‘Yours? Do they have any experience in fashion?’
Phoebe stared at him, unable to fathom the emotion in his eyes. ‘You’d really do that? Even if it goes against Jo’s wishes?’
p; ‘And even though I’m the best person for the job?’
She could practically hear his teeth grinding. ‘All I want is what’s best for her.’
No, he didn’t, Phoebe realised with a flash of perception. Well, yes, the chances were he did want what was best for his sister, but that wasn’t all. For some reason Alex wanted, needed, to stay in control.
In all probability he’d confronted Jo with his intention, and based on the interaction between the two of them she’d witnessed last night she’d bet her brand new pair of designer heels that Jo had retaliated. That must have frustrated the hell out of him.
Phoebe itched with the urge to tell him to get lost. But she couldn’t. She had no doubt whatsoever that if she chose not to comply he’d have no compunction in batting her to one side and installing his own team. Aside from wrecking Jo’s future, it would batter her professional pride and would have devastating consequences on her career.
She really really needed to hang onto Jo. If she lost her… Phoebe shuddered at the thought and felt a trickle of cold sweat ripple down her back. The bank would call in the loan, her business would collapse and she’d have failed before she’d barely got started.
Well, that was not going to happen. She wouldn’t fail. She couldn’t fail. Her family didn’t do failure. Ever. And she didn’t intend to be the one to break the mould.
So she’d accept his challenge, and win.
‘I won’t let her down,’ she said with steely determination.
‘Then prove it.’
‘Fine. What’s the charity?’
He told her and Phoebe jotted down the details. ‘What do they do?’
‘They help people beat eating disorders.’
She tried and, she suspected, failed to hide her surprise. ‘Eating disorders?’ What interest could he possibly have in eating disorders?
A muscle twitched in his cheek. ‘It’s just one of the many charities I’m on the board of.’
‘How much do you need to raise?’
Alex named a figure that had Phoebe’s head snapping up and her jaw dropping. ‘With only twenty-four hours to prepare? That’s impossible.’
Alex shrugged. ‘If you’re as good as Jo seems to think you are, you should have no trouble. If you fail, however, you’re fired. Email my secretary for a guest list.’ He reached into the breast pocket of his jacket and tossed a card onto her desk.
‘This can’t be lawful.’
Alex stood up and stared down at her. ‘Are you willing to risk it? When did you say Jo’s launch was?’
Phoebe’s eyes narrowed. How had she ever thought he was gorgeous? The man was ruthless, devious and downright manipulative.
‘And if I don’t fail?’ she said, slowly getting to her feet and clawing back some semblance of control.
‘I’ll go back to being that silent partner and let you two get on with it.’
Phoebe stuck out her hand and threw him a confident smile. ‘In that case, you have a deal.’