After five long years in federal prison, Griff Burkett is a free man. But the disgraced Cowboys quarterback can never return to life as he knew it before he was caught cheating. In a place where football is practically a religion, Griff committed a cardinal sin, and no one is forgiving.
Foster Speakman, owner and CEO of SunSouth Airlines, and his wife, Laura, are a golden couple. Successful and wealthy, they lived a charmed life before fate cruelly intervened and denied them the one thing they wanted most -- a child. It's said that money can't buy everything. But it can buy a disgraced football player fresh out of prison and out of prospects. The job Griff agrees to do for the Speakmans demands secrecy. But he soon finds himself once again in the spotlight of suspicion. An unsolved murder comes back to haunt him in the form of his nemesis, Stanley Rodarte, who has made Griff's destruction his life's mission. While safeguarding his new enterprise, Griff must also protect those around him, especially Laura Speakman, from Rodarte's ruthlessness. Griff stands to gain the highest payoff he could ever imagine, but cashing in on it will require him to forfeit his only chance for redemption...and love. Griff is now playing a high-stakes game, and at the final whistle, one player will be dead.
Play Dirty is Sandra Brown's wildest ride yet, with hairpin turns of plot all along the way. The clock is ticking down on a fallen football star, who lost everything because of the way he played the game. Now his future -- his life --hinges on one last play.
I seriously need to be sitting here making a grocery list, but I have been looking forward to doing this review since I realized that the hero is a bonified man-whore. I was giggling to myself the whole time I was reading about Griff's "job" and how much fun it would be to review about.
The Plot: Griff Burkett was the star quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys when he threw a game for money. Those Texas football fans must be bloodthirsty b/c they still remember Griff after five years. His reception is far from nice. When he receives a mysterious call from Foster Speakman, Griff figures he has nothing to lose. When he meets the paraplegic Speakman, Griff figures he has a job offer, but he has nooooo idea that his job description would be male prostitute. Though at first he figures it's a joke, he soon realizes that the Speakman's are serious and dead set on hiring Griff as the sperm donor of the child that Foster Speakman can't father. There's only one catch: no medical labs for his baby. No siree. Foster wants Griff to get his wife, Laura, pregnant in the old fashion way. Some how, Foster explains his need to have it done traditionally in a totally logical way. Which sounds weird, yes?
So in the midst of selling his body for money, Griff is also being hounded by (what you later learn) is a Detective w/ the Dallas P.D, Stanley Rodarte. It's a bit of a shock to find out this guy is a cop because he is e.v.i.l. At first he's just creepy, following Griff around, having him beat up. Normal gansta stuff. Then he viciously attacks a friend of Griff's (who is also a high-priced prostitute). When I found out that he was a Detective, I groaned a little.
My Thoughts: I liked Griff. Honestly, I was wondering how Brown could make the reader like a man who would take money for sex and have no regrets about it. A man who threw his whole career away for money. A loner. A really unlikable guy. That's what he was at first. I also had to admire the fact that he fully admitted that he was available for a high enough price. He had no delusions about who he was. Of course he did have a hard time the first few times that he was called upon to "perform".
I liked Laura Speakman, too. This is another character that I didn't expect to like. Obviously she must be a gold-digging slut b/c she'll sleep with another man just b/c her husband wants her too, right? No, not really. She just really loves her husband. She's in love with him. She respects and admires him. That's why she can't get over the guilt of being responsible for him being in a wheelchair. So if he wants her to get pregnant the old-fashion way, she'll do it. Even if it feels morally wrong, she'll do it. It's only when she starts having feelings for Griff that she starts to pull back. Her intention was never to develop feelings for him.
Eventually Laura gets pregnant. This was after their last time together, which rocked both their worlds. Foster invites Griff over to celebrate and to give him a $500,000 bonus for his "performance". This is where you kind of realize that Foster is farther off his rocker than you thought. He keeps taunting Griff about his relationship w/ Laura, etc. Foster is also OCD, so he does his taunts in sequences of three "Poor Griff, Poor Griff, Poor Griff".
Then Foster ends up murdered. And Griff's hands are all over the murder weapon. Foster's personal aide has disappeared. Seems like an open and shut case. Of course Brown makes you doubt Griff because he was looking for a way to shut Foster up when the scene ended. Next thing you know, bam, Foster's dead.
This is where Stanley Rodarte enters the picture, yet again. And boy is his slimy. *shudder* He's determined to get Griff. We eventually find out why he's so determined, which makes sense. I think he should have just left well enough alone. But no, he's going to bring Griff down.
Of course, yet again, I didn't figure out who did it. I thought I did, but I was wrong. I was annoyed b/c I was so sure I was right! I really liked how the book ended. It was wrapped up quite nicely. Believably, too, which is always important to me.
4 out of 5 stars.