The Secret Seaside Escape - Heidi Swain Page 0,1

was needed in this business, even if only on the outside.

‘I’m fine,’ I said, taking a sip of the water and waving the file away. ‘I was just gathering my thoughts.’

‘Come up with anything useful?’ Chris asked.

He didn’t sound very hopeful and I knew he was desperate to get home. We all were, but we needed to have a damage limitation strategy firmly in place before we thought about our plans for the weekend. Not that I was particularly looking forward to mine.

‘Possibly,’ I nodded. ‘Meet me in conference room one in twenty minutes.’


As usual, I was the last to leave and it was almost midnight before I let myself into my apartment, kicked off my heels and poured a glass of restorative wine. Had anyone believed that being the boss’s daughter came with perks I could have quashed their assumptions with any one of my time sheets from the last few months.

I couldn’t remember the drive home. My mind had been miles away from the road – not at the seaside this time – but trawling through the atrocious pics in the red-tops which had sent my week into a tailspin. What had the guy been thinking? I ignored the sharp knotted-up pain in my stomach and flopped down on the sofa.

When I had interviewed for the job in Dad’s public relations firm, after graduating with a first in marketing seven years ago, I could never have foreseen that I would be trying to untangle anything like the mess which had descended during the last few days.

When I had been tasked with nothing more taxing than the morning coffee round and the daily sandwich order (Dad was a firm believer in learning the business from the bottom up), I had dreamt of working with prestigious clients on million-pound projects and taking on the unusual role of matching their specifications to the perfect ‘celebrities’ to endorse their brands, but had I known that my biggest project to date was destined to go belly-up just weeks before it was due to launch, I would have stuck to ordering the egg and cress.

‘Shit,’ I muttered, spilling some of the wine as my mobile began to trill, dragging me back to the present and making me jump.

I picked up my bag with my free hand and shook it out on the sofa, scattering the contents and at the same time praying it wasn’t more bad news. I shuddered as I recalled the graphic images of my high-profile footballer with his tongue down the throat of some scantily clad girl, splashed across the front pages.

The clever journalist had put them alongside the studio image of him with his wife and daughters which I’d ensured was released just days before to further bolster his ‘reformed character’ image ahead of the family values advertising campaign my client had employed him for. It had been the ultimate humiliation, and not just for his wife and girls.

‘Dad,’ I said, when I eventually located my phone. ‘Hi.’

‘All sorted?’

As ever, he was straight down to business. Sometimes I found it hard to believe that the father he had turned into was the same, formerly so laid-back one who carried me about on his shoulders when I was little.

‘I think so.’

‘You think so?’

I felt myself bristle.

‘We’ve done all we can for now,’ I added a little tartly. ‘We have a plan in place and I’ll pick it up again on Monday.’

‘Oh right,’ he said. ‘There was no way of wrapping it up tonight?’

‘No,’ I said firmly. ‘I couldn’t reach any of the advertising team after ten, so we thought we’d call it a day.’

Truth be told, for the sake of my team’s sanity, I hadn’t tried to ring out again after our last in-house meeting of the evening.

‘And you’re sure you don’t want me to step in?’

‘Absolutely not.’

Of course, I didn’t want him to step in. How ridiculous would that make me look? He was quiet for a second and I held my breath. For an awful moment I thought he was going to say he was going to anyway.

‘I’ll see you tomorrow then,’ he eventually said.

I slowly breathed out and closed my eyes. Now I was the quiet one.

‘You still there, Tess?’

‘Yes,’ I answered, clearing my throat, ‘yes, I’m still here.’

It was me who had broached the subject of sorting through Mum’s things. It was me who had insisted we had to make time in our packed schedules to start properly going through everything. I had read somewhere that the