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And Then She Fell by Stephanie Laurens Read Online (FREE)

And Then She Fell Read Online Free

Read And Then She Fell (Cynster, #20) by Stephanie Laurens online for free here.

Chapter One


April 1837


It was time to dress for what was sure to prove a trying evening. As she climbed the stairs of her parents’ house in Upper Brook Street, Henrietta Cynster mentally rehearsed the news she would have to impart to her friend Melinda Wentworth when they met as arranged at Lady Montague’s ball.

Henrietta sighed. Reaching her bedroom door, she opened it and halted on the threshold, arrested by the sight of her younger sister, Mary, riffling through the jewelry box on Henrietta’s dressing table.

Mary acknowledged Henrietta’s arrival with a flick of her eyes and continued pawing through the jumble of chains, earrings, brooches, and beads.

Movement drew Henrietta’s attention to the armoire beside her bed. Her maid, Hannah, was lifting out Henrietta’s new royal-blue ball gown, simultaneously shooting disapproving glances at Mary’s slender back.

Stepping inside, Henrietta shut the door. Like her, Mary was still in her day gown and hadn’t yet changed. Curious, she studied Mary’s intent expression; the baby of the family, Mary had the single-minded focus of a terrier when it came to anything she wanted. “What are you looking for?”

Mary threw her an impatient glance. Shutting one drawer, she reached for the last, the bottom drawer in the box. “The—aha!” Inserting, then withdrawing, her fingers, Mary’s face transformed as she held up her find, suspending it between the fingers of both hands. “I was looking for this.”

Eyeing the necklace of fine gold links interspersed with polished amethyst beads from which a faceted rose-quartz crystal hung, then noting that Mary’s expression now held the satisfaction of a general who’d just learned his troops had captured a vital enemy position, Henrietta waved dismissively. “It’s never done anything for me. You’re welcome to have it.”

Mary’s vivid blue eyes swung to Henrietta’s face. “I wasn’t looking for it for me.” Mary held out the necklace. “You have to wear it.”

The necklace had been gifted to the Cynster girls by a Scottish deity, The Lady, and was supposedly a charm to assist the wearer in finding her true hero, the man by whose side she would live in wedded bliss for the rest of her life. Pragmatic and practical, Henrietta had always had difficulty believing in the necklace’s efficacy.

More, in the same pragmatic vein, she’d always considered it was unreasonable to expect that all seven Cynster girls of her generation would find love and happiness in the arms of their true heroes, that it was in the cards that one, at least, would not achieve that outcome, and if that were the case, then the Cynster girl destined to die an old maid would, almost certainly, be her.

As she and Mary were the only two Cynster females of their generation yet unwed, her prediction of her spinster-forever state seemed well on the way to becoming fact. She was already twenty-nine and had never been even vaguely tempted to consider marrying any gentleman. Conversely, no one in their right mind would imagine that twenty-two-year-old Mary, dogged, determined, and unswervingly set on defining and forging her future life, would not achieve her already trenchantly stated goal—namely finding and marrying her hero.