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Publisher's Summary

Deadly consequences ensue when an eccentric millionaire, crippled in a tragic accident, hires a fallen football hero (and ex-con) to impregnate his wife.

Griff Burkett was a school-of-hard-knocks kid, abandoned by his mother, adopted by his high-school football coach. Under his tutelage, Griff earned a scholarship to play college ball and then a multimillion-dollar contract with the Dallas Cowboys. Griff had a good heart, but his Achilles heel was his arrogance, and his gambling. At the end of his career, deep in debt, a local organized-crime kingpin offers him a chance to resolve his loans by throwing a game. Griff agrees, and walks straight into an FBI sting.

After serving time, Griff finds only closed doors. Then he is summoned to the mansion of eccentric millionaire airline owner Foster Speakman. Speakman, a recluse since a car accident left him crippled, is impotent. He offers Griff half a million dollars to impregnate his wife Laura, discreetly, and with manifold rules. One of which is, if Griff succeeds, he will leave town and never see his child as long as he lives.

Griff has few options. He's still hounded by Detective Stanley Rodarte, who organized the gambling sting, and seems set upon ruining Griff's life. Griff has little means of earning a living, no family, and few friends. So he agrees - only to quickly realize he's been set up.

©2007 Sandra Brown Management, Ltd (P)2007 Simon and Schuster Inc

Critic Reviews

"The tension builds as lust, greed, pride, wrath and envy threaten to undo everyone in this tightly told tale of modern temptation." ( Publishers Weekly)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    618
  • 4 Stars
    485
  • 3 Stars
    231
  • 2 Stars
    53
  • 1 Stars
    34

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    503
  • 4 Stars
    225
  • 3 Stars
    66
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    8

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    423
  • 4 Stars
    255
  • 3 Stars
    89
  • 2 Stars
    26
  • 1 Stars
    12
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dave
  • Stillwater Lake, NS, Canada
  • 04-06-10

Typically satisfying Sandra Brown novel

This is my third Sandra Brown book. I thoroughly enjoyed the "listen". Although I wouldn't rank it up with "Envy" which was the first Brown book I "read", it's twisting plot and unusual ending made it delightful and entertaining. Victor Slezak is wonderful as a narrator, so much so that I look for books with him telling the story.
One other comment: I noticed several customers commented negatively on the sexual scenes. That's absurd - all sexual scenes in Brown's books are an integral part of the story. There is nothing offensive; in fact, they are natural (isn't sex?) and Slezak handles it with such sensitivity.
Another Sandra Brown 'must listen'. Oh - and I just downloaded "Smash Uncut".

25 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Scott
  • Roseville, CA, United States
  • 08-29-10

Sports & Intrigue another great romantic/thriller

First, you have to understand that Brown is the "ROMANCE/THRILLER" genre. I don't know how many others occupy that niche or if she created it but you're going to have lots of explicit intimacy. If you CAN get past that you'll see she creates amazingly original characters and winds and twists her plots to where you can't see things coming.
This book with a clever double entendre hints at the underlying and inevitable love story. You have a fantastic heroine a strong female, and a very corrupted and sad football player as the main characters. How they become involved in an extremely twisted way is what drives this story and gets you rooting (pun intended) for this "anti-hero."
The book is well narrated subtle but effective and well edited. After 32 audio-books I'm starting to hear the difference although I enjoy both "obvious acting" & "understated acting". Don't imply that his narration is dull. He narrates well, defines characters & their feelings enough to let Brown's powerful writing do it's job on your mind.
When it comes to fiction I'm willing to grant any writer a LOT of leeway for the very reason that it is FICTION. When writing becomes absolutely plausible the story is no longer a thriller but becomes "literature." (Fine but I often want to be entertained with original plots.) I have YET to be slightly disappointed by Brown's ability to hold my interest so invariably I WANT to keep listening every possible chance and run through a book in a few days (despite "rewinds"). I've never been bored except for the invariable lovemaking and all books are far better than a lot of other crummy books I've slogged through (or failed to finish.) Brown has a gift and while her penchant for many graphic sex scenes is part of her style... it's soon over and then you get on with a great story. Obviously these books are not books for little kids.
Brown writes great thrillers. If her work ever fails to entertain.. I'll let you know.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

not expected

As a mystery, I enjoyed this book a lot more than some I've read recently. But reader be warned that it crosses the fine line into romance/erotica, so don't get this if you're not into that.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jessica
  • Delta, OH, United States
  • 05-07-08

great book!

I personally loved this book. I considered not purchasing it because of the mixed reviews. If you liked "envy" you'll like this book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • HAZEL PARK, MI, United States
  • 07-10-08

Great Listen

This book has some many twist and turns, I thought I was on a roller coaster and I LOVE roller coasters! I can not count how many times my jaw dropped when another plot twist hits you over the head and I usually can see them coming.

I have a 3 hour daily commute and I have listen to many of books, and this book is one of the best I have listened to. I can think of three books that I listen outside of my car and this book is one of them.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting Read

Not quite what I expected but very good! Little twist in the plot ending made it even more interesting! Definately recommended!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Money can buy anything. Not one of her best

Four stars due to Mr. Slezak's performance. He did the best that he could with weak material. Of course this is fiction. The premises of this story is so silly and unbelievable. It is very difficult to like any of the main characters or feel sorry for them. They are protrayed as selfish rich people who will do anything to get what they want. It is difficult to believe that a former professional athlete would be so financially destitute, conceited, and lazy that he would perform stud services for a couple of millionaires. He does this not only for the money, but actually believes that the couple wants his genetic features in their child! Give me a break. In addition, it is incredulous that a self respecting, competent, highly intelligent business woman would be motivated by guilt to have sexual intercourse with a strange man, with her husband's permission, in order to make a baby. What man who truly loves his wife would ask her to do this for him? Adding to the ridiculous plot is mental illness, a dirty cop and the mob. There is no doubt that some listeners were disturbed by the sex scenes. References to "the act" are minimal and not graphic. Actually, this entire story is disturbing and insulting. Save your money and your credits.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

beach read

Entertaining, but frequently melodramatic. Not the best author you've ever read, but if you're looking for something escapist and light, this will do. Great for airplanes and the beach. The main character spends far too much time feeling sorry for himself, and the love interest between the main characters seems unlikely.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Average Listen, that's all

Not a lot here. Typical Sandra Brown, if you like her style, then you should like this read. It seemed like she might be intentionally trying to appeal to the male reader more on this one. References to female body parts, male erections and farts.

Unlike other reviewers, I actually thought parts of this were NOT predictable. However, I thought the big climax (Epiloque) was rather boring.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Jane
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 01-08-13

Subject did not appeal to me.

It was not entertaining. It was unpleasant and depressing. I wanted it to be over.

S. Brown is a talented writer. I don’t know what she was thinking when she chose this subject. Maybe she wanted to try something different. The only value I see is for athletes to learn from someone else’s mistakes. The hero Griff is a pro quarterback. He makes stupid choices. He does stupid things. He goes to jail. Everyone (the public) hates Griff for what he did. An evil cop is stalking Griff throughout the book. The cop beats up Griff and anyone who is a friend to Griff. The cop’s hatred of and power over Griff is depressing.

I can accept a flawed hero but I did not like the author misleading the reader by implying Griff was bad and later showing that he was not so bad. When some truths were revealed I was annoyed at the way the author had twisted things. See Spoiler 2 below.

I prefer stories told in a linear logical time line. I’m willing to accept some flashbacks, but this book is full of flashbacks and backstories. Examples: 1. A couple is going to have sex. The author then jumps to a future time. Later we hear what happened during that sex scene. 2. Griff has a meeting with someone. The author then jumps to a future time with Griff on the run from the cops. Later we get the backstory of what happened during that meeting causing Griff to be on the run. 3. Griff appears in someone’s hotel room. Later we learn how he got past the security cops to get there. 4. And then we hear what he did to get away from the cops earlier in item 2. This method allowed the author to take short cuts in the telling. For example in item 4 she only told “a few of the things Griff did while on the run” instead of having us in his mind and seeing his actions while running.

The publisher’s blurb says millionaire Foster hires Griff to impregnate his wife Laura. It says Griff quickly realizes he’s been set up. I would not describe it that way. There is no complicated “set up.” And it’s not “quickly realizes.” See Spoiler 1 below.

Don’t read this for romance, although there is a hint of future romance at the end. I liked the happy ending for Griff.

NARRATOR:
The narrator Victor Slezak was excellent.

Genre: mystery suspense thriller.

-----------------------------

CAUTION SPOILERS:
1. Regarding the blurb: It’s not a complicated set up. It’s simply kill the guy instead of pay him.
2. Author contrivances that annoyed me. A guy planned to do something bad, but doesn’t do it, but he felt guilty so he confessed to doing it. In another case as a teen he took the blame without explaining things. Another, an innocent person touches a murder weapon leaving his prints on it.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Skinfull
  • 08-30-16

Excellent story and incredibly likeable characters

I think this one might be my favourite Sandra brown so far. The characters were fun and interesting and the story intriguing. The performance was great and everyone was easy to distinguish.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gill
  • 12-11-15

Play Dirty

I loved this book! I preferred this narrator to other narrators of Sandra Brown books.