Going the Distance

Once you slap the hell out of the light heavyweight champion of the world on the night of his first loss, how do you convince him to give you an interview? That’s the dilemma Samantha Wellington finds herself in after turning down the most desirable yet foul-mouthed athlete she’s come across. Unfortunately for her, her job depends on getting his interview and this boxer’s not talking.When Trent “The Punisher” Page is humiliated by the spunky reporter, then cornered for an interview, he does what he does best: he plays dirty. He didn’t earn his nickname for being nice, after all. If the little minx wants to know more about him, she’ll have to pay with the one thing she’s not willing to give – herself.Her elements of surprise meet their match in his determination to succeed. With vastly different motivations, can they break down the enemy without jeopardizing themselves?

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“Hey Trent, there’s some broad here to see you,” Ramirez said as he came up to the ring.
Trent stopped circling around his sparring partner and gave Ramirez a disbelieving look. “What broad?”
“I dunno, man. Some reporter.”
“You know I don’t do interviews,” he said, annoyed to be bothered with this. Every guy on his team knew the rules. No reporters, no interviews, at least not from Trent. What was wrong with Ramirez’s brain all of the sudden?
“She’s pretty stubborn, man,” Ramirez shot back. “Said you’d wanna talk to her. Says you know her.”
That got Trent’s attention. He didn’t know any reporters, much less female ones. Despite his better judgment, he indicated to his sparring partner to take a break, then got out of the ring and had Ramirez pull his gloves off.
“Where is she?”
“Out front. Told her to stay put.”
He made his way across the gym, aware that the guys were watching him. This was the first time he was going to talk to a reporter. He had no idea who it could be, but was curious to see who was ballsy enough to show up at his gym and lie about knowing him.
He opened the door and let his eyes adjust to the sunlight as he ran a towel over his sweaty forehead. All he could make out was a shadow approaching, so he stepped to the side until the awning provided some shade. When he laid eyes on the Vegas slapper, his stomach turned. “You got some fucking balls, lady. What’d you want?”
She stopped and ran her gaze over his naked torso. He wanted nothing to do with her, yet he couldn’t help get hard as she licked her big, pouty lips while her eyes continued to stare.
Since coming back home, he’d tried to put her out of his mind. Hell, he’d tried to put that whole fucking night out of his mind, but no luck. His loss in the ring was as much on his mind as the vixen now standing before him. Apparently a hard slap was all it took for a girl to make a lasting impression on him.
A car drove by, reflecting sunlight into her face, which made her take a step forward.
“I’m here for an interview,” she blurted out, blushing.
He gave her a dry look. “You’re joking, right?”
“I know we got off on the wrong foot,” she said, looking serious enough, “but I’m here to give you the chance to do something you’ve never done before.”
A laugh escaped him. “What’s that? Fuck your brains out?”
The thought was appealing, despite how she’d treated him in Vegas, but her expression almost made him take a step back since she looked like she wanted to slap him again.
“Can you for once not talk like a garbage disposal?” she shot back.
His eyebrows rose. “I know you’re not showing up at my gym telling me what to do. Why the fuck are you here?”
She adjusted the strap of her purse on her shoulder and let out a heavy sigh. “I’d like to interview you.”
He didn’t respond, but merely stared at her. She was out of her goddamn mind, first giving him a blow almost as good as Povetkin’s, then asking for favors. She was fidgeting, however, making him wonder if she was nervous.
He let his gaze run over her from head to toe, enjoying seeing her squirm under his scrutiny. She wore a white blouse with an ass-hugging black skirt, black heels, and enough bling for him to notice. Her long, brown hair was tied back in a ponytail, and her face was made up, but flushed from the heat. He hadn’t seen her this clearly at the club in Vegas, and was now taking in her defiant green eyes framed by black lashes, arched eyebrows, rosy cheeks and glossy lips which he could suck on for hours. Or which could do the sucking.
He cursed under his breath, willing himself to stop having such thoughts, otherwise he’d throw her against the wall and fuck her right there while the whole world watched.
“So?” she broke his assessment of her.
“No?” She looked mad.
“That’s right. A big, fat NO, lady.”
She let out another heavy sigh, seeming to consider what to say next. “I’m sorry I slapped you in front of all those people. I know you must have been embarrassed.”
That felt like a bucket of ice hitting him. “I wasn’t fucking embarrassed. But I should hope you’d apologize for acting like a lunatic. So now you wanna take it back?”
She shook her head. “No, you deserved that for what you said.”
He growled.
“I’m apologizing for creating a scene in front of others. I hate drama and that wasn’t my intention.”
He glared at her, not sure what to think. “I don’t have time for this shit,” he finally said, turning to leave.
Her footsteps came up quickly behind him and she grabbed his wrist just like he’d done to her at the club. He looked at her fingers wrapped around him and she immediately dropped his hand.
“Don’t you want to tell the world your side of the story?” she asked.
“My side of what story?”
“Of the fight you lost.”
Now he was starting to see red. “That’s none of your goddamn business and I sure as hell am not going to talk to you or the rest of the world about it.”
She bit her bottom lip.
“I’m surprised you’re even here, since you’ve never heard of me,” he continued.
She merely frowned at that.
“So now I’m no longer a stranger?”
“I know who you are,” she replied dryly.
“Oh good, you’ve done your homework.” He got up in her face. “Then you must know that I don’t do interviews.”
She swallowed, but didn’t back away. Instead, she held his gaze and raised her chin. “Maybe it’s time you get over yourself and break your silence.”
“You’re still talking shit while asking me for a favor?”
“You make it hard to be civilized,” she mumbled, gazing into his eyes and then at his lips.
He couldn’t help but smile for once. “I take that as a compliment.”
“It wasn’t meant to be.”
He reached around and grabbed her ass, pulling her hard against him and enjoying the way her eyes widened with shock.
“Changed your mind about my offer then?”
She pushed against him, and as soon as he saw her hand extend, he caught her wrist midair, inches from his face.
“I haven’t changed my mind about anything,” she gritted while trying to snatch her wrist out of his grip, but he held tight.
“I wouldn’t do that again if I were you,” he said, lowering his head to stare into her eyes. Her lips were so close, he could practically taste them.
That chin didn’t back down though as she said, “Take your own damn advice. Touch my butt again and you’ll find yourself on the ground.

When she got to the gym, Trent was just wrapping up his training, so she told him she’d wait outside. There was no way she was going to wait in his locker room again. The memories of that day would haunt her for the rest of her days.
The man talked like he seriously needed a good smacking upside his head, but he looked like he was made to please a sex-starved woman. And his come-ons weren’t helping either.
She prided herself on being able to control whatever situation she found herself in, but being around him was dangerous. She knew he was teasing her on purpose, and what she should be doing was to walk away, but it was hard to do when he was showing skin and muscles and tattoos like he was the latest circus act. And then he’d touched her cheek and her lips that night after dinner, and she’d just about melted in his hands. She should know better than to fall into his trap. He’d told her from the beginning that he pulled this kind of stuff with every girl coming his way, so why was she not thinking clearly? He didn’t care about her and simply wanted to get her into bed. And yet, she shamelessly wanted him too.
She huffed in frustration just as he walked toward her.
“Our night hasn’t even begun yet and you’re already sighing?” he asked as he approached.
“It’s not going to be our night,” she pointed out and started heading toward her car, “so don’t get your hopes up.”
He stopped walking and scowled at her. “We’re not going back to Hank and Adele’s, are we?”
She started laughing. “No, we’re not. Now come on so we won’t be late.”
“Late for what?”
She unlocked the car and opened her door. “For what I have planned.”
He shot her a sideways glance as they got in. “Should I be worried?”
“Yes,” she teased, starting the car. “Nothing would give me more pleasure than seeing you turn into a scared rabbit.”
He shook his head. “You’re a sadistic little minx.”
She chuckled and drove down Main Street. The windows were rolled down and she breathed in the fresh air. The sun wasn’t setting for another couple of hours and the weather was perfect for a walk in the park, but that didn’t matter since they weren’t going to spend time outdoors. She’d thought long and hard about what she could offer him in exchange for an interview, and ultimately, it had come down to activities that she could afford and that hopefully would make an impact. So far, he hadn’t been too impressed, but she hadn’t expected him to be over the moon with last week’s dinner. It was a slow process and she hoped he would be patient, just as she’d asked him to.
“Do you always drive like a woman possessed?” he cut into her thoughts.
“I have places to be.”
“This fucking second?” he asked, holding on to the grab handle above his head.
She didn’t bother replying, but slowed down. A few minutes later, they parked the car and he looked at her unsure. “Where are we now?”
“At the ice skating rink.”
“You’re fucking kidding, right?”
She shook her head, got out, and noticed him frowning at her over the roof of the car.
“Have you ever been ice skating before?” she asked.
“Today you can cross that off your bucket list.”
“No fucking way.”
His brows came down low over his eyes. “Because I don’t skate.”
“Don’t be such a chicken, Punisher. You’ll like it,” she said, slamming the door shut and walking toward the entrance. She heard him slam his door and follow her.
“I’m not fucking scared,” he shot back behind her.
“So what’s the problem, then?”
He grumbled and sped up until he caught up to her. “The problem is, I don’t wanna do this.”
She stopped and faced him. “Did we make a bargain or not?”
He looked into her face. “Yes.”
“And did that bargain state that I would make it worth your time?”
“Then trust me and come on. You might actually enjoy yourself. And if all else fails, you can always hold my hand.”
He didn’t seem amused.
“Trent, how about you get out of your comfort zone and try something new? I’m not here to torture you. It’s ice skating, for Christ’s sake.”
She hadn’t realized it would be this difficult to talk him into doing such a harmless activity. Good Lord, you’d think she was asking him to jump out of an airplane.
He inhaled deeply and walked toward the entrance without another word. She got the tickets and led the way to the rental station, where he wasn’t pleased about having to put on skates that other people had worn.
“I forgot, you’re used to gold shoes on your feet, your highness,” she teased as she laced up her skates.
He mumbled under his breath and struggled with his laces. She knelt before him and proceeded to tie the skates for him.
“When I pictured you on your knees, this isn’t what I had in mind,” he said, looking down at her.
“Well, maybe you shouldn’t be picturing me on my knees,” she shot back and pulled the laces tight.
“You’d rather I picture you on your back?”
She focused on the second foot. “Actually, I’d rather you didn’t picture me at all.”
“I can’t make that promise, babe, cause I picture you all the time. In bed, in the shower, in the kitchen.”
Her head shot up. “The kitchen?”
He gave her a devastating grin. “What do you think kitchen counters are for?”
“Prepping food?”
He laughed. “Not in my house.”
“Ugh,” she grunted and pulled the laces as snug as she could. “Remind me to never eat off your counters.”
“That would mean that you’d actually step foot in my house. Did we get to that level already?”
She tugged his pants over the skates and stood up. “We’re never going to reach that level, Trent. Not in a million years.”
He got up and was unsteady on his feet, so she reached out to support him.
“In that case, I’ll just have to let my imagination do its job,” he concluded, trying to balance.