Sometimes the only way to get what you want is to play a little dirty…
Olivia just wanted to give her best friend the best wedding experience and was fully prepared that her own devastatingly handsome polo-playing ex, Rafael, would be there too. What she didn’t expect was that all their friends would use the occasion to try to push her and Rafael back together.
Rafael just wanted to get through the event with a little dignity, but since his teammates got it into their heads that he and Olivia are meant to be, things have become a little complicated.
Their friends aren’t going to let anything get in the way of bringing Olivia and Rafe together—not even the couple in question.
Wonderful short story with a jaw dropping twist ending!!! Kait Gamble doesn’t disappoint with Playing Dirty in Totally Bound’s Lust Bites edition! What a fun and flirty read with a heavy dose of lust! I loved it! ~ Jeep Diva
Fabulous short story with a brilliant ending … I am not usually that keen on a shirt read, as I like to get totally immersed in a story – but Playing Dirty achieved that almost immediately. It is fun, flirty and perfectly naughty. And, let’s be honest … Brazilian polo player? yes please! ! ~ Wicked Reads
Olivia Wade took a deep breath and pushed open the door of the cab, taking in a lungful of the sultry sea air when it hit her. She inhaled the aroma twice more before she pulled out a few bills and handed them to the driver, who had already been to the trunk and retrieved her tiny carry-on and garment bag.
Taking his proffered hand, Olivia stepped out and simply stared at the stunningly gorgeous surroundings, letting the beauty wash over her. And the unease. After focusing on the mounting excitement and getting to this day, actually being in the moment elicited some mixed feelings. Happiness and excitement bubbled through her, but so did a trickle of dread.
She could endure whatever came her way for a few hours. How hard could it be for her to be a good friend and do her duty? Especially in this amazing place? Anything for Jane. The words had been her mantra for weeks, repeated more often as this day approached, and would surely be invoked more than a few times before it ended.
Her best friend’s wedding. All at once a wondrous and irksome event. The latter for Olivia, at least. She couldn’t be happier for her friend. Ecstatic, in fact. Jane had found her true love and would be marrying him on what promised to be the perfect occasion. Of course it would be. It was Jane’s big day. Everything would be executed with military precision.
And yes, the moment Olivia turned to look at the building, Jane’s mother appeared to usher Olivia in. Just as if she’d been waiting to pounce.
“Olivia! Right on time!” Patricia Claibourne rushed out of the doors, dressed in her mother-of-the-bride finery. “You look wonderful! The rest of the girls are waiting for you inside. How was your flight?”
“Thank you, and the flight was lovely, Mrs. Claibourne.” Olivia cringed the moment she called her that. There was just something about Jane’s mother that made Olivia feel like a ten-year-old again. A gauche, gangly one who needed supervision lest she break something terribly valuable.
“I’ve told you time and time again to call me Patricia.” She wound an arm around Olivia’s waist and squeezed. “A bit nervous?”
Olivia wasn’t the nervous type. Patricia knew that just as well as anyone in her family. She had an inkling of what Patricia was suggesting. Olivia stayed silent and waited for her to continue rather than fuel whatever was going on in the woman’s mind.
She didn’t have to wait long.
“Rafael is here, you know.” Patricia said it conversationally, but Olivia could see the calculating glint in the woman’s clear blue eyes. As if she were testing the waters to see whether or not Olivia’s ex’s presence was going to unnerve her.
Of course Rafael was there. He was Danilo’s best friend. He would have been roped into wedding-party duty just as she had been.
Olivia shrugged. “I figured he would be.”
She found herself on the receiving end of a long stare. “That’s not going to be a problem, is it?”
She patted the woman’s arm. “I won’t let it.” Olivia wasn’t going to permit anything to spoil the wedding or any of the festivities. Their best friends were getting married. Olivia knew Rafael well enough to believe he would be as unwilling as she was to do anything to spoil their day.
Olivia allowed herself to be led into the opulent building that was the gateway to the resort, and through the arched foyer to the desk. The whole place was breathtaking. Somehow modern and yet at the same time blending into the surroundings, thanks to the abundance of natural stone and glass that helped the buildings almost become one with the mountain they nestled into.
Patricia’s voice drew Olivia out of her awed reverie. “Check in, dear. I’ll let Jane know you’ve arrived and I’ll have the stylist and so on sent to your villa.”
“All right.” Olivia smiled and kept it plastered on her face as she turned to the petite, fresh-faced receptionist.
Beaming happily, she checked Olivia in as she chatted inanely about the weather and wished her a pleasant stay.
Pleasant? She wasn’t sure about that, but it would be an interesting stay, if anything.
Still, Olivia wasn’t going to turn her nose up at the lavish resort ambience.
It was good to cut loose, no matter how brief the break. Work always seemed to be her priority and, as of late, it had been wearing on her. Not that she didn’t love her job as a fine art restorer at one of the biggest museums in ‘not just London, but the world’, as its proud boast had it. The degree of concentration and fastidiousness that conserving paintings required was exhausting to keep up, leaving her drained and very much in need of a distraction. Olivia couldn’t remember her last vacation, such as it was, so just getting the chance to relax for once was fantastic. To be able to recharge somewhere as magical as this was a dream come true.
Olivia had never been to Brazil and she’d never imagined, when she and Jane had met Rafael and Danilo by chance at a charity dinner for the museum, that it would ever lead to the other couple getting married. Even further from her mind was that Danilo would pay for the entire wedding party to travel to Brazil and stay in one of the most beautiful places she’d ever seen.
Not that she’d been to many world-class hotels. But if she had, Olivia was certain this place would be up there with the best of them.
She followed the directions she’d been given to find her villa. That she had one to herself was incredible on its own. Olivia had taken the time to do a little reading up on the resort on the flight over, so she knew the basic layout, where her villa was situated and the general area surrounding it.
It didn’t stop her from exploring as she walked. All that was within sight was so unbelievably well designed that she could imagine each building, every path, all the plants and trees, having sprung up from the ground naturally.
A staccato beat of heels on stone behind her drew her attention, though she didn’t slow her ambling promenade through the greenery.
“You must be Olivia.” The clipped pronunciation on top of a British accent gave a further edge to her words.
Olivia smiled at the harried-looking woman and the team that followed her, knowing they must be rushed off their feet. “I must be. And you are…”
“We’re here to get you ready for the wedding.” She checked her watch, though Olivia got the feeling it was only for show. The woman probably knew what time it was and how much of it was left before the ceremony down to the millisecond.
“Great.” Olivia pointed in the direction of the villa when it came into view. “I’m in that one.”
“Brilliant.” Somehow the word made it sound as though the woman was less than thrilled as she barreled forward.
Olivia had barely a moment to rush ahead, open the door and look around at the sumptuous interior of the villa before the group swarmed her and went to work.
Precisely thirty minutes later—she knew because she had nothing to do but obey orders and watch the seconds tick away on a nearby clock—Olivia stared at her reflection and could scarcely believe they had worked so quickly and with such fabulous results.
The gorgeous light jade green of her maid-of-honor dress complemented her pale gold skin tone and dark hair. Strapless, empire-waisted and hanging to whisper around her ankles, it was made of a gauzy, floaty chiffon perfect for a beach wedding. Turning to the side, she admired the elegant sweep of her hair and the masterful makeup job. Even the toenails of her bare feet had been painted to match the colors she wore. Jane had definitely chosen the right crew to execute her vision.
“We have precisely seven minutes to get you to the beach.” Olivia was sure that Uptight Timekeeper’s face was pinched so rigidly that the bun at the back of her head was going to unravel any moment now. She handed Olivia a bouquet of vivid fuchsia frangipani interspersed with white moth orchids that created a vibrant contrast to the soft green of her dress. “Follow me.”
Obviously, she was to go barefoot. Olivia gave the little team a thankful smile as they filed past. Following at the end of the procession, she closed the door and, like the others, fell into line behind their leader in a near-militaristic march along another meandering path.
The sounds of the surf were clear now. The scent of the ocean washed fresh and clean over her long before she caught a glimpse of gleaming white sand and brilliant azure water. It was so different from the less picturesque beaches at Southampton and Dover. Infinitely better.
Olivia added it to her mental list of favorite scents.
Finally, a large white tent loomed through the trees. Set off the beach, it nestled to the side as if the organizers were trying to hide it as well as what was going on inside.
“Jane? Your maid of honor is here and ready to go.”
“Olivia!” The delighted squeal came from within.