Can a young woman ever find perfect romance while following in her father's career footsteps?
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Autumn is now the grown-up daughter of the cruiserweight, but in the love stakes she's a heavyweight. She is searching for two things: success as a wrestler, just like her father, and for the intoxication of intimacy - she longs for an injection of the real love her parents share for each other. Several failed relationships leave her disillusioned and alone.
She throws herself into an intense training schedule at her father's school, and falls under the equally intense gaze of Michael, a wrestler with demons of his own. Will Michael and Autumn find their lifetime tag-team partner in each other, or will one of them submit and “tap out?”
"If I ever see that girl again, I'm going to kill her."
Karen expressed disgust and disappointment as she read the letter from her daughter's college, which informed her and Brett that Autumn had withdrawn from school. "Why did she do such a thing, and worse, why didn't she discuss this with Brett and me? All those years he worked so hard to save money so she could go to a nice school, and now it's for nothing."
She put the letter aside and pinched the bridge of her nose. Autumn Skye Kerringan, you better have a damn good explanation for this.
The front door slammed, followed by footsteps approaching in the hallway. "Karen?"
"I'm in here." Karen took a deep breath and composed herself. Here come the fireworks.
Brett was tired, but in a good mood, which made Karen reluctant to discuss Autumn's withdrawal from college. He grabbed a beer from the refrigerator, then gave her a quick kiss. "Hey, gorgeous."
"Anything exciting happening around our humble abode?"
"I was just thinking about what to make for dinner."
"Great. You hear from Little Bit this week?"
Karen's face fell. "You better sit down."
"Why? Was she in an accident? What happened?"
"As far as I know, Autumn's fine, but this came in the mail today." She handed him the letter she'd read earlier.
"I think you should read it before we discuss anything further."
The room fell silent as Brett read the letter's contents. Color rose in his neck and crept up to his face as Brett fought to keep his composure.
"I don't believe Little Bit would do this! I busted my ass for years to put away money so she could go to a good college and not work to pay her expenses.As many times I've talked about the importance of getting a college degree to her. What the hell would make Little Bit drop out? She wasn't failing any classes."
"I don't know. Everything about Autumn has been so weird in the last several months. I haven't even heard from her since after Christmas. Has she contacted you at all?"
"No." He waved the letter. "And up to now, I found it very unusual."
"I'm sorry to put a damper on your obviously good day. Maybe I should've waited to tell you another time."
"No, sweetheart, you were right to let me know. If Little Bit does decide to get in touch with us, I hope to hell she has a good explanation. Now, on to a happier subject. My ass is starved. What's for dinner?"
"I really hadn't thought about it since getting that letter."
Brett picked up a phone book and flipped through its pages. "Don't bother cooking. Since I still had a great day with the new batch of students, dinner's on me."
"Let me guess, pizza." After being married a little over twenty years, Karen was very familiar with Brett's movements and vices.
"That okay with you?"
"No anchovies or any other weird things you tend to like."
Brett gave her a lopsided grin. "Killjoy."
"Get some salad with it. A few extra vegetables won't hurt either of us."
"I'll get veggies on the pizza." He picked up the phone and placed an order.
He never mentioned it to Karen out loud, but Brett's concerns about their daughter's strange behavior and sudden disappearance from their lives had eaten at him since the prior holiday season. Autumn had been withdrawn and quiet instead of her usual lively, smiling self. At first, he'd dismissed it as possible boyfriend trouble - Autumn had mentioned seeing a guy at the time but didn't elaborate further - but now with the college withdrawal letter on top of Autumn being out of touch with him and Karen for several months, he couldn't help if there was more to the story of their daughter's mysterious behavior.