Jacey stared at the gray carpet as the lawyer’s voice droned in the background. She knew she should pay attention, but it was like trying to listen under water. He stopped talking, and two shiny, black shoes entered her field of vision. She blinked and looked up to him. “I’m sorry. What?”
A frustrated sound to her left made her grimace. Her brother, Madden, radiated angst and impatience. And…he was livid about something. Something she’d missed.
The lawyer sighed with sympathy in his bland, brown eyes and leaned back against his desk, folding his arms across his chest. “You need to hear this, Ms. Vaughn. Your father didn’t just leave you half of his estate. You’ve also inherited ownership of his team.”
“I can’t believe this.” Madden pushed out of his seat and stood, facing a bookcase.
Jacey blinked once. Twice. Her brows furrowed. “I don’t…I don’t understand…”
“You’re the new owner of the Cleveland Rockers…soon-to-be the Las Vegas Sinners, seeing as your father made a deal to move the team.”
Slowly, it sank in. Her eyes widened and her mouth fell open. “Why would he…I hardly know anything about hockey. But Madden—”
The lawyer shrugged and held up his hands. “Your father’s will is clear. The team goes to you.”
“Oh God, this is too perfect,” Madden ground out in the background.
“You have the option to sell it, of course. But it has always been your father’s wish that the team go to you. He set up his will just after your mother passed.”
“But…I was eight years old when my mother died. What if he’d…” She couldn’t bring herself to finish the sentence.
“The estate and the team would have gone to your guardian with a no-sell clause and be run by a pre-selected figurehead until you came of age, but luckily that wasn’t an issue. The fact of the matter is that you own the team now, and you have to decide what to do with it.”
Jacey stood and thought she might float away. She didn’t feel so connected to her body at the moment. She remembered shaking the lawyer’s hand and walking into the hallway. Madden followed her out, bumping into her shoulder as he went. “Hey.”
He turned to look at her, his cobalt eyes broiling. “It should be my team.”
“Mad…” Jacey’s heart fell. She hadn’t done anything wrong, but she didn’t really want the team. Her brother did. At the same time, Madden’s distance to their father’s death shocked her into cutting her plea short.
“All those years of kissing up to the old man, going to every game. I’m his son. You go away to college, barely see him, and he leaves the team to you.”
Hurt and indignant, Jacey set her hands on her hips and pulled her shoulders back, trying to appear as big as possible, though he still towered over her. She hadn’t been taller than him in almost fifteen years. “What’s wrong with me?”
“You just said it! You don’t know how to run a hockey team. You probably don’t know what a power play is. Yeah, you have some fancy degree; that doesn’t make you qualified for this.”
“It’s an MBA. From Yale. A hockey team is a corporation. I think I can handle it.” And because pride overrode her common sense, she said, “Did you stop to think he left me the team because he thought you’d lose it in a bet?” It was a low blow. She regretted it the second it left her lips. “Mad, I’m…”
Madden’s face went blank but his eyes flashed with stark pain before he replaced it with anger and stalked away, slamming his fist against the wall as he went. Jacey winced and watched him go then slid a hand over her face and drew in a whimpering breath. Her life was falling apart.