disclaimer, blahblahblah, in part 1
It was surprisingly easy for Marie to reconcile the vicious cage brawler
of the previous night with the man who was, at the moment, playing an
endless game of fetch with Fred in the motel parking lot.
It was a little more difficult to understand the man who left them to
freeze their butts off by the side of the road, then relented and gave
them a ride, and *then* gruffly offered to pay for her motel room last
night if she couldn't afford one.
Normally that would have set Marie off because, damn it, she could take
care of herself. And coming from anyone else, she might have thought he
was suggesting something different than a decent night's sleep. But
something about Logan seemed too honorable for that, and she was able to
calmly turn him down. She even managed to thank him for the offer.
She chuckled a little and shifted on the concrete block she was sitting
on. The man was certainly a puzzle. It was a little disturbing how safe
she felt with him, though. Marie, the girl who didn't trust anybody,
actually fell asleep in the truck with him. She tried to remember the
last time she'd felt so comfortable with someone. It must have been
Chicago, nearly a year before, she decided. Of course, that almost
didn't count, as her time in Chicago was mostly a big, drunken blur.
But speculating about Logan was much more fun than pondering her own
sorry life. And the man wasn't bad to look at, either, she thought as he
bent over to pick up the tennis ball he'd bought for Fred.
*You know boys are only after one thing,* the Momma-voice reminded her.
*And after they get it ...*
Yeah, no shit.
She knew exactly what boys were after, but it occurred to her it might
be fun to find out what exactly *men* were after. Immediately, she took
back the thought. The last thing she needed was to add something else to
her list of mistakes and regrets.
Logan laughed out loud at Fred's antics, and she sighed. No mistakes, no
matter how tempting.
Then he turned and shot her a charmingly childlike grin before tossing
the ball to her. She caught it without thinking, just before Fred
crashed into her, knocking her to the ground.
She lay on the ground, staring at the sky, until Logan moved into her
view. "Come on, lazy," he said, pulling her to her feet. "Let's get
something to eat."
They ate at what was apparently the only restaurant in town, a diner
just down the street from the motel. Marie crumbled crackers into her
soup and looked out the front window. Just down the street was a pretty
"That where you're fightin'?"
"You like fightin' for money?" she asked.
He shrugged. "It's a living."
"What do you do?" he asked her.
It was her turn to shrug. "I work wherever I find something. Bartending,
waitressing, stuff like that. Once, I was a stripper."
He froze, his eyes narrowing. "You're kidding," he said finally.
"Yep." She grinned. "But I thought about it. There's big money in
He shook his head. "A girl like you shouldn't be doing something like
"A girl like me?"
"A nice girl," he said seriously.
She choked on her soup. "A *nice* girl? Are you on crack or somethin'?"
"A nice girl with attitude," he amended.
She rolled her eyes.
"Where are you from, anyway?" he asked.
Marie nibbled on her grilled cheese sandwich and debated with herself.
She never told anyone the truth about herself. Ever. She made up wild
stories, borrowed stories she'd heard from other people, or else told
them to mind their own damn business.
"Mississippi," she answered honestly, surprising herself.
"Nope." Well, that was a lie. But no way was she getting into that
"What's in Anchorage?"
Marie sat back and fiddled with her silverware. She didn't really have
an answer to that. Anchorage was just a place she'd always wanted to
see, and she certainly didn't have anywhere else to go. She shrugged.
"I'll find out when I get there, I guess," she said.
"Look," he said. "I can ... I'll give you a ride as far as Anchorage if
"I'd appreciate it," she smiled gratefully at him. Without a car,
traveling with Fred was a challenge sometimes. That obviously wouldn't
be a problem with Logan. He was half in love with the mutt already.
"It's no big deal," he said gruffly. "I'm sort of heading that way
They finished their meal mostly in silence and waited for the check.
Marie watched Logan's hands, mesmerized, as he played with his glass.
Damn, the man had beautiful hands, she thought, as he rubbed his thumbs
up and down, trailing through the condensation on the glass. She
wondered what they would feel like on her skin.
"So, you comin'?" he asked.
"Uh ... I ... huh?"
"Tonight? To watch the fights?" he said, looking at her strangely.
"Um." Marie flushed. Fights? Right. Fights. Her mind had gone to a very
different place. What a time for her to develop a libido. "Um ... yeah.
I'll be there."
"I figured," he said, smirking.
"What do you mean by that?"
"Well," he sat back. "You know, by the way you were checking me out last
"I was *not* checking you out!" Her exclamation drew the attention of
almost all the diner's patrons, but she was beyond caring. She was
outraged, though honestly, she *had* been checking him out, and who
could blame her?
"I was only watching because I'm always fascinated by the dumb-ass
things people will do for money."
"You arrogant bastard," she hissed. "I don't think there's enough room
here for both of us and your ego." Marie got up, grabbed her coat and
stormed toward the door. She remembered the check just as she heard him
laughing behind her.
Screw it, she thought. Let the jerk pay.
She burned off her mad taking a walk around town, then spent the rest of
the day and evening watching game shows and sitcoms and taking a nap
with Fred, who was a champion napper.
By 8 p.m., she had showered and put on a clean pair of jeans and a
wine-colored sweater. Leaving Fred behind, she headed for the bar.
Logan sat on a stool at the bar, smoking a cigar and glaring at people.
She grinned. The bar's patrons apparently knew enough to stay away from
him, since several stools on either side of him were empty.
"Hey, sugar," she said, sitting next to him. "Buy a girl a drink?"
He looked at her for a moment, then smiled faintly. "Beer?"
"How 'bout a diet Coke?" she suggested. "Alcohol and Marie don't really
mix. Or, actually, they mix a little too well."
Logan ordered her drink and leaned on the bar. "Didn't know if you were
"Hey, couldn't miss a chance to drool over your manly chest," she said,
only halfway joking.
"Well," she drawled, "I figure I can win some money bettin' on you,
sugar. So don't lose."
"Not a possibility, darlin'," he said.
She rolled her eyes. "Look out for the rapidly expanding ego, folks."
Logan went into the cage a few minutes later and started pounding the
crap out of the idiots who were dumb enough to challenge him. Marie
found herself getting more turned on, watching his lean muscles
straining and the sweat rolling off his body.
Damn, girl, get a grip on yourself!
Becoming some trashy fight groupie was really not in her plans for the
future. Although, technically, she really didn't have many plans for the
future at all, and the man was looking so hot ...
Just then one of the aforementioned trashy fight groupies sauntered up
to the cage with a glass of bourbon and handed it to Logan before coming
back to the bar. She slid on a stool nearby and laughed. "I'm gettin' me
some of that tonight," she told her friend next to her.
Think again, bimbo.
If anyone was going to lay hands on that prime piece of man brawling in
the cage, it wasn't going to be some big-hair-havin', spandex-wearin',
whiskey-drinkin' skank. It was going to be Marie Catherine Gordon, and
nobody else. The end. That's all she wrote. Call the fat lady and tell
her to get singin', 'cause it's all over, baby.
Her decision made, Marie reveled in the desire that flooded her body.
She was going to have this. She was going to have him. It might be a
mistake, but she imagined it would be worth some trouble later on to
have those hands on her body now.
Of course, Logan easily beat all his challengers, and Marie cashed in on
her bets with a smile. Logan walked up as she sat at the bar, counting
her money. "Hey, Wolvie," she said, grinning. "You made me a couple
hundred dollars. Now *I* can buy *you* a drink."
She stood up, brushing her body against his deliberately as she shoved
the cash in her jeans pocket. She sank back onto the stool and smiled at
He moved closer, nudging her legs apart and standing between them. "I
could feel you watching me," he said, sliding his hands up her thighs.
"Admit it. You were checking me out."
Marie grinned and shrugged. "Yeah. So? What're you gonna do about it?"
"I can think of several things," he said, hands squeezing her thighs
slightly. Her breath caught in her throat, and she shivered at the tone
in his voice. She decided maybe now would be a good time to adjourn to a
more private location.
"You owe me some money, bitch," a man said angrily next to them. Marie
recognized him as one of the men Logan had beaten to a pulp. The right
side of his face was already one big bruise. "You and your mutie freak
There were so many things wrong with that statement. Where to begin? She
settled on the most obvious. "I bet on him because it was obvious he
could kick your pansy ass halfway across the state," she said calmly.
Logan snorted out a laugh.
Marie stood up slowly, rubbing against Logan again. Mostly just because
she could. "Maybe we should go," she suggested.
What happened next was so fast she never quite grasped what was going
on. One minute, she was standing pressed up against Logan, the next
minute, she was on her ass on the floor behind him where he'd shoved
Before she could complain, she noticed that the other man had pulled out
a knife. As he lunged toward Logan, there was an odd noise, and six huge
metal claws popped out of Logan's knuckles. The bar went entirely
"Holy shit," Marie murmured, the sound magnified by the quiet of the
The man across from Logan had frozen, all the color drained out of his
face by the shock.
Marie heard the strange sound again, and the blades vanished. Logan
turned and helped her up. He settled her back one the stool, and giving
one last glare at the room, he walked out.
~end part 2~
Amy (graciously) criticised the artistic parts of the story, and offered
hints for a sequel, which unfortunately couldn't be carried out, as the
hero and the heroine were dead.
~~ Little Women