Book Eight of the New York Blades series
They were acting when they met. They dated under false pretenses. But their attraction was all too real.
A leading soap opera actress, Monica Geary is good at faking it. But pretending to fall for NHL star and notorious playboy Eric Mitchell is going to be her hardest role ever. Yet she has no choice, for she desperately needs an edge in order to maintain her daytime diva status.
Eric Mitchell is a man in demand. First he was traded to save the New York Blades, and now the publicity department has loaned him out to help save Monica Geary's career. What no one knows is that one of People magazine's hottest bachelors is also a closet soap opera fan. He's had his eyes on Monica for years-and can't wait to get his arms around her.
"POWER PLAY is a wickedly fun and steamy hot contemporary romance. I could not put it down...Filled with humor, romance, sensuous love scenes and charismatic characters.. this story will stay in your mind long after the book is finished. The secondary characters add real appeal and authenticity to this story. POWER PLAY is a definite keeper.” Dottie, RomanceJunkies.com
“POWER PLAY ranks high on my list right now for the best romance of 2008. It’s a sheer delight from the first page till the last. Contemporary romance doesn’t get much better than this.”Ellen Micheletti, All About Romance
“POWER PLAY is pure bliss. It's a winning story that skates to victory melting your heart along the way.”Fresh Fiction
“Ms. Martin makes it so easy to adore her characters. They are lovingly flawed and completely irresistible. This is a great read, and yet another hit in the New York Blades series.”
Lototy, Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
“This is a book you won’t want to put down.”
Dee Dailey, The Romance Studio
“Deirdre Martin has another hit on her hands...”
Maame Kambi, RomanceReaderatHeart
"Sparkling banter and a couple with red hot chemistry highlight POWER PLAY...even if you’re not into sports themed books, but enjoy a funny, hot romance that sizzles, then you won’t go wrong with POWER PLAY. I highly recommend you put POWER PLAY on your book shopping list."Patti Fischer, Romance Reviews Today
ROXIE: Wait until you see the surprise I have for you, Grayson. (SHE WHEELS HIM, BLINDFOLDED, INTO A LOCKER ROOM. HOCKEY SKATES AND HELMETS HANG FROM SEVERAL OF THE LOCKERS. A FEW BATTERED HOCKEY STICKS ARE PROPPED UP IN THE CORNER. ERIC MITCHELL ENTERS. ROXIE UNTIES GRAYSON’S BLINDFOLD) You can look now!
GRAYSON: My God! It’s Eric Mitchell of the New York Blades, my favorite team!
ERIC: It’s an honor to meet you, Rox—I mean Grayson.”
Monica heaved a sigh of frustration as Jimmy the director flew out of the control booth for the third time, making a beeline for Eric Mitchell, who’d somehow managed to score a cameo appearance on the show. The first time Eric screwed up his lines, Jimmy was patient. The guy was a hockey player, after all, not an actor. The second time he screwed up, Monica’s egomaniacal co-star Royce, who played her love interest and usually ate guest stars alive, assured him that he just needed to relax and things would be fine. But the third time was too much. As always, they were on a very tight shooting schedule and had no time for multiple takes.
“For the third goddamn time, the line is, ‘It’s an honor to meet you, Grayson,’” said Jimmy through clenched teeth. “Grayson! Grayson! Grayson! It’s not that hard!” He stormed back to the booth.
“Yowsa,” said Eric, wide-eyed, looking at Monica. “Someone should give that guy a chill pill, huh?”
“This isn’t a joke,” said Monica, wheeling Royce back out of the locker room while Royce blindfolded himself. Eric took his place, too. Sauntered to it, actually, then had the balls to wink at Monica. This guy was unbelievable.
This time, the jock managed not to call Grayson Roxie, but when it came to his line, “I know you’ll score a goal of your own, Grayson, and walk again,” he said “talk again” rather than “walk again.”
“Do you know how to talk?!” Jimmy shouted through the mike from the control booth. Monica winced as he turned to the executive producer. “Whose bright idea was this to have this guy do a cameo?! Yours?! We’d have better luck with a trained seal!” With that he grabbed the giant bottle of generic aspirin he always kept on the ledge of the control panel, and shook out what looked like a small mountain into his palm before cramming them into his mouth as if they were M&M’s.
Michael Herrera, W & F’s long suffering producer recently back from a second stint in rehab for addiction to Valium, got on the mike and said, “Alright, everybody, let’s take five.”
“We don’t have five!” Jimmy screamed.
Michael ignored him, focusing all his attention on Eric. “Listen, you have got to nail it the next time or we’re gonna have to cut the scene; we just don’t have time to fool around with this.” He paused, thinking. “I’ll check with the writers to see if they can write up a few new lines for a different surprise for Grayson if we need to. Maybe Roxie can do a lap dance or something.”
“You do that, and the only dance I’ll be doing is on my way out of this studio!” Monica shouted up to him. She couldn’t bear to even glance at Royce, whom she knew had to praying for Eric Mitchell to hang himself the next time he opened his mouth. God, she wished she had a cigarette. She would just have to do with moving off set and do a few deep-breathing exercises instead.
Monica cracked open an eye in the middle of a deep inhale to see Eric Mitchell standing in front of her. Out of politeness, she opened the other eye. “Yes?”
“I’m sorry I keep screwing up. I thought it would be easy.”
Monica frowned. “Everyone does.”
It amazed her, the way everyone thought they could act. She could tell him that the sign of a good actor was making it look effortless, but what would be the point?
Part of the problem was that for every good actor in daytime, there was one bad one. It was one of the reasons the genre got no respect. That, and the fact that to hold the interest of viewers and not repeat themselves five days a week, fifty weeks a year, year in and year out, the writers were forced to sometimes write fantastical storylines ripe for mockery. Evil twins. Characters returning from the dead. Amnesia, demonic possession, characters marrying each other multiple times—it was all there. But there was reality there, too, characters grappling with serious issues of life and love. That was what hooked the viewers. That was what allowed them to suspend disbelief and follow these characters wherever the show’s writers took them.
The hockey player was looking at her like she was piece of succulent filet mignon on his plate. She should have been used to that by now, but it never failed to irk her just little. I’m more than boobs, legs, and a face, she wanted to tell him. Not that it would make any difference.
“You and I have something in common,” Eric murmured.
“What’s that?” Monica asked, trying desperately to see past him to the clock on the studio wall. Three more minutes. She only had to endure three more minutes of small talk with the jock who thought he could act. Anything was do-able for three minutes.
“We’re both sexy,” he whispered, giving her bedroom eyes. “You were voted ‘One of the Sexiest Women in Daytime,’ and I was just voted one of People magazine’s ‘Top Fifty Bachelors.’”
“I didn’t know that,” Monica replied with affected boredom she hoped would repel him. She could see why he made their list, though. Great bod, sandy blond hair, sparkling blue eyes. She hated to admit it, but physically speaking, he was the male version of her.
“You really don’t think it’s fascinating we’re both sex symbols?” Eric prodded.
“Oh, c’mon. You and I both know it says ‘’These two people were fated to meet.’”
“Actually, to me it says ‘Delusional.’”
She knew she was taking a risk in being snarky to him. First rule of being in the public eye: be unfailingly polite, even if you were dealing with a crazed fan or an antagonistic journalist. But this guy was being such a horse’s ass she couldn’t hold back.
Undeterred, Eric leaned in to her. “Two famous people who are hot, the big city at night...how about you give me your number and we set the world on fire?”
Monica recoiled. “You’re kidding, right? Who do you think I am, some bimbo?”
Eric looked mystified. “Huh?”
“That has got to be the most atrocious pick up line I’ve heard in my life. Do you really think a woman would fall for that?”
Eric rocked confidently on his heels. “I thought it was pretty good myself. What do you say?”
“Thanks, but no thanks.” Just a minute and a half more. Tick, tick, help.
Eric chuckled. “Look, Rox—I mean, Monica—I occasionally glance at Soap Week magazine when one of the other players bring it into the locker room, so I know you’re footloose and fancy free these days. As am I, remarkably. You can’t deny there’s some kind of chemistry between us here.”
Monica cocked her head inquisitively. “Have you ever spent time in a mental hospital? Just curious.”
“Take a chance, babe. Go out with me.”
“No,” Monica repeated firmly. “And don’t call me ‘babe.’”
Eric winked at her, and it was even more annoying this second time than it was the first. “How about ‘Gorgeous’? ‘Hot’? ‘Goddess’? ‘Stone cold foxy lady supreme’?”
“Let’s make a deal, okay? You don’t talk to me again unless we’re in character, and I don’t publicly accuse you of harassing me.”
Eric shrugged. “Your loss, babe.”
“Aaarrrr!” Monica growled in frustration, storming back to the set, fingers twitching for a cigarette. It was a pity that someone so good looking was such a vapid, annoying tick. The minute their scene together was over, she ran back to her dressing room and locked the door until she got word Eric Mitchell had left the building and crawled back to the rink he came from. Sometimes, acting was the easy part. It was getting men to see past her status and body that was hard.