One Night With A Prince(4)

By: Sabrina Jeffries



“How can you be sure it’s at Stokely’s estate? He has a town house. He might even possess a special vault at a bank.”

“He would never let it that far out of his sight. Besides, his town house has only a couple of servants in residence; it would be too easy to break into. He wouldn’t take that chance.”

“Yet you think he’d take the chance of inviting you to attend his party, knowing that he has something you want that he won’t sell to you.”

“He doesn’t know that I know he has it.”

“I beg your pardon?”


“My husband told Lord Stokely that he’d received it from Papa, when in reality, Papa had given it tome, and Philip had stolen it without my knowledge. I didn’t even realize it was gone until Lord Stokely wrote to His Highness about it and the prince summoned me to London.”

“Why in God’s name would Stokely write His Highness?”

She blinked, as if realizing she’d said too much. “I-I have no idea.”

Liar. For the moment he let it pass. “And how does this tangled web concern me?”

She arched one eloquent eyebrow.

“Ah, you’ve decided I should help you steal your property back because your husband sold it to payme

.”

“If he hadn’t gambled with you—”

“—he would have gambled with someone else. Your late husband’s weakness for cards isn’t my problem, Lady Haversham.”

“I should have known a man like you would have no conscience.”

“Yes, you should have.” When she glared at him, he added, “It’s all moot, anyway. There’s only a slim chance I could help you even if I wanted to.”

“What do you mean?”

He laughed mercilessly. “Stokely only invites a certain type of person to his house party, and you’re not it.”

“Because I’m not a gambler.”

“Because you’re not a certainsort of gambler.” Gavin lit a new cigar and took a long puff. “However, I might consider retrieving your property for you—”

“No,” she said tersely. “I have to retrieve it myself.”

What the bloody hell could this mysterious property of hers be? “At least tell me what you wish to steal and why.”

She stiffened. “I can’t do that. And if you insist upon it, I shall have to ask someone else to help me.”

“Fine. If I can’t get you into that party, though, no one else can.”

An expression of sheer incredulity spread over her pretty features. “Didn’t they tell you that you’ll gain a barony out of it?”

“I’ve succeeded very well until now without one, so that’s not much of an inducement.”

“What if I said that helping me would be a service to your country?”

He laughed. “That’s even less of an inducement. What has my country ever done for me that I should put myself out for it?”

She looked exasperated. “It’s not as if it would be much trouble for you. You merely need to convince Lord Stokely to invite me to his house party. Just tell him I’m your whist partner or something.”

“Do you play whist with any competence?”

She stuck out her chin. “I can manage well enough.”

The chit was lying again. Badly. “Stokely is always my partner.” Gavin dragged hard on his cigar.

“Besides, his house party includes a very scandalous set—his friends would shock you.”

“I’m not that easy to shock. Remember, I spent many years abroad. I’ve seen more than the average Englishwoman.”

He’d wager she’d never seen anything like Stokely’s party. “All the same, it can’t be done. Stokely only invites longtime gamblers whose playing he knows.”

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