*Book 1 in the Girls of Summer Series*
At fifteen, Jamie Maxwell’s main goals in life are to make the United States youth national soccer pool, move past the Incident-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named, and maybe—someday—kiss a girl. When she meets Emma Blakeley at a tournament in Southern California, something about the older girl draws her in. And it isn’t that she expects to ever get the chance to kiss Emma. Really.
When Jamie invites her to sneak out on the last night of Surf Cup, Emma doesn’t go because she likes Jamie’s smile. She goes because, as the daughter of a surgeon and a nurse, she has a genetic predisposition to try to heal people. And Jamie, she can tell, is wounded.
Neither girl suspects that this first last night together will form the basis of a bond that will last across years and miles, from SoCal soccer fields and New York hotels to Portuguese beaches and the streets of Vancouver. But that’s how most friendships begin, isn’t it? With a smile and a nod and the courage to ask, “Do you maybe, possibly, want to come with me?”
READ THE OFFICIAL EXCERPT (PDF FORMAT).
More books in the Girls of Summer series:
- Book two: Game Time
- Book three: Outside the Lines
- Book four: The Road to Canada
- Book five: Girls of Summer
Training Ground is available in Kindle and paperback formats from Amazon, in a variety of eBook formats (including ePub, PDF, and Kindle) from Bella Books, and in paperback and Nook format from Barnes & Noble. It’s also available in audiobook at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. Various electronic editions can also be found at Smashwords, iBooks, and KOBO, while paperback copies may be specially ordered through your favorite independent bookstore.
Reviews and Reader Comments for Training Ground
- The Romantic Reader blog, December 2016. “Even if soccer isn’t your passion, you should give this book a chance for one reason, the author… This story is jam-packed with drama. You have multiple life-defining moments and the reactions and emotions of two young women… Pretty heavy, right! If this book was a stand-alone, I would be wary to recommend this one. Not because of any flaw in the writing, because it is really good, but it also kind of hurts. While I read romance novels for so many reasons, let’s all face the cold hard truth, we want that happy ending. Good news is this is not a stand-alone, but one of three books following the lives of soccer’s toughest duo. Training Ground is the backstory, vital to understanding how it all began. So you have to read it, and you’ll want to, but buy the second part with the first, and go right into it.”
- Reader comment, 6/28/16: “This book is a lovely character study–or rather two character studies–of a pair of young women, both high school soccer players, who develop a long-distance friendship and, eventually, romantic feelings for one another… The lead characters are both fully developed and relatable, their difficulties are understandable and engaging, their friendship feels utterly natural (and speaking as someone with a long-distance friend, very familiar), the supporting characters had enough detail to make them interesting, and… I’m absolutely going to read the next book in the series.”
- Reader comment, 3/11/18: “There are some books I just live – they take over your life for that 3 or 4 hours they take to read – they pick you up, take you elsewhere. I live them – cry, laugh, and gently simmer in its glorious story and emotional content. This is one of those books – I finished book 2 now – both read within a 24 hour period – and I can honestly say I really care about the outcome. Brilliant, just brilliant.”
- Reader comment, 4/20/20: “As someone who has been obsessed with soccer since I was a kid and then last summer fell in love with lesfics, I can’t believe it took me this long to find the Girls of Summer series. I’m hooked! …I really loved reading about Jamie, her parents, and awesome sister. I haven’t cared so much about a character in a long time, Jamie is simply adorable. Emma has her share of serious drama as well and all of it is just so well done, and this book does not shy from diving into serious topics and I appreciated that. I found this to be a perfect read and I can’t wait to start the next book in the series, which I’m doing right now.”