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Breaking the Cycle Post Seven

Being Friday night it is kickboxing Friday.  Get well soon, Keoni!!


Max drove down the interstate barely paying attention to the road.  For the last week and a half he couldn’t get Chloe out of his mind.  Her laughter on their date echoed in his ears.  Seeing her so sick she couldn’t recognize him twisted a knife in his heart.  Seeing her running from Roadie’s Gym in tears made him feel helpless and pathetic.  Not knowing how she was, what she was doing was driving him insane.

He glanced briefly at his smart phone for the time but instead caught the date.  Thursday.  He quickly ran dates in his head.  He paused for a moment.  Should I see if my hunch is right?  Can I handle what I’m going to find?  He nudged his turn signal on as he caught the next exit out of the corner of his eye.

Max turned the car off and stepped out.  He stared at the old, large white house for a moment before he jogged up the porch steps.  He knocked on the door and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  He heard the television on inside.  Someone was home.  He knocked again.

The front door was wrenched open violently.  It’s the witch.  Chloe’s mom glared at him.  He could feel her eyes sear through him. 

“Is Chloe home?” Max asked, his voice cracking weakly.

“Now’s not a good time, Mike.”


“Whatever.  Get off my porch.”

He glanced down at the stains covering her sweatshirt.  “Is she sick?”

“She’s in the bathroom.  Check for yourself.”

Max squeezed past her and wandered into the house.  His neck snapped around at the sound of retching from upstairs.  He took the steps two at a time and came to a stop at the bathroom door.

Chloe laid on the cold tile floor of the bathroom with a bucket near her.  Her head laid on a rolled up towel.  She didn’t turn to look at him.  She looks about aware of me as she was in that alley.  Her body started to writhe as she vomited again.

He knelt beside her and held her in his arms, helping her to the bucket to keep the mess off the floor.  When the retching stopped she slumped against him weakly.  He pushed a sweat soaked lock of brown hair from her forehead as he gazed at her pale, sunken face.

“So, want to stick around?” Chloe’s mom hissed from the doorway.  “She’s not done yet.  Are you all right with your precious expensive athletic wear getting all messed up?”

Max held her tighter to him as he scowled at woman.  “Yes.  They’re just clothes.  They wash.”

Chloe’s mom stared at him dumbfounded for several moments.  Max felt Chloe jerk against him again.  He supported her as she vomited again.  “So, this is what happens every three weeks.”


“Do you have to take her to the hospital?”

“Hopefully not.”  Chloe’s mom watched him silently for a few moments as he settled Chloe back into his arms.  “My name is Liz.”

“Nice to meet you, Liz.”

She smiled at him.  “Can I get you a soda?”

“A glass of water would be fine.”

“Sure.  I’ll be right back.”  Liz disappeared down the hall.  Max listened to her footsteps pat down the steps.  He turned back to Chloe, gently stroking her cheek.  She relaxed, the tension that once ripped through her now dissolving.  Max shifted, crossing his legs to get more comfortable on the hard floor.  Liz reappeared, stepping over the two of them to sit on the edge of the bathtub.  She handed the glass to him.

“She seems to have relaxed,” Max murmured.

“That’s good news.  Hopefully she’s done.”


“She’ll be out for a little while.”

He glanced around at the puddles on the floor and the fluid in the bucket.  I can see why.

They sat in silence for nearly a half hour.  Liz smile.  “She’s done.”

Max cradled Chloe in his arms and carefully stood.  He glanced down at Liz.  “Where’s her room?”

Liz rose and motioned to him.  “Follow me.”

He followed her to a white painted room.  The furniture was also painted white and the bed was covered with a rose colored quilt.  Max pulled the quilt back and gently laid Chloe on the sheets.  He covered her with the quilt then pressed a kiss to her forehead.  He glanced at Liz as he strode from the room.

“You’re leaving?” Liz asked incredulously as she spun to follow him.

She stopped short as he walked into the bathroom and knelt on the floor.  He looked at her from over his shoulder.

“Do you have a towel or scrub brush or soap or anything for this?” He motioned to the puddles.

He met her stunned gaze evenly then smiled as she rushed down the hallway to get him a scrub brush and soap.


Eight, Nine, Ten…Let’s Do It Again!

My life has been chaotic.  Between the Black Irish series and Sorceress of Savon plus the husband, three children and all the blessings and tragedies that go along with them I don’t have a lot of free time.

There are, however, things that have to be done – or in my case stories that need to be told.  And I can’t wait any longer with this one.

If I learned anything with Black Irish I learned I have two major motivators:

– a deadline or

– family, friends and loved ones demanding to know more of the story.

And the latter usually gets me moving faster.

Before I invite you to step inside my rabbit hole I offer a warning: this story may contain situations that might make someone uncomfortable.  This is a zero flame kind of story.  However the heroine has a chronic medical condition – and those rarely are pretty.  

Thank you for coming along and keeping me on track.


A Very Special Thank You to Keoni and everyone at Hard Drive MMA in Cedar Rapids for being patient with me and teaching me the ins and outs of Mixed Martial Arts.  Hopefully my version of a MMA gym will do you proud.


If the blessed day arrives that this book is published along with my others, I am sure the publisher will have to cut off all my dedications.  But on this blog I dedicate this to just one:

To my Sissy – until we find a cure


Breaking The Cycle

It was the sound of machinery and iron, the smell of sweat and strong disinfectant.  Max bent under the dead lift rack to pick up a couple of discarded towels.

Max loved his job at Roadie’s Gym.  The place was modern and state of the art.  The exercise equipment was calibrated and perfect.  Roadie made sure of it himself.

Roadie wasn’t his real name.  Truthfully Max wasn’t sure what it was.  Roadie’s wife signed the paychecks.  Roadie got the nickname from working on the road crew of one of the big time pro-wrestling companies.  He learned work out tips from the trainers there and when the time was right he quit and opened his gym.

Max smiled as he gathered the roaming disinfectant bottles scattered around the free weights area.  This is the life he wanted- Roadie’s life.  Not that the constant travel all over the world assembling and disassembling wrestling rings appealed to him.  Max wanted to own his own gym.  He wanted to know he made a difference when it came to someone’s health.  Max envied Roadie.

Max spun as he heard a long string of curses come from Roadie’s office.  Roadie stormed from his office, his face and nearly bald head growing redder by the second.

“Blast it!” Roadie fumed.  “Chloe called in sick again!”

Max slowly exhaled as the rest of the personal trainers he worked with started to gripe.  Chloe called in sick a lot, at least once a month.  Everyone at Roadie’s Gym was sick of covering her classes and personal training sessions.  Even Max used her name in vain a time or two especially when he was stuck training Mrs. Rozinski.  The rotund woman liked to flirt a little too much and stunk of cheap perfume.

It didn’t make sense to Max.  Chloe seemed to love her job.  The petite brunette was always happy, always energetic when she was at the gym.  Her big deep brown eyes were always sparkling.  Her shoulder length brown hair was always in a neat ponytail.  The clients all loved her when she was there.

Max sighed.  The clients weren’t the only ones who loved her.  He had to admit he had a huge crush on Chloe.  He had since she started at Roadie’s.  He worked up the courage a couple times to ask her out.  It always happened on those inevitable days she called in sick.

Max looked at the nearest calendar, a puzzled look etching on his face.   Thursday.  Chloe always called in on Thursdays.  What bar in Minneapolis had ladies night on Wednesdays?  And why was Chloe only getting drunk every third week?

Roadie’s voice broke Max from his thoughts.  “Max, you are going to have to cover Chloe’s kickboxing class.  And her appointment with Mrs. Rozinski.”

Max groaned as he threw the dirty towels he held into the hamper.