“If you do your part, I guarantee I’ll get you there.”
That’s Wolf Jennings’ motto. And to some degree, it’s the theme of my story In Training, Anyone who knows me knows that I love spending time in the gym. For me, it’s been a major life-changing experience, one I thoroughly enjoy. One of the reasons I do enjoy it is because I consider a workout a creative process. I know how to put together a routine for myself with any equipment or with none at all. But I didn’t always, and I didn’t always love it either. I suppose that’s a part of the reason why the big question of my story In Training, from the fabulous British Bad Boys Anthology, is what does it take to get you there? What inspires you enough to make you pull out all the stops and totally go for … well for anything that really matters?
As far as getting fit goes, my answer was that I was losing strength, gaining weight and stress from writing four novels in one year was doing a real number on me. Mr. Grace kept nagging me to get to the gym and get a trainer. For a long time I ignored him, but one too many panic attacks in the middle of the night finally made the decision for me. I got a trainer. I figured if I had to pay, I’d make the commitment. In the beginning I paid someone twice a week, and I kept the commitment.
It didn’t take long to discover that not only was I feeling better, calmer, but I really enjoyed it. That was four years ago. Now I do it as much because I love it as because I love the benefits. That being the case, it’s not surprising that my heroine, PR guru Lauren Michaels, has to find her own reason for pushing herself. A gym is the last place she wants to be, but her boss has just made her the ‘get fit’ star in a reality fitness show with bad boy personal trainer, Wolf Jennings, who will get her there even if he has to drag her kicking and screaming. At least that’s his plan. But it’s only when she finds her reason to push that Lauren decides she really wants to “get there,” and she wants to do it with Wolf Jennings. Here’s a little excerpt.
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In Training Blurb:
Getting fit on reality TV is PR guru, Lauren Michael’s, brainchild for gym equipment and fitness company Physicality, Inc. The brilliant PR stunt involves one brave volunteer who wants to be fit badly enough to submit to the not so tender training techniques of personal trainer, Wolf Jennings, whose successful, but non-conventional, methods would make a drill sergeant look like a fluff ball. But when CEO and owner of Physicality, Inc, Claire Amos, decides her PR ace in the hole needs to walk the talk , Lauren finds herself between a kettle bell and a hard place … er a hard trainer. That’s nightmare enough, but for six weeks, 24/7 the explosive chemistry between the two will be sweated out live on camera for the whole world to see. What could possibly go wrong?
Wanna Bet? In Training Excerpt:
“On your knees, Michaels! Do it on your knees. You can’t do a full press-up until we strengthen those spaghetti arms. Do it like this.” He demonstrated the modified press-up. “Now I want you to do as many as you can in thirty seconds.” While thirty seconds lasted forever, as many press-ups as Lauren could do didn’t take long at all before she fell to the mat with her arms trembling. “Damn it Michaels, you gotta be willing to push yourself. I can’t do it for you.” He reset his timer. “Do it again.”
“Well this isn’t an auspicious beginning, Misty,” Del Allan said as they observed the training session going on in the gym below. “As much as I admire Claire Amos for believing her people should walk the talk, it’s clear to me that Lauren Michaels’ heart just isn’t in it. One has to wonder why the waste of time, energy and money for someone who doesn’t want to be here when there are so many who really do. I’ve said it before, I hope Physicality has a back-up plan because I’m betting Lauren Michaels won’t make it to the end of the week.”
“The real question, Del, is not whether Wolf Jennings can ‘get someone there,’ but whether he can motivate someone to want him to. Certainly this is a world away from what Lauren is used to, and apparently she didn’t know she’d be participating until twenty-four hours before.”
It was near the end of the fourth day when Lauren finally broke. “I can’t do any more,” she gasped after what seemed like miles of lunge walking back and forth across the gym with a dumb bell in each hand — dumb bells that got heavier with each step. “I need the hot tub. When do I get to use the hot tub?”
“When you’ve earned it,” Jennings growled. “Now do it again.”
“I hate you,” she forced the words out, no longer caring if the ever-present cameras picked up her remark or not. She reckoned that would be one more reason for the ‘sack Lauren and hire me’ faction to tweet nasty things about her. It’s not as if she wouldn’t trade places with them in a heartbeat.
“I’m not here for you to like,” came the reply. “Keep your back straight, shoulders back. Head up!”
She was halfway across the gym when one of the dumb bells slipped from her sweaty fingers, hit the floor with a loud crash, and she tripped over it doing into a belly flop in the middle of the gym.
“Get up. Keep going,” Wolf yelled, jogging effortlessly to her side. “Don’t be a wimp, Michaels. Finish it. I don’t train babies. Stop whinging and keep going.”
“I hate you.” This time she all but yelled it as she hefted the sweaty dumb bell and forced her way forward a couple more steps before she dropped the weight again — this time on her foot. It was only a glancing blow. She jerked away just in time, but it was enough. It was fucking enough! She dropped the other weight next to its fallen compadre and stormed back across the gym.
“Where the hell do you think you’re going?” He said, “You’re not done yet.”
“Oh yes I am.” She grabbed up her sports drink and her towel.
“What? Are you a quitter, Michaels?” Jennings stepped in front of her effectively blocking her way, “Is that it?”
“What I am is sick of you yelling at me, sick of you treating me like a sub-human.” She hadn’t planned it, but when he didn’t move, it just happened. A quick twist of the lid on her sports drink and she let it fly. Her aim was true, hitting Jennings in the face with a shower of bright orange Lukozade. Then she stomped off toward her room. She hadn’t expected him to follow her, but then there were a lot of things she hadn’t expected about the man she’d met at the pub less than a week ago.
Legs still screaming from the workout, she took the stairs two at a time with him gaining on her fast. At the top, he called after her. “They’re taking bets on how soon you’ll quit. Did you know that, Michaels?”
She stopped, dead in her tracks, as though she were suddenly frozen to the spot. For a second she squeezed her eyes shut, fighting back tears. Then she took a deep breath, squared her shoulders and headed back toward the stairs, stopping in front of him to meet his cold glare. “Then they’ll lose.”
Fucking hell! Did she just say that? Surely she didn’t mean it. She would do almost anything to get out of this chamber of horrors, and yet here she was marching back downstairs, picking up the goddamned dumb bells, taking a deep breath and willing her legs to move forward. When she got to the end, instead of stopping, she gave Jennings a defiant glare, from where he now stood at the foot of the stairs, then she turned and headed back across. Somewhere a long way off, she could hear gasps and chatter from Wolf’s mezzanine fan club, but it didn’t matter. The world around her narrowed to the in and out drag of her breath, the pain in her quads and the slow step and lunge, step and lunge, that pulled her forward.
At the end, she dropped the dumb bells and bent over gasping, eyes clenched shut, hands on her knees. When at last she had the strength to stand up, she was surprised to find him next to, hair still dewed in orange. He handed her a bottle of water and a towel. While she drank, he wiped his face on his shirt.
She didn’t look at him, she was still battling the urge to cry. She knew all eyes were on her. After the drama she was now embarrassed to have caused, that was a given. But it was only Wolf Jenning’s eyes she felt in ways that were somehow even more intimate than his kiss at the pub. At last she handed him back the bottle and struggled to meet his gaze.
“That’s better,” he said. “Now drop and give me ten. Pull a stunt like that again and I’ll shove you on the treadmill till your Reeboks wear out.”
She did as he ordered, counting each press-up out loud and hardly feeling the effort, dazed as she was by what had just happened.
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