Chapter Sixty-nine

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Mr. Brummell had returned to Richard's flat.

"Did Banks tell you where Benjamin is?"

Beau shook his head no. "In fact, he said if we don't let him go by noon today, that he has instructed his men to kill Benjamin."

"Do you believe him?" Richard asked.

"Whether I do or not, I doubt it's worth the risk. Clara has destroyed Banks' chances to woo her publicly. He's been shown to be a fraud. I believe he knows he has lost and so has nothing left to lose, which makes him a very dangerous man. How is Clara?"

"Still sleeping," Richard told him.

"Sleeping? Clara?" Mr. Brummell's tone of disbelief had Richard racing up the stairs, taking them two at a time. He threw open the door to find Clara sitting on the bed, looking startled.

"Have you any word?"

Richard gave a sigh of relief that Clara was here. "No, I'm afraid not and fear the situation has only gotten worse."

"Worse, how so?"

"If we don't release Banks, he has ordered his men to kill Benjamin by noon."

Clara jumped up from her bed, and the room spun. She grabbed the bedpost and squeezed her eyes shut. She had moved too quickly. Richard reached out to steady her.

"Are you unwell?"

Clara had brushed off Richard's concern. "I'm fine. Just slightly light-headed. I haven't eaten in a while. What is our best option?"

"To let Mr. Banks go, and hope he leads us to Benjamin."

"Then we do what we must," Clara said.

Richard nodded and he and Mr. Brummell left to put their plan into effect.

The moment their carriage disappeared. Sturgis stepped from the shadows and Rosalyn let him in. "She is waiting for you in her room. I'll take you to her."

Rosalyn opened the door.

"Tell me you have him?" Clara said when she'd seen Sturgis in the doorway.

Sturgis look was grim. "The Commander's men are still on the search, but they are narrowing down the options. It will be soon."

"Not soon enough. We have until noon," Clara said, looking at Benjamin's pocket watch, clasping it shut before placing it in her pocket. "My brother and Mr. Brummell have left to let Mr. Banks go," Clara told him.

"How did you know?"

"That Mr. Banks would make the threat? It's simple. I have ruined Mr. Banks' chances to marry me. Disgraced him publicly. His best move is to leave the country. He does not care whether Benjamin lives or dies. So, I've made some arrangements that he gets exactly what he wants."

Sturgis smiled. Now their side mission made more sense.

"Are you certain you are well enough to do this, Miss?" Rosalyn asked, her face full of concern.

"I must Rosalyn, it is the only way to bring Mr. McAllister home."

"Are you ready?" Clara asked Sturgis.

"I am," Sturgis replied.

"Then it's time."

_________________

Mr. Brummell and Lord Bentley went to the place where Mr. Banks was being held. Lord Bentley opened the door. Mr. Banks was a sight to see. His face was bruised, the blood from his swollen lip dried in the corner of his mouth. He couldn't even wipe it away. They tied his hands behind the back of the chair he was sitting in.

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