Wow! The last Monday of January. Where has time flown? This week, I have a variety of authors lined up as guests, so stop by and visit each day.
Today, on my leg of the SCP blog tour, I’d like to welcome Tricia Andersen. Last week, it was my pleasure to introduce you to Tricia and her Black Irish Series. This morning, I’m welcoming her again, but this time to introduce her new series Hard Drive, and its first novel, Hard Drive, a prequel, released January 19, 2015. Hard Drive is a Contemporary/Sports/Sweet Romance Novel, different from the Black Irish Series but just as well-written and intriguing.
Rising MMA star Max Thomas has it all. When a fight takes a devastating turn, will it all stay the same?
Fast rising MMA superstar Max Thomas seems to have it all for a college student – the beautiful girlfriend, the loyal best friend, the supportive parents and every agent in the area pounding down his door.
But looks can be deceiving. Tori, his girlfriend, is more concerned about his career in MMA than about him. Quinn, his best friend, is jealous of Max’s every move. And is a life in mixed martial arts what he really wants?
When Max suffers a devastating injury in the octagon, will his life and those in it stay by his side as he recovers? Or how fast will his perfect world unravel?
Excerpt from Hard Drive:
The expo center was dark, the shadows of bodies mulling around the floor flickering on the bare concrete walls. Everything was dim except for the punishing spotlights that rained down on the octagon in the middle of the cavernous room. Seven fights had already occurred there. The ash grey mat peppered with sponsors’ logos was already smeared with someone’s blood.
The whole scene made Max’s stomach churn. He was certain he was going to hurl, which would be difficult since he had hardly eaten anything in the last week so that he could be certain to make weight.
He turned as a gentle hand rested on his shoulder. He met his coach’s warm brown eyes.
“How are you doing, Max?”
Max exhaled slowly. “Nervous as hell, Chuck.”
Chuck laughed as he patted Max on the back. “Understandable. But you’ve got this. You’re more than ready.”
Max looked down at his taped hands, glancing briefly at his brand-new fight shorts. “I hope you’re right, Chuck.”
“Of course, I’m right. Once you get done in there, you’ll want to go back. You won’t ever want to stop fighting. Trust me. Just relax. You’re up, right after intermission. You’d better get your gear on.”
Max nodded then stooped over his bag. He pulled free a pair of fingerless MMA gloves lying on top and tugged them on. He examined them briefly, silently grateful the athletic commission approved them. Any little thing was making him anxious at this point.
Rustling through the rest of his belongings, he scooped out his mouth guard case and popped it open. Max slipped the chunk of rubber indented with his teeth marks into his mouth and nudged it into place with his tongue. Following Chuck, he approached the curtain and held his breath.
The thudding beat of Saliva’s “Ladies and Gentlemen” echoed off the walls of the building. Max’s heart thundered along with the bass. He’d always loved this song. And now, he was walking into the cage to it. He didn’t turn as he heard the rustling of his teammates gathering behind him to escort him to his fight. Knowing they were there was enough.
The quick trip from backstage to the octagon seemed to take an eternity. The officials patted Max down from head to toe then asked to see his mouth guard. He popped it between his teeth obediently then sucked it back into his mouth. Once they were satisfied, Max turned to Chuck and closed his eyes.
He shivered a bit as his coach rubbed the cool petroleum jelly on his face while barking final instructions over the loud music. “Keep your hands up! Don’t stop moving! Fight smart!” Max hardly heard a word Chuck said over the pounding of his pulse. His thoughts were focused solely on what was about to happen.
His stomach lurched once more. Max opened his eyes, shooting one last glance at his teammates before stepping into the metal structure. The smile from his best friend, Quinn, boosted his confidence a little.
The announcer drew out the introductions a little longer than Max liked. The crowded cheered louder for his opponent than him. It didn’t surprise Max. The guy had a three-and-oh record. Max wasn’t supposed to win.
Finally, the fighters were called from their respective corners to go over the rules with the referee. Max listened intently. He ignored the fact that the bald, heavily tattooed guy he was about to go to war against was staring him down, trying to psych him out. Let him try. I’m not falling for it.
The ref sent the fighters back to their corners. Max bounced from the ball of one foot to the other. It was time. His heart leaped in his throat as the official shouted out, “Fight!”
Max approached the center of the mat hesitantly, scanning his opponent as he did. The steel-gray eyes that met his glared as the bald fighter threw a jab. Max blocked it, readying himself for the following cross. It never came. Max frowned for a split second as the other fighter danced around. This is how he wants to do it? I don’t think so.
Launching off the balls of his feet Max charged after the bald man with his fists flying. He threw jabs and crosses with lightning speed, catching the retaliation shots on his cheek and temple. None of them were enough to daze him.
As his opponent raised his hands to block the blows to his face, Max dropped to one knee and lunged, wrapping his arms around the other man’s waist and burrowing his head into the other fighter’s stomach. Lifting, Max dropped him onto the mat, instantly scrambling into side control. The bald man struggled for all he was worth, bucking his hips to throw Max off.
It was all Max needed.
He grabbed his opponent’s arm, wrenching it into a Kimora behind the fighter’s back, who tapped to the submission in seconds. Being tugged off the man by the referee, Max rocked back on his heels in disbelief.
His first fight had resulted in his first win. It was amazing. Chuck was right. He already wanted more, and he hadn’t even stepped out of the octagon yet.
Max’s head snapped up as he heard Chuck’s voice calling him back to the corner. He hopped to his feet and returned to the wall, watching the officials make the final decisions. It was only a matter of minutes before the ref called him back to the center of the ring and raised his arm in victory. It was an incredible feeling.
Tricia Andersen lives in Iowa with her husband, Brian and her three children – her sons, Jake and Jon, and her daughter, Alex. She graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in English and from Kirkwood Community College with an Associate of Arts degree in Communications Media/Public Relations. Along with writing (which she loves to do), Tricia practices mixed martial arts, coaches and participates in track and field, reads, sews and is involved in many of her children’s activities.
Tricia is the host of the Blog Talk Radio show Freshly Booked, a part of Writers Online Network.