Jess took a deep breath, sipped her champagne and looked around the crowd again. She could do this. Come to a Christmas Eve party in her hometown and enjoy the company of old acquaintances without falling apart. She had worth now. A good job as a physiotherapist and a life lived in Sydney. She didn’t need Boyd Webber to tell her that a full-ride university scholarship gave her a shot at a better life. She didn’t need him saying that if she wanted to break the cycle of poverty and violence she’d grown up with, this was her chance. She’d taken that chance and made the most of it. Boyd could hardly berate her for that. And if Boyd asked her why she’d come home for Christmas, well…all she had to do was tell him the truth. That sometimes, just sometimes, she missed the ocean and the beaches, the rhythms of small-town life and the fantasy of family who might one day give a damn about her. That was the truth, even if it wasn’t the whole truth. No need to mention to Boyd just how much she missed him.