The Most to Lose

The Most to Lose by Laura Landon Page B

Book: The Most to Lose by Laura Landon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Laura Landon
Tags: Fiction, Literary, General, Romance
thought. There was no way he’d give Cecelia into that murderer’s hands. But if Haywood thought there was a chance…
    Hadleigh outlined every possibility, considered every detail that could go wrong. In the end, though, Haywood’s total demise outweighed any risk he would take. Only Cecelia’s involvement gave him the slightest pause.
    He suffered a twinge of guilt at the thought that she might discover how he’d used her. But she was the perfect pawn. Haywood had already made his intentions known. And for some reason he didn’t understand, his sister hadn’t rejected Haywood as quickly as she rejected other suitors. But she would. If he weren’t so sure she would tire of Haywood, he wouldn’t consider using her in his plan for revenge.
    But in the meantime, he’d watch over her to make sure she didn’t get hurt. When she discovered Haywood only wanted her for her dowry, she’d thank him for interfering in her future. She’d be grateful that he’d saved her from ruining her life. She’d agree that Melisande’s murderer needed to be destroyed.

Chapter 7

    D o you think Lord Haywood will be here tonight?” Amanda asked when Celie met her amidst the crowd of operagoers. The crush of people moved slowly as they began their ascent up the winding staircase to take their seats in the upper boxes.
    “Yes, he’ll be here because I told him we were going to attend tonight.”
    “That doesn’t mean you’ll see him or get to talk to him,” Amanda said, searching the latecomers walking through the entryway with the same diligence as Celie.
    “Yes, it does. I’ve invited Lord Haywood to join us in Hadleigh’s box.”
    The shocked look on Amanda’s face caused the butterflies in Celie’s stomach to flutter nervously.
    Before she could say anything in her defense, Amanda’s expression turned serious. She none too gently grabbed Celie’s arm and led her to one of the alcoves tucked into the wall at either end of the long hallway beneath the stairway. “You didn’t!” she said, pulling Celie down beside her on the paisley-cushioned bench. “Does your brother know?”
    “No, and unless you tell him, he’ll probably never find out.” Celie smiled nervously. “He had an important committee meeting to attend and said he wouldn’t be able to make it to tonight’s performance.”
    “You don’t think he’ll hear about it?” Amanda asked.
    Celie tried to ignore the frustration she heard in her friend’s voice. “Of course he’ll hear about it. But by the time he does, it will be over and there won’t be anything he can do about it.”
    Amanda gave a loud guffaw. “You know your brother better than that, Celie. It will never be too late for him to react to something the Earl of Haywood does. And this is definitely something that will cause him to take action.”
    Celie tried to watch for Haywood, but Amanda had the view blocked.
    “Is he here yet?” Celie asked, feeling a little more nervous than she had earlier in the day when she’d convinced herself she was finished allowing her brother to control where she went and who she saw.
    Now she wasn’t so sure this was the wisest move she could have made. Especially after the argument they’d had earlier and Hadleigh’s demand that she avoid the Earl of Haywood.
    Amanda looked at the entrance as the door opened and closed to admit any newcomers. “Not yet. But if he intends to come, he’ll be here soon, or he’ll miss the first act.”
    “He’ll be here. He sent a note saying he would.”
    “You’re pretty sure of him, aren’t you?”
    “I have no reason not to be,” she answered. She was sure of him, in more ways than even Amanda realized.
    “The two of you are causing quite a stir, you know. Not only because of the long time the two of you spent alone in Lady Cushing’s garden the other night, but you’ve been seen riding through Hyde Park together nearly every afternoon since. Then, last night, everyone noticed he chose you as his

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