Olympics on the mind
With the Olympics on every night (and my family watching religiously) I thought I’d post an excerpt from The Game of Love that’s sports-related. Sort of…
Brett watched afternoon practice from the top of the stadium’s concrete bleachers. He could see every hole in the defense, every missed opportunity from the offense. The bird’s-eye view, best one in the house.
Only problem with the bird’s-eye view was that it gave his eyes ample opportunity to wander from the field to the tennis courts. They sat no more than a hundred yards away, giving him an unobstructed view of one Christina St. James and her merry band of misfits.
No, misfits wasn’t the right word. The team wasn’t hopeless by any means. They just weren’t championship material, though the potential was there. She had some real athletes in the bunch, and those who looked a little more klutzy than the average player made up for it with determination.
He thought back to last year and the sounds he could hear from the courts. The groans, moans and yelling. The yelling of a frustrated coach who had no clue how to relate to his players, who was mostly there for the paycheck and didn’t know jack about the sport.
In the past week—the first official week for fall sports—he’d heard something far different. A few groans, for sure. It was impossible to work a body hard without some of that. But he heard encouragement and cheers. Feet pounding the court’s hard surfaces as they ran conditioning drills. The girls asking questions, and Chris answering with certainty. And that laugh of hers. Deep, husky, sweet, like sandpaper coated with honey.
He couldn’t help but be impressed with her command of the team and the ease with which she took the reins. She moved with fluid grace around the courts, weaving in and out of the tight spaces between the nets. She could duck to avoid a stray ball that flew at her head and never break her conversation.
Not that he’d been watching or anything. No, he hadn’t paid one bit of atten—oh hell, he’d been staring at the courts so often he felt like a peeping Tom. His neck was sore from craning around to catch glimpses of her as he walked to his car or back to his office.
She was an enigma. And the more she pushed him away, the more he wanted to get under her skin, see what made her tick. Apparently he didn’t give her the same feeling, though. She’d give a tight nod and walked past without stopping each time she saw him.
“Coach, gotta question for you!”
Arnie’s high-pitched voice pierced his thoughts, and Brett tore his attention away from the courts and back to the field.
“Hold on, I’m coming down.” He gave one more glance toward the tennis courts before he turned and jogged down the stadium steps onto the cushy grass.
Here, he was home. Here, he was king. The smell of sweat and turf, the sounds of grunts and helmets smashing together, the aches and pains… God, he loved it.
The scrimmage teams lined up, rearranged their positions and then snapped. The QB dropped back, scanning the field before making his choice. Cocking his arm back, he let loose a bull’s-eye to the chest of his all-star receiver. But instead of the play ending in an easy gain, the receiver let the ball bounce off his chest and roll to a stop a foot in front of him.
“What the hell was that?” The kid wasn’t even watching the damn ball. Tossing his clipboard down, he crossed the field. As the grass crunched beneath his Nikes, he noticed that one by one, his team’s heads were turning. And they weren’t looking his way.
Following their line of vision, he found the distraction. The damn tennis team, running the perimeter of the football field in some half-assed formation, following their fearless leader. They weren’t looking at the field, weren’t yelling or causing a scene. Just concentrating on keeping up with Chris.
Having been a teenage boy himself, the draw was obvious. Teenage girls. Short shorts. No brainer. At thirty-four, he was past that.
Except his eyes didn’t seem to get the “I’m Too Old For This” memo. They were tracking Chris like a hawk tracks a field mouse. Watching her long, tanned legs keep perfect pace, just a little ahead of her team. Sun-bronzed arms swung in rhythm, her ponytail swishing around with every other step.
The tank top covered her midriff, but it didn’t stop his imagination from picturing it riding up her ribcage and over those perky breasts that bounced gently with each step. With that sheen of sweat from—
The sound startled him, and he snapped his mouth shut. He whirled around to see Steve, an amused glint in his eye and his mouth tilted up at one corner. It didn’t take a genius to know where his mind had drifted.
“Get them back to work,” Brett grumbled, walking back to the benches. He wiped the back of his hand over his chin, just to make sure he hadn’t drooled.
Hope you guys are having fun watching the Olympics. I know we are!