Tempting the Player(2)

By: Kat Latham

Thank you to my editor, Deborah Nemeth, who challenges me in all the best ways, and to my agent, Laura Bradford, for her unfailing guidance through my career.

I owe my parents more than I can say for their constant love and support.

My husband, Tim, deserves a medal for putting up with me when I’m on deadline—which feels like it’s all the time. I love you with all my heart. And my baby girl deserves an award for sleeping whenever I needed her to—mostly.

Author’s Note

Here are some words and phrases that might be unfamiliar to readers who don’t speak British English.

In the UK, pants are underwear. You wear trousers over your pants.

Something with elastic in it is elasticated, not elasticized.

If a place is homely, it’s small and cozy. This isn’t an insult (unless it’s used to describe a person).

Brits don’t have aluminum; they have aluminium (the extra i changes the stress of the word, so it’s pronounced a-lu-MIN-i-um).

Brits usually don’t make a decision; they take a decision.

A stag party is a bachelor party, and it’s very common for men to go away for a whole weekend (a stag weekend). The female equivalent is a hen do or a hen weekend.

If you lamp someone, you hit them, probably in the face.

If you’re exhausted, then you’re shattered.

Cack is shit, and if something is done cack-handedly then it was done badly or awkwardly.

Snogging is making out.

If you cop off with someone, you’ve had a sexual encounter with him or her.

If you rip the piss out of someone, you tease them mercilessly. (This is a time-honored British pastime—at least among my friends.)

If you shag the carpet, you’ve messed something up badly.

If you don’t give a monkey’s toss about something, you couldn’t care less about it. This can also be shortened to I don’t give a monkey’s.

In British English, collective nouns (i.e., a noun that refers to a group of individuals, such as family and team) are usually plural because they’re composed of more than one person. That’s why you’ll see phrases like my team are instead of my team is. I promise it’s not a typo!

Brits often refer to sport in the singular (I don’t watch much sport) and maths in the plural.

Lastly, Brits don’t use the word gotten (as in, I have gotten used to explaining British English). They use got instead.

Glossary of Rugby Terms

Backs and forwards: Instead of being divided into offense and defense, rugby positions are made up of forwards and backs. Forwards tend to be bigger and more aggressive, while backs tend to be faster and more skillful—but I would never say that to a forward’s face. Matt Ogden, the hero of this book, is a back.

Conversion: After scoring, a team gets the chance to kick the ball through the metal posts at the end of the field for two extra points.

Fullback: the position Matt Ogden plays. Fullbacks wear #15 (rugby uniform numbers show a player’s position; players don’t get to choose a uniform number just because it’s their favorite or it has sentimental meaning). Fullbacks need to be fast, agile and full of stamina because they often end up running from one end of the pitch to the other.

Kit: uniform.

Pitch: the playing field.

Ruck: When the ball is loose (no one has control of it, usually because a player has been tackled and has to immediately let go of it), players try to gain possession by moving it with their feet to their teammates behind them. There are a lot of rules governing rucks—for example, players have to stay on their feet—but it can look like a chaotic pile of players crashing into each other.

Rugby union  : More than a hundred years ago, the sport of rugby split into two types—rugby union   and rugby league—with each developing its own rules and governance. I write about rugby union  .

Scrum: a way of restarting a match. The eight forwards from each team bind together, crouch down and slam into the other team’s forwards. They try to push the other team back while fighting for possession of the ball with their feet amid much grunting and sweating.

Touch: the out-of-bounds area around the pitch.

Touch line: the line that separates the playing area from the out-of-bounds area. If a player who has the ball steps on the touch line, he is in touch and the referee will blow the whistle to stop the play.

Try (as in scored two tries): the equivalent of a touchdown in American football, only a player has to place the ball on the ground on or behind the try line in order to score. A try is worth five points.

Try line: the equivalent of the start of the end zone in American football (known as the in-goal area in rugby).

Chapter One

Fifteen thousand spectators roared so loudly that Matt Ogden’s stadium seat vibrated beneath his arse. He leaned forward, tapping his feet as his teammates lobbed the ball from one to the other. His torso swayed every time the ball went airborne. His hands clenched with every catch his team made. His quads flexed each time one of the lads sidestepped to avoid a Leinster tackler.

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