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Talking Dirty with the Player

Talking Dirty Series #2

About This Book

It’s all in how you play the game…

Up-and-coming photographer Judith Ashton is pretty sure she has everything in her life under control. That is, until a blast from the past comes back to taunt her, in the shape of Caleb Steele, her older brother’s best friend…and the man who broke her heart eight years ago. Their chemistry is combustible, but she’s been fooled once by this player, and she’s not going there again.

To pro rugby player Caleb, Judith has always been his Kryptonite. But his former playboy lifestyle is the last thing she wants to be involved in. In the midst of her brother’s threats to back off, and the deal of his career sending him far away from her, he knows he’s playing with fire. And this is one game he’s going to lose.


Judith Ashton crept around a corner clutching her laser gun to her chest. She couldn’t see a thing. The dim lighting of the room was designed for effect rather than illumination, and the curls of dry ice that swirled around her feet only made the visibility worse.

Laser tag. At a wedding. What was Christie thinking?

Jude’s new sister-in-law was a doll, but really, having the conference room of the hotel where her wedding reception was being held laid out like a level on one her beloved computer games was surely a step too far.

Judith blew out an irritated breath and rested against a handy pillar, squinting into the darkness. She knew Christie had meant well by encouraging her to give the laser tag a go, but this was not her definition of fun. This was her definition of stupid. Organizing and taking the wedding photos? Now that was fun.

The dry ice swirled and a large shape seemed to loom in the darkness ahead of her. Was that—?

All at once the vest she wore vibrated and made a horribly loud noise, and the light in her gun died out.

“You’re dead, Judith my darling,” a deep voice said from her behind her.

Oh great. Caleb.

She gave a long suffering sigh. “I should have known. Only you would shoot someone in the back.”

“Hey, an opportunity’s an opportunity.”

She turned around and sure enough, Caleb Steele, her older brother Joseph’s best friend, stepped out of the darkness. Winning as usual, and smug about it. Also as usual.

The lights of his vest flashed jauntily as he flourished his laser at her. Dry ice eddied around his legs, snaking up powerful thighs and twining about lean hips. Then it dissipated, revealing him in all his magnetic glory like a rock star taking the stage. Typical Caleb. He always did know how to make an entrance.

“You know that vest looks ridiculous, right?” Judith pointed out. And over the top of his tuxedo, it certainly did.

Caleb grinned. “I think this is the first time you’ve actually deigned to speak to me all evening,” he said in his deep, husky voice. “Been avoiding me, babycakes?”

Ah yes, he liked to call her babycakes. How she’d missed that while he’d been away in England playing rugby for the clubs. Not.

“I wasn’t avoiding you,” she said calmly, waving her laser for emphasis. “I just had other, more important stuff to do.”

Caleb’s smile ” flashed in the darkness. “What’s more important than saying hello to an old pal you haven’t seen for at least a couple of years?”

“A couple of years? Has it been that long? Well, well, doesn’t time “fly when you’re having fun? And also, I’m not sure we were ever pals.” She let a delicate emphasis rest on the last word.

His smile widened and Judith had to remind herself that she was now immune to its lethal charm. Completely immune. “Oh don’t be like that,” he said. “You missed me. Admit it.”

“Yeah. Like I miss gonorrhea.”

One dark brow rose. “You’ve had gonorrhea?”

Judith sighed. He was all about the witty comeback. If that’s what you called wit. “Oh, shut up, Caleb.”

“See, this is what I’ve missed while I’ve been away. I say something then you say something, then I say something back and you end with ‘shut up, Caleb’. We always have such great, in-depth conversations.”