Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage

Page 62

"The reversal of your separation, of course," Mr. Gordon said. He gave her a benevolent smile. "I am pleased to perform this task for you, have looked forward to doing it these many years. It's a happy day for me, your ladyship."
Mac sensed Isabella's anger boil up and over. He rose from the arm of the sofa, moved to a chair, and dropped into it, resting his feet on the tea table in front of it. Mac didn't look at Isabella, but he felt her glare scorch the space between them.
"The reversal of our separation?" she asked in a chill voice.
"Yes," Mr. Gordon said. He started to say more then he looked from Isabella to Mac and subsided.
"It only makes sense, my love." Mac rested his gaze on a painting on the opposite wall. It was a soaring landscape by Claude Lorrain that he'd bought Isabella years ago as an apology for one of his sudden departures. The incredible blue of the sky and the gray-green of the land with its Greek ruins never failed to lift joy in him, but right now they didn't calm him much. "I've been living here with you, openly and scandalously," he said. "People talk."
"Oh, do they?"
"Our servants have been gossiping like mad, taking wagers about us, so Bellamy tells me. Your neighbors observe our comings and goings. It's only a matter of time before word of our reconciliation spreads far and wide."
"Reconciliation?" Her voice could have etched glass. "What reconciliation?"
Mac finally forced himself to look at her. Isabella sat on the edge of the sofa, back straight, rigidly haughty, green eyes sparkling. She was stunning even when furious, a dream today in a dress of light and dark blue with hints of cream. Mac's fingers itched for a paintbrush, wanting to capture her just as she was, with that one beam of sunlight spilling into her lap.
"Isabella," he said. "We lived apart and in silence for three and a half years. Now we are speaking to each other, living with each other, even sharing a bed from time to time. The world will assume us no longer separated. There is no reason not to make it legal."
"Except that I wish to remain separate."
Mac's temper stirred. "Even when I'm so willing to make another go of it? A good solicitor would advise you to let me try."
Gordon, the good solicitor, kept himself occupied with his papers and pretended to be elsewhere.
"But I don't want this." Isabella's voice took on a panicked note.
"What other course can we steer, sweetheart? I've given you no grounds for divorce. I don't beat you, I don't keep a fancy lady, I haven't touched a drop of whiskey in years. I haven't abandoned you-in fact, of late I've been quite reliably at your side. We have been living as man and wife. We should become that in truth again ."
Isabella was on her feet. "Damn you, Mac Mackenzie. Why can you not leave things alone?"
Mr. Gordon made a discreet cough. "Perhaps I can return at a later date, my lord, after you have discussed this with her ladyship."
"Please do not bother, Mr. Gordon," Isabella said coldly. "I am so sorry that you were forced to witness this rather sordid scene. Please pass on my regards to Mrs. Gordon." She stormed to the door, skirts swirling like blue froth, and out into the foyer.
Gordon looked distressed, but Mac leapt to his feet and stormed right after her. "And where the devil are you going?"
"Out," Isabella said.
"Not alone, you are not."
"No, of course not. Morton, will you please send for the landau, and have Evans meet me upstairs? Thank you."
She swept up the stairs with her head high, as Gordon discreetly emerged from the drawing room, his case in his hand. Morton handed the solicitor his hat.
"Thank you, Gordon," Mac told him. "I'll write you when I have this sorted."
"Yes, my lord," came Gordon's tactful reply, and he was gone.
Upstairs a door banged. Mac planted a chair by the front door, seated himself on it, and waited.
He had no intention of letting Isabella out of the house without him; he didn't care how furious she was. He knew he'd miscalculated, moved too fast. But, damnation, she'd given him every sign of reconciliation. Last night-sweet God, last night. How he could have stayed away from the beautiful, desirable Isabella all this time, Mac had no idea. She'd become his love again, the woman to whom he'd taught every game of pleasure, the woman who'd learned her lessons well. Isabella had skills that made him hard just thinking about them.
His skilled lady sailed down the stairs the same moment Mac heard the landau pull up outside. She'd exchanged her frilly blue dress for a snug bottle-green jacket over a gray walking dress, and a hat stuck to her curls with colorful beaded hatpins.
She tugged on her gloves on her way to the door. "Please get out of my way."
"As you wish." Mac grabbed his hat from the hall tree, opened the door for her, and followed her out.
At the landau, Isabella ignored Mac's outstretched hand and let her footman help her into the carriage. The lad shot an apologetic glance at Mac, but Mac only winked at him and climbed in after Isabella. The footman slammed the door, and the landau jerked forward as Mac landed on the heavily padded seat facing Isabella.
She shot him an angry look. "Can I not have a moment to myself?"
"Not with a madman assaulting you in parks. I was not joking when I said I wouldn't let you out of my sight."

Back to Table of content

Copyright © novelfull All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © novelfull All Rights Reserved.