Jodi Ellen Malpas’ One Night trilogy continues this Thursday with the hotly anticipated One Night: Denied! Just in case you couldn’t wait that long for your next dose of Miller Hart, here’s an exclusive early extract from the new book.
As I’m passing the final door before the women’s changing rooms, I pull up when something catches my eye, and backtrack until I’m looking through the glass pane at a punchbag similar to the one that I’ve just attacked. It’s swinging from the ceiling hook, but with no one in sight to have made it move.
I frown and step closer to the door, my eyes travelling with the bag from left to right. Then I gasp and jump back as someone comes into view, bare-chested and barefoot. My already racing heart virtually explodes under the added strain of shock it’s just been subjected to. The cup of water and my towel tumble to the ground.
I feel dizzy.
He has those shorts on, the ones he wore when he was trying to make me comfortable. I’m shaking, but my shocked state doesn’t stop me from peering back through the glass, just to check I wasn’t hallucinating. I wasn’t. He’s here, his ripped physique mesmerising. He looks violent as he attacks the hanging bag like it’s a threat to his life, punishing it with powerful punches and even more powerful kicks. His athletic legs are extending in between extensions of his muscled arms, his body moving stealthily as he weaves and dodges the bag when it comes back at him. He looks like a pro. He looks like a fighter.
I’m frozen on the spot as I watch Miller move around the hanging bag with ease, his fists wrapped in bandages, his limbs delivering controlled, punishing blows time and time again.
The sounds of gruff bawls and his hits send an unfamiliar chill down my spine. Who does he see before him?
My mind spins, questions mounting, as I quietly observe the refined, well-mannered, part-time gentleman become a man possessed, that temper he has warned me about clear and present. But then I retreat a pace when he suddenly grabs the bag with both hands and rests his forehead on the leather, his body falling into the now subtle sway of the punchbag. His back is dripping and heaving, and I see his solid shoulders rise suddenly. Then he begins to turn towards the door. It happens in slow motion. I’m rooted in place as his chest, slicked with a sheen of sweat, comes into view and my eyes slowly crawl up his torso until I see his side profile.
He knows he’s being watched . . .