A Deal with Di Capua(6)

By: Cathy Williams

“Are we ever destined to get to the point, Foreman?”

“The point is that the cottage was your wife’s prized possession, Mr Di Capua. She found refuge there.”

“Refuge from what?” Rosie interjected. She glanced across to Angelo’s hard, uncompromising profile and saw him flush darkly.

“We’re not here to discuss the state of my marriage,” Angelo bit out, meeting her puzzled stare with ice-cold eyes. “So she went a lot to the cottage.” He dragged his eyes away from her face. Hell, how was it that she could claw a reaction out of him? Was it possible that only this burning hatred could find a response in him?

“And the cottage belonged to her. In its entirety. Along with the acreage surrounding it. You recall, Mr Di Capua, she insisted shortly after you were married that you give it to her so that she could feel secure there and could be certain that it would never be taken away.”

“I recall,” Angelo said abruptly. “I agreed because I owned the estate alongside it. I could keep an eye on her.”

“Keep an eye on her? Why would you want to do that, Angelo?”

“Because.” Once again he looked at her. Once again he felt that surge of blistering, chaotic emotion which was a damn sight more than he had felt for the past few years. For as long as he could remember he had been completely dead inside. “Amanda had a problem with alcohol. She fancied the cottage because she wanted peace and quiet. On the other hand, with her fondness for the bottle, I couldn’t let her stay there without some form of supervision. She was unaware that I owned the estate abutting the cottage. I always made sure that one of my people was around to check on her now and again.”

“I can’t believe she started drinking. She was always so sure she wouldn’t go down that road.”

“Is that your convoluted way of asking me whether I drove her to drink?”

“Of course not!”

“Because you’re not sitting here at my request. Nor are you entitled to any explanations or niceties from me. You burned your bridges three years ago and lost the right to have a voice, as far as I am concerned.”

Rosie flushed bright red. She forgot that they both had an audience. The only person she was aware of was Angelo, looking at her with deep, dark hostility.

“You forget that I don’t even want to be here. Why should I? Why would I want to spend more time than absolutely necessary in your company?”

James Foreman cleared his throat and Angelo was the first to break the stranglehold of their stares.

“The cottage,” he said curtly. “Cut to the chase, man, and get on with it.”

“She left the cottage to you, Miss Tom.”

“Don’t be ridiculous!” Angelo cut in before Rosie had had time to assimilate what had been said to her. He placed both hands squarely on the table and leant forward, his body language bristling with intimidation, and the lawyer looked back at him with an apologetic smile.

“It’s all above board, Mr Di Capua. Amanda left the cottage to her friend.”

“Why on earth would she do that?” Rosie asked in bewilderment.

“Before you start getting any ideas,” Angelo gritted, looking at her, “over my dead body will you so much as put a foot over the threshold of that place.” He sat back and turned to stare at the lawyer who, for someone round-faced and sheepishly polite, was doing a good job of not being in the slightest bit cowed by a toweringly angry Angelo. A lesser man would have run for the hills at this point.

“I’m very much afraid that there’s very little you can do to prevent Miss Tom from accepting what has been willed to her,” James Foreman said, in the same apologetic voice. He looked at her with kindly eyes. “Whatever happened between you, my dear, there were regrets.”

“I wouldn’t dream of accepting anything Amanda may have left to me, Mr Foreman.”

“Well, hallelujah!” Angelo flung his hands up in a gesture of pure satisfaction, success rightfully accepted as his due. “So for once, we’re singing from the same song sheet. Now that this little charade is over, perhaps you two can get together and work out the paperwork to ensure that Miss Tom relinquishes whatever dodgy hold she may think she has on my property—which, in point of fact, will be a matter of necessity because I intend to develop it within the year. Now, if that’s all?”

“You always wanted to go into the catering business—am I right, Miss Tom?”

Rosie nodded dumbly. She felt as though she had been taken on a rollercoaster ride. Her thoughts were all over the place. Every part of her body was in a state of shock. All over again, and to her dismay, she was realising how powerfully Angelo Di Capua still affected her, despite her deep loathing of him.