Woodshed Wallace is equally at home in the grittiest alleys and brightest MMA cages of Las Vegas, but none of that prepares him for the war that awaits him in Rio de Janeiro. Woody is in Brazil to reunite with his past flame Marcela and the Arcoverde clan and to fight in Banzai Eddie Takanori’s first international Warrior Inc. event.
Marcela and the Arcoverdes do their best to let Woody focus on the fight, but his instincts are too sharp. The family is in trouble. Carrasco, crime lord of the notorious, sprawling Rio slum Axila da Serpente, has taken a liking to Marcela. Carrasco believes he is the embodiment of an Exu, a spirit driven by lust, vice, and crime, and the spirit has demanded ownership of Marcela.
Under the burning MMA spotlights and within the brutal labyrinths of Rio’s slums, Woody must realize what he cherishes mostand what he must fight forbefore it is gone forever.
About the Author
Jeremy Brown is the author of the Crime Files: Four-Minute Forensic Mysteries books and the MMA crime thriller Suckerpunch. He has trained in Jeet Kune Do, MMA, and close-quarters combat and quickly realized it hurts less to write about such things. He lives in Michigan.
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By Jeremy Brown
Medallion Press, Inc.Copyright © 2015 Jeremy Brown
All rights reserved.
I know how to say go fuck yourself in Portuguese.
What you do is have four guys in cutoff fatigue pants and dirty T-shirts stand outside the Arcoverde Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy in Rio de Janeiro and block the entrance when me and Marcela and Gil and Jairo pull up.
The four guys watch while we pull our training gear out of the van.
Jairo says, "Don't look at them."
Marcela takes my hand and gives me the look: Don't be stupid. She's used to giving it.
When we try to go through the door the men don't move.
Jairo barks something at them in Portuguese.
One of the guys opens a duffel bag hanging over his shoulder and shows us the military-grade assault rifle with the grenade launcher mounted under the barrel.
He looks at me and smiles and they stroll away.
Go fuck yourself.
My trainer Gil Hobbes and I had flown coach from Vegas to Rio. This was on a Wednesday. We landed at the Galeão International Airport and hunched over to look out the porthole at Banzai Eddie's private Warrior Inc. jet sitting at the APO. That was a go fuck yourself as well, but I already knew how an American said it.
We were in Brazil for the first international Warrior event, my third fight under Eddie's thumb and Jairo Arcoverde's professional mixed martial arts debut. I'd warned him Eddie was a snake. Jairo's response: "Snake tastes good, you cook it right."
The fights were a distant second on my list of reasons for going to Rio. I'd talked to Marcela nearly every day since she'd left Vegas but hadn't seen her or touched her cheek or smelled her hair.
Over half a year.
I scanned the crowd at the arrivals gate, looking for Jairo's shiny brown head among the colorful hats. At six foot four, he was easy to find. He grinned and leaned down to talk to someone. The people between us saw me coming and got out of the way.
There she was.
She shot the gap and ran toward me, her black hair trailing.
"Brace yourself," Gil said.
I set my feet. Marcela was five foot three and had to carry loose change to break 105 pounds; I'm a foot taller and walk around at 240. I took three steps back when she hit me full speed, jumped and wrapped her arms around my neck and legs around my waist, and locked her ankles. Like all the Arcoverdes she had a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. I couldn't have peeled her off if I tried.
I did not try.
I squeezed and smelled and kissed her. She was warm.
"Welcome to Brazil."
"It's the best place I've ever been."
"You're still in the airport."
She laughed and gave me a light smack, buried her face in my neck.
Gil and Jairo might have hugged, shaken hands, set something on fire, and danced around it. I couldn't say. At some point they got tired of waiting and wrapped their arms around us, a group hug that turned into an intervention.
Jairo plucked Marcela off. She dropped down and ran her hands over my face, the new scars and some of the old ones. I looked into her tan eyes, touched the tiny bump on the bridge of her nose.
She frowned. "What did you do, stick your head in a cannon and shoot it?"
"How else could I get my hair to look this good?"
She looked skeptical of my head in general.
As we walked she welded herself to my right side. If I'd worn baggier pants I could have put her in my pocket. We collected our luggage and made our way outside.
Gil stopped on the curb, closed his eyes and breathed it all in. He'd moved to Rio when he was eighteen, stayed for nine years while he studied under Jairo's father Antonio Arcoverde and earned his own black belt. He was almost forty now.
"How does it feel?" Jairo asked.
Gil smiled. "Man, it feels exactly the same. Nothing's changed."
Jairo and Marcela shared a look.
If I had figured out what that look meant right away, I would have piled all of us onto a plane and flown it out myself. Screw the landing part—it still would have been safer.
Excerpted from Anaconda Choke by Jeremy Brown. Copyright © 2015 Jeremy Brown. Excerpted by permission of Medallion Press, Inc..
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