Roxy Pemberton dipped a spoon into the pot labelled Vanilla WAHOR and thoughtfully tasted the icing. Definitely the best one. Smooth, sweet without being sickly, with a clean, refreshing tang.
Who would have thought it? That she, an ex-model, would have discovered an ability to bake, to create confections that had won awards for Dolci, the dessert company she worked for.
Roxy frowned as her back twinged—a reminder of the accident that had ended her modelling career. As she straightened, memories threatened. The accident had ended a lot more than her modelling. ‘The damage to your fallopian tubes means it will be very difficult for you to conceive.’ The doctor’s words etched on her heart and soul. A secret she’d shared with nobody.
Not even Leo. Especially not Leo. She and Leo had already split when she’d learnt the devastating news. For a treacherous moment an image of Leo popped into her head, so clear it was hard to believe she hadn’t laid eyes on him in over four years. Four years, two months and three days. But who was counting? Not Roxy obviously. Because she’d done the right thing. She and Leo could never have had a future together. He had only asked her to marry him because he’d been sorry for her after the accident, knowing that she faced months of rehabilitation, the possibility of long-term back problems. The whole proposal had been a pity-party extravaganza, where he’d promised her a happy-ever-after.
A rerun of her past.
Her parents had died in a motorway pile-up and ten-year-old Roxy had ended up in care. An object of pity. A pity that had translated into broken promises. Her first foster carers had been so sorry for her they’d promised to adopt her, to keep her forever. In the end they hadn’t and instead had another baby of their own. And Roxy had been returned to the system…
So years later Roxy had known Leo’s words were another rosy illusion, his supposed ‘love’ born of a pity that as time went by would morph into regret. After all, he’d never mentioned love before the accident.
To her relief, the kitchen door swung open, rescuing her from her trip down memory lane. Her friend and boss, Ava Casseveti, entered. Ava looked tired; grief had dulled her usually sparkling amber eyes. It had been three months since James Casseveti, Dolci’s founder, died and Ava was still reeling. Not just from the loss of her father, but also from the terms of his will and the backlash to the business. Without James at the helm, Dolci was floundering.
‘Hey, Ava.’ Roxy knew her friend didn’t want pity either. So instead of commenting on how exhausted Ava looked, she handed over a pot of icing. ‘Vanilla with a hint of raspberry.’
Ava finished it all and sighed. ‘You may regret giving it to me when I explain why I’m here.’ Trepidation touched Roxy as Ava continued, ‘Leo Harding called. The launch party for his business is this weekend. His caterers are having a crisis. He’s asked if we can step in and he wants you to be the account manager.’
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