Accustomed to always being the one who 'helps out' in her home town, a chance encounter on a cross-channel ferry makes Kate Moore realize she is being taken for granted.
Driving through France, she is forced to accept help from John Tempest, the kind of rich, self-confident man she dislikes. John is annoyed that Kate is wasting a bright mind on trivia, and thinks she may be ripe to rebel.
When she meets her fiancé in Geneva, Kate realizes they have grown apart. This shocks her. Instead of going home to take up her normal duties as expected, she stays for a tiny holiday to think about her future. She goes sailing and to a ball with John - and accepts the offer of a job in his company. She is finally being herself, but is she going to ruin it all by falling in love with John, a man who habitually plays his cards very close to his chest…
Peter. She hadn't expected fireworks when she told Peter she'd come to Geneva unexpectedly, but some sort of pleasurable reaction to her arrival would have been nice. Even a small effort on his part would have helped. As it was, she'd been made to feel foolish. It was plain there was no place for her in his working life. John Tempest's jeering words about staying home and looking after the children came back to her -- she shoved them away. She felt uncomfortable enough, thank you.
Perversely, she was now even more determined to make the most of her tiny holiday. There were lots of things she could do without Peter. There was a beach near the campsite where she could swim. Twenty minutes' walk away was a medieval village. Or if she took the bus along the lake edge there were the towns of Thonnon and Evian to explore. It would be exciting. She was aware in the back of her mind that she wasn't as bothered by Peter's neglect as she should have been -- and she didn't care.
There. She'd thought it. Right now this moment, she didn't care whether Peter was with her or not. He hadn't changed, he was the same as ever. She still loved him, she supposed, but he had annoyed and upset her today -- and for once she wasn't going to tamely back down. She wanted more than just to be kept tidily in the background. Perhaps John was right and she herself had changed?
Carefully, she explored this slightly scary idea. It was possible that she was more tired than she knew, that the trip down through France had taken more out of her than she realised. She would feel differently in the morning. To live independently of Peter meant altering her whole world picture. It meant that much of her life so far had been wasted. Marrying him had been a fixed certainty since she was fifteen.
Had John Tempest affected her? If she shut her eyes she could visualise him, his size, the odd expression that played around his mouth, the feeling he gave that life was either a cosmic joke or a cosmic tragedy. Reluctantly, she realised she was missing him, even though he was just the kind of man -- she thought -- that she despised.
She clasped her hands together to stop herself shaking. She'd been reasonably happy until John came along, but he'd disturbed her. He'd kissed her on the ship, however much she'd tried to forget it since, and it had been an experience like none she'd ever had before. He'd told her she was ripe for rebellion.
Now she was thinking he could be right.