Manuscript Status: Finished
Mentor: Molly E. Lee
Mentee: Tamara Girardi
Title: GRIDIRON GIRL
Category: Young Adult
Word Count: 76,000
Julia Medina knew competing against her boyfriend to be the starting quarterback of their high school football team would be tough, but while Owen’s in her heart, football’s in her blood.
The moment was perfect. Soft off Ally’s fingertips, the ball floated toward me. No spin. Still, white panels and impeccable timing. I took my approach, digging my toes into the sand. When I exploded upward and swung my arm at the height of my jump, my palm crashed against the ball, forcing it down. Hard. Right to the sideline, where two shirtless beach boys scrambled to prevent it from hitting the sand. Their efforts were futile.
Point and match.
Ally hugged me, screaming and jumping at the same time. The guys groaned and rolled onto their backs, sand stuck to their torsos like granulated shirts. We’d spent weeks challenging the self-declared volleyball prodigies and the same amount of time losing to them. Classic poetic justice, we defeated them as the sun set on our last beach day. And on our own terms—a well-placed spike by us, not a mistake by them. But as my best friend celebrated with a high-pitched screech in my ear, I couldn’t muster an excitement to rival hers.
“Good game,” the guys conceded, shaking our hands.
“Thanks,” I said automatically. “You too.”
Ally chatted with them about the highs and lows. I tried to join her—pleasantries and all. But I was distracted. Fifty yards away in the surf, Owen Malone stood tall above calm waves, a dark figure against the setting sun and sparkling sea. From this distance, I couldn’t smell the ruggedness of his cologne mixed with salt water and sand, but I’d nuzzled his skin enough in recent weeks to have the scent of his muscled body memorized.