Simply Irresistible

Simply Irresistible by Kate Pearce

Book: Simply Irresistible by Kate Pearce Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kate Pearce
Lord B—cham in the summer was tragic enough, but now legal documents have been discovered by this newspaper showing that just before his untimely demise, Lord B was not in the West Indies as claimed , but in Scotland , where he spent six weeks consorting with a lady who was not his wife . When Lady B discovered her husband with Mrs. C. W. she immediately petitioned for a Scottish divorce . Lord B returned to the West Indies with his lover and did not live long to enjoy his adulterous liaison—perhaps a timely message to all such breakers of the bonds of Holy Matrimony.”
    Abby raised her head and stared at her enraged mother-in-law. “I have no idea what this means. I certainly didn’t—”
    â€œI have no wish to listen to your excuses, Abigail,” the dowager said coldly. “I just hope you are able to explain to your son one day why you branded his sainted dead father an adulterer .”
    â€œI didn’t—”
    Helplessly, Abby watched her mother-in-law sweep out of the room, her head held high. She picked up the paper and reread the section about James and the divorce, and it still made no sense. She sat for a long while staring into space until she became aware of masculine voices in the hallway and the manic barking of the dogs.
    The door burst open and Peter appeared with Valentin. Peter shoved his friend in front of Abby and shut the door. His normal calm manner was absent and his blue eyes glittered with rage.
    â€œTell her what you’ve done.”
    Valentin bowed and removed his hat and gloves. “Good afternoon, Abigail. Are you well?”
    â€œI don’t know, Valentin. What have you done?”
    â€œHe’s bloody well interfered again, that’s what he’s done. I—” Peter started, and Val held up his hand.
    â€œI am quite willing to explain myself if you will permit, Peter?”
    â€œWell, get on with it. You’ve told me twice, and I still don’t understand it.”
    Val took a seat opposite Abby and smiled at her. “I have something for you.” He took a packet of documents from his coat pocket. “These are all documents relating to your successful divorce petition against James.”
    â€œBut James is dead.”
    â€œAbigail, I know he isn’t,” Val said gently. “I saw him at the inn.”
    She absorbed that blow without blinking. “And what did you do then?”
    â€œI persuaded him and Mr. Hodges to accompany me to Scotland.”
    Abby started to speak, and he held up his hand.
    â€œPerhaps you might allow me to explain from the beginning? If you recall, James wrote to me several months ago and asked my advice about legally separating from you. I gave him the information about the English legal system that I had available, and he was most unimpressed. Later it came to my notice that there might be another way to secure a divorce for you, so I set . . . certain things in motion.”
    Abby stared at him. “What things?”
    â€œUnder Scottish law, it is possible for a woman to divorce her husband on the grounds of his adultery. He has to be witnessed living in sin with another woman for at least six weeks in Scotland to establish residency. At that point, if he is discovered by his wife, she has grounds for divorce.”
    â€œSo you somehow instigated proceedings in Scotland without mentioning it to me, Peter, or James?”
    Valentin offered her an innocent smile. “I thought it would be simpler if you didn’t know anything about it.”
    â€œWhat exactly did you do?”
    â€œI found a man who resembled James and a beautiful actress from the London stage and sent them off to live at Gretna Green for the required six weeks. I then hired a woman who looked like you, Abigail, to find them in bed together in front of witnesses.”
    Peter snorted and took the seat next to Abby. “Wait, it gets better.”
    Val gave him a severe look. “When

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