The Untamed Bride(144)

By: Stephanie Laurens



A long moment passed. Alex’s eyes remained locked on the letter, on a single line. Roderick and Daniel continued to talk.

Abruptly, Alex looked up. “You used my name.”

The words resonated with accusation and incipient black fury.

Roderick looked at Alex, frowned. “Of course I mentioned you. If you recall, I was trying to persuade that bastard, Govind Holkar, to commit more deeply—men and money. We’d discussed mentioning you visiting Poona as an incentive—you knew I’d be mentioning it.”

“That’s not what I mean.” Alex bit off each word, gaze boring into Roderick. “You used my real name.”

Both Roderick and Daniel blinked. Then both froze.

In a movement redolent with rage, eyes narrowed to glittering shards, Alex tossed the letter on the table. “And just what do you think, brother-mine, will happen if our dear father is shown this letter? Even a copy of this letter?” The words were vicious, lashing, scathing as Alex’s voice rose. “You don’t think, perhaps, that he might be tempted to throw me and Daniel to the wolves to save you? To save the honor of his house?” Eyes blazing, Alex pushed upright. “Of course he will!”

Alex shouldered past Roderick and fell to pacing, a great deal more violently than Roderick had.

Daniel reached for the letter. It took him only a moment to find the relevant line. Lips tightening, he tossed the letter back on the table. Sitting back, he caught Roderick’s eye. “My name, too, brother-mine. And just when were you going to remember to tell us?”

“I didn’t know—I swear I didn’t know.” Pale, looking suddenly ill, Roderick raked a hand through his hair. He glanced at Alex, who shot him a murderous look, then he hauled in a huge breath. “We don’t need this. We need to concentrate. I was in a rush when I wrote the damned thing—remember? I didn’t even register that I’d used your real names.”

“Make no mistake,” Alex scoffed. “Our father will register that, if he’s ever shown it.”

“So we make sure he never sees the damned thing.” Roderick swung to Daniel, who was leaning back in his armchair, his face a mask. “We’ll intercept all the letters—the copies as well as the original. Chances were we would have had to do that anyway in order to seize the original.”

Roderick glanced at Alex, still pacing viciously, then looked back at Daniel. “So—Hamilton’s next.” Roderick stole another glance at Alex. “What are we going to do about him?”

“Not we. You!” Swinging around, Alex pointed a finger at Roderick. “You asked before where you might find a man to replace Larkins. His replacement, Roderick, is you!” Another jab of Alex’s finger emphasized the word. “You take on Larkins’s role, and you get those damned letters back—every copy, every last one!”

Roderick’s eyes narrowed to shards of blue ice. “All right.” Face set, he nodded. “I will.”


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