When Only Diamonds Will Do

Free When Only Diamonds Will Do by Lindsay Armstrong

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Authors: Lindsay Armstrong
it away from him. ‘It’s probably because I was able to expose all the mistakes they made over the past few years, the misjudgements—’
    ‘But I thought it was flood, fire, drought, global financial crises—’ she interrupted ‘—powdery mildew! And so on. Things you couldn’t prevent, in other words.’
    ‘They didn’t help, but there were no contingency plans in place, for one thing. Kim, look—’ he rubbed his jaw ‘—it’s how I operate. It’s by digging beneath the surface that I can accurately evaluate what I’m getting into, but it doesn’t necessarily endear me to the people on the other end of it.’
    He got up abruptly and came to stand in front of her with his hands shoved into his pockets. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I’m sorry about your father but, little though he knows it, you’ll be better off with me than—’
    ‘How can you
that?’ Kim stumbled to her feet.‘You make me feel like a…a commodity! And there’s no way you can know what my welfare depends on.’
    ‘Kim, I know exactly what ensures your welfare. I only have to kiss you to—’
    She raised her hand to slap him but he caught her wrist and pulled her into his arms.
    ‘Don’t,’ he warned softly.
    ‘Let me go,’ she said through her teeth.
    ‘No. Not until we’ve sorted something out.’
    ‘Well, sort away!’ she commanded. ‘Just don’t you dare kiss me.’ But, despite the command, tears ran down her cheeks.
    He grinned fleetingly. ‘That’s more like the girl I know. No, listen.’ He tightened his grip on her as she wriggled. ‘I’m not expecting you to leap into the marital bed in these circumstances—’ he gestured ‘—your father, I mean—unless you’d like to?’
    Kim refused to look at him but he didn’t let her go. ‘Take that as a definite no, Richardson,’ he murmured to himself. ‘Then it’ll have to be a moratorium.’
    Kim stilled and turned towards him. ‘What do you mean?’
    He lifted a sardonic eyebrow. ‘A freeze on all contentious matters. For a period of time.’
    ‘Why don’t we just separate and get a divorce?’
    ‘No, Kim.’
    She stared up at him. ‘Just—no, Kim?’
    She sagged against him. ‘I can’t believe this,’ she said, distraught.
    ‘Life does hand out some brickbats,’ he agreed.
    She opened her mouth on a sharp retort, then closed it, nearly biting her tongue in the process because, of course, it was true.
    ‘But for the time being,’ he went on, ‘while your father is so sick, we won’t make any lifestyle decisions or major changes.’
    Kim straightened and looked into his eyes. ‘Where will you stay? Bunbury? Perth?’
    He shook his head. ‘Clover Hill.’
    She gasped. ‘Have you taken possession?’ But she immediately fired another question. ‘What’s wrong with Clover—what did you have to ferret out about it before you bought it?’
    His eyes glinted and a nerve flickered in his jaw at the implied insult, but he answered evenly enough. ‘Nothing’s wrong with Clover. It was on the market because its owners are getting on and have no family to leave it to.’
    ‘So why did you buy it? Doesn’t sound like your usual modus operandi,’ she taunted.
    He let her go and smiled, a cool chiselled movement of his lips. ‘I bought Clover because you thought it was special, Kim. Goodnight.’
    He retrieved his jacket, slung it over his shoulder and strode out.

    R EITH R ICHARDSON regarded his wife and took his time about it.
    She was fairly tall, she was slim with a good figure and she was stunningly beautiful, with red-gold hair and sapphire-blue eyes. Her smooth skin was complemented by a pair of sparkling diamond earrings he had given her but was surprised to see her wearing. She usually made a point of refusing to wear any of the jewellery that came with the position of being his wife.
    Of course, as a Theron of Saldanha and the Balthazar winery, the position of being his wife was a bit of a comedown

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