Chase closed the door. “You almost got away with it, did you not?”

“Got away with what?” Leah inquired.

“You almost buried Adrian’s shameful secret so deep no one would've ever discovered it. What were your plans for the boy?”

“Certainly not what you’re implying. I kept Edwin’s existence a secret because Adrian begged me to.”

“Do not blame this on my dead brother. You kept that child away from his family for your own selfish reasons. Adrian would’ve never considered hiding his son if his beloved fiancée had not issued an ultimatum.”

“The only request I made to Adrian was that he not abandon his child. I certainly never threatened him. Yes, I kept Edwin from his family, but my intentions were not what you think. I never meant to cause anyone pain. Especially your grandmother.”

“Save your worthless excuses for the next eager gentleman who knows nothing of your character. I came back for one reason only.” His hot gaze flicked over her. “Where can I find Maria Santiago?”

“Surely you don’t intend to contact Edwin’s mother.”

“That is none of your concern. Do you know where I can find the woman or not?”

“No. I have no idea what’s become of her.” Heat rose up Leah’s neck. “It’s the truth.”

“It had better be.” He turned to go but changed his mind. “And one more thing.” His eyes narrowed. “You, Miss Sheridan, are no longer welcome at Chase Manor. Edwin is not now nor will he ever again be your responsibility. Do not speak of him or ask about him. Do not send messages. And if you value your friendship with Lady Ashburn, do not ask her to check on the boy. Have I made myself clear?”


“I will get to the bottom of those letters. While you may not be Edwin’s mother, you are certainly not an innocent bystander. Edwin appears to be fond of you, but he’s a child incapable of proper judgment. Within a few weeks, he’ll forget you entirely. In fact, I’m counting on it.”

“You have everything figured out, do you not? I am the villain...the cause of your brother’s death. We both know Adrian’s accident would not have occurred if not for me. I’ve already assumed the blame, but that isn’t enough, is it?”

“If you hope to elicit sympathy--”

“You’ve had your say,” Leah snapped. “Now I’ll have mine.” She balled her fists to keep her hands from trembling. “How bloody dare you! You’ve called me a liar and a strumpet. Yes, I’m guilty of making poor decisions, beginning and ending with Adrian, but you were determined to despise me from the very moment we met. Perhaps because your own guilt presses upon your conscience?”

“Miss Sheridan--”

“Kindly shut up, your Grace, and let me finish. Hear this and hear it well. My period of mourning is over. With the numerous balls this time of year, my dance card should be overflowing.”

His mouth opened.

Leah cut him off. “I still mourn for Adrian, but I’m no longer obligated to his memory. And if I never see your arrogant face again, rest assured I will lose no sleep over it.” She crossed her arms. “You may leave now, your Grace, for you are no longer welcome at Greyson Manor.”



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Available October 2013

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