Book Spotlight: Heels Over Head by Elyse Springer

Heels Over Head
by Elyse Springer
Date Released: May 29, 2017

About 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.


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An Excerpt from Heels Over Head
Jeremy

August (24 months until the Olympics)

I’m doing a series of dives off the springboard. It’s not my favorite exercise, but the air I can get is awesome, and Andrey likes to remind me that I should get used to it, because someday my body won’t let me do the ten-meter platform anymore and it’ll be springboard or retirement. Andrey is a morbid dick at times, but his brutal realism is why I moved out to Bumfuck, Ohio, to train for the next two years. Because dreams and optimism are all well and good, but they’re not going to win me Olympic Gold, are they?

It started off as a normal Tuesday afternoon, nothing special about it. I’d spent the morning doing cardio, took a break and went to class for a few hours, and now I’m enjoying every second of being in the air. You’d think divers would spend most of their time in the water, but you’d be wrong; between weight training, trampoline, and practicing on crash mats and foam pits, we spend the majority of our day on dry land.

Andrey is recording me on his iPad to show me exactly how bad I’m screwing up this twist, and calling suggestions while I stretch and flex and try to make my body do what I need it to do—which is a forward two and a half somersaults, two twists dive.

Easy when it’s from the platform and you have heaps more time in the air. But I’m on the springboard, and Andrey is about three seconds away from his head exploding because I won’t point my damn toes. Plus, the springboard is turning my legs to jelly.

“It’s good for you,” Andrey is fond of saying.

It probably is, but right now I feel about three seconds away from my legs giving out, so I’m going to have to disagree.

Anyways, Andrey is recording, I’m diving, life is good. And then suddenly Andrey isn’t paying attention anymore, and I completely fail to rip my entry because I’m distracted by the guy standing next to Andrey, talking to him. That’s the first sign that it’s not going to be a typical practice . . . Andrey is usually just as focused as I am.

Doesn’t this guy know that we’re in the middle of a practice? It’s the interruption that upsets me, not the eyes watching me that are the exact same color as the pool I’m currently floating in. He’s skinny, dark hair a mess, and wearing sweats that are loose and worn.

Our gazes meet, lock, and he smiles. I look away quickly.

I tread water for a second, trying to figure out what’s going on. Andrey has the iPad tucked under his arm and is reaching to shake the guy’s hand, nodding. There’s another man that I hadn’t noticed before, probably Andrey’s age. I recognize him from somewhere, but my brain isn’t making the connection, although you’d think I’d be able to place that epic mustache in a heartbeat.

I’m climbing out of the pool, grabbing my shammy from where I tossed it before, when I hear Andrey say, “Okay, let’s see what he has.”

What the hell?

My mouth must be hanging open in shock a little, because Blue Eyes glances toward me and shrugs guiltily. But then he’s pulling his T-shirt over his head, toeing his flip-flops and sweats off to reveal a tiny red Speedo and miles of brown skin covered in swirls of black ink. I’d be angry, except it’s hard to be angry when you’re standing in front of a work of art.

Then the guy scampers up the stairs, heading straight for the ten-meter platform, and yeah, I’m angry again. Even those awesome tats and rippling muscles can’t take away from the fact that he’s interrupting my training session.

I’m toweling myself down absentmindedly while the guy stretches and moves to the end of the platform. He does an effortless, absolutely perfect handstand, like he’s completely unaware that there’s thirty feet of air and the hard surface of the water in front of him if he slips. He hangs there for a second, body straight as a pole, and then he pushes off.

It’s fucking beautiful. A back three and a half somersaults, and his pike is damn perfect.

Except he botches the landing so badly I can feel the spray of the water from where I’m standing.

The guy emerges from the water, smiling like he hadn’t just turned a perfect-ten dive into a cringe-worthy failure. He pushes his hair out of his face, still grinning like an idiot, and pulls himself out of the pool.

“How long has he been diving?” Andrey asks the older man.

The man answers too low for me to hear, but whatever he says is either impressive enough or ridiculous enough that Andrey’s eyebrows go up. He looks back over at Blue Eyes, who’s dripping poolside without a care in the world only a few feet away from me.

Andrey glances between the two of us. Makes a decision that’s obvious on his face and has my stomach sinking.

Then he shakes the mustache guy’s hand and nods.

“Jeremy, will you show Mr. Evans the locker room and training area?”

At first I think Andrey is talking about the guy with the ’stache. But then Blue Eyes bounds over, all excitement and white teeth, holding a hand out.

“I’m Brandon,” he says.

I don’t shake his hand. Yeah, I’m an asshole, but Andrey is walking away with the older guy, talking with his head tilted in, like I don’t even exist. In the middle of our training session!

Brandon shrugs and pulls his hand back, using it to wipe some drops of water off his stomach instead.

Up close I can see that his eyes are framed by dark lashes still wet from the pool, making them appear even more brilliantly blue. He’s fit, but all divers are in amazing shape. And he’s covered in ink: a full sleeve on his right arm, something fierce and tribal-looking curling up his leg and over his hip, cursive words on his ribs that I purposefully don’t read.

He’s watching me with a cheerful, expectant gaze.

I hate him pretty much immediately.

But I do as I’m told. I show Mr. Evans—like hell am I calling him Brandon—to the locker room. He’s wiping himself off with his T-shirt, making his short hair stand up in spikes, which makes him seem about fifteen if you’re only focusing from the neck up.

Which I am.

Since we’re back there already, I grab my own track bottoms and tug them on. Andrey has made it pretty clear that we’re done training for the day, and there’s no point in being cold. Normally I’d rinse off poolside, but a hot shower will work even better. If I can get rid of Evans.

“Locker room.” I motion around, as though the showers and lockers need a formal introduction.

Evans bobs his head. “So, what’s your story?”

“Excuse me?”

“I mean, you must really like diving.”

The guy is a total moron.

“The training room is through there,” I say, pointing through another door. “I’m going to shower and change, I’m sure you can find your way back to wherever you need to be.”

Now the guy is getting it. He straightens, and his eyes darken until they’re like the ocean instead of the pool we just came from. He says, “Sorry I bothered you,” like he actually means it, but I think he’s more disappointed than anything else. Like I kicked his dog or something.

I feel guilty for about two seconds, but then he finally turns and leaves. Good. Now I can shower and change into dry clothes, and maybe get a dryland workout in so the day isn’t a complete waste.



A Note from Elyse Springer
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!


About Elyse Springer
Elyse Springer 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.

Connect with Elyse


A Guest Post from Elyse Springer
Side Characters
Heels Over Head is a romance first, but it’s also a story about how you can choose your family, and how important friends and team can be. Jeremy and Brandon are reluctant teammates-turned-partners, but they also have some pretty awesome people supporting them along the way. Their coach, Andrey, is a voice of reason (and sometimes sarcasm) that holds the team together, while Valerie, Jeremy’s best—and only—friend, and competes alongside them.

Because Heels Over Head is told in alternating first person POV, we never get a good look inside the heads of Valerie and Andrey. But writing them was an absolute blast, and I had fun creating backstory to go along with them.

So here are their DiveMeets.com profiles, and a few fun facts!

*  *  *
DIVEMEETS.COM
Diver Profile

Name: Valerie Bergmann
City/State: San Diego, CA
Country: United States
Gender: F
Age: 23
FINA Age: 24
High School Graduation: 2012
DiveMeets #: 12XXX

Diving
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA):
  University of California (Diver)
  Coach: Sonia Larson
USA Diving
  Unaffiliated (Diver)
  Coach: Andrey Fedorov

-----

Valerie Bergmann is the only daughter of German parents, both of whom competed in the 1984 Olympics and didn’t medal. They’ve placed their hopes of Olympic glory in Val and ensured that she received the best training possible.

She’s definitely a cat person, though she makes an exception for Brandon, who is basically a really energetic puppy.

Her Kindle has dozens of romance novels on it at any given time, but she tells anyone who asks that she’s reading scientific journal articles instead… not because she’s embarrassed, but because she doesn’t want to admit that she’s never fallen in love before and she hopes the books will teach her how to.

Val’s weaknesses are dark chocolate and Disney movies. Jeremy is the only person on earth who knows about either.

*  *  *

DIVEMEETS.COM 
Coach Profile 

Name: Andrey Fedorov
City/State: Moscow 
Country: Russia
Gender: M
DiveMeets #: 10XXX

Teams
Federation Internationale De Natation (FINA):
  Russia (Coach Profile)
Российский Олимпийский комитет (Russian Olympic Committee):
  Russia (Coach Profile)
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA):
  University of Ohio Diving (Coach Profile)
USA Diving:
  University of Ohio Diving (Coach Profile)

Coaching
Andrey Fedorov’s Divers:

Reeve, Jeremy
Evans, Brandon
Bergmann, Valerie
Kovalev, Alexander
Mikhael, Sergei
Zakharov, Dmitry

-----

Andrey was the Russian Olympic diving coach for sixteen years before abruptly retiring after the 2012 Games. Rumor in the diving community was that he was pressured out in favor of a younger coach.

He first saw Jeremy dive during an international juniors competition and immediately recognized the talent. He never told Jeremy, but the reason he moved to Ohio was specifically to train him, after leveraging connections with FINA and USA Diving.

Jeremy and Brandon are not the first two gay men that he’s coached, but they are the first two that he was able to help and openly support.

Andrey is hooked on soap operas and schedules practices so that he never misses General Hospital.


Giveaway
To celebrate the release of Heels Over Head, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 3, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Follow the Heels Over Head blog tour.


Comments

  1. Great to learn more about your characters!

    vitajex at aol dot com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for sharing about your characters.
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  3. If I didn't already have my copy loaded and ready, your review would have me one-clicking. ; ) I truly enjoyed this post and getting the scoop on Valerie and Andrey. Thanks! peachescon(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congratulations with this release, El. I already have it lined-up on my TBR.

    amie_07(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Congrats on the release & thanks for the excerpt!
    legacylandlisa(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Congrats and thanks for the excerpt and profiles. This sounds great. I've loved watching diving for decades - the athleticism and beauty of it - and it makes a good "platform" for playing out all the other dynamics in a story. -
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

    ReplyDelete

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