his great, dominating stature.
Still, I at least wanted to keep it professional, waiting for the reporter to finish before I extended my hand his way. “Hello Mr. Lattimore. I just wanted to tell you congratulations. On the win. You were great out there.”
I could feel him taking me all in, tempting me to blush as he accepted my hand. “Appreciate that, love. Who you here with?” he asked, peeking behind me as if he expected the explanation to be there.
I flashed my badge similarly to the way I had done for the security guard when I answered, “I’m actually here for work. I’m a journalist. I write for FullestDisclosure.com. They sent me to cover the fight.”
Having to say it out loud only reminded me of how outlandish it sounded considering I didn’t know the half about boxing. And thankfully The Prince didn’t grill me on it, instead asking a simple, “Did you enjoy it?”
“I mean… yeah. It was good. You did your thing and all that,” I replied with a wave of my hand, avoiding his eyes that seemed to be zeroing in on me with every word I spoke. Almost as if he could see right through my bullshit of a response.
Still, he once again saved me from making a complete fool of myself when he asked, “You got a card on you?”
He took a step closer, peering down at me with a boyish grin as he explained, “So I can find your article later. I’d be interested to read what you have to say about the fight, interested to peep your perspective.”
“Right,” I breathed, his closeness enough to have me fumbling through my purse to find what he was asking for. And of course the only one I could get my hands on was a coffee-stained version that I should’ve thrown away weeks ago. Still, since it was my only copy, I handed it his way with an apology. “Sorry. This one got a little wet but you can still read the information.”
He accepted the card that looked especially dainty in his large hands which still had lines of evidence from the handwraps he wore under his gloves, pinching it between his fingertips as he read, “Bella Stevenson. Nice to meet you.”
“Pleasure’s all mine, Prince,” I gushed a little too easily for my liking, my flirtatious tone totally inappropriate for the circumstance. But it felt as if I couldn’t help myself, his gaze, his presence, his… energy a thousand times more potent now that we were sharing a space.
Still, since that wasn’t exactly a good excuse for my actions, I was just about ready to apologize when he replied, “Princeton. Please call me Princeton.”
“Well Princeton, I hope you enjoy your night. You’ve definitely earned it,” I told him with a smile that could only be interpreted as friendly.
“Yeah? You think so?” he asked, his eyebrow piqued and his innocent grin replaced with a look of… uncertainty.
Is he serious right now?
It was possible that Princeton just wanted his ego stroked, possible that he was used to people – especially women – being overly complimentary of his talent and expected the same from me. But something about his expression read otherwise, as if he was really uneasy about his performance in the ring. And since that seemed ridiculous, my face was scrunched when I replied, “Uh… is that really a question? Because if it is, we can surely go ask ol’ boy who got his face smashed in what he thinks about it. And that’s if he can even remember the fight happening.”
He brushed me off with a quiet chuckle. “Couple days in a dark room and he’ll be aight.”
“That sounds really depressing,” spilled out before I could contain it as I tried to make sense of why anyone would subject themselves to such torture.
But once again, Princeton only brushed me off. “It’s the name of our game, love. It’s what we do. All we know.”
Even if he thought so, I was quick to clarify, “All they know. I mean, they’re the ones taking a beating. Not you, Mr. Undefeated.”
The boyish smile returned, though it didn’t exactly match his response. “It’s still a risk every time I step in the ring, and I’d be a fool to take any of my opponents lightly. Every fighter has a puncher’s chance.”
While I could appreciate his humble mentality, and would be sure to include my impression of that in my write-up, I couldn’t help but tease, “Well I guess you’ve just been lucky enough to have never been laid out on your back.”
“I don’t mind being on my back every once in awhile, Bella.”