Phoebe’s heart hardened. She’d been so besotted by Dillon, had even thought herself in love with him, and he’d just been using her. Infatuation had made her take her eye off the ball, distracted her and screwed up her judgement. She’d very nearly lost her job and she’d vowed then and there that she’d never let herself get in that position again.
‘More fool you,’ he said flatly.
‘Indeed. Anyway,’ she said, pulling herself together and giving Alex a cool stare, ‘you can be sure that my judgement is now well and truly back on track. The experience taught me, one, to stick with what I’m good at, two, not to allow anyone or anything to deflect my focus.’
So she’d made mistakes. Who hadn’t? At least she’d learned from them. Alex was probably the sort who never admitted to making a mistake. Never admitted to being wrong. Typical, she thought with a little sniff.
‘Easy to say,’ he said sharply.
Phoebe shot him a questioning glance. ‘What’s made you so deeply suspicious of people’s behaviour?’
Alex’s eyelids dropped slightly so she couldn’t see the expression in his eyes. ‘Experience.’
‘Such cynicism in one so young.’
‘Not that young.’
‘And in those thirty-two years, have you never made a mistake?’
‘We’re talking about you.’
Aha. So he had made a mistake. ‘What was it, Alex?’
Alex’s face darkened. ‘For someone who’s supposed to be fighting to keep their job, you’re veering way off course.’
That was something else that she’d been wondering about. ‘Why do you have responsibility over who Jo works with? She’s twenty-two. Why can’t she make her own decisions?’
His lips thinned. ‘She can’t be trusted to make her own decisions.’
Phoebe bristled. His arrogance was simply unbelievable. ‘Why not?’
‘Because she’s made lousy decisions in the past.’
Haven’t we all? thought Phoebe darkly. ‘But surely they’re her lousy decisions?’
Alex raked a hand through his hair and when he looked at her his expression was so desolate that Phoebe’s heart clenched. ‘Not when I have to pick up the pieces.’
‘Why do you have to pick up the pieces?’ Phoebe had always picked up her own pieces. Didn’t everyone?
‘I’m her brother.’
A tiny dart of envy pierced her chest, but she brushed it aside. ‘Does she know you trust her judgement so little?’
‘She knows I have her best interests at heart,’ he said flatly.
‘Her best interests at the moment are me.’
‘Then accept the challenge.’
Phoebe sat back and tried to read his expression. But it gave away nothing other than the fact that his position on the matter was totally immutable.
‘What if I say no? That I, for one, trust her judgement?’
‘I would have no hesitation in replacing you with my own PR team.’