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The night before Virgil Duffy's funeral, a storm pounded the Puget Sound. But by the next morning, the gray clouds were gone, leaving in their place a view of Elliott Bay and the spectacular skyline of downtown Seattle.
Sunlight cut across the grounds of his Bainbridge estate and in through the towering windows. Among the guests honoring him at his wake, there were those who wondered if he was up in heaven controlling the notoriously gray April weather. They wondered if he'd been able to control his young wife, but mostly they wondered what she was going to do with the pile of money and NHL hockey team she'd just inherited.
Tyson Savage wondered that himself. The voices pouring from the formal living room drowned out the sound of his Hugo Boss dress shoes as he moved across the parquet flooring of the entry way. He had a really bad feeling that the Widow Duffy was going to screw up his chance at the cup. The bad feeling bit the back of his neck and had him adjusting the tight knot of his tie.
Ty walked through the double doors and into a large room that reeked of polished wood and old money. He spotted several of his teammates, spit and polished and looking slightly uncomfortable amongst the Seattle elite. Defenseman Sam Leclaire sported a black eye from last week's game against the Avalanche that had resulted in a five-minute penalty. Not that Ty held a muck-up in the corner against a guy. He also had a reputation for throwing the gloves, but unlike Sam, he wasn't a hothead. With only three days to go before the first playoffs game, the bruises were bound to get a hell of a lot worse.
Ty stopped just inside the door, and his gaze moved across the room and landed on Virgil's widow standing within the sunlight spilling through the windows. Even if the sun hadn't been shining in her long blonde hair, Mrs. Duffy still would have stood out amongst the mourners surrounding her. She wore a black dress with sleeves that reached just below her elbows and a hem that touched just above her knees. It was just a plain dress that looked anything but plain as it poured over her incredible body.
Ty had never met Mrs. Duffy. A few hours earlier, at St. James Church, was the first time he'd seen her in person. He'd heard about her though. Everyone had heard about the billionaire and the playmate. He'd heard that several years before the Widow had snagged herself a rich, old man, she'd been working a stripper pole in Vegas. According to the gossip, one night while she'd been rocking her acrylic heels, Hugh Hefner himself had walked into the club and spotted her onstage. He'd put her in his magazine, and twelve months later, he'd made her his playmate of the year. Ty hadn't heard how she'd met Virgil, but how the two had met didn't matter. The old man dying and leaving his team to a gold digger did. One whole hell of a lot.
The talk in the locker room at the Key Arena was that Virgil had had a massive heart attack while trying to please his young wife in the sack. The rumor was that the old man had blown out a heart valve and died with a big ol' grin on his face. The mortician hadn't been able to remove it, and the old man had gone into the cremation oven wearing a hard-on and a smile.
Ty didn't care about rumors, and he didn't care what people did or whom they did it with. If it was good, bad, or somewhere in between. Until now. He'd just signed his contract with the Seattle Chinooks organization three months ago, partly because of the money the old man had offered him, but mostly for the captaincy and a shot at Lord Stanley's cup. Both he and Virgil wanted that cup, but for different reasons. Virgil had wanted to prove something to his rich friends. Ty wanted to prove something to the world: he was better than his dad, the great Pavel Savage. The cup was the one thing that had eluded them both, but Ty was the only one who still had a shot at it. Or at least he'd had a good shot until Duffy croaked right before the playoffs and left the team to a tall, blonde playmate. Suddenly Ty's chance at the biggest trophy in the NHL was in the hands of a trophy wife.
"Hey, Saint," Daniel Holstrom called out as he approached.
Ty had been given the nickname "Saint" his rookie year, when after a night of especially wild partying, he'd played like shit the next day. When the coach benched him, Ty had claimed he had a flu bug. "You're like your father," the coach had said, with a disgusted shake of his head. "A damned saint." Ty had been trying and sometimes failing to live down the reputation ever since.
He looked across the shoulder of his navy blazer and into the eyes of his teammate. "How's it goin'?"
"Good. Have you given your condolences yet to Mrs. Duffy?"
"Do you think Virgil really died while doing his wife? He was what? Ninety?"
"Can a guy still get it up at eighty-one?" Daniel shook his head. "Sam thinks she's so hot she could raise the dead, but frankly I doubt that even she can work miracles on old equipment." He paused a moment to study the young widow as if he couldn't quite make up his mind. "She is smokin' hot."
"Virgil probably had pharmaceutical help, eh?" Ty's own father was in his late fifties and was still getting it on like a teenager, or so he said. Viagra had given a lot of men back their sex lives.
"That's true. Isn't Hefner in his eighties and still having sex?"True Love and Other Disasters. Copyright © by Rachel Gibson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Excerpted from True Love and Other Disasters by Rachel Gibson
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