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Authors: Rita Ewing

Homecourt Advantage

BOOK: Homecourt Advantage
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HOMECOURT
ADVANTAGE

CRYSTAL McCRARY ANTHONY
AND
RITA EWING

In memory of my dear sister, Karin. I will love you
forever, Special K! Here’s to all the love and laughter,
even now, as you watch over us all.

Always,
Rita

For my husband, Greg, who helped me find strength;
my parents, Thelma and Magellan, who gave me
unwavering support; and my sister, Ruthie, who gave
me infinite inspiration in Self.

Crystal

Contents

Cover

Title Page

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Epilogue

Acknowledgments

Copyright

About the Publisher

Prologue

Casey Rogers squinted her eyes against the white glare as the sun’s rays reflected off the still waters. Spectacular was the only way to describe it. The ocean surrounding the small French Polynesian islands of Bora Bora created a magnificent tranquil lagoon ranging in depth from two to thirty feet of crystal clear aquiline water.

Casey felt the strong brown arm around her squeeze even tighter. Peeking up at her husband, she smiled as he placed one hand across her forehead, shielding her eyes from the sun.

Just like my mother used to do when I was a little girl, Casey remembered.

“How’s my gorgeous wife doing?” Brent asked her as he bent over and kissed his bride.

Casey could not get enough of him. And now they were on their honeymoon. Her long awaited dream of marrying Brent had finally come true. She opened her mouth and greedily accepted her husband’s probing tongue as he sucked her full soft lips and explored her mouth with a burning intensity matched by her own mounting passion. Pulling Brent down beside her, she still could not believe they were actually married.

The newlyweds were lying side by side on the
Indigo Warrior,
a large private white catamaran provided by the Hotel Sofitel, the exclusive, private resort they had chosen for their honeymoon. The captain of the vessel, a short, sundrenched Frenchman named Dominique, had taken Casey and Brent on a shark feeding excursion, stopping at a small remote island to serve them a freshly prepared lunch of quiche, salad, baguettes and chilled chardonnay.

Casey leaned in even closer to Brent and had to restrain herself from climbing on top of him. She pulled back from her handsome husband and breathed deeply.

“I better stop before we give Dominique a real show,” Casey murmured as she twisted around to see where their guide was standing.

“You better not stop woman. I don’t ever want you to quit,” Brent began as he grazed Casey’s neck with his full lips. “You’re Mrs. Rogers now. Nothing is off limits for you. The world is yours if I have anything to say about it.”

“Sure, I bet you say that to all the girls. I’ve seen your teammates in action, even the married ones,” Casey teased as she ran her hands over her husband’s smooth head. “You better put some more sun block on, you’re about to …”

“Casey,” Brent said as he raised up from her neck and stared directly in her eyes. “Casey, I wouldn’t say that to anyone but you. As far as other women are concerned, that’s all behind me. I’m serious. That’s not what I want for us, baby. I want you by my side forever, just you and me. When I took my vows, I dedicated my life to making you happy.”

Tears of joy welled up inside of her.

“And what about you Brent,” Casey replied softly. “What is it that you need?”

“Just you Casey. You and your love.” Brent cupped her face in his hand and lightly stroked her cheek with his fingers.

Brent’s words tugged gently at Casey’s heart. One of the qualities that initially attracted Casey to Brent was his honesty. He had a way of expressing himself to her with a naive sincerity that made Casey fiercely protective.

“Do you hear me, Mrs. Rogers?” Brent asked as he lifted Casey’s face so that they were eye to eye.

She felt butterflies in her stomach and a love so intense that she actually ached. A memory flashed through her mind and Casey wondered what she would have said if someone had told her just three years ago when she first met Brent in an upper west side antique shop that she would end up loving this man more than life itself.

“I hear you and you know something?” Casey asked her husband.

“What?”

“I love you,” Casey stated, kissing her husband’s fingers as he continued tracing her tanned face with his protective hands.

“I love you, too,” Brent said returning her kisses.

Noticing the Frenchman’s stare, Casey lightly pushed him away. Brent followed Casey’s gaze as she averted her eyes.

“Relax, baby, don’t worry about ol’ Dominique seeing us,” Brent said.

They both turned to each other and tried to hide their laughter as they noticed the captain dangling awkwardly from one of the masts as he tried to get a better view of the couple.

“Maybe we better wait until we get back to the hotel,” Brent said keeping one arm wrapped around his wife’s slim, toasted-brown waist.

Casey snuggled down against her husband once again and sighed. She had never before in any of her twenty-four years fathomed that being with any one man could make her feel so happy and complete. It scared her to imagine a life without Brent. She was at home and as far as Casey was concerned, he was the perfect fit to her being.

Chapter 1

Greenwich, Connecticut, in mid-April was quite a sight,
thought Casey Rogers as she climbed the winding driveway to Alexis and Mike Mitchell’s estate. This morning Alexis, the coach’s wife, was hosting a play-off celebration breakfast for the wives of the New York Flyers basketball team. And as wife of Brent Rogers, the team’s star forward, Casey had been summoned not just for the breakfast but also for a pre breakfast chat with Alexis.

Should be a
great
time, Casey thought glumly.

Both Alexis and her husband were used to living more than extravagantly; that much was clear. But Casey also knew that Alexis had not a drop of her own style or creativity: Every inch of the estate was purposefully decorated to allude to some sophisticated place she and her husband had traveled to during the off-season—usually some exotic enclave in Europe. For example, the cedar trees imported from Allegheny, Pennsylvania, lining the driveway created a tableau reminiscent of Tuscany, a favorite off-season vacation spot for the Mitchell family. Casey shook her head. Despite the grandeur of the Mitchell estate and grounds, it lacked warmth. As did Alexis. The sight of this place made Casey yearn for her childhood neighborhood with its green hills and unplanned trees. She could remember playing among the rose garden and cherry trees in her backyard.

But New York was where she lived now, and surprisingly, she liked it. She and her husband lived in a penthouse apartment on Central Park South, and from her city window Casey had a view of the park’s trees, lakes, and ponds. She had become used to the noisy city sounds below.

Everything Casey had accomplished in her youth—from being a musical virtuoso, to studying prelaw at the University of Virginia, earning her law degree at Columbia, and achieving partnership at one of New York’s most prestigious law firms—had been in order to arrive at a place like New York City so that she could compete with the best in her field. And she’d been a great success professionally.

Then she’d met and married Brent Rogers. The Brent Rogers who was quoted in every morning’s sports section. The Brent Rogers who scored an average of 28 points a game. Over the last eight years, her own career had been swept aside in the wake of the life of a superstar athlete’s wife. This was not exactly part of her plan. Sometimes she wanted to laugh at the word
plan.
Certainly the coach’s wife wanted to believe everything could be planned and controlled. Casey knew differently. The basketball schedule fastened by a magnet to her refrigerator both at home and on her desk at work determined not only each day of Brent’s life, but also hers. Her husband’s ever-growing celebrity had only increased Casey’s lack of control over her own life. They’d become prisoners in their home, hiding from fans, reporters, the ubiquitous paparazzi, venturing out at night only if there was a game or for the occasional outing in the country.

And soon it would get worse.

The one thing Casey hadn’t banked on when marrying Brent was that
she
would be forced to make the sacrifices,
she
would be the one to leave her job at the firm and the fancy partnership. Brent needed for her to be available to him and Brent Jr., his son from his college girlfriend who visited them on occasion. Finally she’d cut back hours and offered her expertise privately to clients, many of whom couldn’t afford to pay three hundred dollars an hour for a few phone calls. She began working part-time at Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts where she could come and go as suited her husband’s schedule. Lately, though, in the last month, she seemed to be back to her seventy-hour work week with two new demanding clients whose cases left her up to her ears in paperwork. What was going on with her? She had a stack of case law to read through and numerous phone calls to return. Why had she consented to meet with Alexis of all people, and at a hectic time like this?

As coach and queen of the New York Flyers for going on nine years, Alexis and Mike were touted not only by the sports media but also by the society papers as New York’s Golden Couple. They were both beautiful blondes, and many believed that he was even prettier than she. In his early fifties, he was a more attractive version of Robert Redford, if that was possible. Mike stood a full six feet six inches and had the lean, muscular build of an athlete in his early twenties. Alexis was slender and striking, with wide-set, almond-shaped blue eyes. What really struck Casey was Alexis’s unnatural interest in her husband’s endeavors. She was obsessed with the Flyers’ records and her motto (which, of course, was an echo of her husband), was “Win at all costs.” Neither Mike nor Alexis seemed genuinely interested in any aspect of their players’ lives; rather, the games took precedence over all else. The Mitchells had made the team a true partnership: Coach handled the players and Alexis handled the wives.

BOOK: Homecourt Advantage
12.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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