Catching the Player

Catching the Player

by Diane Alberts

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Overview

When Kassidy Thomas decided to stop hiding behind her past, and start living, she didn’t quite bet on that start including her singing a horrible song in front of the handsomest bachelor in the NFL, Wyatt Hamilton. She also didn’t think he’d then ask her out on a date, but turns out when you’re actually living life...crazy things happen.

Wyatt is a player in every sense of the word. Married to the game, he has no interest in relationships, love, or even second nights with the same woman. But from the moment the girl-next-door beauty Kassidy knocks on his door to deliver a singing telegram, nothing goes as planned. He can’t stop thinking about her, and he keeps showing up on her doorstep for more, even though he knows he shouldn’t. Because as hard as she is to resist, falling for her could cost him everything.

Each book in the Hamilton Family series is STANDALONE.
* The CEO's Seduction
* Romancing the Bachelor
* Catching the Player

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781640633605
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 10/09/2017
Series: A Hamilton Family Series , #3
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 218
Sales rank: 144,003
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Diane Alberts is a multi-published, bestselling contemporary romance author with Entangled Publishing. She also writes New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling new adult books under the name Jen McLaughlin. She’s hit the Top 100 lists on Amazon and Barnes and Noble numerous times with numerous titles. She was mentioned in Forbes alongside E. L. James as one of the breakout independent authors to dominate the bestselling lists. Diane is represented by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

He couldn't be serious. He couldn't possibly be asking her to do this. No way. No how. Not even her brother would stoop that low ... would he?

"Absolutely not," Kassidy Thomas said, shaking her head for good measure. "I'm not wearing that or doing that. Are you crazy?"

Caleb, her annoying older brother who acted like he was still thirteen instead of thirty, waved the offensive item under her nose, clearly refusing to take no for an answer. Like usual. "You have to do it. A deal's a deal."

She crossed her arms, frowning, and shook her head again. There was no way in hell she was doing what he wanted. No. Way. "You had insider information. Admit it."

"How the hell would I have had inside information on the condition of Wyatt Hamilton's arm? Come on." He shoved the green contraption under her nose again. Kassidy was this close to punching him in the stomach like she had when they were in high school and he'd told every boy he knew she was a lesbian so none of them would ask her to prom. "Stop being such a sore loser."

Stiffening, she uncrossed her arms and shoved her glasses into place, reminding herself calmly that she was an adult now, and punching people was not an acceptable response to annoyance ... no matter how big a jerk her brother could be. "I'm not a sore loser."

"Then put on the outfit, and stop pouting." He wiggled it again, way too excited at her impending embarrassment. "It's just one song you have to deliver to some stranger, and you'll never see them again. A couple of minutes. No big deal."

"Who is it being delivered to? Man, or woman?"

"It doesn't say," he glanced at the paper, frowning. "A dude ordered it, though, so probably a woman."

Well, at least there was that.

"You've heard me sing before," she muttered, her cheeks hot. She scrambled for the papers on her desk and held them up, pointing to them angrily. "There's a reason I do numbers and stay in here. I don't have an artistic bone in my body. My singing is even worse."

That was the truth. Ever since the third grade, she'd been pretty much banned from all musicals in her school, and her mother had forbidden her from singing anywhere but in the shower — with the door closed. Some might call it cruel, but Kassidy considered it necessary honesty. Hey, if you sucked at something, you sucked at something.

It was your parents' job to tell you as much.

Caleb laughed. "That's the best part. The client requested 'For he's a Jolly Good Fellow' and wants you to dress in a fairytale costume — though, I'm not sure how the two go together, to be honest. But either way, Dad got this costume and didn't realize it was woman's, so it might be the only chance this little guy gets to see the light of day."

She slammed her papers down on the desk. "You're seriously going to make me do this?"

"I'm seriously gonna make you do this." He focused on Kassidy, not breaking eye contact. He had hair the same shade of blond as hers, and a dimple in his chin. He'd always been a prankster, but this took it too far. "Besides, weren't you just saying you wanted to try being a little more adventurous and a little less safe?"

"I meant by going hiking, or taking a painting class." She came around the side of the desk. "Not making a fool out of myself in front of some stranger."

"Better that than someone you know."

Well, he had a point there. But still. "This is all Wyatt Hamilton's fault," she muttered.

"It's not his fault his arm healed better than anticipated," Caleb said, grinning. "Comes with being a beast on and off the field."

Yeah, from what she'd heard, he definitely fit that description. The star quarterback from the Atlanta Saviors was never alone, and never seen with the same woman twice. He had quite the reputation as a "beast" and certainly didn't seem to mind it.

Rolling her eyes, she snatched the outfit out of his hand. It was ridiculously green and ugly. She'd never make a good Peter Pan, or Tinkerbelle, or whatever the heck this was supposed to be. Wyatt Hamilton had been injured last month, and the rumor had been that he would be out of the game for the rest of the regular season. With their best player out, Kassidy has been sure that they would lose to the Pelicans for the first time ever. Caleb bet they'd win as always, and she'd taken that bet. Then Hamilton, jerk that he was, had healed quickly and rejoined the game.

Hence the situation she was now in.

"Don't forget the tiara thing on the hanger," Caleb said, grinning way too widely.

She clenched her teeth. "I'll shove that tiara right up your ass —"

"Kassidy!" her father admonished, walking down the hallway with a bouquet of flowers in his hand. "Language."

Her cheeks heated, and she called out, "Sorry, Dad."

He lifted a hand and kept walking.

Caleb laughed.

She pushed him out of her office and slammed the door shut. Trembling, she fought the urge to kick the door for good measure. He always one-upped her. She should never have taken that stupid bet. If he'd told her this was the price she would have to pay, she wouldn't have.

No way.

Though, he was right about one thing. At their annual Octoberfest dinner a couple of weeks ago, she lamented that she'd spent most of her twenty-six years acting like she was in a bubble, refusing to actually live. She'd been tipsy at the time, sure, but it was the truth, even so.

She didn't take risks.

Didn't date.

Didn't ever jump into anything with both feet.

She overthought everything and lost the only man she ever loved because of it. Her high school sweetheart had gone to the same college as her. They'd made plans to move in together after they graduated, and had talked about marriage — though, she had been undecided on the number of kids she wanted, if any. She'd also been unable to commit to their wedding date, venue, size and, really, to whether or not they should get married at all.

She'd loved Jake with all her heart, and she'd thought he loved her, too, until he left her the week before graduation for some girl named Debbie with big boobs and even bigger hair. He'd told her that her indecisiveness had driven him mad and that if she could ever learn to make up her mind about a single thing without overthinking it, then maybe he'd think about taking her back.

Well, she'd made up her mind all right — she didn't want Jake back, and she'd decided not to date anymore because men were the devil incarnate.

That had been four years ago.

Four.Years.

At the time, giving up on men seemed right, and backing down from her decision had been too reminiscent of indecision (something she'd just been left for), so for better or worse ... she'd stuck to it. In the process, she also stopped doing anything else exciting, and though she'd been alive, she hadn't really lived in years.

It was sobering.

Her admission was probably why Caleb chose this particular brand of payback, but he was missing the point. She wanted to live, not make a fool of herself. Then again, wasn't that a part of living? Making mistakes and being able to recover from them?

Sighing, she locked the door and undressed.

As she slid into the tights that her brother had asked her to wear, she sucked in a breath and yanked them up. They were practically a second layer of skin and would leave nothing to the imagination. Literally nothing.

Breathing shallowly in case she tore them, she glanced around her office in her parents' flower shop, which was another reminder that she'd always chosen the safe route as opposed to the road less traveled. When she was a child, she'd wanted to be an author, but the second she realized that it was an uncertain job with unrealistic salary expectations, she'd instead opted to become an accountant and after graduation had taken over management of her parents' shop.

Under her management, Thomas Flowers was booming, and for the first time ever, they were showing a bigger profit than when they'd first opened in 2001. It had been her idea to add singing telegrams to the menu of things offered, a decision she wholly regretted right now, thank you very much.

She slid the top over her head and tugged on it until it covered her stomach. It was even tighter than the pants, if that was possible. When she glanced down, her eyes bugged out because holy frigging cleavage. She cupped her breasts, laughing uneasily. She always wore sensible necklines and never let her boobs hang out, but then again, they'd never looked like this.

Maybe she'd been wearing the wrong clothes all this time.

"Thank you, corsets," she muttered, turning and checking out her ass, too. "Whoa."

Then she smiled because when Caleb saw her in this outfit, he was going to have a heart attack. He'd always been an overprotective brother, so this would kill him. Maybe it made her petty to want her revenge, but whatever.

At least she'd be petty with some amazing boobs.

After sliding into the skirt, she took her hair out of its usual bun and fluffed it with her fingers, hoping it went with what had to be a sexy Halloween costume that teenaged girls wore to get laid by some hot college boys. Not that she knew what that was like. She'd only ever had sex with her ex, and it hadn't been that exciting. In her opinion, she hadn't been missing much in that department while she'd put her life on hold.

In fact, she didn't miss it at all.

"Maybe sex has gotten better these past four years," she muttered. After one last glance at her cleavage, she opened the door and came walking out. "Okay, off I go."

Caleb's reaction was immediate. "What the hell is that?"

"What?" she asked, somehow managing to hide her smile as she glanced down at her body. Shrugging, she picked up the balloons, all of which either said Good Luck, or Congratulations. "It's the outfit you picked for me."

"The hell I did," he growled, coming out from behind the counter. "Take it off right now, or I swear to motherfuck —"

"Language!" their father said, again appearing out of nowhere.

How did he do that?

Caleb gestured toward Kassidy. "Have you seen her?"

Her father lowered his inventory sheet and frowned. "Why are you dressed like that and carrying balloons?"

"I lost a bet," she said drily. "I have to go sing to a customer."

"God help him," her dad muttered, crossing himself.

"Nice."

"Who cares about that? She's practically naked," Caleb hissed. "You win. I'll do it. Go get changed."

Kassidy grabbed the door handle, which she'd backed up to while he'd been freaking out. "I can't. A deal's a deal, right?"

With that, she pushed outside and took off for her car. Her smile didn't fade ... until an old guy stepped into her path with cold eyes and a smirk as he looked her up and down, weighing her worth as if she were an object instead of a human.

He whistled at her through his teeth, giving her a once-over, and then a twice-over, and a thrice-over ... if that was a thing. "Whatever you're selling, I'm buying."

"I'm not selling anything."

"Well, you should be," he said, leering at her.

Cheeks hot, she stepped around him and slid into her car, immediately locking the doors. After shoving all the balloons into the backseat, she glanced at the address on the paper. Some dude named Brett Ross was the person responsible for her debacle.

Him and Wyatt Hamilton's stupid arm.

Rolling her eyes, she punched the address into the GPS and then frowned when she realized it was an affluent neighborhood just outside of town. Great. Just great. Not only did she get to make a fool out of herself, but she got to do it in front of some rich girl who would laugh about it later with her equally rich friends. Brett Ross probably ordered these balloons for his rich girlfriend who had amazing hair and even more amazing shoes.

"You wanted to live?" she said to herself. "Start driving."

Heart pounding, she put the windows down to enjoy the unseasonably warm fall day, turned up her favorite Broadway musical, and tried to keep up with the fast rhymes as she drove.

By the time she arrived at the mansion that held her doom, her hair was crazy, her palms sweaty, and she was two seconds from driving in the other direction and taking up her brother's offer to do it instead. But pride ran deep in the Thomas family, and she'd stupidly agreed to the bet, so she would pay the piper.

Groaning, she flipped the visor down and glanced at herself. Frowning, she tried to fix her hair, gave up, and pulled a tube of red lipstick out of her purse. Cleavage like this demanded sexy lips to match. After carefully applying the MAC shade, she glanced down at her feet. There was nothing she could do about the fact that she wore Chucks with her costume, but at least the rest of her fit the part.

She took her glasses off — if she had to make a fool of herself in front of some rich chick, at least it would be easier to do if she couldn't see the woman laughing at her. After wrestling the balloons out of the back, she smoothed the shirt of the costume over her stomach.

As she made her way up the stone walkway lined with carefully planted roses, she squinted up at a house that would easily fit three of her homes inside of it ... maybe four. It had white shutters, a stone-faced front, and was gorgeous. In the garden, there was an Atlanta Saviors flag waving underneath the American flag that hung off the railing of the porch.

Glaring at it, she muttered, "This is all your fault."

After taking a deep breath, she lifted her hand and knocked on the door sharply, three times. It was time to make a complete and utter fool out of herself.

CHAPTER 2

Wyatt Hamilton frowned as he listened to the woman in his headphones tell him how to say hello. He'd tried his best, but no matter what he did, he screwed it up horribly. Groaning, he ripped out the earbuds and reclined on the couch cushions. All his life, he'd dreamed of a foreign endorsement, and his agent had never delivered. But the second he fired the asshole earlier today, fed up with the guy for never really caring about Wyatt's career more than he'd cared about his own, he'd been offered a deal by a company in China — and the dinner meeting was in a few hours.

There was no time to get a new agent.

No time to even search.

Since he didn't speak a single word in Chinese, he'd come up with the bright idea to try and learn, but that had been a complete failure. He was agentless, unable to communicate with the people interested in endorsing him, and was barely able to put on a damn tie by himself.

He was a complete and utter mess.

What the hell was he doing with his life?

"Son of a bitch," he muttered, picking up his phone when it buzzed.

His sister, Anna, had texted him. So proud of you!Brett arranged a little surprise for you, by the way.

Is it someone who can speak Chinese? he shot back immediately.

You wish. Relax, you'll be fine.

Wyatt sighed. Funny, I feel like I'm going to make a fool out of myself. Does Brett speak Chinese?

No.

Do you? He already knew the answer, but, hey, he was desperate.

NO.

Eric?

Eric is in Texas with his girlfriend. Maybe if you had a girlfriend, she would speak Chinese ...

Wyatt rolled his eyes at the dig and set his phone down. His sister was constantly trying to set him up. She didn't seem to understand that he had no interest in a relationship, love, marriage, or children. All his life, there'd been only one goal — — to play ball.

He'd traveled the country, kicked some ass, and dedicated his life to the game.

Football was his one true love. His life. His wife. His only long-term commitment. He had no interest in sharing his heart with anything or anyone else. The Saviors held the whole thing, and he liked it that way. He wasn't single by necessity. He was single by choice.

That was never going to change.

Just because his sister was engaged, one of his brothers was married, and his other brother was close to following in their footsteps, that didn't mean he had to follow suit. He and Cole were the last men standing.

That was just fine with him.

He'd leave the happily-ever-afters to his Hamilton siblings.

Someone knocked on the door three times, and he frowned. He wasn't expecting anyone and wasn't particularly in the mood to deal with someone showing up on his doorstep unannounced, either.

Placing his MacBook on the couch, he stood, stretched, and made his way to the door. He peeked through the peephole and stiffened. All he saw was a hell of a lot of balloons and a small, feminine hand holding them. "What the ...?"

Slowly, he cracked the door open, half expecting this to be some sort of trap. When the woman didn't pounce on him and profess her undying love ... he frowned. She didn't do anything. Just stood there, hiding behind balloons. When she didn't say anything, but just mumbled something under her breath, he cleared his throat. "Uh, can I help you, miss?"

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Catching the Player"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Diane Alberts.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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