Fractions of seconds can do lots of damage. One decision can ruin lives. A blink can be tragic. And loving a Hollister…can hurt like hell.
I would know.
They say the average person can hold their breath under water for two full minutes when pushed to the extremes. Will Hollister has been holding his for years. The oldest of two elite swimming brothers, Will was always a dominant force in the water. But in life, he preferred to let his younger brother Evan be the one to shine.
Evan got the girl, and Will…he got to bury all of the secrets. A brother’s burden, the weight of it all nearly left him to drown.
The daughter of two Olympians, my path was set the day my fingertips first touched water. My future was as crystal clear as the lane I dominated in the pool—swim hard, win big, love a Hollister.
My life with Evan burned bright. He gave me arms to come home to, and a smile that fooled the world into believing everything was perfect. But it was Will who pushed me. Will…who really knew me.
And when all of the pieces fell, it was Will who started to pick them up.
In the end, the only thing that matters are those few precious seconds—and what we decide to do while we still have them in our grasp.
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The song breaks for a guitar solo, and I count the seconds, knowing that she’s going to slip away the moment everyone in here begins to clap. I won’t ask her to dance again. I won’t torture myself or push my luck. But I’ll remember this. As bad of an idea as it is, I’m glad I did it. So many painful memories woven into this place, I needed this one good one. It might just be the best memory I have out of everything in my life.
I feel her shift in my arms, and when I pull away slightly, Maddy’s chin pushes into the center of my chest, her eyes blinking slowly while she looks up at me. Two shots and a beer are about to talk to me right now. I smile softly and nod.
“That was a much better dance,” she says.
I chuckle, tilting my head back to laugh before bringing it forward slowly, resting my brow against hers. My eyes look down at the curve of her lips, lower at the line of her jaw, and even lower at the swell of her breast under the soft black cotton of her dress. A heavy breath escapes me.
“I make you nervous?” she asks.
I don’t answer right away, instead closing my eyes and swallowing again. I don’t even care if she can feel it. I drag my hands up her body to her neck until I’m cradling her head in my palms, my fingertips flirting with her hair along her neck and my thumbs caressing her jawline.
“That’s what you said…before. You said you didn’t dance well because I make you nervous,” she says, her words coming out slow and sleepy.
My mouth smiles against the top of her head, and I give in, opening it enough to press a kiss against her, hoping only the strangers are our witness.
“Yes, Maddy. That’s right,” I say. “You make me incredibly nervous.”
Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless and In Your Dreams.
A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.
When she’s not writing, the odds are high that she’s somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork ’em, Devils).
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