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Ace Sparks has spent his life trying to make a name for himself in the 
world of MMA, but when he comes to the aid of a friend he learns the most 
important fights are fought outside the ring.


Copyright © 2010 Charity Parkerson

She was watching him again. He was used to other people’s curiosity. After all, a guy with a green Mohawk, several piercings, and quite a few tattoos tended to draw attention. Those people, however, tried to sneak glances at him when they thought he wasn’t looking. Not her. She was openly staring. He tried for several minutes to pretend as if he didn’t notice. When he couldn’t stand it anymore, he snapped.
Lucy smiled seeming satisfied she’d managed to rattle him. “I was wondering what your real name is.”
Ace looked around, confused. “Umm, Ace.”
Lucy gave him a look that spoke clearly of her disbelief. “Your real God-given name is 'Ace'?”
“What kind of name is 'Ace'?”
“A good American one,” he ground out between clenched teeth.
“Were your parents hippies or gamblers?”
“What kind of name is 'Lucy'?” he shot back.
“It’s short for Lucinda actually, but I think it’s ugly either way. Ace, on the other hand, is a good name. It kind of rolls off the tongue. Ace.” She drew out his name as if she were testing the word.
He drew his brows together in thought. “Have you been drinking?”
“Nope. Just bored.”
“Okay,” he drawled slowly. Shrugging, he went back to his workout. He bounced lightly on his toes, making two short jabs then one quick kick to the bag before she started again.
“Why is your hair green?”
“I dyed it. Why is your hair brown?” He landed a hard left hook.
“I was born this way. Well, not really. I was born bald and stayed that way until I was two. My mom swore I’d never get hair, but obviously I did.”
Spinning, he heel made contact with the bag. “Do you ever shut up?”
There wasn’t a hint of repentance in her voice. “No. Not really. How many tattoos do you have?”
Ace growled. He couldn’t help it. The sound escaped his chest before he could stop it.

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