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Page 117

“I need to do this,” Daniel said, out of breath.

“You have done it. He’ll not last much longer. But you have to let me finish it.”

“Why?” This was personal.

“Because I’m a policeman,” Fellows said, his feral smile worthy of any Mackenzie. “I have friends in the Sûreté. This man is running an illegal gambling house, and I’ll wager he’ll resist his arrest.”

Daniel still didn’t want to go. His blood was hot, and his temper wasn’t mitigated.

But the logical part of Daniel knew Fellows was right. If Daniel killed the man, as low a life as he was, Daniel would be arrested and tried for murder. Fellows, on the other hand, a detective chief inspector of Scotland Yard, with many friends and connections in the Sûreté, would be lauded for bringing down a criminal.

Daniel nodded, still struggling to breathe. He ached all over, though his berserker madness barely let him acknowledge it.

“Don’t let him get away,” Daniel said.

“No,” Fellows answered. “You can trust me.”

Daniel nodded again. Even more than his uncles, even more than his father, Fellows understood. He’d battled the dark for a long time.

Daniel looked down at Collard. The man’s face and head were bleeding freely, his hands swollen and broken. He looked up at Daniel in dire fear, which made Daniel feel slightly better.

Collard then threw Fellows a look of hope and calculation, which made Daniel laugh. The man had no idea what Fellows was capable of.

Laughing hurt, though, so Daniel only gave his uncle a salute and made his way out of the room. One of the policemen guided him to a back door that led out into the night.

Simon, waiting in the little lane behind the building, got Daniel into a coach. Daniel was a mess, and he was pretty sure he’d opened up the gunshot wound again, but he didn’t care.

He didn’t want to go to Violet like this, so he went to his father instead. Violet wasn’t at the hotel in any case, it turned out—she’d gone out with Ainsley and Daniel’s aunts for shopping and supper.

Cameron came down and helped Simon and the doorman get Daniel up the back stairs to Cameron’s suite.

Daniel, spent, collapsed onto a sofa. “I did it,” he said as Cameron shoved a full glass of whiskey into his hands. “I avenged her.”

“l know you did, Son,” Cameron said, and the pride in Cameron’s eyes was all Daniel needed.

The wedding of Daniel Mackenzie and Violet Devereaux took place in May at Kilmorgan Castle. No longer a castle, Kilmorgan was a giant of a Georgian-style house, stretching itself across a green expanse before a backdrop of distant mountains.

The wedding was conducted in the ballroom. The entire house streamed with white ribbons, lily of the valley, pink and white roses, and blue forget-me-nots. Violet’s gown had a close-fitting creamy silk bodice beaded with mother-of-pearl and a smattering of real diamonds, and sleeves of fine lace. A silk skirt, decorated with more lace, flowed gracefully from her waist. She wore a veil, sheer gauze suspended from a crown of roses and forget-me-nots. The entire ensemble was stunning—Violet gazed at herself in the mirror after the Mackenzie ladies and daughters dressed her and scarcely recognized herself.

So many things had happened between her finding Daniel shot in the kitchen in Montmartre and Violet standing at the end of the crowded ballroom, guests turning expectantly as she walked in on Cameron’s arm.

They’d won the uphill race at Nice in Daniel’s newly repaired motorcar, Violet driving it to victory. They’d returned to Berkshire, where Cameron and Daniel threw themselves into training the horses, and Violet became swept up in that as well. She traveled with the family to the opening race in Newmarket and realized that this was the first of many times she’d come here with the Mackenzies. This was part of Daniel’s life, and now she was part of it too.

Then they’d gone to Kilmorgan, where Violet had stood a full minute after she stepped out of the carriage to stare at the vast house in shock. She’d learned quickly, though, that the large place warmed when filled with the entire family, ten children, and six dogs.

Daniel would not talk about how he’d injured himself again in Paris, why his hands were a skinned mess and his chest had to be restitched. Only once did Daniel mention where he’d gone to get into such a state, and that was on the train after Nice and the hill race.

“This chap with the red beard,” he’d mentioned casually as he and Violet sat alone in a first-class compartment. “You’ll never have to worry about him again. I hear he’s dead.”

“Dead.” Everything around Violet seemed to stop, despite the train rushing onward.

Daniel leaned back in the seat, as casual as ever, a glass of his favorite whiskey in his hand. “Apparently he ran illegal roulette rooms in Paris. His other crimes included usury and extortion, plus involvement in a few murders of gentlemen who couldn’t pay him back. He got himself killed while resisting arrest, I heard. I had this from my uncle Fellows, who was there.”

Daniel was lying to her. Blatantly and glibly. He was aware Violet knew he was lying, and he didn’t care.

The red-bearded man was gone. No matter how it had happened, the result was the same.

Violet wasn’t certain what she felt—relief, triumph? Nothing. Or maybe something. But she was numb.

It was over. Daniel had made certain of it, whatever he’d done. For her.

Violet kissed him softly, lifted his glass of whiskey and took a sip herself, then snuggled down onto his shoulder.

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