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Playing Dirty

By:Avery Wilde

Playing Dirty

A Bad Boy Sports Romance

© 2016

By Avery Wilde

All Rights Reserved

Chapter One


Letting out a heavy sigh and rolling over in bed, I looked out the window at the darkening sky. I couldn’t remember ever feeling so lonely. I knew it probably sounded crazy; before I moved to New York City for my TV show, I didn’t think I’d ever feel lonely in a city with over eight million people.

But here I was, lonely as hell.

I knew I was unbelievably lucky to have scored my own talk show, though, so I couldn’t complain too much. It was very hard work—lots of research and practice went into it—but it was entirely worth it. It was a talk show called Keeping Current With Kate, and it was aimed at a mostly female audience.

I’d scored the gig in what seemed like a little piece of serendipity. I’d always been interested in working on TV, although in more of a sideline capacity rather than actually being filmed, and after working as an assistant news network producer for a few years, I’d had a chance to pitch an idea to an executive over drinks at a Christmas party. She’d loved my idea of a show that discussed important modern women’s issues in a relatable way without being kitschy, but for some reason she’d accidentally thought that I was also pitching myself as the host of the show. I hadn’t intended that at all, but she’d told me she loved my ‘vibe’ and attitude, and she’d asked me to host the show after it had been officially picked up.

I’d been thrilled, terrified and excited all at the same time, and while I knew that being on TV could be horribly nerve-wracking for someone like me who was rather shy, I’d seen it as too big of a career opportunity to be missed. Chances like that didn’t come along every day—for some people, they never came along—and I also saw it as an opportunity for personal growth. Being a TV personality had forced me to come out of my shell a lot more, take risks, and learn how to be far more confident, and it had been worth every second of the nervousness I’d initially felt.

I checked the clock on my bedside table and frowned. Despite what my sister Lizzy had told me in a rush of excitement before her recent trip, I couldn’t remember whether Manchester was five or six hours ahead of NYC. It was already after seven here, but I had a feeling I wouldn’t be able to relax and sleep until I’d talked to my sister. Besides, she was a complete night-owl. It was hard to imagine her turning in before two or three in the morning.

The phone rang and rang. Just when I was about to hang up, I heard a familiar, perky voice.

“Kate!” Lizzy cried. “It’s been so long!”

I laughed. “It’s only been a few weeks, Lizzy. I know it feels like longer, though.”

“Damn straight,” Lizzy mumbled in a low tone. “What’s up?”

“Not much. I can’t believe you’re actually home,” I said, an incredulous inflection in my tone. “Not out partying? Not out chasing after those jocks?”

“Hey, I came here to study,” Lizzy said in a playfully defensive tone. “And besides, they’re out of town.” I could practically hear the pout in her voice from across the Atlantic. “Is everything okay? Aren’t you going to sleep soon?”

I rolled my eyes. “It’s not even dark here,” I said. “For your information, I actually stayed up pretty late last night!”

“Like until nine?”

We both cracked up laughing at that. The air crackled on the phone line and I shifted position, sliding down and stretching out my legs on the bed. I loved lying in the middle of my giant bed by myself most of the time, but right now it just made me feel even more alone.

“So what’s up?” I asked, trying to keep my voice cheery. “Met anyone yet?”

“Tons of people,” Lizzy said. She yawned loudly into the receiver. “This is a really fun town, Kate.”

“I bet,” I said. A trace of wistfulness crept into my voice. “Got any plans for this weekend?”

Lizzy yawned again, louder this time. “I think I’m supposed to meet some of my uni mates for a trip to London,” she said. “But I went last weekend and I think I might stay home this time. Or maybe rent a car and drive around. It’s really beautiful here, Kate. It doesn’t feel like home. Everything feels so ancient. The Peak District is right out of Manchester, you know, that awesome park from Pride and Prejudice. The remake, with that sexy Mr. Darcy!”

“That’s awesome,” I said. I laughed, thinking about my brash younger sister tromping around in Georgian mansions, looking for a Mr. Darcy of her very own.