Series: Waiting on the Sidelines #3
on January 18th, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Sixteen years is a long time. In a marriage, it’s a milestone. On the gridiron, it’s a miracle. Reed Johnson wants more time for everything, but time is funny that way.
It can be cruel.
With a body that can’t quite take the hits it used to and a heart tired of being torn in two different directions, Reed is faced with a reality he’s not quite ready for—life without the game. He became a man under Friday night game lights and in college stadium tunnels, and without the grit and the glory that’s earned ten yards at a time, he’s afraid of what kind of man he’ll be.
But there’s more than a game at stake now.
Reed’s wife, Nolan, is afraid too. She’s seen what can happen when the love of her life pushes himself too hard, and she can’t escape the nightmares she relives after almost losing her entire world to one single play on the field.
There is no compromise when it comes to football. Same goes for the heart. You’re either all in, or you get crushed. For Reed and Nolan, the clock is ticking down. Time…it does that. One way or another, they’re going to have to make a choice.
This is their hail Mary.
This is win or lose.
(The Hail Mary is book 3 in The Waiting Series, which follows high school sweethearts Reed Johnson and Nolan Lennox through football, life, love and everything messy that goes along with it. The series begins with Waiting on the Sidelines and Going Long.)
Behind us, my brother’s voice bellows over some touchdown I’m sure he’ll tell me about the minute I step inside. For as much as I love this game and it gives me life, I really hate talking about it like a fan. It’s like seeing behind the scenes at Disneyland—magic gets lost.I know Nolan won’t want to talk about the Sunday games.“You wanna go for a walk?” I say without giving my brain a chance to stop my mouth from asking.Nolan laughs at first, but when she sees I’m serious, she glances over her shoulder then looks back to me.“Alright,” she smirks.I nod toward the driveway, and we both step at the same time. As much as the area has grown, our family’s place is still set off from most of the rest of town. That won’t be the case when we sell off the back acreage, but it’s the right developer and the right time. Still—I’m going to miss the lonely feeling of our main road one day. Lonely isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes, it clears your head.“Please say this wasn’t the tattoo boy that made her go to the desert party,” I say, feeling my fist tighten in my pocket just at the mention of him.Nolan laughs lightly.“No, Reed. You’ll be glad to know that this boy is a quarterback,” she says.“Ah hell.” I roll my eyes and look up at karma.“Yep. He’s fifteen. Sophomore.”I want to finish her sentence with “and he’s dead,” but that’s just my daddy blood boiling.“She’s a freshman. And she’s not allowed to date,” I say instead, knowing that’s not true and won’t be enforced. Nolan lets my rant go without acknowledgement, so we walk a little longer in silence, our legs turning on instinct to head into town.“Is he good at least?” I grumble my question, and when she doesn’t answer me right away, I glance to my right to catch her grin.“What?”“Nothing,” she says, teasingly. “It’s just…he might have broken your freshman record for passing yards. And he maybe wears your number. And his name might be Ryan.”I stop walking and she takes a few more steps away from me before turning and walking backward to face me.“I’m kidding…” She points at me and laughs. All I can do is shake my head. My relief is short, though, because she’s only kidding about that last part.“His name’s Bryce. He’s a nice kid. Just a little…misguided.” Her eyes dance on mine with that word, the same one her mom used to say about me when we were in high school.“I’m going to hate him,” I say, catching back up to her stride.“Nah…” she says.“I disagree.” I’m firm about it. I don’t care if the kid ends up winning state. I won’t like him. Wait…“How’d they do at state last year?” I ask.She doesn’t say it out loud. It’s in the expression she wears, mouth higher on one side and eyes lifted. My daughter is dating a mini me. Damnit all to hell.The sun is getting higher, and I know Nolan’s starting to feel the heat on our walk, so I offer to turn around, but she insists we keep going. I don’t fight her on it because these roads have a healing power to them. It’s why Nolan wouldn’t let my dad sell everything and move into a care place, why she moved in and why her and I both agreed this was where we wanted Peyton to go to high school. We can afford for my dad to be anywhere, which means we can also afford to bring therapists and doctors to us. This little piece of our history is too important.The press box comes into view and the scent of barbecue hits my nose at the same time, making me salivate.“Fundraiser?” I ask.“It’s homecoming week.” Noles flits her gaze to me for a few seconds, and a thousand memories flood in. I’d give anything to get a redo on some of our school dances. On homecoming, especially.That’s why she was alright with the heat. She knew this destination would scratch at my soul. It does the job.“Come here,” I say, slowing down my walk as she gets a few paces ahead. She turns to face me and I reach out my hand.Bashful eyes haven’t aged a day, I swear to God. Her mouth curves in suspicion—as it should. I curl my fingers, gesturing for her to take my hand, and my head tilts to the side.“Come on, I won’t bite,” I say, and her head turns a fraction to the right as her eyes dim.We stay in this standoff for a few seconds, eyes locked and every chase in our past flowing through our minds. I don’t mask it well, and when I reach for her she squeals and takes off in a sprint toward the field.“You know I’m going to catch you!” I call after her as she rounds the fence and swings the gate closed behind her in an effort to slow me down.I grab the top and swing my legs over in a jump, a little impressed with myself when I don’t biff the landing or get hurt. Noles glances over her shoulder, her long hair a twisted mess that covers most of her eyes, but she still sees me. Her laughter gets wild, this giggle that’s so damned reminiscent of the school girl I fell for two decades ago.We make it to the track and she slows up, giving in for my arms to lift her up over my shoulder and walk her the rest of the way into the end zone. I spin her a few times until I’m dizzy and then I let her body slide back down to the damp grass, my arms still around her.This feels good.It won’t last.
Read the first two books in the series today!
About the Author:
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, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count, Hold My Breath, and A Boy Like You.
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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