Reconcilable Differences. Ana Leigh
His fingers itched to brush aside the strands of jet-black hair that clung in silky tendrils to her forehead and cheeks.
Six years had not marred the patrician perfection that was Patricia Hunter, thought Agent David Cassidy.
She had those same high cheekbones, delicate jaw and full lips. And he knew that beneath those thickly tipped lashes lay the most incredibly blue eyes he’d ever looked into. Eyes that could mesmerize a man’s soul as easily as they haunted his mind.
But this no longer was the woman he had worshiped. The woman who had lain in his arms as they planned their future together—pledged their love to one another with words and their bodies. This was not the woman whose memory he’d fought unsuccessfully to exorcise from his heart.
The Trish Hunter he’d known no longer existed. The woman before him, Patricia Manning, was a stranger to him….
is a Wisconsin native with three children and five grandchildren. From the time of the publication of her first novel in 1981, Ana successfully juggled her time between her chosen career and her hobby of writing, until she officially retired in September 1994 to devote more time to her “hobby.” In the past she has been a theater cashier (who married the boss), the head of an accounting department, a corporate officer and the only female on the board of directors of an engineering firm.
This New York Times bestselling author received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award nomination for Storyteller of the Year in 1991, the BOOKRAK 1995-1996 Best Selling Author Award, the Romantic Times 1995-1996 Career Achievement Award and the Romantic Times 1996–1997 Career Achievement Award for Historical Storyteller of the Year. Her novels have been distributed worldwide, including Africa, China and Russia.
the heroine of all my novels.
Patricia Manning leaned back in her chair and stared with contempt at the man seated opposite her. The audacity of Robert Manning held no limitations. “Go to North Africa with you! You are completely insane.”
The mere sight of her husband turned her stomach, despite his suave handsomeness. Everything about Robert Manning was smooth, from the top of his three-hundred-dollar haircut to the tips of his imported Italian leather shoes.
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m busy.”
“You are so impetuous, my dear. At least listen to the proposition I have to offer before jumping to your usual hasty conclusions.”
“Save your propositions for the hookers who service you, Robert.”
His thin lips narrowed in an amused smile. “Still the same uptight, frigid princess you always were, aren’t you, Trish?”
“And you, Robert, are still the same perverted degenerate whom I can’t bear to have touch me. Now that we’ve recounted both of our ‘virtues,’ let’s not waste any more of my time. I have work to do. Good day.”
He didn’t budge when she reached for her telephone. “How badly do you want a divorce, Trish?”
What a joke that was! She paused dialing long enough to offer a contemptuous glance. “Some more of your sadism, Robert?”
“I’ll give it to you if you go with me.”
“Is this another of those cat-and-mouse games that you delight in playing, Robert?”
“I’m serious. It’s important you go with me.”
She replaced the phone in its cradle and leaned back in her chair. “Why is it so important I go with you?”
“Appearances. A lot’s at stake here.”
“Is this company business?”
“Certainly. Your father’s aware of it. He thinks it’s a good idea for you to go with me.”
“He hasn’t mentioned it to me.”
“The situation just came up.”
Trish picked up the phone and punched the quick dial to her father’s personal line. After a quick conversation with him, she hung up and once again leaned back in her chair.
“When did you want to leave?”
“If you insist.” His tone was as taunting as his smirk.
Trish still had reservations, but was so desperate to divorce him that the offer was tempting enough to make her consider. The last two years had been a nightmare. She had found out on their honeymoon what a disastrous mistake she’d made marrying him. The six months that followed the wedding were the most degrading and embarrassing ones of her life. She had not let him near her since his perverted demands on their honeymoon and had immediately returned home and moved into a separate bedroom. To get even with her, he flaunted his mistresses in public, humiliating her at every opportunity.
Trish had wanted out of the marriage from the time they’d returned, but he had refused to give her a divorce and had threatened to expose her father’s misdealings if she tried to divorce him.
To make the situation worse, her father had not denied the accusations when she confronted him with the threat; but he had told her nothing about his crimes other than that they would destroy his business and he’d end up in jail.
So she had continued to endure her marriage in name only because of her love for her father—the same reason she had forsaken her chance for happiness six years earlier. After six months, attempting to live under the same roof with Robert had become so unbearable she had moved back into her father’s house.
This could be the opportunity she had hoped for—prayed for.
“All right, Robert, I’ll agree, if you sign the divorce papers before we go.”
“How do I know you’ll keep your word if I do sign the papers?” he said.
Trish snorted. “Oh, please, Robert! We both know it’s more likely I’ll keep my word than that you would keep yours.”
“Very well. I’ll have Chandler draw them up.”
“It won’t be necessary to involve your lawyer. I had my attorney draw them up the day I moved out. All we have to do is sign and date them. We signed a prenuptial agreement before we married, we do not own any joint property, and even though you earn three or four times as much annually as I do, I am not asking for alimony. No strain or pain. Quick and painless.”
“Painless?” He clutched dramatically at his chest. “How can you say that, dear wife, when you’re breaking my heart?”