CHAPTER 1Rising without Compromising

I met Florian when I was 31.

At 31, I had a plan. I'd grown my marketing agency to be one of the top agencies in Australia. I'd been working as a singer/songwriter for 15 years and had a couple of hit singles and toured Japan. I'd been married at 22 and divorced at 30. Everybody thought I was crazy when we broke up, but I think the partner you're with should think you're the best thing in the world. He didn't. And I didn't want to settle any more.

My plan was to wait until I was 35 and then become a single mother. My best friend and I had looked up sperm donors on the internet. It wasn't that I didn't want to get married again, it was just that I didn't want to compromise. And growing up in a mining town, I had certain perceptions about what marriage was: it seemed like everyone I went to school with got married, got pregnant, and had no inspiration to leave town. So I'd made a different plan for my life.

Florian wasn't in the plan.

I was 31, and I'd decided to retire from the music industry. My last gig was in Morocco, at a festival in Essaouira. Then I was due to fly to Japan, but there was a typhoon in Japan so I got stuck in London for a night. I really didn't care for London (mainly due to the weather), but I was put up in this beautiful hotel. Florian was working at the front desk.

Florian's a real romantic. He'd just gotten back from his grandparents' 60th-anniversary party and he was working behind the desk at this hotel. He saw me ...

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