Second Chance with the Single Mom - Page 11

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Suddenly he didn’t want to see Raina after all, not with the daughter that looked so like her. But it was too late. Gabriel had looked up and was signalling for him to come over and join them. There was no way out, and Alistair forced himself to smile as he walked across the office.

* * *

The interview had gone well. Raina had said what she wanted to say, and answered all of Maya’s questions. She’d seen Gabriel nod a few times, and although he hadn’t said much perhaps he would support her candidacy. If Anya didn’t get a place on the project, then at least Raina could tell herself that she’d done her best.

And then... Alistair. Standing at the far end of the office as she said her goodbyes to Gabriel and Maya. It would have been a great deal better if she hadn’t known him so well, because then she would have mistaken the smile he was wearing as one of surprised welcome.

‘Raina. It’s good to see you again.’ The way his thumb tapped against the side of the tablet computer he carried gave him away. Something was bothering Alistair.

‘And you. This is Anya.’

Anya was looking up at him, curious about this new person.

‘Yes, of course. Hello, Anya.’

He could barely look at her. Alistair had shown more genuine concern for the child he’d pulled out of the Thames than he did for Anya. Raina bit back the temptation to shake him and demand that he do a little more than just acknowledge her daughter’s presence.

Maybe he was just trying a bit too hard to step back. No decisions had been made yet, and he didn’t want to betray any bias. She shouldn’t either, which meant that the swelling around the cut on his face and the consequent bruising under his eye was out of bounds as a topic of conversation.

‘Your eye’s looking better, Alistair. How does it feel now?’ Maya asked the question that Raina didn’t dare to.

‘Much better, thanks. The antibiotics that Gabriel prescribed have done the trick.’ Alistair had the grace to look a little sheepish. ‘I really should have listened to Raina.’

‘Yes, you should...’ The words escaped her lips before Raina had a chance to swallow them down, and Anya looked up at Alistair.

‘Naughty Alistair.’

It could have been worse. At least Anya’s words hadn’t come right out of the blue, and Gabriel chuckled.

‘That’s right, Anya. My thoughts exactly.’ Gabriel ignored Alistair’s glare and Raina’s reddening cheeks.

‘We should be going.’ She found Anya’s hand, gripping it tight. ‘Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate your seeing us.’

‘It’s been a pleasure. Thank you for letting me play with your bricks, Anya.’

‘You’re welcome,’ Anya piped up again, and this time everyone smiled.

Handshakes were exchanged, and Raina hurried Anya away, leaving Gabriel and Maya to follow Alistair into the office next door to Gabriel’s. She was trembling, Alistair’s quiet words when they’d parted had made her heart beat even faster than it had when she’d first seen him. Good luck. If that meant what she thought it did, then the awkwardness of their meeting was something that could be set aside. It was Gabriel and Maya’s decision whether Anya would be accepted onto the project, but Alistair had made his own position very clear.


IT HAD BEEN plain to Alistair and he’d wondered whether Gabriel and Maya would see it too. The pilot scheme wasn’t just a matter of selecting the right children, it was a case of selecting the right parents, who could report back on their children’s progress and help the team make the required adjustments to their procedures. Anya and Raina were both perfect.

Maya and Gabriel followed him into his office and Maya sat down, while Gabriel leaned across the desk to look at his eye. Alistair batted his hand away.

‘It’s improving. I know I should have mentioned it to you sooner.’

Gabriel grinned. ‘Yes, you should. Next time you decide on any heroics, you might like to try following the advice of the doctor who was on the scene.’

Alistair glared at Gabriel and he backed off. This was the way it always was between them, they were firm friends whose disagreements were entirely without rancour. It was a synergy between two very different personalities, which brought the best out in both.

‘I’ve made my mind up.’ Maya ignored the glares in much the same way that everyone else in the office did. ‘I think Raina could make a huge contribution to the project and she seems committed to doing so.’

Gabriel nodded. ‘I agree. Anya’s one of the best candidates we’ve seen as well.’

‘And that’s the decision?’ Alistair didn’t want to say anything to influence his colleagues.

Maya glanced at Gabriel and he nodded. ‘Yes, let’s make it official. We’ll offer Anya a place on the project. We have two other children whose families have already accepted a place and you were going to speak with another three, Alistair.’

Tags: Annie Claydon Billionaire Romance