Talking Dirty With the Player
by Jackie Ashenden
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.
Once upon a time... eight years ago...
She thought... he thought...
Include a big brother in the picture and some commitment issues - it didn't end very well.
Judith and Caleb had a past that both of them don't try to acknowledge. To them, past should remain where it should be - right behind them. It would save them from hurt, expectations and heartbreaks. But one look, one touch and the sparks that they try to bury goes like wild fire and burns them. Not even self-preservation can stop it.
Caleb broke her heart when Jude was 18 years old. Eight years later and now a professional photographer, she vows to be more careful and never to fall for his charms again. Losing him did not only break his heart, but she lost a friend as well. Someone who was always there for her when her brother and father are to busy with their lives.
Caleb is a professional Rugby Player, the "Abs of Steel". He's tough from the outside - but inside him is still the little boy who's begging attention and affection from his father and grieving the loss of his mother. He knew he's never going to be enough for anyone. He can't give the time and commitment needed in a relationship. So no matter how much he wanted to kiss his best friend's little sister, he needed to stay away from her.
Chemistry. Attraction. Emotion. Sneaking Around are potent combinations. So whatever they have is just impossible to ignore. Jude once again took a risk and try not to put her heart in jeopardy. The friendship was once again building, the sex was awesome and the conversations was great - everything was perfect. Until the insecurities sets in, not to mention some threats from the big brother (again) - and he goes breaking her heart once again. Would she ever survive a second heartache? Would he finally stop selling himself short and realize that he's perfect for her before its too late? Would she give him another chance after the pain that he caused her over and over again?! (OMG! He ought to crawl and grovel hard after what he did!)
I can't believe it was short! It didn't felt rush though. The twist and turns can be baffling sometimes - but hey! Everything else was just great. I didn't expect to cry though. Some scenes can be pretty intense and I'd love to throw his pair of shoes on his head to knock some senses into him. I love their exchange of text, the innuendoe, the sexual tension brewing, and most especially the HEA. The grand gesture and the epilogue - it was sweet. Nothing overly dramatic, just enough to make readers swoon, fall in love and forget that he's an a** on the previous pages.
I have to warn you though: he may be a selfish prick but at the end of the story, you'll fall in love with a player!!!!
What inspired your interest in becoming a writer?
I don't really know – I've always wanted to write, even when I was little. But maybe it's all due to the fact I used to love reading as a kid. And that just kind of morphed into wanting to tell my own stories.
What was the first romance novel you read that made an impression on you?Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond series. They're historicals rather than romances but there is an amazing romance in it and the hero of the series spawned my intense love of angsty, tortured heroes. Very formative when you're fifteen. J
Tell us 3 things people don’t know about you?I used to sing opera, I play networked Halo on the Xbox, and I don't like fish.
What is your writing environment.I have a study that I write in. I close the door and NO ONE is allowed in without knocking. I usually write in silence because sometimes song lyrics can turn up in my manuscripts. ;-) I'd like to say my study was tidy but it's usually not – I can tune stuff like that out when I'm in a writing mood.
One of your favorite quotesThere is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed –Ernest Hemingway.
Which authors have caught your interest lately? Why?Paranormal romance tends to be my escapism and I love Nalini Singh and Meljean Brooke. But saying that, I also love a good Mills and Boon Presents – Caitlin Crew's latest with a hero who's a Russian ex-MMA fighter is so good! And naturally Maisey Yates' Presents are awesome.
What’s the last book you have read and loved?Meljean Brook's Guardian Demon. It's the end of her Guardian series and I gobbled it up.
Top three things on your bucket list.Go to Turtle Island in Fiji. It's super luxurious and looks amazing.Fly first class to London and have at least two weeks there – especially doing some shopping!Take the family back to Disneyland!
How did you get the idea for this particular novel?Well, my editor suggested I try writing a sports romance – which was mean of her since I don't like sports! But then since rugby is our national game and we have some pretty hot rugby players – plus a challenge is always good – I thought I'd give it a go.
What is your favorite scene in your new release?I think my favorite is the opening scene where my heroine is playing laser tag and the hero shoots her in the back. Hey, he had a free shot so why not? ;-)
If you could be one of your characters - Who would you be? And why?Oh, good question. I'd probably be Judith from this book. She's smart, good with a comeback and…well….she gets to have Caleb. J
Who is your favorite book boyfriend?Quinn from Untouched, Maisey Yates' next Silver Creek book. It's not out till next year but as I'm her CP, I get to read her books early. Lucky me! And Quinn is a bad boy cowboy and all of the hot!!
Beach or mountains?Beach
Winter or summer?Summer
Cat or dog?Cat
Spotlight or In the Shadows?Spotlight!
Boxers or Briefs?Boxers
Facial hair or clean shaven?Both!
Alpha or Beta?Alpha
Planner or Panster?Pantser all the way
Morning or night person?Night. Damn insomnia
Christmas or Halloween?Christmas.
Optimist or pessimist?Pessimist who's secretly optimistic??
Coffee or tea?Coffee
Vanilla or chocolate?Chocolate
Sweet or salty?Sweet
Sleep in or get up early?Sleep in.
Laptop or desktop?Use a desktop but I love my Macbook Air.
City or Country?City
Clubbing or candlelight dinner?Candlelight dinner.
Backpacking or luxury hotel?
Definitely the luxury hotel (see bucket list)
Jackie has been writing fiction since she was eleven years old. Mild mannered fantasy/SF/pseudo-literary writer by day, obsessive romance writer by night, she used to balance her writing with the more serious job of librarianship until a chance meeting with another romance writer prompted her to throw off the shackles of her day job and devote herself to the true love of her heart – writing romance. She particularly likes to write emotional stories with alpha heroes who've just got the world to their liking only to have it blown wide apart by their kick-ass heroines.
She lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband, the inimitable Dr Jax, two kids, two cats and some guppies (possibly dead guppies by the time you read this). When she's not torturing alpha males and their stroppy heroines, she can be found drinking chocolate martinis, reading anything she can lay her hands on, posting random crap on her blog, or being forced to go mountain biking with her husband.