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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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • 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".

22 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • 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

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
  • 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
  • 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.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • 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.

The narrator Victor Slezak was excellent.

Genre: mystery suspense thriller.


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.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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

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  • Performance
  • Story

Extremely Twisted, But Entertaining.....

This was my second Sandra Brown listen (first was Mean Steak), they are both enjoyable. I describe this story as a romance/mystery. It's a story of a quadriplegic, wealthy, eccentric husband who offers a broke, corrupted, just out of jail, good-looking ex-football player a lot of money to make his beautiful wife pregnant. As we all know, this scenario is fraught with pitfalls and somebody's feelings are going to get hurt. Well, that's true and much, much more. The sex scenes were handled in a sensitive way, and the number of sex scenes seemed appropriate in order to convey to the reader how the two participants were reacting to each other as they "struggled" to achieve the pregnancy. The reason the husband gave as to why he wanted the baby conceived in the traditional way, I thought was kinda weak, but okay it's fiction and meant to entertain.... it achieved that goal.

I thought the narrator did a wonderful job.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Regaining Your Integrity

Griff was a 15 year old young boy, whose father had left a very long time ago. Griff now sat on the livingroom floor and watched his mother, with a suitcase in hand and her boyfriend in the lead, walk out of the front door together His mother stopped for a moment and looked back at Griff and said, "goodbye." Griff understood that his mother wasn't ever coming back.

Griff was a great football player, whose coach understood his situation at home. Griff had not been to a football practice in three days. Griff heard a knock on the door and there stood his football coach who told him to pack up his things because he was coming home with him.

Coach made Griff practice extremely hard and was instrumental in Griff's ability to capture his dream. He played for the Dallas Cowboys but was arrested and convicted by a sting operation that was initiated to see Griff taking a bribe for throwing the football game that might have led the Dallas Cowboys to play in the super bowl.

Griff needed money desperately in order to pay off the debts owed to his bookie. He was a high stakes gambler who lived the high life, never taking time to step back and realize the jeopardy he was putting himself into. Coach had tried to warn him but Griff told himself that he was an adult who would spend his money as he saw fit.

Griff served five year's of a ten year sentence. He was flat broke and knew that his prospects were substantially limited because of his crime. However, he received a phone call from Foster Speakman, an extremely rich man whom wanted Griff to impregnate his wife, Anna, the old fashioned way, physical, sexual intercourse. Griff couldn't quite wrap his head around what was being asked of him. He thought that he would be a sperm donor and when Anna became pregnant and delivered a healthy baby he would receive a quarter million dollars. Speakman had been in terribly horrific car accident. He was paralyzed from the waist down and was impotent. He wanted a child as did Anna. They both agreed to the plan and Griff was chosen because he exhibited the physical outside appearance of what Foster Speakman looked like. No one would know the difference unless they were told.

Anna reiterated her husband's plan and that she had agreed to follow through. Griff was given one hundred thousand dollars before he left Speakman's home that evening. He was not keen to the idea but because of his extreme need for money Griff agreed. Upon leaving, Anna informed Griff that she would contact him when she was into her ovulation period of her menses. This was the most crucial time because it is at this time that a woman has the best chance of conceiving.

Sandra Brown has come through again. I totally enjoyed the book, Play Dirty. The book was well written, the character development great and had a narrator who did a great job. Would I encourage a friend to purchase this book, absolutely. The theme of this story appears too outrageous but was a great listen. There was action and suspense incorporated throughout the book. Brown's mind must work in mysterious ways in order to incorporate such an outrageous plot and write another best seller. Go ahead and purchase this book. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Its one of those books that you want to listen to all in one sitting. However, I was not able to accomplish this but have to concede that I'm happy to have taken longer because that provided me with more time to enjoy the book.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • 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.

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  • Gill
  • 12-11-15

Play Dirty

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