Excerpt: Lamb to the Slaughter by Pete Delohery

About the Book:


Lamb to the Slaughter is a novel about love and courage, sin and redemption. “Iron” Mike McGann, 32 years old, is facing the twilight of his prizefighting career. Desperate for his future, he has refused to honor his promise to his wife to quit the ring and start a family. In despair, his wife, Madge, is leaving him.
Rufus “Hurricane” Hilliard, Mike’s next opponent, is the most menacing presence in prizefighting. He has won all 22 of his fights by knockout and is said to be a former enforcer for something called The Black Mafia. But behind Rufus Hilliard’s menacing ring presence lives a man nobody knows, a complex man who despises his own image. Unexpectedly left alone before his bout with McGann, Rufus “Hurricane” Hilliard is forced to confront the past that haunts him and the future he dreads. 
Charles “Charliehorse” O’Connell, Rufus’s cornerman, has been terrorized by a mob kingpin to sabotage him. O’Connell, who is an alcoholic and a compulsive gambler, blames himself for the ring deaths of two prizefighters. Trapped in a moral crisis, Charles “Charliehorse” O’Connell must finally confront his “Cardinal Sin.”
Rufus “Hurricane” Hilliard vs “Iron” Mike McGann, just another fight shown on The Continuous Sports Network, but by the time it is over the lives of these and many others will be forever different.

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Round One

The Blue Horizon

In a hotel room in a London suburb three black men went about that most arduous and agonizing of all tasks: killing time. Each was lost in the limbo that always precedes long-planned-for events. Bo, fat, gray haired, and middle-aged, sat at a writing table and played solitaire. Luke, a lanky man in his middle thirties, nervously tapped his foot as he tried to read a magazine. The third man, in his mid-twenties, sat cross-legged on one of twin beds and stared vacantly at a painting of a hunting scene on the opposite wall. He stared beyond horses and hounds into the painting’s deep blue sky. He muttered unintelligibly. He wore blue jeans and was bare-chested. He resembled an ebony anatomy chart; his every muscle, every artery was visible in stark detail. Luke threw his magazine to the floor, rose, and stalked into a smaller adjoining room. Bo observed Luke’s departure and then got up and approached the man on the bed. He murmured softly: “Johnny?” He murmured this several times more, like a mother tenderly awakening a sleeping child. Finally, the muscular young man turned his face and stared at him vaguely. “I’m gonna be gone for a few minutes, hear?” the fat man crooned. The younger man nodded. “You stay put ’til I get back, OK?” The young man nodded again, and then returned his gaze to the painting, to the sky beyond the horses and hounds. He resumed his murmurings. Bo entered the adjoining room and found Luke pacing the floor; every two or three steps he drove a fist into a palm. Luke glanced at Bo and spoke in a voice ragged with frustration: “Most fighters gotta loose weight t’make the weight,” he snarled. “Our man gotta gain!” Bo turned and shut the door quickly but quietly. “Thought I was gonna have to shove a rock up his ass ’fore we took him to the weigh-in!” Luke whimpered. “Lighten up, man!” Bo commanded in a low, firm voice. “And keep it down. We don’t want Johnny hearin’ somethin’ like that, not now.

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