Title: Dirty Player: A Hockey Romance
Author: Mira Lyn Kelly
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 29, 2018
He’ll play dirty to get his girl
“Fun, addictive, and outrageously sexy! Dirty Player brought all the feels and left me panting for more!”—Annika Martin, New York Times Bestselling Author
A throw away promise between friends.
A dare for a single kiss at our reunion and nothing more.
But that kiss…
That kiss was no joking matter.
It was hot and wet.
A hands-everywhere, breathless kind of insanity that left us both teetering on the brink.
She’s got rules about dating guys like me…
Rules I respect the hell out of when they apply to any other pro athlete.
But as they apply to me? Well, those rules are about to be broken.
I don’t want to talk about that look. In fact, up until ten seconds ago, I’d been doing a bang-up job of ensuring we haven’t had the opportunity to discuss it all evening. It’s a big ballroom, and if Greg happened to be at the north end, I managed to stay south. The few times I couldn’t stop our paths from crossing, I made sure to pull someone, anyone, along with me, thus ensuring the conversation stayed far, far away from the look that got away from me.
Until now, it had been working. Unfortunately, my conversation buffer just saw her fiancé come in, and the little traitor sprinted off, leaving me staring up at Greg. Nothing to distract me from this gorgeous man in his tuxedo and the trouble I’m having keeping my eyes to myself.
I’m surrounded by good-looking men on a regular basis, and it never gets to me. But with Greg, I can barely breathe. I can hardly look at him without heat spilling into my cheeks, and as to tearing my eyes away? Forget it.
Which is crazy. I’m not fifteen. This isn’t my first crush.
It’s not a crush at all.
It’s Greg, one of my oldest friends and the guy I just promised I wouldn’t objectify tonight. We’re friends. Just friends.
With no more hookups between us.
No more kissing.
No more flirting.
I shake my head, mentally amending the no-more-flirting clause, because this is Greg. Flirting is like breathing for him—an involuntary response, and one I sort of cherish.
But no more staring!
“Thought we discussed you avoiding me,” he says.
Don’t look at him. Don’t look at him. Don’t—
God, he’s so handsome it hurts.
A waiter passes by, and I swipe a glass of white wine from his tray. “I’m not.”
He lets out a low laugh that slides right through to the deepest parts of me.
“Glad to hear it.” He steps closer, ducking his head so his next words are directed at me and me alone. We’re standing in the middle of hundreds of people, but when his eyes are on me like that, a glint of amusement edging a more serious intent, it feels like we’re alone. “Should we discuss that look?”
My cheeks burn hotter, and I toss back half my glass in one swallow. “It was just one look.”
I’m such a liar.
He laughs again, letting up on the eye contact as he surveys the crowd. “There’s that just word again. I’m starting to think maybe you don’t think it means what it really means. And P.S. … it wasn’t just one.”
Geeze. This guy. “Greg, we’re past it. Everything is fine.”
So long as I don’t look at any part of him for more than a fraction of a second, we’re totally good.
No. But I’m subscribing to the fake-it-’til-you-make-it school of thought here. “Absolutely.”
He rolls his shoulder in my peripheral vision. “Well, that’s a relief.”
“Good.” It’s definitely good. Right? I hazard another look at his face. “But out of curiosity, can I ask why?”
The corner of his mouth curves, and I feel the tug of it all the way through me.
“Because if you weren’t past it—if, for example, another one of those rogue looks got away from you while we were in the midst of this crowd—I could see where that might be a problem.”
I force myself to focus on the orchestra set up across the room. Only Greg isn’t done.
“But even if by some miracle they don’t catch the look in your eyes, and I do… then we’d have to worry about them seeing the look in mine. The one that says it’s only going to be a matter of seconds before I’ve got one hand in your hair and the other finding out what’s under that incredible dress.”
I try to swallow, but my throat makes a dry clicking sound, so I drain my glass.
Taking the empty from my hand, Greg returns it to a passing waiter.
He’s amused, the sexy jerk. He knew exactly what kind of effect that casual reference to getting under my dress would have.
“Good thing there’s zero chance of another one of those looks getting away from me. Ever.”
Okay, ever is probably a stretch, but he doesn’t have to snort about it. Cocky bastard.
I should let it go. Let him have his little laugh.
Taking the drink from his hand, I tap my index finger against the condensation-covered glass before bringing it to my lips. Club soda and lime.
It’s not strong enough to justify what blurts past my lips, but I can’t stop myself. “So you don’t need to give what kind of tiny and delicate I’ve got going on under this dress another thought.”
His body stiffens, and his eyes cut to my chest. He’s built like a superhero, but despite his apparent laser focus, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t actually have X-ray vision.
All I wanted was the satisfaction of seeing him squirm. Maybe to gloat a little.
But neither one of us is the type to relinquish a win so easily.
“Jules, you’re going to have to be careful. Tiny and delicate sounds like it might not survive these rough hands of mine.”
My breath catches as need spears through me, and my center goes hot and liquid.
I open my mouth, wanting to say something sharp that puts him in his place. But I can’t make a sound. I can’t think about anything but the snap of elastic and my panties falling apart in his big… rough… hands.
Greg seems to be waiting for the comeback that isn’t coming too.
The seconds stretch and pull.
Our eyes meet and, suddenly, that smug satisfaction washes clean off his face as his nostrils flare and his eyes turn to midnight. I’m pretty sure this is the look he warned me about.
“Aww, fuck. Now you’ve done it, Jules.”
I take a shaky breath. “I know.”
Dirty Player was a quick but fun read. It combined two of my favorite things - sports romance and play on one of those childhood marriage pacts with it's own special twist.
This book was filled with fun banter, amazing characters and an intriguing story-line rather than the usual player athlete trying to hook up with the woman from his past. I really enjoyed the interactions between Julia and Greg, it was really fun to watch these two figure out how to move past the unexpected kiss and the sparks it set off. I loved Greg and his determination.
Julia knows what she will and won't do when it comes to love and she's sworn off athletic players - in both senses of the word - ha! But there's an undeniable chemistry between her and Greg, a closeness they've both enjoyed up til now and she's about to find out Greg isn't going to give up so easily.
Hard core romantic, stress baker, and housekeeper non-extraordinaire, Mira Lyn Kelly is the USA TODAY bestselling author of more than a dozen sizzly love stories with over a million readers worldwide. Growing up in the Chicago area, she earned her degree in Fine Arts from Loyola University and met the love of her life while studying abroad in Rome, Italy… only to discover he’d been living right around the corner from her back home. Having spent her twenties working and playing in the Windy City, she’s now settled with her husband in rural Minnesota, where their four amazing children and two ridiculous dogs provide an excess of action and entertainment. When she isn’t reading, writing, or running the kids around, she loves watching the Chicago Blackhawks and action/adventure movies, blabbing with the girls, and cooking with her husband and friends.