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Only Work, No Play (Tough Games #1)
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After two years of taking care of her heartbroken father, Evie needs a new start. Leaving the States and following her sister to Australia to work as the personal assistant of rugby star Xavier – The Beast – Stevens seems like the right kind of distraction.
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Xavier’s team the Sydney Tigers is born in my imagination. There doesn’t exist a team with that name. I hope you’ll forgive me that artistic freedom.
Fiona’s perfectly styled blonde head popped up on the screen. “So how’s Dad doing?”
A wave of bitterness washed over me. Fiona had left Dad and me right after high school, and not just to go to college. She’d rounded half the globe to start a new life in Australia. She’d run from us, from her responsibility. From Dad’s grief, from mine, perhaps even from her own, only a few months after our mother had died. We’d never been as inseparable as other twins but I’d thought we’d always stay close to each other.
“He’s seeing someone.”
Fiona’s green eyes grew wide. “He’s dating?”
I gave a shrug. I’d felt the same incredulity as Fiona when he’d told me. Mom was dead for a little less than three years and Dad had found a replacement. “He is. It’s a good thing. He’s doing so much better because of it.” Part of me knew these words were true, yet the other part childishly held on to the idea that Dad would continue living with only the memory of Mom. It was unfair. He deserved to be happy again. Mom would have wanted him to move on.
Fiona bit her lip, probably not noticing she was ruining her lipstick. “I suppose. He’s been so broken up after Mom’s death, it’s good that he’s happy again.”
Fiona fell silent. My eyes stung, and I could see hers glistening with unshed tears as well.
“So,” she said in a more cheerful voice. “Does that mean you are finally free to live your own life?”
“I’ve lived my own life these last few years,” I objected, but it wasn’t true. I’d taken care of Dad since Fiona had fled the States, had chosen a nearby college so I could stay close to him and find time to watch out for him, even if his workaholic tendencies didn’t make it easy.
Her nose wrinkled. “You haven’t, and we both know it. When was the last time you went out? Got drunk? Partied all night?”
I made a mock thoughtful face. “That would be three nevers.”
Fiona pointed her finger at me. She must have practically been poking the camera for it to be this large on my screen. “We need to change that.” She paused. “You got your bachelor’s in marketing, right?”
I frowned. “Yeah. I just finished.” I didn’t mention today’s dismal job interview, or the many measly paid internships I’d had since I’d finished. Getting your foot into the marketing job scene was tough as nails.
Her smile became wicked, an expression I knew from our childhood days that made me wary. “Fiona,” I said in warning.
“I have a job for you.”
“A job? Where?”
“Here. In Sydney. In marketing people only care about your work experiences, so you need to get your foot in. I have a job for you that will open every door for you. It’s hot.”
“Sydney,” I said slowly. “You want me to come to Sydney?”
“You always wanted to spend a year abroad. This is your chance. Dad is busy dating, and knowing him, even busier with his job, so it’s your turn to do something for yourself. You can live with Connor and me. Our house is big enough.”
My mouth hung open in a very undignified way. “You want me to live with you.”
Fiona’s face became softer, hesitant. It was a look I’d seldom seen in the past. She hated to appear weak in front of others, even me. “We haven’t seen each other in more than two years, Evie. I miss you. This could be our chance to spend time together, and your chance to have some fun and gain work experience.”
I missed Fiona too, but I wasn’t the one who’d left and never returned. I’d always known Fiona was meant for the big city, but I’d hoped she’d choose a city a bit closer to me, not on a different continent. “Who am I supposed to work for?”
“Xavier Stevens.” Her lips twitched in a way that made me suspicious. It was a face she’d made when Mom forced her to eat Brussel sprouts.
“You’ll have to give me a bit more than that. I don’t know who the dude is.”
Fiona flashed me a grin. “That’s exactly why you are perfect for the job, Evie. Xavier needs someone who doesn’t want to kiss the ground he walks on, trust me.”
“Okay,” I said. “I still don’t know who he is. Do I need to Google him?”
Fiona rolled her eyes. “He’s a rugby player, of course.”
“Of course,” I said. Fiona was dating a rugby player of the Sydney Tigers, she was a cheerleader for the same team, and an Instagram star.
“He’s a fly-half. Absolute superstar. Everyone knows him, every woman wants to be in his bed, every man wants to be him. He’s gone through more assistants than underwear.”