Authors: Janet Woods
Tags: #Contemporary Romantic Comedy
‘Shall I just pay it? We can decide which of your furniture suits and which doesn’t at the appropriate time.’
She might be prepared to negotiate when the time came,
she thought, indicating the fact by saying, ‘Anything is possible.’
‘There will have to be give and take on both sides if we’re to resolve our differences,’ he said firmly. ‘Otherwise we’re just being stubborn for the sake of it.’
`‘About the land,’ she said cagily. ‘We might as well leave things as they are if the house is going to be in joint names. It would be pretty messy if we went to court ... and the only one to profit would be your lawyer. If you don’t mind me saying so, he seems a bit slip-shod if he allowed the mistake to occur in the first place. You should demand he pay back the settlement fee he charged you.’
Leon’s smile would have eclipsed the sun. ‘He’ll do it properly the second time, and it will be free of charge. I would have won any case, anyway.’
‘Now who’s being stubborn?” she said with a frown. ‘The most you would have won was half.‘
‘An independent valuation would have been done, and the judge would probably have awarded me some of my money back.’
She began to do a slow burn. So much for meeting her halfway. ‘Have you heard of
she said sweetly.
‘Buyer beware? Okay, you’ve made a good point, but the mistake was made in the titles office.‘
‘But my father only intended to sell half the land, as Colin will testify, and you’ll be obliged to tear up that house pad and restore my home to its former condition. If that’s what you want to do you can have
of your money back once my father’s estate is sorted out. I don’t want anything I’m not entitled to have.’
‘I’m keeping the land,’ he said, his voice firm. ‘My home is going on it and my family will be raised there.’
‘Then why are you arguing?’ she yelled. ‘I’ve already agreed it will be in joint names.‘
‘You’re the one who’s arguing. You’re the most illogical woman I’ve ever met.’
‘Then why did you want to marry me? You could have married Helen if you hadn’t of been so arrogant. All you had to do was go after her.’
He stared at her for a few seconds, then his mouth inched into a reluctant smile. ‘That prenuptial agreement I signed sets it all out for you. I want to remind you at this point that everything I offered you is written down.’
‘Damn you, Leon, don’t start that again. I told you. I’m not signing any prenuptial agreement.’ She stared at him, thinking miserably. All she wanted was for him to tell her he loved her, and then the marriage would be perfect.
‘I must insist you sign it, Darcie.‘
‘Insist all you want.’ Feeling unsettled she rose to her feet and headed for the door. As we’re already married anyway, it’s now rendered null and void.
‘Not in my book. Where are you going at this time of night?’
‘To fetch that agreement and tear it into a million pieces.’
‘You’d better read it properly,’ he called after her. ‘You might miss out on something to your advantage.’
‘Like the crown jewels or a ticket to Disneyland?’ She turned and scowled at him. ‘I told you, Leon, stop trying to buy me. Nothing on earth will make me sign that agreement because I have no intention of leaving you, not ever! I love you and I’m going to keep you, so you’d better get used to being faithful to one woman. And when that Sarah woman arrives I’m going to tell her where to get off! I hope she knows you’re married.’
His mouth dropped open a fraction. ‘Sarah ... ?’
‘That simpering floozy who’s coming from England to see you, the one who sent that postcard you
to tell me about. The Sarah you kept asking for when you were unconscious, the Sarah you said you loved.’
‘Simpering floozy. Sarah? I said I loved her?’ If possible, his mouth dropped open even more as he thought. Of course he loved Sarah. She was almost a mother ... No, she was his mother to all intents and purposes. He’d tell her so when she arrived. It couldn’t be that hard to say what’s in his heart ... and he wouldn’t die from making a fool of myself.
He grinned like an idiot when Darcie stamped her foot on the floor, and smiled even more when she flung at him. ‘It’s not funny. Don’t think you’re tampering with my affections, Leon Price.’
Slamming the door behind her, Darcie rushed out into a howling gust of wind-driven rain that nearly sucked the breath out of her lungs.
It was a case of instant freeze, but be damned if she was going back for a coat. She’d rather die of cold than lose face now …
Darcie’s teeth were chattering when she fished the prenuptial agreement out of her desk. About to tear it in half, she wondered what Leon had considered she might be worth when he wrote it.
She slipped it from the envelope and carefully unfolded it. It wasn’t even typed, just written in his neat sloping handwriting.
Darcie, I fell in love with you at first sight, and in a way that made everything else in this world seem superficial. I’ve told myself that I might have to let you go - and I will if this is what you want. Whether you read this or not, if you marry me I’ll know it’s only because you love me. I’ve realized that there’s a time to love. This is my time. I offer you something you’ve already stolen from me. My heart. This is the only thing I can think of that you might consider of true value. I hope it will mean something to you.
Damn you, Leon Price,’ she whispered, knowing she’d curl up and die rather than leave him now. ‘You’re as tricky as a cage full of monkeys, but there’s still something we need to sort out.‘
By the time she got back to the chalet she was soaked through to the skin, her hair was a wet slick against her head and she was racked with shivers.
Leon gave her a lazy smile. ‘We’d better get you out of those clothes before you catch a cold. Is everything all right?’
‘Everything is perfect.’ Her teeth sounded like Spanish castanets in full clack as she beamed a smile at him. ‘Well almost.’ She waved the agreement in the air. ‘I want this framed, and I want to know about Sarah. You’re not removing one stitch of my clothing until you tell me?’
His eyes gleamed with amusement. ‘Trust me, Darcie. Sarah is the only other women in my life. She’ll be arriving at the end of the week. Let me surprise you.’
She had nothing to lose, she realized, everything inside her jiggling with excitement as if she’d won first prize in the state lottery. He’s mine, heart, soul and ... body. He loves me!
With only a tiny show of reluctance she allowed him to peel the wet clothes from her and wrap her in a blanket.
His eyes were soft and loving, his lips a graze against her ear as he whispered, ‘I adore you, and that’s the first time I’ve ever wanted to say that to anybody.’
Shoving Wee Georgie off the couch, he cuddled her against him whilst the fire warmed her through, and told her how much he loved her.
She wanted to cry and laugh at the same time, but didn’t get the chance to do either because he kissed her again and told her to shut up - and it would be better if he demonstrated exactly how much he loved her.
Then she said something like, perhaps they should have a baby.
Leon thought it might be a good idea because, as he put it - it would give them something in common beside the land and sex. He said he’d like a boy first. He’d read an article - which was in his briefcase - on how the gender objective could be achieved, and should he get it?
To which she answered that she was two weeks overdue, and had felt queasy that morning so he’d have to take pot luck - and would the house be finished in time? After all, they didn’t want to bring their baby up in hotel.
After he’d recovered from his shock, he said. ‘Will it be all right to ...?
So he swept her up in his arms and carried her off to the bedroom with a grin a mile wide on his face.
The couch was claimed by Wee Georgie when he came out from the kitchen to stretch blissfully along its length, allowing the heat from the fire to warm his belly.
It wasn’t often they forgot to shut the kitchen door, but when they did it was an unexpected bonus.
He lifted his head slightly when he heard his mistress give a tiny yelp, and growled deep in his throat. It was his responsibility to check it out, even if she was with the master.
Silently, he padded toward the room they were in and pushed the door ajar with his nose.
They were wrestling, rolling around like they did with him on the lawn sometimes - something they all enjoyed as a pack.
Backing up a few paces, Georgie slanted his head to one side, grinned, huffed a couple of times and launched himself at the bed ...
Originally published by New Concepts
Revised © 2013 by Janet Woods
Electronically published in 2013 by Belgrave House
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This is a work of fiction. All names in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to any person living or dead is coincidental.