Chapter One

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“Daddy, put some clothes on, there’s a man at the door, he needs your signature on something.” Mac Stephens skulked back into the kitchen in her dressing gown and Ugg Boots and rolled her eyes at her father who was cooking breakfast dressed only in his underpants.

Apparently fat is a ‘bastard’ to get out of a thousand pound suit, but as Mac sat down at the large marble island and glanced out the back window and across the expanse of stripy green lawn to where their recently widowed neighbour, Ms Michelson, could be seen carrying out some sort of tantric yoga on her patio, she highly suspected her father’s reasoning.

“Couldn’t you have signed for it? I’m in the middle of frying my eggs.” He turned to frown at his dishevelled daughter.

“No. I tried, but the package says Mr Mac Stephens, not Miss. And besides, you really should put something on anyway before you fry more than you bargained for.”

Mac senior let out a long audible sigh and removed the frying pan from the flame. Crossing the floor to where his daughter sat he tugged the robe off her shoulders and tied it around his waist like a school jumper, only back to front. Kissing her cheek he disappeared up the long hallway towards the front door.

“Nice Dad, nice.”

At thirty years of age, Mac certainly hadn’t planned on being back at home and living off her father’s unwavering devotion, but out of work and still no closer to finding Mr Right he had seemed like a reasonable Plan B. Or at least, he had six months ago. Now, about to attend her fifth interview in as many months she was beginning to worry that Plan C didn't even exist.

“Ooh, this is even better than it looked on Dave.” Mac senior returned with the opened box tucked under his arm. In his hand was the latest watch he’d seen David Beckham wearing on a billboard, advertising underwear, at Waterloo station three days earlier. He’d completely missed the point of the advert. Waving it at his daughter he asked, “You like?”

“Mmm, beautiful Dad, pink gold, very you,” she teased.

Mac Stephens senior loved a bit of luxury. Correction, he loved a lot of luxury.

Born to a farming family in the Australian outback he had worked hard from a very early age and had studied even harder. The School of the Air had given him a basic but solid start in education and as a bright rural kid he’d been fortunate enough to have gained a scholarship to one of Sydney’s best boarding schools, three thousand kilometres away from home. Leaving his family behind he took every opportunity offered to him and within four years of leaving University he’d made his first million. That’s when he’d met his daughter’s mother.

“Listen Maccy, I was hoping we could have lunch together today, I’ve hardly seen you out of the house in weeks.” He untied the dressing gown and, wrapping it back around his daughter, returned to his eggs.

“I have an interview this morning remember?”

“I know, that’s why I thought you’d be more likely to say yes, as you’d only have to go to the trouble of washing your hair and getting dressed once this week.” He looked over his shoulder and arched his eyebrow accusingly.

Blowing her tepid coffee, Mac counted to ten, and then counted some more.

She knew she had probably taken the whole self-pity thing slightly too far now, but to date there just hadn’t been a good enough reason to pick herself up and move on. Maybe today that would change.

Six months ago, on March the ninth to be exact, she’d moved back in to the home she’d grown up in. It had been her thirtieth birthday and Adam, her then boyfriend of four years, had surprised her with one hell of a gift. In a little box on her pillow, when she’d woken early that morning, sated from an expensive pre-birthday dinner and coitus, was his key to their rented flat and a note scrawled on the torn off top of a cereal box advising Mac in a very matter of fact way that their relationship was now over. No further explanation. And that was just the beginning of her day.

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