Title: Heels Over Head
Author: Elyse Springer
Publisher: Riptide Publisher
Release Date: May 29, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance/Athletes
Page Count: 366
Reviewed by: Renée
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
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.
I picked up Heels Over Head because I truly enjoyed Whiteout by the same author. And I also have a certain fascination with the sport of diving at each Summer Olympics.
Jeremy has been training to dive since he was seven. It was the only thing he found he was good at, and since his father and brothers have bullied him since birth about how much of a “fairy” he is, he will prove his worth by being a world champion. An injury took him out of the running for the Olympics last time, so he’s determined not only to train harder than anyone, he will win the gold medal in men’s diving at the next events in Toronto.
Jeremy is training with the best coach, who came out of retirement for him. He attends college classes part time, but diving and training is all he does, 24/7. While I imagine, of course, that kind of dedication and focus is needed to be an athlete at this level, it was truly to the detriment of anything else he could experience in life. And Jeremy wouldn’t have it any other way.
Brandon is one of those scary-talented people with no training. He is literally “discovered” while cliff diving and manages to find himself hand delivered to Jeremy’s coach by complete chance. He is raw and completely unpolished, but everyone can see that the talent is there, and he could be amazing with some formal training. The thing is….Brandon loves diving, but he has no aspirations to go to the Olympics. He looks at diving as a hobby, not a life. He’ll train and practice, sure – he enjoys it, but to let it become his whole life where there’s no actual FUN, pfft. He’s not having that.
Jeremy and Brandon butt heads immediately. Because Jeremy has zero social skills, and he’s a complete dick. But not only that, he was training one-on-one with his coach, and now he has to share with this person who not only needs a helluva lot of training, but thinks there’s more to life than diving. And the all-over tattoos are really distracting too…..
Brandon’s gaydar pings pretty early on, but when he tries to talk about it with Jeremy, the man is so scared, he’s visibly shaking.
Me and Aaron have a word for people like him. We call them skeletons – people so far in the closet that they die there, decompose, never willing to step out into the light.
Jeremy has been told for years that diving is a “fag” sport, and that he’s weak. But he knows if he can win the gold medal, it will prove to his father that he’s strong and a champion. Jeremy doesn’t read the writing on the wall that his father has never attended or watched a single one of his competitions, but at twenty-two, I can’t blame him for still seeking the approval of his only parent.
While Brandon will take a few years training to compete solo, their coach tells them they will begin training and soon competing in the men’s synchronized diving events. Jeremy is furious, Brandon wary. He doesn’t think he’s ready to compete in anything. Having to pay such close attention to the other though, it makes them both better. And when they have to become literally in sync with the other, Jeremy does start to thaw to Brandon bit by bit.
There is a lot of dive-speak in this one. But I was never bored, and I loved all of it!
I’ll be honest, though, this story was hard to get into at first, because it’s told in alternating first person present tense POV. It wasn’t smooth, for me, in the beginning, and I kept coming out of the story. By the third or fourth chapter, however, I was in. I was invested, and the story itself is really engaging. I was hooked!
This “team” won my heart. Jeremy completely grew up over the course of this story, which spans two years. Brandon learned about family and loyalty. Valerie, a subsequent diver to join, was integral to showing Jeremy that there was more to live for. And Andrey, their coach, was the father figure there for them through it all.
I was expecting the angst, but I loved how Springer played this one out. No doormat behavior here folks! These boys needed to work for their HFN/HEA, and they did! I was very pleased with the outcome of the relationship.