Reunited for the Billionaire's Legacy(6)

By: Jennifer Hayward

Her chin lifted another notch. “Something like that.”

He was at a true loss as to where to go with that information. All he’d ever wanted was for them to have time to devote to each other. For her to act like his true partner. But she’d never allowed it. She had refused to pull back on her grueling schedule, which had once seen her home only two days in a month as a resident, claiming it would impact her career.

“Forgive me,” he said finally, “if the whole idea of this confounds me at this particular moment.”

Her long lashes fanned over her pale cheeks. “It’s time one of us grew up, Coburn. And since that clearly isn’t going to be you with your floozy-a-week love life, I guess it has to be me.”

He absorbed the insult like a boxer taking a misguided, poorly aimed punch. “You never could get past them could you, Di? What was history never was for you.”

She opened her eyes, an amber glint firing amid a mahogany canvas. “Hard when it was thrown in my face every second minute. Why do you think I stopped attending parties with you? Who could stomach knowing that half the women in the room had had my husband?”

“You mentioned that before,” he countered, enjoying the fact he was getting to her. “A complete exaggeration I’ll tell you once again. You made me a mythological figure in your head, Di. None of it bore anything close to reality.”

“It’s hard to separate the fool’s gold from the real thing,” she scoffed. “I suppose you will have to tone it down now that you are lording it as CEO. Are you sure your ego can handle all the power?”

“It’s in fine shape,” he murmured on a low warning as he bent his head to her. “And thank you for the sincere congratulations on my promotion.”

She moistened her lips as he impaled her with his gaze. His satisfaction at how he still got to her knew no bounds. “Perhaps we should continue this discussion somewhere else? Rather than hijacking the happy occasion any more than we already have?”

“I—I don’t think that’s a good idea.” Her gaze dropped to the skin exposed by his unbuttoned shirt. “I should go anyway. I have a ton of things to do before I leave.”

He closed his hand around her slim wrist. “I disagree,” he countered in a silky-soft tone. “This is a discussion we should have had twelve months ago. Why not have it now before you run off to prove to your father you have a mind of your own?”

“And you.” The words tumbled out of her mouth before she censored herself.

He watched dismay cloud them. “Yes, Di,” he bit out. “Exactly that.”

Ebony eyes bound to blue. Emotion, something he couldn’t remember seeing in her for the last interminably painful year they’d spent together, flared in the eyes staring back at him. It made something elemental fire inside him. This was his chance to scratch beneath the surface of his wife. And although that was the last thing he should be doing the night before they ended their relationship with a resoundingly civilized divorce settlement, it was a temptation his white-hot curiosity couldn’t resist.

“We’re leaving,” he muttered, wrapping his fingers firmer around her wrist and pulling her toward the French doors.

She tugged on his arm. “You’re making a scene.”

“Not as much as we’ve made already.” He directed her toward their hosts and the happy couple to say their goodbyes. Eyes followed them as they went, sending regret lancing through him. Tonight had once again proved his wife brought out the worst in him. It was time to put an end to it once and for all—an end that had nothing to do with paperwork.


DIANA TOOK THE glass of water her husband handed to her, closing her shaky fingers tight around the tumbler so he wouldn’t see how nervous she was. The tension that had been screaming through her ever since she’d entered Coburn’s beautifully decorated bachelor pad just a couple of blocks from the party was threatening to annihilate her composure.

She walked out onto the glazed concrete terrace while Coburn found a bottle of wine. The large open space with its comfortable lounge furniture scattered throughout was easily as big as the square footage of his trendy penthouse apartment on the top floor of the Chelsea low-rise—casual elegance that reflected her husband’s free-spirited need to be outdoors as much as possible.

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