Cinders and Ashes
name, Sebastian.” She emphasized the
‘full’, making it clear she wanted his title, as well as his
    “ Sebastian Andrew Cavendish. Lord Torrington, Earl of
Westhaven.” He watched as Amelia studied her hands, her face
carefully blank. His gut instinct warned him she had just taken a
huge mental step backwards. Did she know of him?
    “ How did you get here?” Her voice was neutral. Carefully she
tried to hide the disappointment that was so strong it brought
tears to her eyes.
    He was indeed one of the Ton, and that made him as far out of her reach as
humanly possible. Although she had surmised by the cut and quality
of his clothing that he was, it was still hugely disappointing to
hear it from his lips.
    He most probably had a wife tucked away
somewhere , Amelia thought morosely.
Handsome and titled men like Sebastian tended to have an equally
gorgeous wife. The thought made her ache for something she couldn’t
    “ I jumped from a moving carriage,” he stated with brutal
    “ Jumped?” Her voice was incredulous and her round eyes met
    “ Yes, jumped.” His blue eyes hardened when the stark memories
of that fateful night returned. He watched a myriad of emotions
flicker across her alabaster face. Her next question came as no
surprise to him.
    “ Why?” She was indeed Ton . Intrigued, and none the wiser
to his thoughts, she leant forwards in her chair
    He certainly didn’t look like a suicidal
man , Amelia thought. Even if she did know
what one looked like, she was certain it wouldn’t be anyone looking
as roguishly handsome and relaxed as Sebastian did at that
    “ I had to jump.” Sebastian studied her stunned features for
any signs of disgust or horror, but could see nothing but blatant
curiosity and surprise. “I had to jump before I was
    “ Pushed? By whom?” The questions burst out before Amelia could
stop them. Her curiosity was piqued. She wondered who would be out
of their minds enough to want someone like Sebastian
    Sebastian mentally made a note of her eloquence. “I don’t
know for certain. Someone who employed a man to do the job for
him.” A vivid picture of Rat’s gaunt and snarling face rose in his
mind. “I have a feeling that whoever he is, he has wealth and
status. He must have enough wealth to buy someone to do his dirty
jobs for him, and enough status that he doesn’t want to directly be
involved in my murder and besmirch his good name,” Sebastian
replied, almost to himself.
    He hated
to involve her in his troubles, but given everything she had
sacrificed to look after him, felt he owed her total
    “ There is only one person I have recently come into contact
with who is vile enough to stoop to attempted murder to get what he
wants.” He paused to consider his next words carefully. “Harrington
Wilton, Lord Ballantyne. He is a dissolute gamester who has a
penchant for obtaining things. Anything. Especially things he
cannot have. He owns the estate that is near to my late uncle’s. He
had been trying to get my uncle to sell it for several years.
Lately, he had been pressuring my uncle, who had been in
increasingly poor health, into signing the property over for half
of its value.”
    “ Your late uncle?” Amelia wondered if Sebastian’s uncle’s demise was
caused by Harrington Wilton.
    “ Yes, my uncle Benedict battled constantly with ill health in
his later years. He was considerably weakened by a particularly bad
bout of influenza that he didn’t seem to be able to recover from.
Unfortunately, he died a few months ago.”
    “ I’m sorry,” Amelia murmured softly. As was her nature, she
instinctively sought to comfort him, and without thought placed her
hand on his where it lay on the sheet. She was made aware of her
instinctive action when his warm palm immediately captured hers and
held it firmly.
    Sebastian absently traced her fingers with his thumb as he
continued. “About a week ago, my

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