The Unforgiving Minute

The Unforgiving Minute by Sarah Granger Read Free Book Online

Book: The Unforgiving Minute by Sarah Granger Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sarah Granger
did so, he thought that their earlier encounter, when Josh had ignored him, must have been accidental. Because this Josh was perfectly approachable and friendly. Tommy must have gotten hold of the wrong end of the stick.
    The restaurant wasn’t yet open, but Josh guided them unerringly to a lounge that had a salad and sandwich bar. Almost everything on offer was on Ryan’s list of approved foodstuffs, which took away one concern, but his stomach was rumbling so hard that controlling himself when it came to portion size wasn’t easy. A quick glance at Josh’s plate, bearing oatcakes, grapes, and cottage cheese, helped reinforce his wavering self-discipline. If Josh was willing to eat stuff like that for the good of his game, then Ryan could certainly exercise some impulse-control. Especially as it wasn’t that long until supper.
    The lounge was empty, so they took the seats that were in prime position by the large windows, overlooking the courts and colorful flowerbeds below. Once he’d guzzled down his roll, Ryan started to feel more human again. Josh was, predictably, eating at a more delicate—some, like Ryan’s mom, might say polite—pace. One day Ryan would catch him out in some sort of behavior that was less than perfect. It just didn’t look like that was going to happen today.
    “You’re here without your usual—” Ryan somehow managed to stop himself before he got to “army”—“um, your dad, then?”
    “Brad prefers it this way. I’m allowed my physio on speed dial in case of problems, but it’s part of his whole building a team thing.”
    “You’ve done this for a few years, haven’t you? The Cup, I mean.”
    Josh had just taken a bite of oatcake, so waved his hand around a bit until he’d chewed and swallowed. “It’s cool,” he said eventually. “Some people don’t like it so much because it gets in the way of tournament prep, but it’s pretty awesome to be out there representing your country.”
    “Who wouldn’t like it?” Ryan asked, amazed. “I mean, I know there’s the whole prize money thing, but it’s the Davis freaking Cup .”
    “Damn straight,” Josh said.
    “Hell, yeah.”
    They grinned at each other.
    “Is this a private bonding moment or can anyone join in?”
    Ryan jerked his gaze from Josh’s face to find a tall, dark-skinned guy sitting down in the chair next to him and a pale guy with ginger hair and a goatee planting himself down on the couch beside Josh. “Daniel Bolden,” the guy next to him said, “and that’s Finn Kirkland.”
    “Ryan Betancourt,” Ryan introduced himself.
    “And some guy who left us hanging last year,” Daniel concluded, looking at Josh. “Man, we actually had to win our matches without you in the singles.”
    “Must have been quite a struggle,” Josh said.
    “Well, so long as we can coast on your coattails this year. Yours too, Ryan,” Finn said.
    Ryan knew they were joking around, but he wasn’t quite sure what to make of it until Josh leaned toward him. “These guys haven’t actually lost a Davis Cup match in eighteen months,” he confided. “They just like to mess with your head.”
    “Speaking of which, hasn’t he heard of the tournament barbers?” Daniel asked, ruffling Ryan’s hair in a way that had Ryan jerking away, discomfited.
    “Cut it out.” Josh’s tone was sharp.
    “Sorry, man,” Daniel said to Ryan. “I forgot you don’t know us yet. It’s kind of like summer camp, coming back here every time, and we get a little amped. Your hair looks great, by the way.”
    “Yeah, you might want to get your eyesight checked before you play any tennis,” Ryan said.
    Daniel slapped him on the back. “I like this one, Josh. Can we keep him?”
    Josh surveyed Ryan for a minute before he answered. “Maybe.”
     
     
    D ANIEL had been right. The next few days were like the best summer camp Ryan could have imagined. Tennis was the focus, which was the biggest point in its favor. The food was good,

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