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Man of the Match

Twenty-one-year-old student Cara has run away to Sri Lanka. It’s the only thing she could think to do when she discovered her boyfriend was cheating on her. A holiday fling is the last thing on her mind, but then she meets Matt, a tall and very handsome Englishman. The only problem is that Matt is famous—extremely famous in fact—and he has an equally famous girlfriend.

Age Rating: 18+

Note: This story is the author’s original version and does not have sound.

 

Man of the Match by Noel Cades is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.

 


 

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Subgenres:

Holiday, Sports, New Adult

 

Similar to:

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Chapter 1

SUMMARY

Twenty-one-year-old student Cara has run away to Sri Lanka. It’s the only thing she could think to do when she discovered her boyfriend was cheating on her. A holiday fling is the last thing on her mind, but then she meets Matt, a tall and very handsome Englishman. The only problem is that Matt is famous—extremely famous in fact—and he has an equally famous girlfriend.

Age Rating: 18+

Original Author: Noel Cades

Note: This story is the author’s original version and does not have sound.

Lying on the beach, warmed by the tropical sun under the dappled shade of a palm tree, the grey misery of London seemed very far away.

The sand was soft under her skin, the sky azure above, and a whole week of golden days and balmy nights stretched before her.F

It was heartbreak that had impelled Cara to book a last minute holiday to Sri Lanka.

She hadn’t even thought or cared about where she went, she just wanted to get away.

At twenty-one, after Declan’s betrayal, she thought her whole life and happiness were over.

As a student she didn’t have a lot of money to spend on her trip.

After turning down a few cheap Spanish resorts for fear of being surrounded by couples and too many people in general, she’d found a last minute deal to Sri Lanka at an amazing price.

A cancellation holiday, the travel agent had told her.

Being sold for a fraction of the price because she had to travel the very next day.

Cara took it. She had no one to leave and nothing to lose. Anymore, anyway. A week in the sun would burn away her misery and leave her reenergised and ready to face the world again.

Here, on this island paradise, she didn’t want to think about Declan.

But the hurt and the betrayal haunted her.

He said he had been happy for them to wait until marriage, so why had he indulged in the brassy charms of his secretary Lucinda?

Cara felt so stupid, so humiliated.

Declan had obviously planned for her to be the sweet and innocent little wife, while he privately enjoyed a string of mistresses.

Suddenly her thoughts were interrupted by an unwelcome shower of sand. It was flung all over her, sticking to the sun oil on her body.

Furious, she sat up and saw the culprit. A red cricket ball had landed on the beach next to her, clearly with some force given the amount of sand it had thrown up.

Just as she looked around to find out who had thrown it, a man came running towards her with a cricket bat in his hand.

“Yours, I take it?” she said, her annoyance clear in the coolness of her tone.

He scowled instead of apologising. “This is a private beach. There wasn’t supposed to be anyone else on here.”

Eclipsed against the sun, Cara saw that he was tall, rugged and very bronzed. There was something familiar about him, though she was sure they’d never met.

In the distance she saw several other men, clearly in the progress of playing beach cricket. They hadn’t been there when she had arrived and settled herself at the far end of the beach.

“The hotel concierge directed me here,” she told him.

“You’re staying at the Pavilion?” When she nodded he looked even more annoyed. “My apologies for disturbing your sunbathing.” He sounded anything but sorry.

“It’s quite alright, I was due for a swim,” she said.

His eyes flicked over her body in its bikini, far skimpier than she usually wore because it wasn’t summer holiday season in England and there hadn’t been much choice in the shops.

Cara felt herself flush and hoped her growing tan would hide it.

For a moment he lingered. She thought he was about to say something else so she waited.

But he turned abruptly and left her. His lack of farewell left her even more infuriated. What a rude man, she thought.

She waited until he had strode down the beach back to the other players before she rose to get in the water. If the ball came her way again, she would throw it into the sea and let him swim for it.

Dining alone didn’t bother Cara.

She enjoyed her solitude and she had brought a tonne of study notes with her.

Her last year of university was turning out to be a rigorous one and she wanted to be prepared for the final terms.

She sat by herself on the veranda, surrounded by lush tropical plants, with some books spread out on the table as she enjoyed a pre-dinner cocktail.

Once again, her peace was disturbed.

“Your boyfriend neglecting you?”

The speaker was a man with a round, friendly face.

Cara recognised him as one of a group of sporty looking men who had arrived together – rather late and looking the worse for wear – for breakfast that morning.

He was with a couple of them now.

She realised he was fishing to find out whether she was here with a boyfriend or not.

Inventing one might be a useful safeguard against future approaches, but then she might be forced to produce one later in the week.

“I’m actually here on a study trip.”

One of the others turned over one of her books, Principles of Biochemistry.

“Hardly holiday reading, is it?” he said. “All work and no play. We’re having a party tonight, why don’t you come?”

Cara tried to decline but they were all insistent, teasing her by reading out quotes from her textbooks, so eventually she laughed and agreed.

One party wouldn’t hurt, and she could just drop in for a single drink and leave early. “Where is it?”

“Just here, at the hotel. In the front bar.”

They were all heading into the town for dinner first and couldn’t persuade her to join them there. Finally they left, and Cara was free to go to the hotel dining room alone as planned.

Cara had gone to her room after dinner as the party apparently didn’t start until a bit later and she didn’t want to be the first one there.

She changed into a white sundress and some strappy heels.

Her sun-kissed skin didn’t need much make-up.

The dark circles she’d had under her eyes from weeks of crying herself to sleep had also faded.

She had slept much better here, away from it all and all the memories of Declan.

Her hair fell in dark, glossy waves that framed her face.

Not bad for a newly-avowed nun, she thought.

If only she was of a religious mind she could have gone into a convent and never had to see another man again.

But she knew that wasn’t her vocation, even if she was determined to avoid the male sex for the foreseeable future.

Downstairs the party was already in full swing so she needn’t have worried about arriving early. The whole bar had been taken over and there was loud music and much merriment.

“We wondered where you’d got to.” It was the round-faced young man and his friends. “Have a drink.”

A glass was put into her hand and she was led through the crowd, some of whom were already dancing to the music, to where the bar opened onto another veranda where more people were milling around.

Introductions were made, and as she was chatting to Jeremy – as her new friend turned out to be called – she looked up to see a face across the crowd practically glaring at her.

It was the tall, surly man from the beach.

Despite the mutual dislike Cara felt she also noticed how good looking he was in a rugged, very masculine way.

She tried to tell herself that most men look better in a clean shirt, with a good tan, but she had to admit that he looked better than most.

But he had made his rudeness clear, so she didn’t acknowledge him but turned her attentions back to Jeremy.

Yet something drew her thoughts towards the other side of the room like a magnet.

She had to force herself not to look over in his direction, and to concentrate on what the people around her were saying.

Perhaps it was because he reminded her of someone, and her thoughts wouldn’t rest until she had figured out who.

The merriment grew with the night and the alcohol, and someone suggested going for a midnight swim. There was huge enthusiasm for this among the young men there.

“You’ll come, won’t you?” one of them urged her.

Cara was wearing a bikini underneath her sundress, as being strapless it didn’t show under the dress. She supposed she could go for a swim, it did seem like a lovely idea.

There was a full moon shining down on the waters, it was still the start of her holiday, and the sea was warm and calm under the stars.

Cara was dimly aware that she had probably drunk more than she meant to, but right now she didn’t care.

A group of them entered the water first with others following.

Shallow and sandy, it was quite safe even in the dark.

There were the usual splashing games and riotous behaviour.

People diving under the water and grabbing one another’s legs and pulling them under.

Someone found a beach ball and attempted a game of water polo.

The ball was thrown to Cara and she reached up for it but someone else grabbed it, and she fell against a third person instead.

“I’m sorry.”

As she turned she was mortified. It was the man from the beach.

“Good to see you,” he said. Was he being sarcastic? His tone sounded quite polite and formal.

Cara didn’t know what to say. “I wasn’t expecting it to turn into a swimming party.”

In the moonlight she saw a glint in his eye. “A skinny dipping party?”

She was confused for a moment, then she realised that he could only see her shoulders.

Unaware that she was wearing a strapless bikini he possibly thought she was swimming naked.

She was desperately embarrassed, and hoped that the darkness hid her reaction.

“No, I’m wearing a bikini.”

He raised his eyebrows, and then she was startled to feel his hands suddenly circling her waist. In the sea her skin felt hyper sensitive, and his touch was like an electric shock.

He felt up her side to where her bikini top was. “So you are.”

And there she was, almost in the arms of a complete stranger who had been extremely rude to her only a few hours earlier.

She couldn’t take her eyes off him.

He was gazing right back at her. There was an intense look in his eyes that seared her.

Suddenly he leant closer to her and his lips were on hers. His mouth was hard but tender. He tasted of salt and his tongue was warm as it slid alongside hers and entwined with it.

His hands gripped her more firmly around the waist, not letting her go.

Cara’s mind was in a whirl. What was she doing? Every ounce of sense ought to have seen her push him away and flee, but her body sang with desire for him.

She noted the sculpted muscle of his neck and shoulders, the darkness of his wet hair, close cropped at the nape of his neck.

He was much more of a man than any boyfriend she had dated before.

He was also much older, perhaps ten years older than her, she thought.

His hand supported the small of her back as his mouth left hers and travelled across her cheek and down her neck. He was tasting her, devouring her.

Waves lifted them up and down, and Cara felt incredible physical closeness to him as they clung together. They could have been one body.

I don’t even know his name, she thought.

As if he read her mind, he broke off at one point and looked her, his eyes burning with the physical desire he felt for her.

“I’m Matt,” he said.

“Cara.”

She could hardly speak, her voice seemed like a whisper carried away by the waves.

“Cara mia.” And he kissed her again.

Nothing had ever felt so right in her body and so wrong in her head.

 

Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

Chapter 2

Matt Curran was furious with himself when he woke, his head splitting, the next morning.

At the age of thirty-two and as England cricket captain he was supposed to behave more responsibly than trying to drunkenly seduce some girl.

To set an example.

What if there had been any paparazzi around?

It may have been night, but you never knew where they may be.

What if she was a reporter?

Matt remembered the notebook and camera he’d seen her with on the beach, which had instantly raised his suspicions.

And yet there had been something about her… Even hungover, in a blur of pain and self-condemnation, he couldn’t help remembering a pair of shining eyes.

The phone was flashing by the bed, he’d missed several messages. He knew who they were from. Miggy. She had also left several messages with the hotel concierge.

She was supposed to be in the middle of filming. He’d wanted a break from it all, to clear his head. Wives and girlfriends weren’t joining them on this part of the tour.

He should have been glad, he supposed, that Miggy was calling him.

After all there were plenty of men who would have liked to be in his shoes, dating her.

She was a celebrity IT-girl and occasional model, and as a high profile couple they were rarely out of the tabloids.

But the more unanswered messages she’d left, the more annoyed with him she would be getting and the less he felt like returning her calls.

Matt was also bracing himself to face the team this morning.

Hopefully most of them would be even worse for wear and nothing would get said.

What goes on tour stays on tour. For the first time, Matt personally hoped the tenet held true.

Despite his better intentions he found himself casting an eye out for Cara at breakfast.

He told himself that it was just to check she was who she said she was – just a tourist – and not busy filing some “Cheating Cricket Love-Rat” exclusive for one of the tabloids.

But he couldn’t totally kid himself that was why he was looking. Or that he wasn’t disappointed that she didn’t appear.

A couple of his team mates joined him at his table and he faced the expected ribbing. Jokes about playing away, and Miggy having his head on the railings. She wasn’t known for having an easy temper.

Matt trusted them not to say anything back home but his nerves were on edge.

“You going to see her again?” one of the bowlers asked him.

“I will if you won’t,” another said. Matt gritted his teeth at the tone.

“No, you bloody won’t,” he said. The thought of it strangely revulsed him, even though he was used to hearing of good-time girls that worked their way around half the team.

“You can concentrate on the game.”

He knew he didn’t sound convincing, all the more when there were raised eyebrows and further grins. “Miggy’s got competition then?”

“There’s nothing going on, just drop it. Forget it,” he told them and left. He was determined to forget it.

He needed to improve his act and start comporting himself like their captain, setting an example to the younger lads instead of behaving like the worst player out there.

They had kissed for what seemed like hours, though of course it couldn’t have been.

Then he’d asked her back to his room, and she’d panicked and fled. Well, not literally fled but she had returned to her own room very quickly.

What must he think of her? Letting him kiss her before she even knew his name? Practically allowing herself to be seduced by him in the sea, in front of everyone.

Cara blushed for her behaviour a hundred times.

Thank goodness it had been dark.

Perhaps no one had seen much, or at least wouldn’t recognise her.

She was going to wear her largest sunglasses from now on and dine in her room.

Yet her mind wouldn’t stop replaying everything that had happened.

How her skin shivered with delight when his hands encircled her waist.

How her stomach had jolted when his lips came down on hers.

The burning intensity in his eyes.

How much she had wanted him. She had never felt anything like that kind of abandoned, physical longing for Declan. With Matt it had been like a thirst she needed to quench.

She realised she was smiling, just thinking of it all. Perhaps everyone should have a fling once in their lives, to get it out of their system, she thought.

She was a free agent after all. She owed nothing to anyone, least of all Declan. What had happened had happened. She would put it down to too much drink and too much sun. And too much moonlight.

Having skipped breakfast Cara ordered a fruit juice in the hotel lobby.

It was a tranquil place at this time of day, with palms and flowers in large pots forming an indoor garden.

An elderly couple, whom she’d seen in the dining room the night before, greeted her.

They were sitting at a nearby table, the man wearing a Panama hat and reading a newspaper, and the woman doing some knitting.

“Exciting to be staying at the same hotel as the England players, isn’t it? We had no idea they’d be here,” the woman said to her.

“What England players?” Cara was confused.

“The England cricket team. Surely you’ve seen them about the place?”

A horrible realisation was starting to dawn on Cara.

Matt… Cricket…

She glanced at the back of the man’s newspaper, where the sporting pages were, and saw a photo of the man she’d been kissing last night.

She didn’t need to read his full name, though there it was in print. Matt Curran, England captain.

“Are you alright dear? You look a little shaken,” the woman said.

“I’m quite fine,” Cara tried to reassure her. She wasn’t fine at all. The man she had been all over last night, publicly, was the captain of the England cricket team.

Even though she didn’t follow cricket she knew who he was, and whom he dated.

His girlfriend was even more famous than he was.

He was completely off limits.

Completely out of her league.

It made her feel even trashier about her behaviour the previous night.

That day, in fact, since it had been in the early hours of the morning when she had finally parted from him.

“Excuse me,” she said to the couple, and rushed back to her room, her eyes blurring with tears of mortification.

Not looking where she was going, Cara collided with someone for the second time that week.

And she knew, almost before she bumped into him, that it was Matt Curran.

“Are you a reporter?”

He knew as soon as he blurted it out that it was the worst thing to say, let alone in such an aggressive tone.

“No, why?” Cara was completely confused. Why did he look so angry, so suspicious? His bronzed face was rigid, unyielding. He looked even more furious than he had done on the beach.

Yet she couldn’t stop looking at his lips.

Remembering how they felt on hers, wanting him all over again.

She bit her lip and tried to maintain her composure.

What did one say in this sort of circumstance?

“Was this some sort of sting? Are you working for one of the tabloids?” he asked, his tone no less demanding then before.

Cara was bewildered. “No, I’m just here on holiday.” She didn’t know what else to say.

They stood there for a moment, both at a loss. She was looking into his eyes and beyond his distrust she could see a deep weariness.

He saw that he had made her embarrassed and uncomfortable, and it affected him more than he would have liked.

Matt broke the awkward silence.

“Last night…” he faltered, he wasn’t even sure what he wanted to say anymore.

“…was a mistake,” she finished for him. “I’m sorry, I have to be somewhere.”

She had nowhere to be, nowhere to go since her room was in the opposite direction and she could hardly turn back past him now. She hurried off, her eyes blurring with tears.

He wanted to call after her but there were people around and making a scene would be even worse. He saw her slight figure moving into the distance.

If she was a reporter he just had totally screwed himself.

And if she wasn’t a reporter he had just been unconscionably rude to her.

Either way, he was going to have to seek her out and apologise to her.

And given the reaction he felt whenever he encountered her, seeking her out would be playing with fire.

 

Read the full uncensored books on the Galatea iOS app!

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