Hi guys, we have Sean Michael popping in today with their upcoming re-release Perfect 10, we have a short guest post from Sean, a great new excerpt and another chance to enter their fantastic giveaway, so check out the post and click the link to the giveaway! <3 ~Pixie~
Despite a life-threatening injury sustained in a vaulting accident, top gymnast Christopher Allen is determined to get back to his former perfect condition and compete again. Brian Rainings is a coach in need of someone to believe in, and he takes Chris on, admiring the spirit and determination that drives Chris to succeed. And admiring the sturdy, muscled body Chris maintains.
Admiration soon leads to something much hotter as they train together. From their scorching first kiss, Brian and Chris’s chemistry is obvious, but they have a long road ahead to get Chris back into shape. Months of hard work lead to success, with Chris gaining strength every day and finally finding the elusive sponsor he needs for financial support. Secrets, hidden dangers, and family troubles plague them, though, and they have to face the fact that Chris might never compete again and score that perfect ten.
First Edition published by Torquere Press, 2006.
Release date: 6th September 2017
Pre-order: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo
Thank you, MM Good Book Reviews for hosting me today 🙂
I love men’s gymnastics, which made this a fun book to write. I thought today I’d share my top five favorite apparatus for men’s gymnastics!
Top Five Favorite Men’s Gymnastics Apparatuses
5. The parallel bars. So much stretngth, but I always worry about their underarms when they land/catch themselves on both arms.
4. The high bar. The dismounts with the twists and somersaults in the air are my favorite part of the high bar. Not that the rest of the routines aren’t also really cool.
3. The floor. Whenever I watch, I can’t believe how much air they get. It’s like they don’t have to obey gravity the same way everyone else does.
2. The pommel horse. It’s like an amazing, dangerous dance.
1. The rings. The Iron Cross maneuver is my all time favorite. And every move on the rings really is amazing. And also it makes me drool 😉
smut fixes everything
Chris might have been on the injured list and abandoned by his people, but the buzz around him had been incredible before the accident, and Brian figured he couldn’t be the only one who wanted this job.
“Sure. You and I competed together once, a long time ago. Back when I was a junior and you were on top.”
“Yeah, I do remember. The buzz in the locker room was all about this blond kid who was going to smoke everyone in a few years.” The vinyl seats were surprisingly soft, like they’d been well taken care of.
“Yeah. Talk’s probably still the same, just for another kid.” It was a little unnerving looking at Chris. One eye was a bright blue, the other a deep, dark green.
“It always is. Everyone wants to discover the next big thing. Of course, I might be sitting right in front of him.” Brian grinned, knowing he was laying it on thick.
Chris chuckled, eyes dancing. “You do know I had back surgery, yeah?”
“Oh, you’re that Christopher Allen.” Brian winked and nodded. “Yeah, I know. I also know you’re looking to come back.”
“Looking to, yeah. I’ve been working on the trampoline, stretches, getting up to speed. I want to be ready.”
“Sounds good. You tried any of the equipment yet? The vault?”
“The rings. The bar. No landings yet.”
“How’s it feel?” He still worked out using some old routines himself—it was a hard thing to give up, pushing your body to its limits and beyond like that, feeling high and free.
“Stiff. I’m loving the tramp work. I can’t do much else—nowhere wants a guy without a coaching staff doing much training.”
He nodded. “Yeah, they don’t want the responsibility. So you still need a coach, then?”
“Yeah, Harry and Jeff moved on. They got Les Martin and both Evvie and Jean Parsons. Three for the price of one, you know?”
“Sounds like a good deal. For them. Kind of left you in the lurch, though, yeah?”
Man, that was a practiced shrug. “It’s a business. I’m not a sure thing.”
“Neither are they. What if there’s another accident? Harry and Jeff going to move on again?” Brian held up his hands. “Sorry, loyalty’s a dying art, you know?”
“Yeah. Yeah, I know. You want a burger? Chili dog?”
“Chili dog. With fries. And I hope they’re greasy.” And a milkshake. Brian loved diner food. “What about you? Burger? Chili dog? Coach Rainings?”
Those eyes caught his, curious, questioning. “You haven’t even seen what I can do yet.”
“No, but I know what your heart is. You had every reason in the world to give up—between the surgery and losing all your support—but you didn’t. You’re still out there working, getting ready. I know I’m not a big-name coach, and I haven’t proved myself yet. I’m sure you’ve had a number of offers, but I promise you, I will meet you heart to heart, and I won’t let you down.”
Chris nodded, stopped as the waitress came up. “I want a cup of black coffee, two beef patties with cheese, and a salad.”
“Chili cheese dog, fries, and a chocolate milkshake, please.”
“Mmm. Chocolate.” Chris chuckled, winked. “Where do you like to work?”
“Well, frankly, I’d prefer somewhere small, quiet. You don’t need the pressure of a high-profile gymnasium with big names. There’ll be pressure enough without that.”
“Yeah. I’d prefer to fall on my ass in private the first few zillion times.”
“There’s a facility in Monterey. I know the guy who owns it. It’s a beautiful town, weather’s nice, and it’s off the beaten path as far as gymnastics goes, but it’s still close enough to a lot of the big meets.”
“Monterey? Like California? Man, I don’t have any sponsors. I can’t afford an apartment out there.”
“Well, all it takes is one. Have you made any calls?” Brian started sorting names through his mind. Mars used to sponsor him; he bet if he gave Bob Silmon a call, he could work something out—they were good people.
“No. No. I…. Well, I sort of hoped that Harry and Jeff would….” Christopher stopped, blushed. “No, not yet.”
The waitress came with their drinks, and Brian said, “Thank you,” waiting until she’d gone again before answering. “They aren’t going to, though, are they? But I’m here.”
“Yeah. Yeah, I’m not caught in the past, man. I’m not.”
“Well, I don’t know if anyone could blame you if you were, but in order to get past what happened, you are going to have to face forward, reach for that brass ring, and not live in I-used-to-be-somebody land, you know?” He leaned forward. “You also need to do this because you have to. If you’re not going to put two hundred percent into it, you’re not going to come back.”
Chris met his eyes, gaze still, steady. “If I give it five hundred percent, there’s a good chance I won’t come back, but that hasn’t stopped me yet.”
Jesus, Brian thought, there was some fury right there, under the surface.
“I’m glad you know that. And now you know that I know it. So it’s all out in the open. And I’m still here.” He took a sip of his drink, enjoying the cold on his tongue. He bet that anger alone would push Chris far. But it wouldn’t be enough on its own.
Chris finished one cup of coffee and motioned for another, offering the waitress a half smile of thanks. “So what do you get out of this? You looking for a springboard to the big leagues? Because I’ll be honest, I’ve just finished being that, and it sucked.”
“Well, I’ve got a job right now. Coaching gymnastics at a girls’ private school. The money is good. It’s steady work. And the girls are great—they really are. But it’s not…. Men’s gymnastics is where my heart is, but I don’t want to be some assistant coach for some big club or school. I want to work hands-on with someone.” He gave the waitress a smile of his own as their food came. “I want a challenge. I want to believe in someone.”
“I hear that.” Chris dug into his burger, slathering it with mustard and using lettuce leaves for the bun.
Brian grinned as he dug into his fries. That was one thing he didn’t miss about competing—the constant need to watch your carb intake, to chart body-mass indexes, watch every pound you added, making sure it was all muscle.
“I can tell you this, Chris. If you agree to let me coach you, you will always have someone in your corner. Someone who will push you when you can’t push yourself, who will believe in you. Someone who will be there for you no matter who or what else is around.”
Chris nodded, stared at the table. “I need to think about it. I have to finish this semester before I can do anything, before I can make plans.”
Brian nodded. “I’d heard you were back in school. How close are you to graduating?”
He hadn’t given up his day job. Hell, he wouldn’t be giving up his day job to train Chris, not to start with anyway. He had a few contacts in Monterey, knew there was a phys ed teaching position for him if this worked out. Until Chris had proved himself, sponsorship money was going to be damned tight.
“I’ll have my bachelor’s in May. Then I have to decide where to go from there. There are lots of options.” Chris had a reputation for being driven, for being stubborn and one-track minded. Brian could so see it.
Chris was going to need that, coming off an injury like his.
“If you’re going to come back, though, you don’t want to wait too long. Once you’re an old man like me, you’re washed up, injury or no injury.” Brian grinned wryly, recognizing the irony of being not quite yet thirty and over the hill.
“Shit. I’m trying. I’m fucking trying, but no one lets me on the equipment. I need somewhere to train, to take chances.”
“Well, why don’t you come out to Monterey for the summer? I have a teaching position and no other commitments until, possibly, September. That would give us a few months to work together, let you push it, see how you’re feeling.” There it was. He couldn’t lay it out there much plainer. Come and train.
There was a spark in Chris’s eyes, a sudden hunger. “I… is there a place I can stay? Rent a room?”
“Well, Monterey has this private school. Kind of a sister school to the one where I’m currently working. They run a summer program for the girls, and the job’s mine if I want it. I could use an assistant coach, someone who knows what they’re doing. Pay should cover room and board, and the equipment would be ours as soon as the girls clear out.” It wasn’t a big facility or unlimited time for training, but it was workable.
“That sounds like a damned sweet deal.” Chris drank another cup of coffee, starting to bounce a little.
“That’s because you’ve never worked with teen and preteen girls.” Brian winked but then grinned and finished his fries. “So should I tell my friend he’s got a coach and assistant coach?”
“Yeah. Yeah, I could…. I can do that. Hell, worse comes to worse, I can run on the beach.”
Brian nodded. “A change of scenery can be a great boost, but you’ll get time on the equipment. It’ll be part of our contract.” He’d make sure of that.
He kept his knees from bouncing by sheer force of will, eager for a definitive yes.
Best-selling author Sean Michael is a maple leaf–loving Canadian who spends hours hiding out in used book stores. With far more ideas than time, Sean keeps several documents open at all times. From romance to fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi, Sean is limited only by the need for sleep—and the periodic Beaver Tail.
Sean fantasizes about one day retiring on a secluded island populated entirely by horseshoe crabs after inventing a brain-to-computer dictation system. Until then, Sean will continue to write the old-fashioned way.
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