90 Days to Score Excerpt
Two years ago, I’d married for love.
Little had I known I was marrying into a threesome.
Now my wannabe ex was dead, and everybody thought I’d done it.
Oh, they didn’t come right out and say it. Please, this is Dallas, more Southern than Atlanta, where one would never consider saying such a thing out loud.
Apparently social decorum didn’t extend to the newspaper. There I was, front and center in the Party Central section where gossip regularly did a hit-and-run on the truth. Today was no exception. I wadded the offending section and tossed it toward the can. It glanced off the rim.
As with everything in life lately, my aim was slightly off.
And now I was a Making of a Murderer story waiting to be told.
Hell, even the NFL thought I’d done it.
The letter arrived by courier this morning, the NFL logo prominent in the upper left-hand corner, my name typed out in bold, accusatory letters: Mrs. Austin Terry. They got that wrong. That Mrs. thing always irked me, as if upon marriage a woman disappeared, relegated to appendage status. I was born Brinda Rose, and that’s who I’d always be—husband or no.
And husbands couldn’t be counted on. Mine was cooling in a drawer at the medical examiner’s office—not that he didn’t deserve it.
But I’ll get to that.
Apparently anger and loathing are considered unbecoming in a freshly minted widow.
Still reeling from the sea-change of the last twenty-four hours, I’d yet to open the letter. In fact, I’d yet to do anything. Paralyzed by my public fall from grace, I’d parked myself at the kitchen table and hadn’t moved.
Besides, I knew what the NFL wanted. They wanted me out…bad. They’d have to stand in line.
As a lawyer, I’d told my husband a million times that he needed a will. But, at thirty and blinded by his own self-importance, what husband listens to his wife?
So, with my husband’s death, the huge Lone Oak Valley mansion, the fancy cars, the investments, the cash, and, worst of all, the majority interest in the North Texas Roughriders, the most storied NFL franchise and the darling of the football-crazed Dallas denizens—and an irritant to our crosstown rivals, the Cowboys—were all mine. Well, at least until they hauled me away in shackles, doomed to wear orange for the rest of my life.
As an investment advisor to the rich and famous, I knew what to do with the wealth. As a gal from New Jersey, I had no idea what to do with a football team.
This being Texas, where football was the dominant religion, the locals might look the other way when it came to most felonies. But mess with their team? Well, you better start running and not look back.
I’d love to run—in reality this place was proof of the fact versus fiction thing. That TV show set here back in the ’80s that everyone thought was so over the top? Well, it didn’t even scratch the surface. Problem was, until this little matter of a dead husband was cleared up, I’d been forbidden to go anywhere. So running was out.
Only one thing to do at this point…drink.
My former husband always kept several bottles of Dom Perignon properly chilled. Several bottles just might be enough.
Halfway through the first bottle, I felt the alcohol breeze snapping the flag of my courage. I stared down at the envelope resting against the vase of roses on the coffee table in front of the couch.
The game room was my favorite room—casual, warm, with a large fireplace that lit with the push of a button and ringed with windows that captured the backyard in all its manicured lushness. I’d wanted to add sparkling lights in the trees. My husband had suggested I kill the Jersey Girl part of me that thought tacky was a good idea. Such a great guy. The irony was he had been one in the beginning.
New Jersey and Manhattan were synonymous in Texas, lumped together in the term Northerners, which was always said with a sneer. Raised in one, educated in the other, I was doomed before I’d arrived.
There was a lot about the South I hadn’t known. The biggest thing? When I married, I had disappeared.
For someone invisible, I sure was getting a lot of attention.
I took another slug of Champagne and stared at the letter. What was I going to do with a football team?
In a fit of courage, I grabbed the envelope, tore off one end, then shook out the single sheet inside. The careful wording showed the crafting of a lawyer. Nothing to sue them with, but everything to piss me off.
The gist of it: as a twenty-eight-year-old female, I didn’t have the chops to hold my own in the cut-throat world of professional football.
Who were they kidding? I might not know football—unlike the other female owners, I hadn’t lived and breathed football for decades at the elbow of my husband. But I had picked up some tips being the right-hand-man for Nolan Ponder, owner of the San Antonio, now Las Vegas Marauders.
And, as a Jersey girl to the core, I knew how to get down and dirty.
They’d given me ninety days to prove I could run the team, or I’d have to sell. Big of them. Could they do that? I hadn’t a clue. One thing I did know: they’d gone fishing for tuna and hooked a Great White.
I tossed the letter in the fire then poured myself another flute of the good stuff. I raised my glass in a toast. “Game on, boys.”