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.“I think I will.”Cassie shot an arm out to detain Sedrick.“Really, Sedrick, is that necessary? Maybe you need to let Shiloh handle her own business.”He removed Cassie’s hand from his arm.“And maybe you need to attend to your own business.”Shiloh saw the hurt flash in Cassie’s eyes before she walked off.She spoke up and said, “Cassie’s right.Caden is my business, Sedrick, and I’ll handle him.And did you have to be so rude to Cassie just now? What in the world is wrong with you? You haven’t been yourself since you arrived here tonight.I think you owe Cassie an apology.”He frowned.“Just like you claim Caden is your business, Cassie is mine.You handle yours, and I’ll handle mine.” He then walked off.Shiloh drew in a deep breath.What in the world was wrong with Sedrick? He’d arrived in a surly mood, and it had gotten worse after he’d spent some time with the Greenes.Tonight, Shiloh hadn’t been able to help but notice that all the influential families who had ostracized Caden and his brothers years ago had been falling all over themselves tonight, smiling, shaking his hand and asking for his autograph.Except for the Greenes.It seemed they had deliberately avoided him.Why? Even when Ivan had arrived, he’d appeared to be put out to see Caden here.The man who wanted to be mayor had made his rounds, shaking hands with almost everyone present, except for Caden.Shiloh wondered whether Caden had noticed the Greenes’ avoidance of him tonight.Knowing Caden the way she did, Shiloh knew that if he had noticed, he probably didn’t care.“Time for us to call it a night,” Valerie said, coming up behind her and interrupting her thoughts.Whenever Valerie came into town alone she stayed with Shiloh, but whenever Jack came with her, Valerie preferred staying at the Fairgate, a hotel known for its romantic setting.The hotel was built so each and every room had a beautiful view of the mountains.On top of that, each hotel room was really a large suite with a fireplace and huge garden tub.“Thanks for staying as long as you did,” she said, giving Valerie a hug.“I couldn’t have done this without you.”“Hmm, it seems that some of us plan to stay even longer.”Shiloh knew she was referring to Caden.Obviously, Sedrick hadn’t been the only one to notice.“Yes, I saw you over there mingling with the enemy,” Shiloh said, looking pointedly at her friend.Valerie chuckled.“Caden might be your enemy, but he isn’t mine.I admit I was a little put out with him about the way he’d been treating you.But that was before you told me what your father had done.I still don’t agree with the things Caden might have done and said, but now I understand why he did them.That was pretty low of your father.To think a father would go to that extreme to keep a man away from his daughter only makes me wonder why.”“I know why,” Shiloh said, putting down her wineglass and glancing across the room to where Caden was talking to Jack.“Dad disliked the Grangers.For some reason, my parents, especially my father, seemed to take Sylvia Granger’s murder personally.Not only did they want Sheppard Granger to pay for that sin, but they wanted his sons to pay for it, as well.”“That’s a lot of hatred, Shiloh.Have you ever wondered why?”When Shiloh didn’t say anything, Valerie pressed on.“Samuel Timmons is dead, yet you’re still letting him win.He always wanted you and Caden apart, and he’s getting just what he wanted.” Changing the subject, she said, “Good night, Shiloh.Jack and I fly out early in the morning.I’ll call you sometime tomorrow to let you know we made it back home safely.”Shiloh watched as Valerie crossed the room to where Jack and Caden stood.She slid her arm into Jack’s, leaning up to kiss Caden on the cheek before pulling Jack toward the exit.It was then that Caden glanced over at her.She had deliberately avoided him all night, and the one time he had approached her when she’d been chatting with the Owenses, she had walked off.Later, Nannette had approached her, putting her on the spot by insisting that she consider Caden for this year’s entertainment at the ball.Shiloh agreed he would be a huge draw, but the thought of working with him on any project was too much for her to think about.She glanced around and realized that everyone had left—everyone except her, Caden and the catering staff.When had Sedrick and Cassie left? She was surprised her brother hadn’t hung around long enough to make sure Caden wasn’t the last one to leave.Her brother’s behavior tonight was now more confusing than ever.She drew in a steady breath when Caden began walking toward her.She wished he didn’t look so darned good.His appearance had definitely been appreciated by some and resented by a few.Her thoughts shifted again to the Greenes, but not for long as Caden came to a stop in front of her.“You had a nice turnout, Shiloh.”She tilted her head back to look up at him.“Why did you come here tonight, Caden?”He held her stare, shoving his hands into his pockets.“And why wouldn’t I come?”“You know the answer to that and, frankly, I don’t want to go over it again.”A smile touched his lips.“Good because, frankly, I don’t want you to go over it again, either.I know how you feel.”She shook her head.“No, you don’t.If you did, you wouldn’t be here.”He took a step closer.“Because I do know how you feel.That’s why I am here.”She frowned, thinking what he said didn’t make sense.“Everyone has left.The party is over, so you can leave now.”“Before I go, there’s something I’d like to ask you about.”“What?”“Not here.” The caterers were breaking things down, and they were in the way.She had a feeling that whatever he wanted to ask her he wanted to ask in private.A part of her knew she should tell him that he didn’t have a right to ask her anything, but another part of her was curious about what he wanted to know.Besides, there was something she needed to ask him, as well.Something Valerie now had her pondering.“Fine.We can talk privately out in the courtyard [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]