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Limitless_ Rockers' Legacy
Author: Terri Anne Browning








People screamed and cheered on either side of me. Lyla was the loudest and practically sat on my lap. At least Howler was staying on his section of the bench, even if his voice was like a boom to my ears.

In the metal cage, Zachary was fighting a fellow Son. They were both covered in blood, faces swollen, lips split. Sweat mixed in with the coagulation and rolled down Zachary’s face in varying shades of pink.

I wanted to look away, but what if something happened when I took my eyes off him?

The men were evenly matched, which was why this had turned into such a bloodbath. Neither wanted to give up, and they were each determined to come out of the cage the winner.

It wasn’t like it mattered. There wasn’t a belt or a trophy the winner would get, except for a cut of the cover charge at the door. If Zachary won, he wouldn’t even take the cash. If Rebel won, he would get a few grand.

Rebel wasn’t going to win, though. No one ever beat Zachary “Judge” Bennet.

And even though I knew that, it didn’t keep me from being scared. He was going to hurt tomorrow. He would be bruised and scabbed over. He’d barely be able to move as he walked around the house, given the way he was taking one kidney punch after another.

When he went to work on Monday, everyone would know.

Not that this town didn’t already know. The Underground was an open secret. One that was technically illegal but brought so much revenue to the area that no one cared. The fact that it was run by the richest man in the state—and a judge on top of that—might also have something to do with it. Not a single person was going to tell Zachary no.

A hard uppercut to the jaw caused him to stumble back and fall against the cage. Dazed, he shook his head, while Rebel approached with a glint in his eyes that promised a quick end.

Covering my face because I couldn’t take another moment, I chanted to myself, “I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. Please stop. Please stop.”

“Elli, you’re going to distract him,” Howler said, putting his arm around me comfortingly.

I was mad at Howler. He should have been in there, acting as a referee. Zachary had thrown out the official one for the fight ten minutes after it started because the man had barely missed having his head knocked off when Rebel swung his anvil-like fist at Zachary’s head.

But Howler stayed where he was, allowing the match to continue without anyone but the two Sons to moderate themselves as they saw fit. Because if Lyla and I were at the Underground, either Howler or Zachary was beside us when the event started. That was the rule, or we weren’t allowed to attend.

I wasn’t stupid. I knew it was more because of me than for Lyla’s sake. She could take care of herself. Hell, she probably could have taken on a good number of the Sons herself and come out the victor.

Not me.

I only came because Lyla insisted. And it meant sitting beside my favorite person in the world for a little while.

Unless he was the one in the cage.

If I weren’t there, then Howler would referee the fight.

With that thought in mind, I jumped up, already turning for the nearest exit.

I barely took a step when a roar came from the cage right in front of me. Zachary flipped Rebel onto his back, causing the other guy to shout. Swinging his left fist back, Zachary connected with Rebel’s face. Over and over and over again.

Getting to his feet, Zachary’s eyes went straight to where I was standing, still frozen from the sudden attack. His face morphed into something far more lethal than anything I’d seen in the cage that night.

While Rebel remained on the mat, Zachary flew out the door. I barely heard the roar of the crowd as I watched him come toward me. His blood-covered, taped hands cupped my face as soon as he reached me. “What happened? Did someone hurt you? Why aren’t you with Howler and Lyla?”

With a sob, I threw my arms around his sweaty middle. “I was scared for you,” I sobbed into his chest.

“Ah, Elli,” he sighed, holding the back of my head against him. “It’s okay. It was just a little spar, sweetheart.”

To him. To Lyla and Howler and every other Son, yes, it was just a spar. No one took it seriously. What happened in the Underground stayed there. Any hard feelings that were felt in the cage were left behind. Fighting outside wasn’t allowed.

But to me, it was torture. I couldn’t stand the blood and violence. And I especially couldn’t handle when it happened to Zachary. Swallowing back another sob, I just held on to him, thankful the fight was obviously over.

“Let me get cleaned up, and we can go home,” he promised in my ear. “You want a cupcake?”

I shook my head.

“Please don’t be sad, Elli. It’s over now.”

I tipped my head back, examining his split eyebrow that would need stitches and the cut on his lip. His nose was swollen, and he already had a black eye forming. “I don’t like it when you get beat up.”

His nostrils flared in displeasure. “I didn’t get beat up.” I just lifted my brows, causing his lips to twitch. “Maybe I got my ass beat a little.”

“I think you have a concussion,” I observed, noticing the way one pupil was a bit larger than the other.

“I’m going to get checked over by the doc,” he assured me. Taking a step back, he offered me his hand. “Come on, little one. You can be my moral support while I get stitched up.”

I glanced back at where I’d left Howler and Lyla. With the fight over, the crowd was dispersing, and they had both been swallowed up in it. Zachary tugged on my fingers. “You with me, Elli?”

Sucking my lip between my teeth, I nodded. “Always.”



Chapter 1






Five years later



Beginning of June

The coolness of the room was so nice, but it irritated me too. Mumbling to myself, I cracked my lids open, gearing up to yell at my roommate. Our rent didn’t include utilities, and just a couple degrees in temperature could mean the difference between getting a few extra groceries that week or having to scrape by with spaghetti and cheap, canned tomato sauce.

As I sat up in bed, it took a moment for the sleep to fully clear and for me to realize I wasn’t back at my apartment in California. Instead, I was in the room I’d grown up in. Remembering that I didn’t have to pay for the electricity in the Bennet mansion, and that I could enjoy the comfort of the air conditioning without worrying about paying the astronomical bill each month, I dropped back onto my pillow and pulled the blanket up to my chin.

I hadn’t been home for more than an overnight stay in three years. I’d had my reasons, but the biggest one was because I didn’t have the time. Between all the classes I’d taken during the regular semester, as well as summer classes so I could get through undergrad as quickly as possible, I also had to work so I could eat.

My scholarships only covered so much, like books, courses, labs, and my apartment—minus utilities. A flight home was a splurge I had to save for months to afford. It sucked being away from my mom, but I kept telling myself that college wasn’t forever, and once I had a well-paying job, I’d move her wherever I ended up, and she would never have to cook or clean another toilet for the rest of her life.

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