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The Cardros Ruby

Shannon Donnelly


Published by Shannon Donnelly at Smashwords.com

Copyright 2011 Shannon Donnelly

Discover other works by Shannon Donnelly at Smashwords.com



This one is for Wendy—for reading it first, believing and helping. And to the Golden Heart finalists with me the year we celebrated.



Special thanks to Sam Palahnuk for the cover,
and to Debra Mullins, Julie Rief and all the early readers.







CHAPTER ONE

Des Cardros was tempted to toss a coin—would his brother shoot him on sight, or simply toss him out of the ancestral home? Of course, much of Ian’s response would depend on if their mother was also present. But five years ago he’d learned just how little he could trust his own brother. It was not a lesson he would forget. Nor one he intended to forgive.

Which was why he was coming home with revenge rattling in his mind, and tucked into his pocket.

The carriage rocked as a wheel stuck in the mud of the road and pulled loose again. Cardros winced and pressed a hand over his injured hip. If the vehicle had ever had any springs, they had long ago worn themselves into oblivion, along with whatever padding had once lain under the thin leather upholstery. The coach at least allowed room enough to stretch his legs, and room enough that Charles, his manservant, could sit next to him, facing forward.

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