Welcome to the RELAY Blog Tour, presented by Layla Reyne and Riptide Publishing! RELAY, by Layla Reyne, is Book 1 of the Changing Lanes sports romance series featuring Olympic swimmers. RELAY is an enemies-to-lovers, second chance romance between Alex, the team captain, and his closeted ex, Dane, swimming’s biggest star. Read on to learn more about RELAY, Changing Lanes, and Layla Reyne!
Captain is not a title Alejandro “Alex” Cantu takes lightly. Elected by his teammates to helm the US Men’s Swim Team, he proudly accepts the role, despite juggling endless training, team administrative work, and helping out on the family farm. And despite his ex-lover, Dane Ellis—swimming’s biggest star—also making the Olympic Team.
Dane has been a pawn in his celebrity parents’ empire from crib to pool, flashing his camera-ready smile on demand and staying deeply in the closet. Only once did he drop the act—the summer he fell in love with Alex. Ten years later, Dane longs to cut his parents’ strings, drop his too-bright smile, and beg Alex for another chance.
Alex, though, isn’t ready to forgive and forget, and Dane is a distraction he doesn’t need on his team, until an injury forces Alex to accept Dane as his medley relay anchor. Working together, their passion reignites. When Dane’s parents threaten reprisal and Alex is accused of doping, the two must risk everything to prove Alex’s innocence, to love one another, and to win back their spots on the team, together.
Researching for Olympic Swimming
Relay and Medley are contemporary sports romances featuring Olympic swimmers as they train for and compete in the Olympics. Relay’s Alex and Dane, and Medley’s Bas and Jacob, make-up the four-man medley-relay squad for USA Swimming.
While the Olympics are broadcast and we see what goes on at the meet portion of the event, training leading up to it isn’t as much of an open book. In researching and drafting Relay, which is focused more heavily on the training portion of Olympic competition, I gathered what information I could about past Olympic “training camps.” The teams do have domestic and international training camps, which are increasingly covered and attended by the media and fans. There are pictures, for instance, from the past camps that were very helpful in describing facilities and setting the scene.
As for what actually goes on at training camp, practice regimens, etc., that sort of information is not as widely available, so yes, some creative license had to be taken. That said, I have a number of friends who swam at the collegiate level, and I peppered them with questions—from diet, to pool versus dryland training, to swimwear and terminology. They were an invaluable resource to helping me get the details as close as I could.
About Changing Lanes
A chance at gold or a chance at love? Members of the US Men’s Swim Team fight for both in this sports romance duology following two couples on one medley relay team as they train and compete in the world’s biggest sporting event: the Olympics. To reach the top of the podium, they’ll need to depend on one another and be willing to change lanes—in their lives and hearts, and in the biggest race of their athletic careers.
Anything Olympics related, especially swimming and gymnastics (anyone on that one???) and I will snap it up right away, without question. So when I saw this up for preorder, it was with grabby hands that I requested this one, and I was not disappointed. The author did a fantastic job with this story.
It has to be difficult to write about an area of sports that is only really seen by the public every four years, but well done by the author to connect with those that have an inside track into how that world works.
Alex and Dane certainly had their work cut out for them to come back together. Lovers at 16, then Dane turned his back when his parents said he had to leave. The anger and hatred that burned between them was palpable from the first day they were back in each other’s orbits. With Alex as captain, he was able to make decisions, along with the coach, who would swim what group events, and he didn’t hesitate to use that power to push Dane to the side, even knowing there was a chance it could affect the team’s chances of bringing home gold. In the end, the choice was taken away from him, once their anger was so out of control, it affected the entire team.
It took time for Alex to come to terms with where Dane was at in his life that he would walk away from what was clearly love, and even when he began to, Dane found a way to make it worse, allowing Alex’s belief in him to falter, because he knew there would be no way he could save him otherwise.
They worked together to overcome the outside forces that worked against them as individuals and a couple, even overcoming a small twist I didn’t see coming.
I do like a book that doesn’t tie everything up neatly, 100%. That to me is real life. There were several unanswered questions, along with people who definitely needed more of a comeuppance, but that is how real life is sometimes. Not all the questions are answered, and not everything ties up in a neat little bow. And that works just fine for me.
These two got their HEA, and the reader gets a glimpse of the next book, and even through how the secondary characters react, what their issues will be. I’m looking forward to it.
4.5 pieces of eye candy
2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bicoastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart-pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs.
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To celebrate the release of Relay, one lucky winner will receive a signed paperback copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 13, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!