The Rings that Bind(9)

By: Michelle Smart

‘I’ve been looking on the internet and we can sort the divorce out ourselves.’

‘What are you talking about?’

‘Our divorce,’ she said evenly. ‘There’s no point in us appointing lawyers. I don’t want anything from you, and unless you want something from me—’

‘I don’t recall agreeing to any divorce,’ he cut in, the grip on his glass tightening.

She had it all figured out. She seriously thought she could tell him she wanted a divorce and then waltz off into the moonlight.

The nausea rolled up into his throat and lodged there, burning his vocal cords.

She seriously thought he would let her go.

Her warm eyes chilled and narrowed. ‘Actually, you did. When we married. Remember?’

He forced his throat to work. ‘That was eleven months ago. My feelings on the matter have changed.’ Hell could freeze over before he let her leave.

‘Well, mine haven’t. As far as I’m concerned, my feelings on divorce are the same as they were then.’ She got to her feet and stood as tall as her short, curvy frame would allow. ‘I’m sorry if my decision somehow inconveniences you—I had assumed you wouldn’t be bothered—and I’m sorry if somehow I have disappointed you, but, Nicolai, I can’t stay in this sham of a marriage for a second longer.’

Sadness rang in her eyes before she turned and headed for the door.

‘Where do you think you’re going?’

Her spine became rigid. ‘To collect my belongings. I packed earlier.’

‘And where do you intend to go? To Stephen?’

As he spoke her lover’s name the glass in his hand shattered.


ROSA VACUUMED THE last tiny shard of glass from the thick carpet.

Her hands had finally stopped shaking, but her heart still thundered painfully against her ribs.

Nico’s face...

When that glass had shattered there had been a moment when she had thought his face would crack too.

Other than the usual business talk, it seemed he had barely noticed her existence in months. He might not have cared that she had slept with someone else, but she had been a fool to hope he would give her a divorce without putting up a fight.

She should have known better. If there was one thing she knew about her husband it was that he did not like to lose. At anything.

She had known Butterfly Island would be a problem—after all, he seemed to spend the majority of their limited time together bitching about the latest unfortunate to be appointed the role of his PA—but she had put that down to his being miffed that she had refused the job. Her husband’s success and power had put him in the unfortunate position of seldom being denied anything he wanted. He had not taken her refusal to continue working for him well—had taken it as a personal slight. Which, of course, it had been—but not in the way he assumed.

By the time her contract with Baranski Mining had expired Rosa’s feelings towards him had become far too complicated for her even to consider staying on. She had fervently hoped some distance from him would settle the weird hormones unleashed by their working so closely together. It hadn’t worked. She had been left rattling round their huge home alone while he travelled the globe, rarely spending more than a couple of nights in London at any one time.

She had missed him. God help her, she had missed him.

She was wedging the vacuum back in the cupboard when Nico came out of the downstairs bathroom, where he had been washing shards of glass off his hand. Somehow the shattered glass hadn’t even nicked him. The man must be made of Teflon.

She had no idea what he had done to his hair, but even taking into account its usual messiness it was sticking up as if he’d rubbed a balloon on it.

For some reason this tugged at her.

The cool façade had definitely cracked.

His features were arranged in their usual indifference, but the pulse in his jaw was working double-time. This was the closest to angry she had ever seen him.

Closing the cupboard, she took a deep breath. ‘In answer to your question, I’m going to stay at a hotel until the lease on my flat expires.’ Thank God she’d had the foresight to grant her tenants only a short-term lease. She missed her cosy flat dreadfully. But at least in a hotel she wouldn’t be alone, and in the meantime she could start hunting for a new flatmate to share with.

If there was one thing she hated it was living alone. Marrying Nico had, at the time, been a godsend. With Stephen gone, she had been trying to find a flatmate—someone who was happy to share a home with her without wanting to spend every evening drinking wine and having girly chats.

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