His eyebrows shot up.

‘I’d had bronchitis. My lungs weren’t up to it. But that was no excuse.’

‘Of course not,’ he said dryly.

‘I used to have nightmares about it. I’d be swimming relentlessly up and down a pool with my lungs bursting. I’d pop up to the surface gasping for air, only there’d be a sea of angry faces staring down at me, yelling at me to get back under the water.’ That if she didn’t try harder she’d fail and she’d be letting them all down.

‘And then?’

‘Then I’d wake up drenched in sweat with my heart thundering and my head pounding.’

‘What did your parents have to say about that?’

‘Nothing.’ She shrugged. ‘They didn’t know. I didn’t tell them.’

Eventually she’d conquered it. All by herself. Those three months of nightmares had made her stronger. She was sure of it. As had those little blips in her otherwise flawless career.

‘That was brave.’

Warmth spread throughout her body. ‘Not really.’

‘What happened with the swimming test?’

‘I had to redo it the next day.’

‘Did you pass?’

‘Of course. Now I always pass tests,’ she said pointedly.

Alex raised an eyebrow.

‘I come from a line of overachievers,’ she clarified. ‘Didn’t your…research…throw that up?’

‘Some. It turns out I know your brother.’

Oh? ‘How?’

‘We recently worked together on an IPO.’

That made sense. Dan worked in corporate finance and made millions on a daily basis. Privately Phoebe thought her brother was heading straight for burnout, but that was his business. She’d tried to question him about it but he’d told her in no uncertain terms to butt out and she’d given up worrying about him.

‘Dan is a case in point,’ she said and then tilted her head. ‘Let me put it like this. In my family Christmas is treated as a business initiative.’

‘In what way?’

Right now Alex sounded intrigued. But as soon as she’d explained he’d think her entire family was insane.

‘Every September in her role as project manager my mother sends us all an email to establish what we want out of the event. What our vision is.’

‘Do you have a vision?’

‘Well, I don’t generally. I’d be happy with a slice of turkey and a cracker. But not the rest of my family. No. We have to decide on our aim. Do we want to push culinary boundaries? Are we going to use the occasion to innovate and experiment, or do we simply want a day of lazy indulgence? That sort of thing.’

Alex was staring at her as if she’d just landed from another planet. ‘I know,’ she said nodding. ‘Nuts. But it gets worse.’

‘How could it possibly get worse?’

‘Once the key objective has been identified and agreed on, my mother then itemises what exactly


Tags: Lucy King Billionaire Romance
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