Roxy inhaled deeply and wished she hadn’t as Leo’s ridiculously familiar scent wafted towards her. He’d always sworn it was just soap, but she was sure it had to be some exclusive brand only available to the super wealthy.
For goodness’ sake, why was she analysing Leo’s cologne? Right now, she had to figure out what to do—stay or go. She’d agreed to this meeting for Ava’s sake, to help Dolci’s ailing fortunes. But she hadn’t factored in how much Leo would affect her. Pull it together, Roxy. She was the best person for the job and she would not let personal feelings, especially such idiotic ones, stand in the way of her professionalism.
‘Of course I’ll do it. Let’s get down to business and talk dessert.’
‘Excellent.’ Her eyes widened as he smiled. The idea that her agreement made him happy brought a smile to her own lips and now she was oh so aware of the simmer of her hormones. Realised too that she wanted to do this job, wanted to show Leo what she was capable of, wanted to be part of a launch she knew was so important to him.
He gestured to the desk and she crossed the room, noting that the furniture, the whole office, exuded effortless wealth. Much as Leo did himself. Unsurprising really—Leo hailed from an incredibly rich family. Not that she’d ever met them. She’d assumed they didn’t approve of her, had wondered too if Leo was ashamed of her. During their time together Leo had seen his family only occasionally but had never asked Roxy to accompany him. She hadn’t wanted her suspicions to morph into knowledge, so she’d never asked why. But it was another reason she and Leo could never have worked. She’d never have fitted in with his family. Just as she hadn’t with her foster family.
She sat down now on a plush leather chair at a glass-topped table. ‘Ava told me a bit, but I’d like you to tell me what you are looking for.’
‘Over the past few years I’ve raised the funds to patent and manufacture the Hardingo Mark 1. This weekend is the official launch dinner for the bike and my company, Harding’s Bikes.’
There was pride in his voice but also an edge, a challenge she didn’t understand. ‘I always knew you’d do it.’
‘Harrumph.’ His snort of disbelief was backed up by a glower of a scowl.
‘What do you mean harrumph? I never doubted you. Not for a moment.’
‘Is that what you tell yourself?’ Anger hardened his eyes to flint. ‘Well, I think that is just so much pie in the sky.’
There was a pause as silence echoed across the table and she stared at him, recalled using that exact phrase on that awful day in the hospital, tasted remembered sorrow. ‘I wasn’t talking about your business plans, Leo. I always, always knew you’d make it. I believed in you.’
‘No, Roxy, you didn’t. If you’d believed in me, you’d have married me.’
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