The Most to Lose

The Most to Lose by Laura Landon

Book: The Most to Lose by Laura Landon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Laura Landon
Tags: Fiction, Literary, General, Romance
hell alone,” he growled. “I don’t want you anywhere near her.”
    “I’m sure you don’t.” He paused. “Unfortunately, your sister has indicated she doesn’t feel the same way you do.”
    “I don’t care what you think she’s indicated. I don’t want you near her.”
    “If you feel so strongly about this, perhaps it’s your sister you should be talking to.”
    “Damn you!”
    Jonah couldn’t help but laugh out loud. “It must be terrible to have a sister as strong willed as you are. I imagine you find her nearly impossible to control.”
    “I’m warning you, Haywood—”
    Jonah slashed his hand through the air. “Enough! You’re done warning me. And I’m done listening to you. You’ve done your worst. There’s nothing more you can do to me.”
    Hadleigh glared at him for several long, silent moments, then sucked in an angry breath. “You’re doing this on purpose, aren’t you? You’re using my sister against me, trying to take Cecelia away from me just like you took Melisande.”
    A rage more intense than Jonah could control pummeled him from every side, and he threw his glass into the flickering fireplace. Glass shattered against the stones, and the whiskey flashed into wild, violent flames. “You fool! You were always blind where Melisande was concerned and still are!” Jonah glared at his enemy. “Taking your sister away from you would be fitting, though, wouldn’t it? Courting her, then marrying her. There would be a certain amount of justice in repaying you for what you did to me three years ago.”
    Hadleigh’s face reddened. “You’ll never marry her. I’ll never allow it!”
    Jonah smiled. He couldn’t help himself. “I hear Lady Cecelia comes with an amazing dowry.”
    “Then you hear wrong. My sister only comes with an amazing dowry if I approve of the man she marries. If I don’t give my stamp of approval, she comes with nothing. Nothing ! Do you hear?”
    Jonah walked to the window and stared out into the ebony darkness beyond. “That does pose a problem, then, doesn’t it, Your Grace? The question becomes what I consider more important. Marrying someone who will come with a massive enough dowry to pay my father’s debts and save Haywood Abbey? Or sacrificing Haywood Abbey to marry Lady Cecelia? But one never knows. I might consider taking your sister from you repayment enough for what you did to me three years ago.”
    “What I did to you ?”
    Jonah spun from the window and faced Hadleigh. “Yes, what you did to me! You made me an outcast in society. You left me with no choice but to leave England because I was no longer welcome here. Because of you, I was gone when my father and brother died. Now, it’s possible for you to get a small taste of my revenge.” He paused to let Hadleigh realize the strength of his anger. “What would you do, Your Grace? What decision would you make if you were in my shoes?”
    “Damn you, Haywood!”
    “You’ve damned me enough, Your Grace. You’ve ruined enough of my life. It’s time you realize what it was like to have all the choices taken from me, to have the power to do nothing except react to what your enemies do to you. I have spent every day since I returned trying to repair the damage you caused me and my reputation.”
    The two adversaries stared at each other for several tension-filled moments. Hadleigh’s angry glare held countless unspoken threats that would have frightened anyone else to death. But Jonah knew him too well. He’d already lived through the worst his enemy could do to him. He’d never yield to his dominance or his threats again.
    “Was there anything else you wanted to discuss with me?” Jonah asked, making sure his voice held a note of disinterest. “If not—”
    “This isn’t finished, Haywood. You haven’t heard the last from me.”
    “Another threat, Your Grace? What more do I have for you to take?”
    Another long silence stretched between them. Jonah refused to be the first to

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