At some point in the past decade, Zoey “Always” Wright stopped giving every day her best effort. Starting today, she had to get back to the confident girl who left Harmony, Illinois. With her laptop open on the tray table in the Business Class car, she glanced from the conference call to the passing scenery outside the train.
She hadn’t visited her hometown during the summer since she left for good a decade ago. Would warm nights still smell honeysuckle soaked? Her heart squeezed. Giving up claim to Harmony was the least she could do for her ex-boyfriend. Over a decade ago, he had no prospects at ever leaving. She snorted.
Now, he dictated her return.
“Zoey?” a sharp voice asked.
She rubbed her nose and focused on the screen, pressing her wireless headphones into her ears. “Sorry, allergies,” she murmured.
“Her boss, Eliza, nodded. “You’re sure you can deliver the project by the deadline?”
Zoey pressed her tongue to the roof of her mouth. Oh, without question, she’d meet the goal. Her entire career depended on her delivery.
Without the professional high stakes, she wouldn’t have returned to face him. Would he behave himself on the project? She had a lot of questions and concerns. At least she had the element of surprise on her side. While she was almost 100 percent certain Noah put the strict parameters on the project to get her attention, she doubted he’d ever guess she’d deal with him in person.
“If the project is too much, let us know now, and we can find someone better suited to the position,” Eliza said.
“No need.” Zoey grinned until her cheeks hurt.
After a quick rise through the ranks at Fulham’s superstores, she’d been sidelined into a glorified personal assistant role instead of fulfilling her real work with special projects. She studied Eliza and the woman at her side in the Fulham’s corporate headquarters board room in Chicago.
Joanne Grillo was Eliza’s boss. With a solid career built on promoting and encouraging her employees to rise, Joanne remained Zoey’s best shot at landing an interview for the new job in Boston. After stalling in her current role, underutilized by a micromanager, she was desperate for the promotion. If her cousin, Amy, had taken the job in the historic village only a train ride away, Zoey might have been able to convince her parents to move to the East Coast. She could have had it all. With Amy now permanently settled back home, however, Zoey knew encouraging her parents to move was a long shot.
“We received your budget breakdown and proposal,” Joanne said. “Thank you. Everything looks in order. And you’re sure you’ll be able to keep Mr. Kidwell and his team at Under Covers to the tight parameters?”
Oh, yes. Keeping Noah Kidwell in line had been her job until she’d had enough of his excuses. While she was around to straighten every mess and guide him to toe the line, she slowly realized he was never going to step up. “I have no concerns.”
Her Unlikely Homecoming
Rachelle Paige Campbell
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