So Over You(8)

By: Kate Meader



Because she didn’t want to use the will’s stipulation to force him to stay with her. A month ago, Remy had a chance to trade out to a team with a better shot at making it to the postseason. Telling him about the “play-offs or bust” requirement would have muddled his decision, throwing pity for Harper’s predicament into the mix. She would never trust that he’d remained because he loved her.

Dante nodded. “Anyone else in the org? Other players? I’ve noticed Violet is pretty close to some of them.” His disapproval was obvious.

“She knows better,” Isobel said quickly. “We don’t want it getting out, and the players don’t need the extra pressure. The only other person who knows is Kenneth Bailey.” The Rebels’ lawyer.

Dante pushed off from the desk and walked to the window.

With Dante’s back to them, Isobel turned to Harper for a check-in on how she thought the conversation might be going. Harper’s head was cocked as she blatantly ogled their GM.

Stop it, Isobel frowned.

You stop it, Harper frowned right back.

That made them both giggle, which drew Dante’s querying look.

“Uh, sorry,” she muttered. “Just nervous.” And concerned we might have a suit for sexual harassment as well as breach of contract on our hands.

“I did wonder at some of your decisions before I came on board. They seemed rather rash.”

Harper placed her coffee cup and saucer on the desk. “We needed to hit the ground running. Throwing everything at it and bringing on a veteran like Remy, particularly as the team was rudderless for a while, was the best strategy.”

“St. James seems to be in better shape,” Dante said, referring to their team captain, Bren, who was coming off a rehab stint for alcoholism that had left the team bereft of strong leadership for a while. “I’d have a case for saying this materially changes the terms of my contract.”

“Or you could see it as the challenge it is,” Isobel said. “Whatever happens, your contract is good for three years. Any new owner would have to buy it out, so you’re not going to be disadvantaged financially.”

“That’s not really the point, is it, Isobel?”

No, it wasn’t. If they didn’t do well, and he was kicked to the curb by a new owner, it would be harder for him to move laterally to another organization. Not without a solid season behind him. They’d effectively tied his career to the fortunes of the team.

Welcome to the world of pro sports management.

“If you need time to think about it . . .” Harper trailed off.

As he viewed his surroundings, Isobel would have given her left tit to know what was going on inside that handsome head of his. She imagined him taking in the corner office, thrilling at his achievement in rising so far—and cursing the Chase sisters for throwing this wrench in the works.

After several interminable seconds, he faced them, his mouth set in determination. “Looks like I’m an honorary Chase for the next four months.”

Phew!

They chitchatted about tomorrow’s home game against Dallas, the tension of the earlier conversation dissipating with every minute they discussed this sport they each loved in a different way. As they made to leave, Dante called Isobel back. “Could I have a word?”

Harper smiled at them both, said her good-byes, and left.

Dante’s demeanor was all business. “Why weren’t you with Petrov this morning before the team practice? Too busy recovering from a Vesna hangover?”

Either the man had spies on the staff or he read TMZ on his way to work.

“He had a late night, so I let him sleep in,” she lied. “Extra practice starts tomorrow.” At his cutting look, she added, “Let me take care of Petrov in my way. I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but athletes are sensitive and need careful handling. Russians, especially.” Vadim, especially. “Pushing him will only make him dig his skates in.”

Dante held her gaze for a long beat. “I know you want a full-time coaching job with a pro team, Isobel. With this team. We’re making history here, but there’s only so much change we can inflict on the team and fans in one year.”

Sure, breaking glass ceilings all over the place was totally awesome, but Isobel had to wonder if she’d shot her own ambitions in the foot by agreeing to hire someone with so much on the line as their GM.

“In other words, the history-making quota for this year has been fulfilled?”

Dante smiled in sympathy. “In a manner of speaking. When I came on board, you knew my requirements. I understand that as one-third owner of the team, you’re technically my boss, but I won’t bow to internal pressure to make you a regular coach. However, if you can turn Petrov’s game around, then that’d put you in pole position for a full-time gig next season.” He sighed heavily. “If I’d been here in January, I wouldn’t have brought him on. He’s temperamental. Mercurial. But you and your sisters made that call—among others—and I have to work with it. Petrov’s slowed down since his knee injury last year. He needs a lot of work to get him up to speed on the ice, and I think you can do it. This isn’t a pity appointment, Isobel. It’s a vital compromise.”

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