Running Deep

by Bette Hawkins

Welcome to the world of elite swimming with all its competitiveness and comradery—and sometimes much, much more.

It’s here that American swimming star Angie Thompson and Australian prodigy Hannah Clark—both the youngest on their respective teams—form a fast friendship that grows into something much deeper. As they train for the Olympics, the long-distance sweethearts exchange loving letters and lengthy phone calls—until Angie suddenly and unexpectedly severs their relationship, leaving Hannah confused and devastated.

Years later, as Hannah trains for a comeback at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, she is stunned to learn that Angie has been hired by the Australian coaching team. Although Hannah is still crushed by what happened all those years ago, the two athletes slowly form a tentative bond and get to know each other again—this time as adults.

Soon neither can ignore the intense attraction they still feel, now propelled to a higher level by a steamy kiss in a hotel swimming pool. Is it possible for them to win each other’s love…or are they just treading water?





In stock

Genre Romance
Length 212 pages
Publication Date April 16, 2020
Publisher Bella Books
ISBN 9781642471175e
Editor Ann Roberts
Cover Designer Judith Fellows


GCLS Goldie Awards
Running Deep—Finalist, Contemporary Romance: Short Novels.


"How did someone with no interest in sport end up writing a book about competitive swimming?

Anyone who knows me will tell you; I just don’t do sports. I exercise with yoga, cycling, and running, but there hasn’t been sport in my life since I was in high school and had little choice in the matter. I don’t follow anything or even watch it casually. I jokingly refer to most team sports as “sportsball” because I’m so ignorant about the differences between them.

One night, when I’d finished a book and was starting to daydream up another, I asked my girlfriend what type of story she’d always wanted to read. When she began waxing lyrical about a romance set within the world of swimming, it didn’t grab me at first. Yet the more she talked, the more I grew excited about the possibilities.

She loved the idea of rivals in a high-stakes competition getting together. I was into the concept of high school sweethearts whose love grows into something mature and sophisticated. We talked about how I could knit those ideas together, and we hashed out the basic plot. By the end of that conversation, I was not only sold on the idea—I couldn’t wait to get started.

To my girlfriend’s amusement, I became obsessed with swimming while I outlined Running Deep. I had a history of disappearing from the living room while she watched sport, but suddenly there I was, reading memoirs and biographies about swimmers and watching Olympics clips on YouTube. She patiently answered all my questions about logistics and let me know if something didn’t ring true. We’d never talked about my writing so much.

Of course, in the end, the details about swimming are not the core of the book. It’s a vehicle for the relationship, but I still wanted to create a sense of authenticity. And it sounds sappy, but if you read romance you won’t mind me saying it. I just really hoped my girlfriend would like it. It was her idea, and I wanted to do it justice.

This story has a happy ending. When she read the finished product, she loved it. I hope you do too."

—Bette Hawkins


Best Lesfic Reviews
This is a very well written second-chances sports romance where the MCs are geographically placed across continents (Australia and USA) from each other. There is something about Bette Hawkins’ writing that gets you thoroughly involved in the story. We love the hark-back in time when letters and short (and very rare) long-distance calls were the means of being in touch. Those days of pen pals. The chemistry between them is great which makes this a lovely read. Definitely recommended.

Pin's Reviews - Both protagonists are well-defined and likable, and their romance is developed at a comfortable pace. The writing is very good, with nice dialogue and pacing. Running Deep makes for another very good book by this author and I am looking forward to more of her stories.

Lex Kent's Reviews - This was a sweet, second chance romance. When I heard the premise was about an Aussie and American Olympic swimmers, I could not be more excited. There is nothing too technical, with most of the swimming being either exciting or important to the story. The way Hawkins writes is comfortable and all her books are worth the read.

Rosi D. - A very moving story with a lot of feeling and love. A really recommendable book.

Melina B. - The leads had great chemistry and I liked that they went for what they wanted without unnecessary angst thrown in for the sake of drama. The writing was very engaging and the flashbacks didn't take away from how well the story flowed. I really enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look at the swimming world. I'm glad I discovered this author.

Michelle P. - Such an awesome story. I have read a couple books by this author and this story does not disappoint. I look forward to more by Bette Hawkins.

Izza G. - Running Deep is a second chance romance novel surrounding two professional athlete swimmers. The story is told through a dual time line. It was great to see how they met each other and how close they became as teenagers and how—even after everything they went through—they sorta just picked up where they left off. I highly recommend this book, and I can’t wait to read Bette Hawkins’ other books.

Anja S. - Another compelling story by Bette Hawkins. This time from the world of sports, more specifically swimming. It is about two top athletes and their second chance in love after twelve years of silence. Both protagonists are well-defined and likable and their romance is developed at a nice comfortable pace. The writing is very good with nice dialogue and pacing. There is some well-placed angst and drama along with a believable conflict that triggered some insecurities between characters essential to the plot. With all that the chemistry between the protagonists totally worked.

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