The Sheikh's Secret Babies(10)

By: Lynne Graham

Jaul stilled in the lounge doorway, dark eyes flashing bright as a flame. ‘But that’s ridiculous...why would you do something that stupid?’

‘Because I can,’ Chrissie replied, truthful to the last word. ‘I won’t willingly do anything which suits you and I know you want to keep all this on the down-low. After all, you never did own up publicly to the shame of marrying a foreigner, did you?’

‘I believed the marriage was invalid!’ Jaul shot back at her, lean brown hands coiling into fists. ‘Why would I have talked about it?’

‘Well, most guys would at least have talked about it to the woman who believed she was married to them,’ Chrissie pointed out scornfully as she stretched out a hand to open the door. ‘But you...what did you do? Oh, ran out on me and left your daddy to clear up the mess you left behind you!’

Sheer rage at that unjust condemnation engulfed Jaul so fast he was dizzy with it. He snapped long fingers round a slender wrist before she could open the door. Smouldering dark golden eyes raked her flushed and defiant face. ‘You will not speak to me like that.’

Suppressing a spasm of dismay, Chrissie forced herself to laugh and her eyes sparkled with challenge. ‘Message to Jaul—I can speak to you any way I like and there’s not a darned thing you can do about it! You don’t deserve anything better from me after the way you treated me...’

With a contemptuous flick of his long fingers, Jaul relinquished his hold on her. Dark eyes still sparking like high-voltage wires, he scanned her with derision. ‘Is this your way of trying to push the price up? You want me to pay you to set me free from this marriage?’

A genuine laugh fell from Chrissie’s taut mouth. ‘Oh, no, I’ve got plenty of money,’ she told him blithely. ‘I don’t want a penny from you. I only want to make you sweat.’

Jaul no longer trusted his temper or his control. Nobody had spoken to him like that since he had last seen Chrissie and it was a salutary lesson. Their personalities had been on a collision course from day one. Both of them were strong-willed, obstinate and quick-tempered. They had had monumental fights and even more shattering reconciliations. In fact those reconciliations had been such sweet fantasies Jaul had never forgotten them and he got hot and hard even thinking about them, a recollection as unwelcome as it was dangerous.

His beautifully shaped mouth flattening the sultry curl tugging at the edges, fine ebony brows drawing together in a frown of censure, he breathed curtly, ‘I can see there’s no talking to you in the mood you’re in—’

‘I’m not in a mood!’ Chrissie proclaimed furiously, catching an involuntary snatch of the spicy cologne he wore, her senses reeling at the sudden flood of familiarity that made her ache and hurt as if his betrayal were as recent as yesterday. It also reminded her of hot, sweaty nights and incredible passion, a thought which instantly infuriated her.

‘I’ll return later when you’ve had time to think over what I’ve told you,’ he informed her with typical tenacity.

Chrissie bit back the admission that she would be staying at her sister’s home for several days. That was her business, not his, and she had no intention of telling him anything likely to lead to his discovery that he was not only married but also a father. That would be setting the cat among the pigeons with a vengeance, she conceded worriedly, and it was not something she was prepared to risk without knowing where she stood.

The strained silence smouldered.

‘A divorce is the only sensible option and I don’t object to paying for the privilege,’ Jaul grated between clenched teeth, out of all patience with her reluctance to discuss the issue. ‘As my wife, estranged or otherwise, you’re naturally entitled to my financial support—’

‘I want nothing from you,’ Chrissie repeated doggedly. ‘Please leave.’

Long bronzed fingers bit into the edge of the door as Jaul fought a powerful impulse to say something, anything, that would stir her into a more natural reaction. What had happened to his bright and fearless Chrissie? He glanced at her in frustration. Her eyes were blank, her delicately pointed features empty of expression. Her entire attitude spelt out the message that he was the enemy and not to be trusted.

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