TAKE DOWN: Chapter one excerpt!
The Billionaire’s Club: New Orleans trilogy is now complete! Are you ready for Gabriel? Read on for the first look at Gabriel’s story in TAKE DOWN!
Powerful. Dominant, Unforgettable. He commands submission at all costs. Cage fighter, Gabriel Devereaux, a man of barely leashed power, is known as the Bayou Beast. There is one woman he will do anything , pay any amount to possess. Karina Armistead has come a long way from the innocent girl Gabriel used to know. An internationally known singer, she can have anything she wants. But everything tells her that getting involved with the Bayou Beast may leave her wrecked beyond repair. Little does Karina Armistead know, but Gabriel has decided that she will be his. He will destroy anything or anyone who stands in his way.
It was the perfect place to beat the shit out of someone.
A rowdy ring of men of questionable morals and even more questionable hygiene filled the dilapidated warehouse. Dim fluorescent lighting high above barely illuminated the cracked concrete floor. There was no ring, no cage, no referees. No medical personnel on standby. In this run-down warehouse in Macao, you came to fight at your own risk.
Gabriel swung his arms, warming up his already loose muscles. He kept himself ready, his body primed for battle. For the last ten years, fighting had been his first nature, making money a distant second. That drive had made him a champion cage fighter. He was always spoiling for a smackdown. Problem was, finding opponents willing to face him was becoming more difficult—at least on the sanctioned front.
Which was why he was in this hellhole in Macao and not in a cage under the auspices of the governing body. If they knew their reigning champion was about to duke it out bare-knuckled with an opponent who would certainly try to kill him, they’d shit their collective pants and attempt to strip him of his title.
Not that he gave a damn. He’d already fought the best of the good enough and remained at the top of his game. There simply wasn’t any challenge fighting by the rules and he needed the challenge. He got it by traveling the world seeking out these deep underground and highly illegal no-holds-barred fights. Where strength, speed, and cunning decided who would walk away and who would be carried out. These days, only when facing possible death did he come close to feeling alive.
The crowd parted, signaling the arrival of his opponent. Gabriel stood still, taking the measure of the man who’d challenged him. His opponent was a six foot four, two hundred and thirty pound Norwegian. Gabriel didn’t know his name. He didn’t care. All that mattered was that the guy put up a good fight.
The audience placed their last few bets as the blond giant stopped on the far side of the open space, his best game face on. Gabriel stared back with a bored indifference he didn’t have to feign. The Norwegian had the advantage of height, but that was about it. Most of Gabriel’s power was in his uppercuts. It would be no problem to duck under this guy’s swing unless the Norwegian was faster than Gabriel thought he was.
“Are you just going to stand there or are you going to hit me?” Gabriel asked, his tone bored. “I’ve got a plane to catch.”
“I heard about you.” His opponent shook his head in disbelief. “Crazy Bayou Beast.”
“So I’ve been told, more than once.” Gabriel assumed his fighting stance again. “Are we doing this or not?”
“You want me to hit you and you’re not going to try to defend yourself?” The blond giant shook his head again. “I don’t want to kill you.”
“If you can’t handle a little blood on your conscience, you shouldn’t have sought out an unsanctioned fight,” Gabriel chided. “I thought the gentlemanly thing to do would be to offer you the first shot. After all, it’s going to be the only shot you get, so you should make it a good one.” Gabriel arched a brow. “Or are you all talk and no balls?”
A guttural curse boiled up from the Norwegian’s throat as he swung, throwing his full weight into it. Gabriel sidestepped, the blow glancing his shoulder. His opponent had some power to his punch, but so did Gabriel. He quickly delivered two gut punches then a knee that bypassed the chin and went straight for the nose. The Norwegian stumbled back as his nose sprayed blood.
With a bellow, the giant rushed Gabriel, his eyes glinting with murderous intent. The anger made him clumsy, and the clumsiness made him vulnerable. Within three minutes, Gabriel had the larger man on his back on the concrete, Gabriel’s foot at his throat. The Norwegian yielded, and Gabriel stalked out of the open circle, took his cut from the fight organizer, then made his way to the door.
A massive man melted out of the shadows, followed by two more. His personal security team, chosen because they were almost as dangerous as he was. “I thought we talked about letting the other guy swing first.”
Gabriel flicked a glance at the first man, Kilgore. “Yeah. So?”
“What if he’d dropped you?”
Gabriel shrugged. “I would have deserved it for being careless, I guess. Besides, it gave the crowd a show. Can’t disappoint them when they’re so eager to bet against me.”
Kilgore shook his head. “Man, sometimes I think you have a death wish.”
“Sometimes I do too.” He handed over his winnings to the head of his security team, then accepted his shirt from one of the others, James or Jonas. In the dark it was hard to tell the silent twins apart. Whatever he made on the underground fights he gave to his men. He didn’t need the money and they deserved the extra on top of their already generous salaries for putting up with him and making sure he got out alive. “If it makes you feel better, we’re going to take a break from fights for a little while.”
“Really? Where are we going?”
Gabriel entered the armored utility vehicle. “New Orleans. You could say I have a date with destiny that I have to keep.”
He grinned to himself as they drove off into the night, heading for the airport and his private jet. It was finally time to make the last moves in the game of revenge he’d been playing since he pocketed his first million. Time to obliterate his enemies once and for all. Maybe then he’d be able to feel something other than the rage that had consumed him for the last ten years.
Revenge was sweet, and he’d saved the sweetest treasure for last.
“I’m coming for you, Karina.”