The Sheikh's Secret Babies(10)

By: Lynne Graham

He didn’t feel like Jaul any more; he had changed out of all recognition, Chrissie acknowledged numbly. He wanted a divorce; he needed a divorce. But she was still struggling to get her head around the astonishing fact that they had genuinely been married for over two years. ‘Why did your father tell me that our marriage was illegal?’

His lean, strong face tautened. ‘It was not a lie. He believed it to be illegal—’

‘But that’s not all he believed,’ Chrissie whispered. ‘He told me that you’d deliberately gone through that ceremony with me knowing it was illegal and that you could wriggle out of the commitment and walk away any time you wanted—’

‘I refuse to believe that he would ever have said or even implied anything of that nature,’ Jaul derided with an emphatic shake of his imperious dark head. ‘He was an honourable man and a caring father—’

‘Like hell he was!’ Chrissie slammed back at him in sudden fury, goaded by that provocative statement into losing all self-control. ‘I was thrown out of your apartment wearing only the clothes I was standing up in. I was treated like an illegal squatter and absolutely humiliated—’

‘These grossly disrespectful lies gain you no ground with me. I will not listen to them,’ Jaul spelt out, his beautiful, wilful mouth twisting. ‘I know you for the woman you are. My father gave you five million pounds to get out of my life and you took it and I never heard from you again—’

‘Well, admittedly I didn’t get very far at the Marwani Embassy where women claiming to be your wife, illegal or otherwise, are treated like lunatics,’ Chrissie parried flatly, declining to answer that accusation about the bank draft she had refused to use because it seemed Jaul wasn’t prepared to listen or believe anything she said in her own defence.

Chrissie could never have accepted that hateful ‘blood’ money, intended to buy her discretion and silence and dissuade her from approaching the media to sell some sleazy story about her experiences with Jaul.

Jaul set his even white teeth together. ‘I want you to leave the past where it belongs and concentrate on the important issue here...our divorce.’

Without warning, Chrissie’s eyes sparkled like gold-dusted turquoises. ‘You want a divorce to remarry, don’t you?’

‘Why I want it scarcely matters this long after the event,’ Jaul fielded drily.

‘You need my consent to get a divorce,’ Chrissie assumed, walking past him back to the front door, thinking that this time around the ball was in her court and the power hers. Jaul expected her to be understanding and helpful and give him what he wanted. But why should she be understanding? She owed him nothing!

‘Naturally...if it is to go through fast it has to be uncontested—’

‘The answer is no,’ Chrissie delivered, far from being in a cooperative frame of mind. She was bitter about the way he had treated her and stubbornly ready to make things difficult for him. ‘If we’re truly married and you now want a divorce, you’ll have to fight me for it.’

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.’

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