Love does not begin and end the way that we seem to think that it does. Love is a battle; Love is a war. Love is a growing up.” ~ James Baldwin.
Fresh off of the heels of the 2016 Summer Olympics I started reading R.S.Grey’s The Summer Games: Out of Bounds. Once I delved in, I couldn’t put it down. It was an extraordinary read, made even more appealing by the real-life events and awe-inspiring performances that occurred at the Olympics in Rio.
The blurb for this novel immediately intrigued me. Sports romances are very popular in the romance and erotica genres; there are often many books that revolve around football, soccer, swimming, baseball, skating, basketball etc. but there are few romance novels out there that focus on Gymnastics. Coincidentally, gymnastics has been a long time favorite of mine so I was beyond excited to learn that one of my favorite authors had recently penned a novel on a sport that is so close to my heart. Add to that the potential to read an epic enemies to lovers romance and I was hooked, reeled in without hope of escape until I finished the last page.
At the beginning of the novel we are introduced to Brie Watson, a determined young gymnastic prodigy who aspires to win gold in multiple events at the upcoming Olympic games. An unfortunate turn of events results in a last minute change in the coach for the women’s team. Enter Erik Winters, the incredibly gorgeous, highly sculpted, abrasive and downright rude new coach that she is forced to endure if she has any chance of making her life-long dream of winning Olympic Gold a reality.
I adored Brie from the first chapter. R.S. Grey does a fantastic job capturing the optimism and excitement experienced by an Olympic hopeful as they embark on a journey to transform a lifetime of hard work, training and sacrifice into a gold medal-wining endeavor that few in the world are ever to obtain. Brie is focused and poised; she is dedicated to her sport and carries the weight of the world on her shoulders. One of the things that I enjoyed the most about this novel was how the author portrays the pressures associated with representing ones’ country at the Games and how a potential failure to provide medal-winning performances can damage an Olympian both personally and professionally.
And boy oh boy…I loved to hate Erik Winters. He is a celebrated Gymnastics coach with the pedigree to match. His incredible good looks and unmistakable sex appeal are immediately obvious, but the deep-seeded scars that lie beneath the mystery of the man are what kept me enthralled with his character. I was confused by the dichotomy between my attraction to his physical attributes and my disdain for his actions through word and deed, particularly his brash treatment of Brie and outright disrespect for her as a woman.
The circumstances surrounding their first meeting are truly one for the ages. I was left slacked jawed and wondering how things could go so far downhill so fast. Let’s just say that Brie catches Erik in a “compromising position.” To say that this gets their relationship off to a bad start is an understatement. 😳😳
Things only get worse from there. Their immediate attraction spawns a true battle of wills and crossed boundaries that each was determined to win. I honestly haven’t seen anything like it in a sports romance before and considering how many novels in the genre that I have read that’s quite remarkable.
The Summer Games: Out of Bounds is one of the hottest sports romances that I have been privileged to read. I don’t think that I will ever look at yoga or balance beams in the same light again. 😊 When these two finally get down to business after all of the back and forth, love and hate acerbic dialogue between them…It’s a cataclysmic event, pure and simple. 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥!!!
I laughed out loud and I screamed while reading this book. You can’t help but cheer for Brie as she strives to carve a permanent name for herself in gymnastic history. In spite of his horrible attitude and despicable mannerisms, I found myself rooting for Erik to overcome the demons of his past and silence his critics in the industry by finally becoming an Olympic level gymnastics coach.
In short: The Summer Games: Out of Bounds is truly one for the memory books. It’s certainly one of my favorite releases of 2016. I haven’t cried over a book in a long time, but the final, inspiring chapter of this book had me full out ugly crying and it wasn’t a bad thing.
At the beginning of this novel it was clear that Brie and Erik had a lot of growing up to do, and the journey these characters experience as they pave the way from declaring war on each other to achieving a spell-biding love is beyond satisfying. I was already a huge fan before starting The Summer Games: Out of Bounds but this book catapulted R.S. Grey into one of the top spots in my book-loving heart!!
I will be reading this one again and again! Needless to say, I highly recommend it!