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Broken Return

Broken Return

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Broken Return

Lunghezza:
259 pagine
3 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Oct 29, 2018
ISBN:
9781370513512
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Luca Pedroni is the next tennis superstar, a Swiss, Italian God with a star rising fast until he is involved in a fatal car crash. Now six months later he needs a miracle to get him back to full fitness and into round one at Wimbledon.

Sharon Richardson is a physiotherapist specialising in the rehabilitation of injured servicemen who want to get into competitive sport as a way of coping with life changing injuries.

When a request comes in for Sharon’s services she jumps at the chance and embarks on the high-risk project to get Luca onto the court in his first match at Wimbledon.

With obstacles around every corner, broken family relationships, managers applying pressure to her timetable and a superstar who doesn’t believe he can play again Sharon must work smart and remain professional at all times but Luca’s a playboy with perfect muscular legs, golden hair to the top of his long neck and pale green seductive eyes.

Can Sharon get him there with her reputation as a miracle worker intact or will Luca and his playboy looks be too much of a distraction?

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Oct 29, 2018
ISBN:
9781370513512
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Clair Gibson currently splits her time between Glasgow and Manchester and sees writing works of fiction as her true venture in life and is currently working on her next offering. She has nine books available - Another Chance at Love Fat Bottomed Girls Blackpool Here We Come Left Behind All for Her Yours, mine & the truth Stifado for two The price of friendship Broken return See her blog for details of those and new works in development


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Broken Return - Clair Gibson

Broken

Return

This is a work of fiction.

The characters of this book are the products of the authors imagination. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead is coincidental.

Book cover by Clair Gibson

Copyright 2018 by Clair Gibson

All rights reserved

For Jo, she gave me this idea because of her love of the original swiss god of tennis.

Chapter List

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

1.

My stomach plummeted as I hung up the call from my manager, Mr Watson, summoning me into his office for a chat. What have I done this time? With a client arriving in under fifteen minutes whatever he wanted would have to be quick. The first and only company rule - Do not under any circumstances keep a client waiting.

Two short knocks on his door, it opened, and an arm suspended in mid-air waived me through. I closed it and took a seat in the chair across from his desk trying not to play with my hands while he finished his call. These one-on-one meetings caused an uncontrollable nervous sweat.

With his back facing me I watched as his shoulders relaxed and his hand dropped to his side. He turned and flashed a smile. Yes, she's with me right now. I'll call you back.

My expression softened but butterflies somersaulted on their way to ride the roller coaster of stomach tension. What's going on?

Conversation over, he placed the phone back on his desk. We've had a request for your services.

I sat upright, at ease, thankful I wasn't in trouble. A slight smile with a hint of intrigue crossed my lips. Since I qualified as a physiotherapist I'd worked with members of the armed forces returning from service with a disability and who wanted pursue a career in sport. For what? Is it the team trekking to the pole? I'd heard they were looking for someone days ago and that was something I fancied. Adventure and danger mixed with helping others attain their goals.

No. Not for the team. He interlinked his fingers and placed them on the table. Would you consider working with some able-bodied young sports stars for a while?

Okay. I sat back surprised at his statement. A small ray of disappointment displayed on my brows because it wasn't a request from the team I'd grown close to over the last couple of months. Tell me more. I sighed accepting what I wanted wasn't about to happen.

Mr Watson walked across to his unit where a fresh filled percolator of steaming black coffee beeped to confirm the cycle had finished. Want one?

Sure, why not? I couldn't resist the smell of that strong fresh blend he used. Tried to find it in the local shops but nowhere had the same blend and he wouldn’t tell me his secret. White, no sugar please.

He walked around to the chair by my side and sat after handing across a mug. It's working with a tennis player on the way back from a serious car crash. They used to say he was the next best Swiss hope since Federer's semi-retired.

I jumped forward almost spilling the steamy brown liquid on my legs. You want me to work with Luca Pedroni?

Mr Watson grinned at the overexcited female before him. Name sounds right. He's been recovering for a few months but he's ready to enter rehab and get back to playing tennis. Do you like the sport? Heard of him?

I love tennis, always wanted to go to Wimbledon but could never afford tickets. Luca Pedroni was storming the men's rankings until a car crash. He's supposed to be Federer's second cousin twice removed, or something. I glanced at Mr Watson as the penny dropped. Hang on, why does he not have his own entourage of trainers and physios? I mean he's a top-class tennis player. Why has he requested me?

Politics my dear. He raised the mug and slurped coffee with a smack of his lips. The LTA's driver, sorry the Lawn Tennis Association, their guy caused the crash responsible for jeopardising his career. They've paid all the medical bills, agreed to pay his rehab and have requested you. With a shrug of his eyebrows he continued. You've gained a reputation as someone who'll stop at nothing to help the injured achieve everything. Remember the wheelchair tennis player last year, Bart something or other, well he recommended you. From what they have told me Luca didn't have lots of sponsorship deals or prize money before the accident so his team was small. He used on site physios when he had to. You'll report direct to the LTA but you'll live in the house rented to aide his recovery. Your job is to get him playing again and well, look, you didn't here this from me but they need this as soon as possible, whatever it takes. This boy is the golden boy of the new tennis world and plenty of people will lose everything if he's not fixed and soon.

No pressure then! How soon do I get started?

How quick can you pack? Wimbledon is in six weeks. They want him there even for one match. He has to take part.

The following morning, I paced across the long pile red rug in the centre of the living room of the flat I shared with my friend, Lisa. She was a dance teacher working with primary school kids and we'd lived here for a few years. Two decent sized bedrooms in a flat on the edge of the city centre a luxury but one that came with a price we shared. Last night I broke the news of my relocation to London and as long as I paid my half of the rent Lisa admitted it didn't impact her. It was only a nervous big step for me.

I'd agreed to the request for my services without too many questions and within half an hour Mr Watson had visited with me again. He confirmed a car would collect me this morning and drive me to London. Someone would meet me there and go through specifics. It was all so cloak and dagger but exciting.

At the exact stroke of eight the rap of two short knocks on the front door dragged me back from my daydream. My three sports bags sat in the hall along with a small backpack and suitcase. Packing for six weeks, not knowing where you would work or any other details had been a nightmare. Late into the night I reasoned to taking my normal working attire, some time off clothes plus a few outfits for socialising. As I opened the door a tall, middle aged, clean shaved man stood wearing a black suit, white shirt and black tie. Tailored to his body he looked more like a businessman than a driver and as he leaned forward, I caught the faintest whiff of expensive cologne. Is this all your luggage?

Yes. I hoped I hadn't packed too much to fit in the car.

Maybe two trips. His statement accompanied with a cheeky wink. You get yourself sorted to leave and I'll move some of these.

Thanks.

He lifted two of my bags, threw the straps over his shoulders, and grabbed the handle of my case.

I walked back into the living room, collected my phone and looked around. Nothing stood out that I might want to take with me. I headed back to the door where the driver had returned and collected my other bag and the small backpack.

All set?

Yes.

I sat in the back of a four-door sedan stocked with leather seats and lots of leg room. A small TV in the back of the headrest of the front seat played the national news, and I relaxed enjoying the luxury. An hour into our journey from Birmingham, heading south to London, the traffic slowed, chocked with daily commuters trying to get into work. As we stopped and crawled in small bursts my driver stated. Might be like this for a while. London traffic you know!

I didn't but smiled at him, anyway. I took my iPhone from my pocket and opened the Google app. Luca Pedroni was a handsome young playboy who had a talent with a racket, I remembered a little about him but needed much more. My search threw a bunch of information on his player stats and the accident. It peaked my interest, and I opened the links to various newspaper clips.

Silent moments passed as I read various reports but they all covered the same story. He was traveling home in a car driven by an LTA Driver. A lorry crossed the reservation and crashed. People were milling around the road but his speeding driver was slow to react. They hit the lorry to avoid people, sending the car spiralling through the air. He had some serious injuries and far worse than I first expected. A broken collarbone and arm on the left, plus breaks to his right leg in two places. Add in concussion, a fractured rib and internal bleeding leading to him needing exploratory surgery and hospitalization for over a month.

Every image I flicked through either covered the crash scene, him holding a tennis racket or a leggy young blond, brunette or brown haired big boobed woman on his arm. Every inch of his allure and demeanour shouted rich and entitled.

I closed the files and opened his Wikipedia profile. He was an only son, Father, a swiss banker, mother an Italian designer which explained his darker, Mediterranean looks and the Italian sounding name. I rubbed my chin and read on. He lived in Geneva as a child until he attended the same tennis school as Andy Murray in Barcelona. The page focused on his professional record and the crash, but little else. I put the phone on the seat and fished around in my backpack for a bottle of water. The information told a story. It delivered a sense of where he was from and what had happened but nothing more. I didn't bother moving past the second page of Google searches expecting the same stories repeated multiple time. However, past experience working with returning soldiers told me nothing was the way it seemed. These were facts on a page, a public persona, not the person themselves but I noted the lack of other stories for future reference.

An hour later we arrived at the national tennis centre at Roehampton, not a mile away from the All England Club at Wimbledon. The driver took me through security and onwards towards the car park. After parking and undoing his seat belt he turned. Your cases will be fine in the car and I'll wait till your meeting finishes. He smiled and continued. Follow the path to reception and give them your name, they'll do the rest.

Open space as far as I could see on either side of the path, unusual in such a modern city as London. I stood and turned through 360 degrees to absorb a better impression of the place. Quietness surprised me. The only noises coming from behind the building and they were shouts of players out on the courts in the early spring sunshine.

Fresh cut luscious green grass framed the path along the edge of the car park. Eyes drawn towards a large expansive single storey building of white posts and glass panes, with a white marquee cover, lifted in five places to form individual turrets. I walked towards open doors on the right implying the way in. Inside, the cover provided the shade although surrounded by glass, the early April heat experienced outside disappeared. I walked across the reception area to a curved beech desk in front of the opposite wall. Hung on the wall behind the desk a large plasma TV cycled different pictures which I assumed were the facilities, and different British tennis players. The young lady dressed in a white polo shirt with racket insignia looked at me but waited for me to speak.

Hi, I'm Sharon Richardson. You're expecting me.

Yes, I'll let Mr Pearson know you're here.

I stepped back and watched as the receptionist lifted a phone and spoke for a few moments.

She put the phone back on its cradle and looked back at her monitor. He'll be right with you.

Five minutes passed as I stared out of the far side of the glass structure. The view showed some of the sprawl. Courts lay as far as I could see, some out in the elements, some with covers. From my narrow view, it looked impressive. Hope I can see it from a height, get a real impression. I assumed I was talking to the silence.

A tour is a great idea. A voice behind me spoke. I spun around, met by the beaming smile of a man who I assumed was Mr Pearson. Call me Ed. He thrust his hand out wards and shook mine with a fierce grip. Let's go to my office, have a chat and I'll take you around the facility.

Mr Pearson's office was similar to the rest of the facility I'd seen so far, glass everywhere. It sat above the reception area, tucked into the space below a turret, gazing across the grounds and a few open-air grass courts. Teams of people worked around players on each, sessions in full flow. I found myself pulled towards the window, keen to watch.

Impressive isn't it!

When I heard I'd be working here, I figured it would be a small place, a few courts, nothing like this.

In the old days, yes, but since 2007 we've had this academy to bring on the best of British players. Two years ago, we opened to all young players from all over the world as we expanded both the facility and the staff. Mr Pearson gestured for me to sit on the chair in the far side of his office, away from the formal desk. So, I should tell you a little about our facility.

Please.

He crossed his legs and placed his hands on top of the leg resting on his knee. For a man in charge of an impressive facility Mr Pearson appeared younger than I imagined a senior manager would be, but my manager, Mr Watson, was my yardstick. Dressed in a white polo shirt with the same tennis racket logo and long dark blue sports trousers, he looked every inch a professional trainer instead of a manager.

Okay, well we have twenty-two courts. Six clay, six grass and the rest are hard court. A mix of indoor and outdoor. Some at the mercy of the elements, others under the marquee covers. We have a small swimming pool, plus plunge pool and a hydrotherapy pool for limited rehab. A state-of-the-art gymnasium and a running track.

Impressive.

Yes, we provide performance analysis, fitness, physiotherapy and rehab, strength and conditioning, medical support and nutrition. Our team of qualified specialists provide a centred support service to our top players and coaches.

Wow, I exclaimed. His small speech sounded like he was trying to sell the facility. I have to ask, if you have this team of skilled individuals, why do you need me?

A smile appeared in the corners of Mr Pearson's mouth, before he leaned forward and broke out into a hearty laugh. My dear, in terms of skills you are one of the best. Our physios work with tennis injuries, pulled muscles, back injuries affecting the ability to serve and so on. No one here has the skill in the total rehabilitation of body and mind of a person who's been through a traumatic accident. With his eyes fixed on me, he continued. I'm sure you're aware we owe Luca a debt. Uppermost in our minds is to get him back to being the best player he can be, or better. We had the British Paralympic tennis team here, and I spoke with them at length for suggestions, you were top of their list.

But Luca is still able bodied? A slight tone of worry seeped through my question.

Yes, he is, but his injuries were serious and, well, how can I put this? He scratched his head in wonderment. We figured it better to find someone who could deal with bringing the whole body back.

Is there something I should know?

Maybe. His bones have healed but in my chats with him I can see a different man. I believe he's lost the belief he can play again, you know, come back.

It's expected. I bit the side of my lip not sure how much I could say to him without meeting Luca. It's part of the rehabilitation process to give him the belief he can be as good as he was. He'll work far harder than he ever has before just to stand still. Is this his first injury setback?

Major one, I believe so. What makes you ask? Mr Pearson leaned forward in his chair.

The way you described him. He believes his injury is life changing, yet he's not lost a limb or a different body part. Yes, he might still have pain, but it already looks like it's a more emotional and mental battle.

Yes, you might be right. Mr Pearson agreed. Look, I knew before you arrived you were the right person, but now I'm convinced. How would you like a tour of the facility and we'll meet Luca?

Mr Pearson and I walked downstairs from his office, through reception and into a corridor behind the stairs.

In there. He pointed to a door off my left. The changing rooms. Staff and players together although separated male and female. We'll give you one after the tour. He continued with his guide. There are full shower facilities and a sauna in each plus an entrance straight into the corridor leading to the indoor courts.

We walked further along the corridor when Mr Pearson stopped and opened a door on their left. Here's the gym, all kitted out. Numerous people worked on cardio machines, weight machines and in the corner, free weights. TV screens lined an inner wall, the outer all glass with views over the courts and sculpted gardens.

He ushered me out of the room and we continued through a double door at the bottom. This led into the impressive indoor courts.

Wow. The blue floor contrasted the grey of the indoor hard court. Natural and false light mixed making the whole room glow. Players of all ages worked on every court, some in pairs some on their own. Do you not have issues with balls going from one court to the next? I showed my naivety aware there was nothing between each court but a few feet of space.

Sometimes, Mr Pearson laughed. He pointed into the roof where rolls of netting hung, waiting to drop. For when we need them!

He showed with his hand, to my right, the swimming pool, plunge pool and hydro areas, then the physio’s area complete with massage tables and ice baths.

Outside we walked towards the running track and outside courts. Players were training on the clay courts, the grass courts still had Keep of The Grass signs at the entry points and on the edge of the grass.

It's huge and I have to say a little intimidating to someone coming in.

Mr Pearson stood by

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