The blessed event takes place in two weeks! Roster Addition, a To Love a Wildcat novella, arrives on November 16th but today you get a blog exclusive excerpt! If you enjoy this little snippet from the book make sure you preorder your copy so you won't miss any of the excitement.
Now it's time to hear from everyone's favorite teddy bear, Derrick Andersson. Next Thursday Veikko Aho, the 'Cats goalie and impending new father, will be featured in an excerpt. There's some mature language in the following excerpt. These are hockey players, after all. *wink*
Blurb: Veikko Aho, Wildcats star goalie, and his wife Liz are about to add a new player to their family roster. The open adoption of Maggie and Derrick’s granddaughter will help to heal the gaping hole infertility has left in the Aho’s life. Finally, that huge mansion on the Main Line will hear the sweet laughter of a child.
But the birth that the Aho’s are so looking forward too seems to be stirring up some anxiety and unspoken fears for the grandparents. As the seemingly endless night of labor drags on, power struggles that threaten to break up a long-standing friendship rise to the surface. Can both families put aside their petty differences or will this precious new Wildcat tear them apart?
Inhaling the sour smell of train exhaust after breathing in all that frigid air was like a slap to the face with a goalie stick. My thoughts jumped to Veikko as I paid for a ticket to Wynnewood, where Veikko and Liz had insisted Elsa be born. Since Aho was paying for everything from the private birthing suite to the baby booties they'd slide onto Elsa's tiny toes, Maggie, the kids, and me went along with his wishes.
Not that I couldn't cover the cost of this baby coming into the world. I'd have been happy to, and had offered, but the lawyers had squashed that idea, and a few others Maggie and me had put to them. I didn't have much time for lawyers either, especially the ones that Aho had who wore suits that cost more than my Silverado.
My pay had dropped dramatically since I had retired, but I still made good money. Nothing like Veikko hauled in every year, but few of us in the league could touch the close to nine million dollars a year our goalie earned.
"Hope the 'Cats pull themselves out of this funk," the older black man behind the ticket window said to me. I slid my ticket under the pane of glass and nodded.
"Yah, me too, friend," I said, gave him a smile, and then turned to head to the trains.
The lower you went, the more the stench of exhaust and people assaulted you. Being a big guy, I never really worried about crime or shit like that so I just moved with the crowds to find my train, my nerves getting tighter with each minute that passed. Thank God, the trip out to Wynnewood would only take maybe twenty minutes. The platform was packed. I glanced around, my eyes moving over the Philadelphia natives, kids, benches, trashcans, and finally, up to the walls. One corner had some sort of black mold growing on the concrete. "That there can't be good for human lungs."
As much as I love the city, and I do because it had brung me some amazing years and incredible fans, there was times, like now, staring at that mold above our heads, that I wanted to run out of the city and not stop running until my big old feet were firmly planted in Minnesota. Next summer, I planned to take my gal and the kids, Elsa too if possible, and spend a couple months at my dad's old hunting cabin.I could almost see that crystal-clear lake and the loons that swim and fish on it.
If I closed my ears, I could hear the splash of the yellow perch, bass, walleye, and Northern pike that live in the spring-fed waters. I could maybe teach Trevor, Maggie's boy, to fish. Hell, I'd be happy to teach the girls too if they had a mind. We could hike along the trails with Elsa in one of them little backpack things that you wear on your chest. Cookouts around the fire pit at night, making love to my woman under the stars. The rumble of my train shook me from the fantasy. People gathered on the edge of the platform. The doors of the train opened, and I was moved into the waiting train, no small trick that, since I ain't exactly no lightweight.
People shoved and pushed, elbowed and mumbled curses, until everyone was on. I had my back against a silver pole. Some old Asian woman who smelled like dirty cat boxes was pressed into my chest. She reached up to grab hold of the same strap overhead that I was using. A guy behind me shouted something at someone. Kabekona Lake, take me away. The train lurched. The cat box lady rocked into me. I steadied her. She said something in reply that I didn't understand so I just nodded. The man behind us kept yelling. Guess that was just how he talked. A young white man in a Wildcat jacket wiggled under my raised arm as we rattled along to Wynnewood.
"What the fuck is Derrick Andersson doing on the subway?" he asked and extended a hand.
The Asian woman spat something at the chubby man. I winced inside. My ma would have tanned me but good if I had ever used language like that in front of an elderly woman. Seemed like kids today just ain't got no respect for nothing.
"Heading to Penn Line Presbyterian to see my grandbaby be born."
We shook hands and I bent down for the selfie he asked to take. All the while, the guy behind us yelled, and the Asian woman chattered at us in a language neither of us understood.
"Oh wow, good for you, man. So hey, what you think about the 'Cats chances this year? And how about having chicks playing hockey? Man, that is some fucked up shit right there. Gashes playing a man's game. I bet they cry when they break a nail or something, right?" He nudged me in the ribs.
"I ain't seen no tears yet," I told him matter-of-factly then gave him a long look. "Bet you wouldn't last five minutes on the ice with them gashes."
"Derrick, dude, why are you talking me down like that?"
"I ain't talking you down; I'm just laying out the facts. You maybe shouldn't be running down the Venom players unless you can skate, check, and score better than they can. Judging by the way your gut hangs over your pants," I poked his flabby belly, "I figure you'd last about thirty seconds out there with the Venom before Helen Parat knocked you ass over tin cups."
"That was brutal, dude," the wanna-be punk replied then slid back under my arm and disappeared.
"You tell that fuck wad," the tiny Asian woman said then cackled in glee. I had to smile.