Crouched in a defensive stance, Lachlan Wallace’s mind refused to focus. Sweat streamed from his brow, drained into his eyes and blurred his vision. His breathing rushed through his ears like an angry river. Everything around him moved in slow motion. He rubbed his forearm across his face and his white sleeve came back with a swath of blood. But nothing hurt, except Lachlan’s heart. Shifting his gaze to the time clock—five seconds left—the red numbers frozen in place while the judges consulted with each other to confirm the three points given to the American for his last kick. Maybe that’s what caused the bleeding. Lachlan didn’t care. He switched his sights to the scoreboard. Tied, UK nine, US nine. The American contender across the mat stared with the hunger of a rabid dog. Still, Lachlan could take him. He just needed a moment to focus. Damn. Out of the starting gates, he’d suffered a vicious kick to the gut, but that wasn’t the reason for a ton of lead sinking to his toes. Just hang in there. I have to prove her wrong about something. The referee sliced his hand downward—the signal to engage. Lachlan’s legs moved like four hundred pound weights hung from his thighs. The American approached, growing blurrier by each fraction of a second. Holding his defensive stance, Lachlan shifted for a countermove as his opponent slightly raised his hind foot to his toes. A kick. Anticipating the move, years of training took over and Lachlan spun to the right, aiming a left roundhouse kick to the American’s head. A millisecond off, the man ducked and rolled away from what could have been the kick to end the fight. Lachlan should have continued with the attack, pinning the man to the mat and issuing a three-point punch to the face, but Angela’s voice rang in his head. “I’ve filed for divorce. John and I moved your things to Container Village on Falkirk Road. You’ll be hearing from my solicitor. You’re such a loser. Don’t try to call. I’ve blocked your phone.” The rush of Lachlan’s breathing deafened his ears. Who the fuck is John? The unanswered question burst into a million stars as the American’s heel collided with Lachlan’s temple.
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