Lingering Shadows. Penny Jordan

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Название Lingering Shadows
Автор произведения Penny Jordan
Жанр Короткие любовные романы
Серия Mills & Boon Modern
Издательство Короткие любовные романы
Год выпуска 0
isbn 9781474030656

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his self-control. Saul prized his self-control. It was his strongest weapon and now it seemed to be deserting him.

      Cheshire. What the hell kind of game was Sir Alex playing, sending him out there? He loved manipulating people, pulling their strings and making them dance. Well, Saul had never responded to that kind of treatment. He might work for Sir Alex, but he had always made it clear that he would not be subservient to him. Sir Alex was the kind of man who could only respect someone he could not bully.

      What exactly was he planning? Was it just because he wanted to buy out this drugs company at the lowest possible price that he was sending Saul to Cheshire, or was there an additional motive?

      Saul wondered sardonically if, like one of his predecessors, he would return to London to find someone else sitting at his desk. And if he did, would he really care? Did he really care about anything any more? He cared about his children, he told himself. He cared that they rejected him, that they seemed to be more concerned with material possessions. Had he been like that? Josey was fifteen, Thomas nearly thirteen. They were very different in character, as different as he and Christie had been.

      He and Karen had been divorced for nearly ten years and his children were strangers to him. Ten very busy years for him. Too busy for him to make time for his children?

      The thought itched and stung like a burr under the skin. Just recently he had been asking himself questions, too many questions he could not answer, and why? Because he had woken up one morning and suddenly been sickened by himself, by his life. Why should he feel like that? He had always made his own decisions, his own choices.

      From the past he heard Christie’s voice, harsh with passion, her young face angry with contempt as she slung at him, ‘You don’t do anything for yourself, do you, Saul? You just do things to please Dad. That’s why you’re his favourite.’

      He had laughed at her, dismissing her outburst. He was a boy. It was only natural that he should be closer to his father … his favourite … or so he had thought then.

      Christie … passionate, turbulent, aching for freedom, for full control over her own life even then.

      And she hadn’t really changed.

      Not that they saw much of one another these days. He had visited her a couple of times since she had moved to Cheshire … a disastrous pair of visits when he had reluctantly … very reluctantly been accompanied by his children.

      Christie, as a busy GP, hadn’t been able to spare much time to spend with them, and Josey had been openly scornful of her aunt’s disorganised home life, of the fact that meals were invariably eaten in the kitchen, of the fact that Christie hardly ever wore make-up and certainly never bought designer clothes, unlike her own mother.

      The only thing Josey had approved of about her aunt was the fact that she was a single parent. Women no longer needed men, Josey had told Saul challengingly, and he had wondered if what she meant was that children no longer needed fathers, especially fathers like him.

      Of the two of them, Josey had always been the more antagonistic towards him. He was surprised how much that hurt him. He had far more important things to think about than his relationship with his daughter, an inner voice warned him, but another challenged quietly, what … what could be more important than his own children? And he stood still in the street as the impact of his own thoughts hit him, unaware of the curious looks of passers-by.

      Perhaps a week or so away from London, from Sir Alex, was what he needed, he reflected as he started walking again. A breathing-space … a time to reflect.

      But what was there to reflect on? he wondered impatiently, frowning at the unease he could feel. He didn’t like this dichotomy between what he knew he should feel and what he did actually feel. It was so out of character.

      ‘You have to be single-minded to succeed, Saul.’ That was what his father had always told him, his face shadowed by the disappointments of his own life, by the effects of his own inability to achieve the goals he had set himself.

      Fate had been unkind to his father.

      But it had been kind to him, he himself had seen to that, or so he had thought until recently.


      ‘DAVINA, I know you’re busy, but I wonder if you could spare me half an hour before you go home.’

      Davina forced herself to smile.

      ‘Of course I can, Giles. Would five o’clock be all right?’

      As soon as he had closed the office door behind him her smile disappeared. There had been many challenges for her to face in the three months since the death of her husband Gregory, and now it seemed that she was going to have to face another one.

      She suspected that Giles Redwood was going to tell her that he wanted to leave. She couldn’t blame him. The company was on the verge of bankruptcy and she knew quite well that the only reason Giles was still here was because he was too gentle, too kind-hearted to leave her completely in the lurch.

      And because he loved her?

      She winced, her mind shying away from the thought, not wanting to admit its existence.

      She had always liked Giles, but it was only since Gregory’s death that she had become aware that he might have much stronger feelings for her. It disturbed her to have to acknowledge that she might have inadvertently played on those feelings in asking him to stay and to support her through the initial crisis of Gregory’s death.

      She hadn’t meant to do so. Had, in fact, been motivated purely by panic, the panic of discovering that her father’s company wasn’t the thriving concern she had so foolishly believed, but was actually close to insolvency. That had shocked her more than Gregory’s death in many ways.

      It had been Giles who had comforted her, who had told her that she must not blame herself for the lack of awareness of the company’s situation. And it was true that Gregory, and her father before him, had always refused to allow her to have anything to do with the company, to play any part in it.

      But now she had no choice. Carey Chemicals was the largest local employer. If Carey’s closed, people would be put out of work; families, whole households would suffer. She could not allow that to happen.

      Giles had told her gently that she might have no choice. He had been warning Gregory for some time, he had added uncomfortably, that they must make some kind of provision for the time when their most profitable patent ran out.

      Gregory had refused to listen to him. Gregory had had his own obsessions and they had nothing to do with the time and care it took to research and develop new drugs.

      Gregory had liked playing the money markets. And, in doing so, Gregory had lost the company many millions of pounds.

      Davina felt sick every time she thought about it … every time she remembered her own blind, wilful acceptance of all the lies Gregory had told her. She ought to have questioned him more closely, to have insisted on knowing more about the company.

      She ought to have done a great many things, she told herself tiredly, including ending her marriage.

      What marriage? There had been no marriage for years. Ever since … Her mind skittered back from a dangerous precipice.

      She had married at twenty. Now she was thirty-seven. For seventeen years she had stayed in an empty, sterile marriage, and why?

      Out of love? Her mouth twisted. Out of duty, then … out of necessity … out of cowardice. Yes, definitely that, or rather out of fear, fear not so much of being alone—that would almost have been a pleasure—but fear of the unknown, a fear that, once on her own, she would prove her father’s and Gregory’s contempt of her to be a true estimation of her character; and so she had stayed, too afraid to leave the security of a marriage that was a sterile mockery of all a marriage should be, hiding from life within its dead,