Paradise Fought: Abel by L.B. Dunbar
The fight is on...January 25, 2016.
I'm not a fighter.
I was born into a fighting family. As the middle child, I was overlooked in favor of my older brother.
He took the negative attention, too. In comparison, there's nothing special about me.
I’m not as big as Cobra. I’m not as strong as Cobra. He's the alpha.
I'm a beta.
The second son.
The lesser one.
The one never encouraged to fight, never encouraged to do anything, but stay out of my father’s way.
I'm not a lover either - but I wished to be – that’s why I needed her.
I met a girl in the pouring rain.
Sounds cliché, but it's true. It changed everything.
Because of love, I learned to fight.
Betas come second, but in this fight, my story is first.
If I thought I was going to make a speedy getaway, I was wrong. My savior caught up to me, half way down the walk, outside the finance building. He was quick and a large hand wrapped around my upper arm.
“Whoa, sister,” he said, slightly out of breath. “You almost got away from me again.”
“What?” I questioned. I had no idea what he meant: again.
“Never mind,” he muttered, his hand still on me. I looked down at it and he immediately released me. My eyes pinched as I realized I didn’t mind his hand on
my skin. There was something nonthreatening about him. He seemed rather innocent, studious, actually. His shirt was buttoned almost to the top and tucked into his pants. The sleeves secure at the cuffs. His jeans were snug and hugged him well. He wore dark rimmed glasses that screamed smart. Brown boots looked too new on his large feet. It was like he had the right parts but the wrong combination.
His blue eyes were soft and easy to look into. They practically spoke to me, but I had no idea what he was saying. His dark hair was disheveled, a bit shaggy, but cool looking. He kind of looked like a pop star, which was a little too sugar sweet for me. His form was questionable. It was hard to tell what kind of body he had under those clothes. He looked rather preppy, like half the guys at this university. I didn’t want to think about it. I’d just sold my soul for another semester.
“So when do you want to do this?” I asked. His blank stare told me he had no idea what I meant.
“Us,” I said, pointing between him and me.
“I…” His voice trailed off as he gawked at me. His expression changed from confusion to shock.
“I didn’t buy you to sleep with you,” he said, a touch of disbelief in his voice. His face turned crimson, then fell. “Why, have you done that before?” It was my turn to be surprised and offended.
I turned on my heels and began stomping away from him. He was too quick and he
caught me again. His hand on my arm halted me. This time he didn’t release me when I peered down at his fingers wrapped around my bicep.
“Look. I need help,” he blurted. His face pinked a little, and it was sweet. “I don’t need help with sex. I need help with before.” His tone dropped, and he looked side to side to see if anyone would hear him. I took his meaning.
“You don’t know how to do foreplay?” I questioned in a loud whisper, trying to hide my astonishment. How could anyone have sex and not know a touch of foreplay?
His face pinked again.
“Not that,” he said, sounding like a child. “The flirting. The dating. The…other stuff.”
I was stunned. I stared at him, taking in his features again. He was kind of cute, leaning toward the potential for good looking. He couldn’t possibly need help with this request. The confusion on my face made him speak.
“I don’t know how to flirt.” The words swirled between us.
“I don’t understand.” I didn’t. I didn’t know what he wanted from me.
“I need lessons how to be…cool: with girls. Call it a tutoring session. I need to learn how to be…seen.” His voice took on a touch of sadness. He couldn’t possibly be serious. I continued to stare at him. My mouth might have actually dropped open a bit, and I noticed he was watching my lips. It was a little exciting the way he stared at them. I licked them and his pupils dilated, filling in more black over the blue. His expression changed. Knowingly, he blinked when he realized I was teasing him. His lip quirked up and a dimple showed in his cheek.
“I need to date you,” he blurted. “To learn how to do, what you just did to me.”
I have to say when I heard that L.B. Dunbar was going to release an MMA book I was so excited! I will honestly let you know that she has been on my #tbr list but just haven’t had the chance to get to her yet but with Abel I jumped and skipped to the front of my list since I am such an MMA lover! I love fighter stories!! There is just something about the tough guy mentality. Their actions are so crass most times; traditional fighter stories are so edgy and hard, well that is until I dove into this one.
Abel. This story is so unconventional yet completely familiar at the same time. What I truly love and respect about Dunbar’s writing style is the passion and ability to spin the stories we are told as children into something completely new. And unique. Dunbar takes the age old biblical tale of Cain and Abel and brings it into the modern day romance era, and she does it well. I was in a story that not only was about a MMA fighter, but a fighter for all that’s important. For what’s good.
Abel has always been in the shadows. He’s weak. He’s opinions don’t matter. Abel is always second to big brother Cain. Cain is the champion. Cain is the important one. Cain is alpha. Abel is Beta. But what the family doesn’t know is that this second class attitude makes him strive to be better, to be stronger, to be smarter, and to just be, seen. The day comes when the one person Abel is willing to show himself to has many secrets of her own and those secrets ultimately change the destinies of all the people that surround them.
To fight is to win. To win means to also lose. No one in this story escapes without scars and Abel was awesome in its delivery! I savored every word. I processed every word. I didn’t want it to end. Hands down, Paradise Fought is a definite favorite and I can’t wait to go back and read the rest of L.B. Dunbar’s published titles, she definitely has a tremendous story telling power within her.
**I was given the opportunity to read Abel early with a gifted advanced readers copy in exchange for my honest experience. **
L.B. DunbarL.B. Dunbar loves to read to the point it might be classified as an addiction. The past few years especially she has relished the many fabulous YA authors, the new genre of New Adult, traditional romances, and historical romances. A romantic at heart, she’s been accused of having an overactive imagination, as if that was a bad thing. Author of the Sensations Collection,Sound Advice, Taste Test, Fragrance Free, Touch Screen, and Sight Words, she is also author of the Legendary Rock Star series, beginning with The Legend of Arturo King. She grew up in Michigan, but has lived in Chicago for longer, calling it home with her husband and four children.