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Victoria’s Gamble

Published by: eXtasy Books

Author : Jon Bradbury

ISBN :978-1-4874-4093-0

Page :96

Word Count :25466

Publication Date :2023-12-08

Series : #

Heat Level :

Available Formats : Victoria’s Gamble (epub) , Victoria’s Gamble (mobi) , Victoria’s Gamble (pdf) , Victoria’s Gamble (prc)

Category : Contemporary Romance , LGBTQIA+ Romance , Romance , Christmas

  • Product Code: 978-1-4874-4093-0

Secrets never stay secret. They always find a way out.

Connor O’Neill was a world champion in MMA fighting, until one too many blows to the head ended his career. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but the money helped.

Victoria O’Neill couldn’t believe the amount of money her husband made just from retiring from professional MMA fighting, part of that due to her request, but mostly due to his agent and sponsors. Then one day she’d treated her two best friends to a day at the health club, and in return, the two friends invited her to try a new club, one where almost anything could be bet on, and assigned odds. The result of losing was that she would lose her modesty and her reputation all at once.

What would she do to fix either one?

His career name, his stage name, if you will, was Crosshair. It was given to him because of a story about him getting a tattoo of a gunsight reticle in the center of his upper back.

His given name was Connor Micheal O’Neill. He stood five feet, eleven inches tall with wheat-blond hair and brown eyes that twinkled when he was joking with someone and turned dark with concentration when he had been about to go into a bout.

Right at that moment, however, he was far from an MMA fight cage, seated behind a desk, under bright lights, staring into a camera, wearing a suit, talking about the previous MMA match he had just watched with the fellow seated next to him at the anchor desk.

Crosshair had probably fought his co-anchor. It had been long enough ago that he had a hard time remembering. There were other reasons besides time that he couldn’t remember if he had fought his comrade or not.

* * * *

His previous bout had turned out to be his final bout—a defending title match. Just to show up and fight, he was being paid the princely sum of half a million dollars. He was a little embarrassed to admit that he couldn’t remember that one’s name, either, even though he vividly remembered the announcer doing his thing, introducing each fighter. 

If he’d won this one, he would have gone out as champion, and gotten a victory bonus of another half a million. If he’d lost—his career would have ended with a humiliating defeat that would have stained his legacy.

Hey, no pressure. 

“In this corner, the heavyweight champion of the world, hailing from right here in Los Angeles, California, Crosshair Connor O’Neill!”

That was his main thought as he stood in his side of the octagonal fight cage, the audience chanting, Cross-hair, Cross-hair, Cross-hair!

The sound of it was intoxicating. And the bout hadn’t even started yet.

“And in this corner, the challenger!” Boos nearly drowned out the announcer. “Hailing from Las Vegas, Nevada, Hector Salazar!”

In the corner of his eye, he saw his wife, Tori, sitting in her usual spot, right where he could see her. She gave a cute little wave. He gave what was supposed to have been a thumbs up, but all he could manage right at the moment was to raise a glove in a return wave.

Then the referee walked out in the middle of the ring. It was show time.

With a gesture, the referee called both fighters to the center of the ring.

Connor brought his gloved fists together as he proceeded forward, his entourage following closely behind, Guiseppe, his trainer, on his left.

Once both fighters were present, the referee wasted no time, leaving no doubt who was boss there in the ring. “All right gentlemen, we’ve already been through the rules. Let’s have a clean fight, obey my instructions and protect yourselves at all times. Touch gloves if you want to, and go back to your corners.”

With a single nod, the challenger extended his gloved hand.

Connor briefly touched his to his competitor’s. It was a universal sign of respect, but also of good sportsmanship. Connor was prided on in the sports world of being a good loser if left no other choice. Hopefully he wouldn’t have to put his money where his mouth was.


He’d won the match, and left the ring a world champion, still wearing that belt.

The price he’d paid for that belt, however, was almost too high. As the referee held his arm up over his head, the room swam alarmingly, and he nearly tossed his cookies.

After the match, once he was in the privacy of his changing room, he’d complained to his trainer that he felt dizzy, nauseous and woozy, not to mention that, for a few moments, he couldn’t remember where he was or why he was there. He’d just looked at the championship belt and couldn’t remember why it was so special.

That was bad news. Not good at all.

His trainer was a guy only a few years older than he was, an Italian guy with olive skin and close-cropped black hair worn in a Navy crew cut, dressed in blue jeans and a black t-shirt that didn’t quite conceal the tattoo running up and down his left bicep, who told Crosshair to lie down but don’t fall asleep.

Right. Don’t fall asleep...


After an undetermined amount of time spent waiting but was probably just a few minutes, he was then loaded on an ambulance. Once the ambulance had arrived at the hospital, more time was spent waiting, but not very long. Apparently fame did have its privileges, because, once the staff knew who was in the ambulance, a nurse came out quite promptly and trained a light in his eyes, noting the result on a tablet.

Then she asked him where he was.

And he said, “Hell, I don’t know. Where am I?” 

Guiseppe had turned pale. The nurse pointed and said to the paramedics, “Bring him in.”


At the moment he was in an exam room, being poked and prodded by a serious, young, female ER doctor, who had ordered an MRI as well as an EEG, the results of both tests having rendered her quiet and thoughtful.

Crosshair—Connor—had just wished the doctor would have told him what the hell was going on. Doctors, in his experience, never looked like that—unless there was something wrong.

His trainer, Guiseppe, got right to the point. “So, Doc, what’s the word?”

The quiet, serious young doctor in scrubs and a lab coat, blonde hair pulled back in a tiny bun, her nametag bearing the name Erica M. Cassidy, MD, turned to him and said, “I hope you had a good match, Mr. O’Neill, because it has to be your last.”

“What?” both O’Neill and Guiseppe blurted in unison.

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Tags: Romance, Contemporary, LGBT, Lesbian, Christmas, Holiday