About Personal Best
by Sean Michael
Mike could be a world class swimmer if he took care of himself better, so his team coach calls in a private trainer, up and coming hardass Jessy Turner. Jessy locks Mike down, putting him on a strict regimen that Mike resents a lot until he finds himself becoming a better swimmer for it.
The two of them resist their attraction to each other for as long as they can, but sooner or later they have to give into the heat between them. When things go wrong, though, can they, and their sports careers, survive the strain?
CB Potts, editor of the upcoming Play Ball, writes: What do you get when you put together an Olympic sized pool, an incredibly talented but untrained swimmer and a hard-ass coach?
In Sean Michael’s Personal Best, you get an incredibly hot read.
The book opens poolside, with coach Jessy Turner ‘between swimmers’. Cutting through the water, faster than fast, with loads of potential, is Mike Gaulliet. Gaulliet could be a world champion…with the right coach. And Jessy Turner is that coach.
Things won’t be easy. We go along with Mike as he runs headlong into Jessy’s strict diet, social, and workout rules. There’s a lot to be given up in order to achieve one’s dreams – but there’s a lot to be discovered along the way.
Michael masterfully handles the delicate dynamic between athlete and coach. We get to see some of the internal struggle Jessy faces before pivotal decisions are made. And when an incident that could derail both men’s careers crops up, there are real, painful consequences. Unlike many erotica novels that lack conflict and play out to easily predicted endings, there are many points in Personal Best where the reader worries that things might actually go terribly, terribly wrong.
The erotic encounters between the two are charged with the added element of Mike’s relative inexperience and Jessy’s overwhelming need for the young man. Both men bring issues to the relationship, from lost parents to lost swimmers, adding yet another dimension of enjoyment to the story.
Michael is to be commended. Fans of sports smut, such as myself, are sure to be pleased with the mix of athleticism and eroticism, and romance fans will love the emotional heights and depths the couple journey through.
Jessy Turner was between swimmers when he walked into Jamail Hall at UT, looking for Coach Jeff Samuels.
Jeff had called with ''an opportunity''. It could be anything from a job offer to a lead on a new swimmer who needed a private coach to someone who was looking for private lessons for their tyke; there was no telling with Jeff.
The man's office was empty, so Jessy made his way through the huge complex down to the pool. He was stopped in his tracks by the show going on in the water. The kids were swimming laps, going hard, and lane three was smoking. His form needed work, but fuck, he was flying through the water like a damned fish.
Jessy hadn't seen someone with that much raw talent in too fucking long. He sat in the stands and just watched.
Dark hair, long, long arms and legs -- the kid moved and moved, and fuck if he just didn't keep going, digging up more and more energy.
''Kid's going to burn himself out.'' Jeff's voice sounded at his shoulder.
''I'm surprised he hasn't already. You gonna rein him in sometime soon?''
''Nope. You are.'' Jeff gave him a grin. ''You remember Doug and Jamie Gaulliet? The all-American freestylers that were killed off the coast? That is their son.''
He whistled low. ''Comes by it naturally then.'' He felt that excitement shiver up his spine, the one that said he was onto something special. ''So I am, am I? You offering me a job or handing me the next Olympic champion on a silver platter?''
''I'm handing you the kid. He's got a scholarship. He swims my meets. You get the use of the pool and facilities for training. There are already two sponsors lined up -- good money, but they want you.''
''You okay with losing the coaching opportunity?'' Jeff was a good man. A good coach, but this kid needed one-on-one. Still, Jessy needed to hear it from the man himself.
''Shit, Jessy. This kid? Needs 24/7 care. He's got more energy than anyone I've ever met.'' Jeff nodded out to the water where the damned kid was still going. ''He can do that for hours, then get out, down an entire pizza and 2-liter.'' Jeff chuckled. ''Then he'll either throw up from nerves or get in the pool and do it again.''
''24/7, yeah?'' Jessy nodded. ''I'll give it some thought.'' Like he was going to do anything but jump at the chance to coach this kid. He was already planning to get the kid off caffeine, put that energy to efficient use.
His place was big enough to move the kid in, the pool a good size, perfect for training. They could come into Jamail Hall a few days a week, train with the rest of the UT team.
''If you don't want him, let me know soon. I don't want to lose him to UCLA.''
''Let me go talk to him. I'll let you know before I go.''
''Sure. His name's Mike, by the way. Sweet kid. Don't terrify him.'' Jeff winked and blew the whistle. ''Frank, Aaron. Up and out. To the weight room.''
He snorted. Terror was how you got them to follow the rules.
The kid was the only one left in the pool and he slowly made his way down, crouching at the end of Mike's lane.
A pair of the biggest, darkest eyes Jessy’d ever seen blinked up at him, smiling. ''You lost? Coach is... uh... probably in the weight room.''
''I'm not lost. I'm Jessy Turner. You can call me Coach.'' He held his hand out to the kid. ''You're Mike Gaulliet, right?''
The kid had a strong handshake, firm. ''Yeah. That's me. Nice to meet you.''