Kyle's Return
though. I was curious to see if he’d be up
for it. But when you hesitated, I knew you’d say no.”
    Eyes wide, I bumped his speed up faster and moved
closer. “You were serious?”
    Sweat started to bead on his brow and he chuckled.
“Why not? You’re hot. I thought it could be fun. But I can see now
your tastes are for something different.” He nodded toward Kyle who
was off in the corner lifting weights. “Don’t even try to deny it,
    Rolling my eyes, I dialed his speed down. “You’re too
    He blew a kiss at me and winked. “But you still love
me. Just remember, the offer still stands.”
    Shaking my head, I waved at him and started for Kyle.
His back was to me, so I sat down on a weight bench, waiting for
him to turn around.
    “I know you’re there, love.”
    “I just wanted to say hey before I disappear. I have
a class to teach in just a few.”
    He set his weights down and wiped his forehead before
turning around. “Will I see you afterward?”
    “If you’re still here in another hour you will. I
have some good news.” Tyler came out from the back so I stood and
straightened my smile. “I’ll tell you later, okay?”
    Kyle noticed my hesitation and nodded. “I’ll be
    I walked away, hating the look of rejection on his
face. Most would say he deserved it, but he hadn’t done anything to
hurt me. The room I used for my self-defense classes was nicely
sized with mirrors along the front wall like a dance studio. It was
perfect for my group, considering they felt more comfortable away
from the prying eyes of other gym patrons.
    With only ten minutes to spare, I sat down on the
floor and stretched. Sherry came waltzing in and sidled up next to
me, copying my movements. Once all ten ladies showed up, we were
ready to get started.
    “All right, lovelies, tonight’s session is going to
be with just me. Tyler will be joining us again in a few weeks. How
about we spend the first fifteen refreshing on what we’ve already
learned and then afterward I’ll show you a whole new move.” After I
put them with partners, I walked by and helped each of them.
“You’re doing great, guys. I pity any man who tries to mess with
    That earned a few giggles and the energy in the room
built. I loved pumping them up because that was what they needed .
. . confidence. “Okay, let’s move on, ladies. Who wants to partner
with me for a minute? I want to demonstrate a move Gabriella
Reynolds showed me. As you all know, she’s a UFC fighter and holds
the women’s Bantamweight title.”
    Olivia raised her hand and moved forward. Out of
everyone in the group, she was the one who was most lucky to be
alive. She was twenty-eight years old with innocent, big blue eyes
and long, silky blonde hair, but married a man who was a raging
alcoholic. He was dead now, after she’d stabbed him in the neck
with a glass shard from the same bottle he broke against her face.
She healed, but you could still see the scars on her skin.
    I smiled as she approached and put my arm around her.
“Olivia, it’s good to see you again. Everyone, I’m going to have
Olivia lie on the floor. Just watch the first time and then you can
practice on your partners.” We got into position and I demonstrated
what they should do if an attacker were to pin them to the ground.
They had several options and I was going to show them every single
one. After the first demonstration, Olivia did as instructed and
knocked me off.
    “That’s great, Olivia. I could feel the force behind
it even though I know you don’t want to hurt me.”
    “She can practice on me,” a voice called out. All
eyes turned to the door and my heart leapt.
    I rushed toward the door. “Kyle, what are you
    He looked at the ladies and then back to me. “I want
to help. They wouldn’t need to hold back in fear of hurting me. Let
me join so they can do whatever they want to me.”
    It was actually a good idea, but he had no idea what
he was

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