Out of bounds the summer.., p.35
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       Out of Bounds (The Summer Games #2), p.35

           R.S. Grey

  Lone Star Gymnastics was our baby—especially since Erik had sold Seattle Flyers—and though we had a lot of help from my mom and Erik’s family, most of the responsibility still fell on our shoulders. Erik ran most of the day-to-day operations and we both taught the elite level gymnasts, which meant our schedules were erratic and impossible to manage. On a good day, it was overwhelming. On a bad day, it was nearly impossible, but we loved it and craved the intensity of gym life.

  I reached out for Erik’s hand and laced my fingers through his as he tugged me into the lobby. The gym was an explosion of sights and sounds. Gymnasts and their families had infiltrated every corner of the space. We’d roped off extra seating to accommodate all the parents and even still, there were sections that were standing room only.

  Erik turned to glance down at me and I could feel his excitement as we gripped our hands tighter. I pressed up onto my tiptoes to kiss his cheek. We did it. The smile that spread across his face was enough to make my heart skip a beat.

  “You think you can just come in here and kiss me and I’ll forgive you for being late?”

  “That’s what the cookies were for. The kiss was free.” I grinned.

  He tilted his head to the side. “Hmm, well if they’re free, I’ll have another.”

  I laughed and pressed a quick kiss to his lips. “There, now do you forgive me?”

  He hummed. “I’m getting there, but you should probably keep going.”

  I laughed and shook my head, aware that it wasn’t the time or the place to be making out with my fiancé.

  “Later,” I insisted with a wink.

  He grinned and waggled his eyebrows. “That sounds promising.”

  “Enough you two!” Erik’s mom said, pushing in between us so we had no choice but to step apart. “Brie, there’s a line of gymnasts half a mile long that are waiting to get a picture and an autograph from you before the competition starts. I suggest you get a move on or you’ll never get to them all in time.”

  Before I could reply, she was already pushing and prodding me away from Erik.

  I laughed and glanced back at him over my shoulder. “Sorry! Duty calls!”

  He smiled, held my gaze as I walked away, and mouthed, “I love you.”

  A shiver ran down my spine and I looked down to the flawless princess-cut engagement ring adorning my left hand. He’d given it to me two weeks earlier as we ate breakfast on our front porch. I hadn’t been able to stop looking at it since. The feel of it on my finger was a continual reminder of our love.

  My signing table was set up near the side of the gym that wasn’t being used for the competition. When I saw the line spiraling out past the second entrance, I stopped in my tracks, still shocked by the idea that these people were there for me. As soon as I came into view, the girls waiting in line erupted with screams and waves, trying to catch my attention. I smiled and tried to form words, but I was speechless.

  Erik’s mom guided me behind the small table where they’d laid out permanent markers and extra photographs. I’d noticed the first girl waiting in line even from a few yards back. She was standing by herself, her knees a little wobbly and her smile less confident than the rest of the gymnasts in line. She had one of my photographs clutched to her chest and it wasn’t until I smiled up at her and asked if she’d like me to sign it that she realized she was supposed to let go of it for a second.

  Her leotard was a little faded around the edges, the velvet less vibrant than it should have been. Her bun looked messy, as if she’d done it herself that morning, and when I met her eyes, I could see struggles girls her age didn’t usually have to carry.

  “What’s your name?” I asked as I signed her photo.


  I smiled. “Where are you from, Laura?”

  “Dove Springs.”

  I nodded. “Are you competing today?”

  She smiled wide. “Yes. Level six. Last year, I was the level five state champion.”

  I arched my brows. “Wow. That’s amazing! And level six?! That’s quick for someone as young as you.”

  She beamed with pride.

  “Are your parents here today?” Most of the girls in line had adults standing with them, but Laura was alone and I wanted to know why.

  Her smile fell, just slightly. “No, my dad had to work. I got to take the bus all by myself.”

  I nodded as I handed her back her photo. “You know, my mom had to work during a lot of my competitions too. I bet your dad really wishes he could be here.”

  She nodded and her eyes filled with tears near the corners. I could tell she was trying hard not to cry. “That’s why I wanted to meet you,” she continued. “They talked about you on TV during the Olympics, and…your family is a lot like mine.” She swallowed, maybe a little embarrassed to be volunteering so much information to a stranger. Girls behind her in line were impatient to get their turn, but I kept my gaze locked with hers so she wouldn’t feel rushed. For those few seconds, it was just her and me.

  “I think you’re going to do really well today, Laura,” I said, standing to round the table so I could wrap her in a tight hug.

  She pressed her face to my chest and nodded.

  “And maybe one day when your dad doesn’t have work, he could bring you back here for a private lesson?”

  She leaned back, eyes wide. “Really?”

  I smiled. “Yes, really. Although…you should know, this is a facility where Olympians train. Do you think you could be an Olympian one day?”

  Her eyes went wide as saucers and she nodded twice, slowly. “Yes. Absolutely. If you can do it, then so can I.”



  Thank you to all my readers in the indie book world!

  Thank you to Lance. You never fully accept the title of co-author, but you are one, so get over it.

  Thank you to my editor, Caitlin at Editing by C. Marie! You are irreplaceable and that scares me.

  Thank you to my agent, Kimberly Brower.

  Most importantly, thank you to Olympic athletes for misbehaving (in the best way possible) and inspiring this series in the first place.

  The Summer Games continue with another standalone Olympic romance…

  As an Olympic rookie, Andie Foster has spent far more time in her cleats than between the sheets. For 21 years, her Friday nights have consisted of blocking shots rather than taking them. But now that she's landed in Rio, she's ready to see for herself if the rumors about the Olympic Village are true:

  • The athletes are all sex-crazed maniacs...

  • The committee passes out condoms like candy...

  • The games continue long after the medals have been handed out...

  As Andie walks the line between rumor and reality, she's forced into the path of Frederick Archibald, a decorated Olympic swimmer and owner of a sexy British accent--too bad he's unavailable in a way that "it's complicated" doesn't even begin to explain.

  In other words: off limits.

  It doesn't matter that he has abs that could bring peace to the Middle East and a smile that makes even the Queen blush; Andie fully intends on keeping her focus on the soccer field. But the Village is small. Suffocating. Everywhere Andie goes, Freddie happens to be there--shirtless, wet from the pool, and determined to show her a whole new meaning of the phrase "international affairs".

  Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.


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  R. S. Grey, Out of Bounds (The Summer Games #2)



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