Hi guys, we have Elyse Springer popping in today with her new release Heels Over Head, we have a great excerpt and a fantastic giveaway, so check out the post and leave a comment to enter the giveaway! <3 ~Pixie~
Heels Over Head
Jeremy Reeve is one of the best divers in the world, and he’s worked hard to get where he is. He intends to keep pushing himself with one very clear goal in mind: winning gold at the summer Olympics in two years. That medal might be the only way to earn his father’s respect as an athlete.
Brandon Evans is everything Jeremy isn’t: carefree, outgoing, and openly gay. With his bright-blue eyes and dramatic tattoos, he’s a temptation that Jeremy refuses to acknowledge. But Jeremy can’t ignore how talented Brandon is—or that Brandon has no interest in using his diving skills to compete.
They’re opposites who are forced to work together as teammates, but Jeremy’s fear of his own sexuality and Brandon’s disinterest in anything “not fun” may end their partnership before it begins. Until a single moment changes everything, and they help each other discover that “team” can also mean family and love.
Hello, and welcome to the blog tour for Heels Over Head, my new sports romance where Olympic diving hopefuls battle it out on the platform… while discovering friendship, family, and love along the way. I hope you enjoy reading Jeremy and Brandon’s romance as much as I enjoyed writing it!
I’ll be stopping on several blogs throughout the week, so I hope you’ll follow along and join in the discussion. Plus, don’t forget to leave a comment at the end of the post… you’ll be entered to win an Amazon gift card!
August (0 months since leaving Texas)
You know those movies where the hero is going about their life as a Normal Joe, just working a job and trying to make rent, and then they get whisked away by a secret agent from some shadowy government organization, and thrust into a life of explosions and crime and sexy models wearing tiny bathing suits?
Yeah, that’s not what happened here at all. Except the part about the sexy models in tiny bathing suits, but I’ll get to that in a bit.
One day I’m minding my own business, diving off my favorite spot at the lake. I’m hamming it up because a few girls are recording me on their phones and it would be awesome to end up as a YouTube sensation. The cliff I jump off of is about forty feet high, and the water beneath is deep and smooth as glass.
I do a few flips in the air, hooting and hollering like the eighteen-year-old fool that I am, and hit the water feet first, plunging down into silence. It’s the best adrenaline rush I’ve ever found.
Two weeks later, some guy is on the phone asking if I dive professionally, and the next thing I know I’m in a pool on the UT Austin campus and being asked to show off my best moves. So I do.
Turns out the guy actually is a kind of official, just not one that carries a gun or wears a suit. He’s a bigwig with the USAS, which he tells me stands for US Aquatic Sports, and basically he’d like to offer me a scholarship to train as a professional diver.
They sign me up for classes at UT, give me a Longhorns shirt, and tell me to get to work. And for two years, I dive a couple of days a week and compete on the weekends, and it’s great. The guys on the team wear the tiniest Speedos I’ve ever seen—my best friend, Aaron, laughs for an hour when I tell him that, because I have to wear one too—but it makes practice a lot more enjoyable, that’s for sure. Everyone is fit.
But then after my sophomore year another official guy shows up. He has a polo on that says US Diving, and he asks a bunch of questions about my training (all two years of it), my background (gymnastics, ballet, modern dance), and my grades (passing, though barely).
Then he asks if I want to tryout to train with one of the best coaches in the world. And I don’t know what to expect, but I say, “Sure, why not?”
I’m whisked away. Bye-bye, shitty dorm in Austin, and hello . . . shitty dorm in Ohio.
At least the eye candy is still really nice?
* * * * * * *
The guy who flies up with me to Ohio is named Martin Durand. He’s awesome, but a little too intense for me. He talks a lot about the “singular opportunity before me” and “making an impression.”
Basically, I zone out and let him do his thing.
We spend the night in a hotel, and the next morning I put on the tiny bathing suit beneath my sweats and we drive over to this insanely big aquatics center.
Inside everything smells like chlorine, and surprisingly it’s mostly empty. There are a few people swimming laps, and two men at the far end. As we approach, I watch a guy my age run down the springboard, jump, get some awesome air, and do a bunch of flips before hitting the water.
He’s good. Even with my limited experience I can see that plain as day.
The diver is back on the board by the time we get closer, and Martin is introducing me to this older Russian man named Andrey while he does another dive. I should be paying attention and “making a good impression,” but what’s happening in the pool catches my attention and damn.
The guy is hot. Pale like he doesn’t get out much, but not sickly white. Muscles like one of those statues in the museums, and blond hair that falls into his eyes when he climbs out of the pool. He has a glare like a little Chihuahua: more adorable than scary.
He meets my eyes long enough for my gaydar to ping, then looks away.
Martin and Andrey get me to show off, and I do. It’s been hard over the last couple of years, teaching myself to dive hands first instead of feet first, but it’s just as fun as before. I start with a handstand because it’s my favorite, then flip backward a bunch of times, remembering at the last second to straighten out.
I still hit the water on my back. It stings like a bitch, but the adrenaline overrides that.
Later, after being rudely dismissed by hot blond guy—whose name, apparently, is Jeremy—Martin explains that I’m going to be training with Andrey going forward.
“It’s a one-year scholarship. You prove what you can do on the platform, they’ll extend it through the end of your college career.”
“Awesome.” It’s not like I have a lot of choice. I could go back to Texas, assuming they’ll renew my scholarship down there . . . or I can smile and shake hands and listen to Martin talk about competition requirements and living allowances. But there’s nothing waiting for me in Texas except Aaron and a mountain of tedium, whereas Ohio offers something new, a chance to escape and start over.
Yeah, I’ll take option B, thanks.
* * * * * * *
Andrey puts me to work right away, setting workouts and giving me routines for the dryland boards. He doesn’t actually let me back into the pool for the first two weeks, and there’s a strict exercise schedule that I’m supposed to follow. I tape the schedule up on the wall of my studio, alongside the nutrition plan Andrey handed me the first day. I don’t look at either very often.
Dryland training is my favorite, because it’s a lot like the gymnastics that I did as a teenager. Giant mats, trampolines, and flipping around until my muscles are pleasantly sore. I think I impressed Jeremy by holding a handstand for over a minute, though it’s hard to tell, what with the not-so-subtle glare he shoots me every time I accidentally cross into his line of sight.
I thought maybe he was distant at first. But now I’m pretty sure he’s just a grade-A dick.
A few weeks in, I call Aaron and spend half an hour catching up. We used to talk every day, but he was pissed at me for taking the first chance to escape Texas, and for leaving him behind. Most people aren’t close with their exes, but Aaron and I were best friends first, and we’ll probably be best friends until the end of time, even if we’ve realized that sleeping together is a bad idea.
“So you’re some kind of prodigy?”
I’m sitting on my bed, feet propped in front of me. There’s a hole in my sock, and it’s driving me crazy, but I’m too comfortable to get up and find new socks. “Nah. I think they’re just excited for fresh blood or something.”
“This is the first time you’ve had a break to call me. What the hell do they have you doing up there?”
“Fuck, it’s ridiculous.” I end up flopping back onto the bed and stretching my leg up flat against my chest, peeling the sock off, and flinging it in the direction of the garbage can. Then remember that I can’t throw it out because I basically have no money except what I get from my scholarship. “I need to get a job, but they have me training twice a day. Plus classes, online and in the classroom most afternoons, though thankfully I’m not doing a full load this semester.”
Aaron whistles low. “Intense.”
He has no idea.
Weight training twice a week in the mornings, diving in the afternoon. Cardio workouts alternate, and then dryland training of course. Jeremy gets a workout on the highest platform every Wednesday, and Andrey tells me to come watch, like maybe I’ll learn something.
The only thing I’ve learned so far is that Jeremy is über talented, and pretty much the most mysterious person I’ve ever met.
Laughter in my ear reminds me that I’m in the middle of a conversation. “Oh man, who is he?”
“Dude, we’ve known each other since you were a tiny thing in leotards trying to convince me to do ballet with you. You get all silent like that midsentence, it means you’re thinking about something . . . or someone. So spill.”
Did I say that Aaron is my best friend? Scratch that.
I sigh. “So, the coach who took me on has another student. Jeremy Reeve. I’m not really sure what his deal is, but every other word out of his mouth is either ‘diving’ or ‘Olympics,’ and he’s totally not my biggest fan.”
“But he’s hot?”
“So hot.” I raise my voice, going for full-on thirteen-year-old girl, and it gets me the laugh I was aiming for. “But no, man, he’s crazy serious. Like, I get in to train at 9 a.m., and he’s already there working out. It’s been three weeks, and I haven’t seen him smile once.”
There’s a clacking sound in the background, and I realize that Aaron is typing on his keyboard. It’s confirmed a second later when he says, “Shit, he’s gorgeous.”
“What?” I sit up straight. “How’d you find a picture of him?”
Aaron sighs. “Paging Brandon Evans, welcome to the twenty-first century and the age of Google stalking. Your boy is all over the internet: competitions, National Championships, blah, blah, blah. Looks like he was a favorite to join Team USA for the Olympics two years ago, but bombed in the qualifications.”
That explains a lot. “I had no idea.”
“No shit. You’re not exactly the kind of person who digs beneath the surface.” He says it fondly, but I know it annoys him that I tend to take everything at face value . . . I’m definitely a “jump first and think later” guy.
But this information has me seeing Jeremy in a new light.
Aaron changes the subject to fill me in on some local gossip, and I let his words wash over me, the barely there twang making me homesick. I hated Texas, but it’s where I lived for my entire twenty-one years until now, so thinking about my home state is still familiar and comforting. Not to mention, there’s no good Mexican food anywhere in this entire godforsaken state. I checked before Martin flew me up here.
But I’m free from the restraints that living in Texas put on my life. And . . . maybe my training partner isn’t so bad after all. He could be a friend, if I can figure out how to speak his language.
Tomorrow I’ll try to chat with him about the training. Extend an olive branch, right?
Read more at: https://riptidepublishing.com/titles/heels-over-head (just click the excerpt tab)
Elyse is an author and world-traveler, whose unique life experiences have helped to shape the stories that she wants to tell. She writes romances with LGBTQ+ characters and relationships, and believes that every person deserves a Happily Ever After. When she’s not staring futilely at her computer screen, El spends her time adding stamps to her passport, catching up on her terrifying TBR list, and learning to be a better adult.
She’s always happy to chat with other readers, and you can find her online at:
- Website: http://elspringer.com
- Twitter: @ElyseSpringer
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elysespringerwrites