Wipe her out, Lady O!”

Shred her!”

Punch her lights out, Tamiko!”

Wild applause and even wilder shouts filled the amphitheater, reverberating off walls and expanding to a deafening roar so intense it was almost suffocating. The boisterous, bloodthirsty crowd was typical of kickboxing spectators. He knew it for a fact...from personal experience. It was especially true at this level of competition.

Tamiko was good, damn good! Her kicks were lethal. Another jab. Another spinning kick. A swirl of jet black hair, an explosion of determination in her dark eyes.

Hidden amidst the crowd, he could watch without drawing attention to himself. Tamiko, busy in the ring, was too focused on her opponent to be aware of her audience...or his presence.

A roar of foot-stomping washed over him like a giant wave and spurred another rapid-fire exchange between contenders. Then, another roll of noise as her spinning back-fist connected. A quick double-jab, right-cross combination forced her blonde adversary to back off and regroup.

As he watched, bitterness roiled in his belly. The bitch was too damned good. Tamiko had her opponent hanging onto the ropes, with nowhere to go. She snapped a round-kick to the head and the other woman dropped like a limp rag doll.

An explosion of solid sound erupted from the crowd as Tamiko claimed the National title!

It was past time to put her in her place, once and for all. But not tonight. He intended to pick the place, choose the moment. Soon, he promised himself. Very soon!

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