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Authors: Patricia Scanlan

City Woman

BOOK: City Woman
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Patricia Scanlan was born in Dublin, where she still lives. Her books have sold worldwide and have been translated into many languages. Patricia is the series editor and a
contributing author to the
Open Door
series. She also teaches creative writing to second-level students and is involved in Adult Literacy.

Find out more by visiting Patricia Scanlan on Facebook.

Also by Patricia Scanlan

 

Apartment 3B

Finishing Touches

Foreign Affairs

Promises, Promises

Mirror Mirror

Francesca’s Party

Two for Joy

Double Wedding

Divided Loyalties

Coming Home

 

Trilogies

 

City Girl

City Lives

City Woman

 

Forgive and Forget

Happy Ever After

Love and Marriage

With All My Love

A Time for Friends

First published in Ireland by Poolbeg Press, 1993
This paperback edition published by Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, 2015
A CBS COMPANY

Copyright © Patricia Scanlan 1993

This book is copyright under the Berne Convention.
No reproduction without permission.
® and © 1997 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.

The right of Patricia Scanlan to be identified as author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act,
1988.

Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
1st Floor
222 Gray’s Inn Road
London WC1X 8HB

www.simonandschuster.co.uk

Simon & Schuster Australia, Sydney
Simon & Schuster India, New Delhi

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

PB ISBN: 978-1-47114-109-6
EBOOK ISBN: 978-1-47114-110-2

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to
actual people living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

Printed and bound by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY

There is a destiny that makes us brothers,

None goes his way alone,

All that we put into the lives of others

Comes back into our own.

Acknowledgements

Thank you, God above, for getting me through number four.

To Michael, who listened to seven months of moans and still wants to teach me how to use my new computer!

To Margaret and Chris, only a phone call away.

To Jo, for the last four years.

To Deirdre, who knows
exactly
what it is like.

To Jean Kelly and Carol in the NI Tourist Board, Nassau Street, Dublin.

To all my friends who are still putting up with me.

And especially to my wonderful family who give me so much love and support.

This book is dedicated to The Saint Patrick’s Society of Abu Dhabi; to Pat, Akram, and Eamonn Jawhary and to Féile Morris, all of whom showed me such
wonderful hospitality during my stay in Abu Dhabi and who gave me a birthday I will never forget. Thank you.

With the exception of Pat Jawhary, Féile Morris, Lynda Jayne and Florence Ambrose, who appear as themselves, all characters and events in this novel are entirely
fictitious.

Contents

Prologue

P
ART
O
NE

Devlin’s Story – I

Caroline’s Story – I

Maggie’s Story – I

P
ART
T
WO

Caroline’s Story – II

Maggie’s Story – II

Devlin’s Story – II

Epilogue

Prologue

‘Well, girls, we had a ball. It’s back to the grindstone now,’ said Devlin, smiling as the trio climbed out of Caroline’s car, which she had just driven
into the private car-park of the City Girl health and leisure club. It was a lovely sunny Monday morning and they had just returned from their first weekend together in years. No husbands, lovers
or boyfriends; no children – just the three of them. And they had thoroughly enjoyed it. ‘I can’t believe it went so quickly; it seems like only hours ago that we were setting
off.’

Caroline locked the car and gave it a little pat. ‘My first long journey. I wasn’t bad for a beginner, was I?’

‘Caro, I can see a future for you in Grand Prix racing,’ Maggie teased. ‘When we overtook that tractor, you were going all of forty-five miles an hour. Girl! I was nearly on
the Valium.’

‘Come on. Let’s go and have a cup of coffee,’ suggested Devlin, not wanting to face into work immediately.

‘We’d be better off doing an aerobics class after the way we’ve eaten this weekend,’ Maggie retorted, feeling the tightness of her waistband.

‘Ah don’t be a spoilsport: come on, let’s be really bad and have a cream slice,’ Devlin snorted.

‘You’re on,’ declared Caroline, leading the way to the Coffee Dock on the first floor.

At reception, women variously dressed in business suits, sports gear, expensive leotards and other kinds of leisurewear, were making appointments for the enormous variety of services offered by
the City Girl complex. Movers and shakers, career women, wealthy wives – all came in their droves to enjoy the pampering provided by the handpicked staff. Business was booming; it had taken
off and was successful beyond Devlin’s wildest dreams, but it wasn’t enough for her. She had plans, great plans, for the future, and with a characteristic singlemindedness she was going
to make those plans succeed. She had been telling the girls about them during the weekend and they had been very impressed. Sipping their coffee in a secluded corner of the Coffee Dock they made
arrangements to meet the following Friday for their weekly early-morning workout. Then they went their separate ways.

Devlin

Devlin strode along the grey-carpeted corridor to her office. Now that she was back, her mind was buzzing with ideas. She greeted Liz, her PA, took the list of messages awaiting
her into her office, left instructions that she was not to be disturbed for the next half-hour and closed the door firmly behind her.

Devlin had learned from experience that if she wanted to get her priority work done it was imperative that she be not disturbed. Otherwise she had an open-door policy that was much appreciated
by her employees. She flicked through her messages quickly and read one in particular with considerable satisfaction. Good, she thought: that was exactly the response she had hoped for. She must
phone Luke; he wasn’t too happy about what she was planning next. Luke Reilly, her partner, was a very good businessman, and over the years he had learned to be cautious. Devlin, in business
only a short time, was still finding her feet and inclined to rush into things. But this idea she’d had was a good one. She knew it was a good one – one of her best – and she knew
it was going to work. Tanned fingers dialled the digits on the phone, as Devlin sat on the edge of her desk, her long legs swinging.

As she waited for a response, she observed the rush and bustle of St Stephen’s Green below her. Down the square she could see a sleek black limousine pulling up outside the Shelbourne
Hotel. Liz had told her that a well-known pop-star was arriving in the city that day and had booked a private workout and aromatherapy session for later on. It often happened that visiting celebs
did that and it gave Devlin a great sense of satisfaction that City Girl had become ‘the’ place. God knows she’d worked really hard to get it going. If it hadn’t been for
City Girl and Luke and the girls she would have gone crazy. Sadness welled in her and tears smarted her eyes.

It had been hard at the graveside when the three of them went to pray on the Saturday. It didn’t really get any easier. She had to push the pain away almost physically. ‘Oh, my baby.
My darling child. I love you. Why did it happen?’ Don’t think about it! Stop. Stop. Stop, she silently screamed. She heard Luke’s voice on the line. He had answered himself
because she had dialled his private number. ‘Hi! It’s me.’ Devlin strove to keep her voice cheerful. Luke was so kind to her and if he knew she was feeling sad, his sympathy would
have made her bawl. She was having none of that. Grit your teeth and get on with it was Devlin’s motto.

‘Hi, you!’ Devlin could sense that Luke was smiling at the other end of the phone. ‘Did you have a good weekend with that other pair of nutters?’

‘Oh it was great. Listen, Luke: I got word from Arthur Kelly and he’s very interested. I think we should go ahead.’ Devlin wasted no time in getting down to business. There was
a silence at the other end of the phone.

‘Is that so?’ said Luke, an edge to his deep voice. ‘I’ll be in Dublin on Wednesday. I’ll get my PA to talk to yours to arrange a meeting. I’ll see you then,
Devlin, and we’ll talk . . . business.’ There was a click at the other end of the line and the phone went dead.

Devlin stared at the silent phone in her hand. What the hell was wrong with him now? And why had he made the word business sound like such a dirty word? Men! She’d never understand them.
Well, he could just go and get lost; she had work to do. She wasn’t going to waste all day worrying about why Luke Reilly had got into a huff just because she had mentioned Arthur Kelly. All
the same, it wasn’t like him.

‘Oh drat!’ she muttered, pressing her intercom button. ‘Liz, would you come in and collect these letters I’ve just signed. I want to go through my diary for the
week.’

‘Sure, Devlin, I’m just arranging a meeting for you with Mr Reilly. I’ll be in in a second,’ Liz responded. Devlin sat glumly behind her desk. At that moment she wished
Mr Bloody Reilly would go to hell.

Luke

Luke Reilly sat behind his desk, his face dark with anger. There were times when he felt like strangling Devlin Delaney. At this very moment he wished he had never laid eyes on
her or got himself involved in her business venture. Not that City Girl wasn’t doing well. It had exceeded all their expectations and that was part of the problem. Devlin was consumed by the
business . . . and he was consumed by her. In his entire adult life, he had never been so . . . so rattled by a woman and it was infuriating at times, to say the least. Here he was trying to
establish a romantic relationship with the woman and just when he thought he was having some success, off she goes again.

This blowing hot and cold was getting to him. That was it! From now on it was going to be business only with Ms Delaney. She couldn’t even be bothered to tell him how she’d got on on
her weekend away with Maggie and Caroline. Straightaway into business and what Arthur Kelly was interested in. Who cared about Arthur Kelly? What about Luke Reilly and what he was interested in?
Didn’t Devlin care enough even to ask him how he’d got on on his trip to Holland? He’d been dying to tell her that the firm had secured the contract. Was she interested? Obviously
not! All she saw him as was her business partner in City Girl. Nothing else. And it hurt.

Luke couldn’t believe how hurt he had felt by her phone call. Was he getting sensitive in his old age or something? ‘No, you’re just in love, you fool!’ he muttered,
scrunching up a page he’d been doodling on and aiming it at the waste-paper basket. It missed. Even his aim was gone to pot, he thought, feeling very sorry for himself. ‘Well, just snap
out of it, mister,’ he ordered himself sternly, picking up another page and taking aim.

‘Sorry, did you say something?’ Dianne, his highly efficient PA, remarked as she walked in.

‘Just talking to myself, Dianne,’ Luke said grumpily. Dianne’s eyebrows rose imperceptibly. In her book, MDs of highly successful companies did not go around talking to
themselves. She knew Devlin Delaney had been on the phone. She had been in the office when the call came through and had exited discreetly although she’d been dying to earwig. Why Luke Reilly
was wasting his time with DD, as she called her, was beyond Dianne. She had seen her once, looking like a schoolgirl with no make-up on and wearing just a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. A far cry
from the glamorous image she portrayed on the glossy brochure of City Girl. Luke needed somebody sophisticated and sexy. Someone just like herself.

Dianne had fallen for Luke the moment she had met him at her job interview and she was damned if she was going to let the blonde bombshell from Dublin swipe him from under her nose.
‘I’ve arranged for you to meet Miss Delaney at 9.30 a.m. Wednesday at the Forte Crest Hotel in Dublin Airport.’

Luke looked at his PA in surprise. ‘Why didn’t you arrange the meeting for her office?’

‘I thought it would be less time-consuming for you to meet directly off your flight,’ Dianne informed her boss calmly. ‘Miss Delaney has a very busy schedule, it seems. Her PA
agreed it would be best to meet you there. Anyway, Miss Delaney is travelling to Drogheda to a business lunch following her meeting with you.’

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