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Justine tried not to raise an eyebrow as she took the money from the man. Another five thousand pounds for monthly deposit, she thought. She encoded the amount in the bank system and stamped the depositor’s passbook. She stared at the name. Kevin Richardson. Nice name, she thought, but not rich enough. She remembered the same man who’s been depositing his savings monthly for almost a year now. She looked at the man. Kevin Richardson smiled at her. Her heart made a demure leap from that simple gesture and she silently reprimanded herself. This man wouldn’t be able to give her the moon if she asked for it. He’s not rich enough.

“I just came back into this town and I heard that the duke on the wonderful estate has just got married.” Kevin said to start a conversation with her. He always made an attempt to do that but Justine would make a short reply then ask him to leave and will call the next depositor in line. She stared at him for the first time after she heard what he’d just said. She realized that this man is no ogre. Kevin Richardson is quite a dashing young man.

“The Duke of Dawson? I don’t know. Did he burned himself inside his car who exploded by itself?”

“He must have lived. Sometimes, a person could have nine lives like a cat, you know. I just heard the marriage thing today.”

“To whom?” Justine asked trying to control her curiosity. She didn’t notice her knuckles going white as she gripped tightly on the partition of her booth. But Kevin didn’t miss it.

“To the manager of the kilt company two blocks from here,” Kevin replied. He winked at her. “I have to go. Thank you.” Justine watched him leave the bank. Then her thoughts went back to what she has just learned. Xenia Wilkins made another score against her once again. She gained Nick’s attention without even trying, she survived an ambush attempt that will see her dead, and now has gotten married to Justine’s ex-boyfriend.

“That should be me,” Justine muttered harshly as her thoughts raced for another plan.


Xenia sighed dreamily at the serenity of the place. Gene decided to take her for stroll to some parts of the estate grounds one day. She tried to say no, thinking about his walking condition but Gene insisted, telling her that he needs exercise as well. And so, along with Gene’s personal assistant, the couple walked slowly but leisurely in the grounds and talked about anything at all. Xenia discovered how worthy to spend time with Gene because he had so many things to talk about which makes sense. He didn’t bore her a bit.

Her husband heard the sigh and chuckled. “What are you thinking?” He asked. “That was a cute sigh.”

Xenia smiled. “This place is really beautiful. I wished that it’d be open to the tourists soon.” She glanced at the two large Doberman, a small cute pug, a Saint Bernard dog, and two big Labradors following behind their master. “Oh, you had so many dogs.”

“They’re pets of the family. The Doberman are usually used for security purposes of the place. They were trained as well. The others were actually household pets and would sometimes wander at the South Wing where the tourists are. They were considered added attraction.” Gene whistled and the dogs turned to them. Xenia watched them leapt and ran towards the masked man and made affectionate licks and barks at him. “Doggies, this is your new friend, Xenia. She’s my wife, so be nice to her.” The Saint Bernard and the two Labradors walked around Xenia and sniffing her. Xenia laughed as she glanced at her husband. If she could see him, he’s probably smiling at them.

“They are marking their territories on you,” Gene laughed. The small pug jumped and barked for their attention. Xenia amusingly leaned down to pick up the small dog. As soon as the dog was on her arms, it began licking her face.

“Oh,” she laughed and put down the dog. “Do they have names?”

“The brown Doberman’s name is Tosh, the black one is Pooch. The pug is Albert, while Ollie is the Saint Bernard. The twin Labradors are Jack and Jill because they are fraternal,” said the man who was with the dogs.

“Philip, I want you to meet my wife, Xenia. Xenia, this is Philip, the dogs’ trainer as well as a part of the security team.” The man bowed down as Gene was introducing her. She made a gesture of shaking hands with the man and Philip gladly took it.

“They were incredible.” Xenia said. As she said that, the dogs barked at her. They laughed.

“They said ‘thank you’,” Philip joked. “May I be excused as it was now their time to eat, Your Grace?”

Gene nodded. “Go ahead, Philip. Thank you.” They watched the dogs ran after Philip and made their way towards the nearby barn. Gene told her that there were beautiful and prized collection of horses by the stables and if they have more time, he’d take her there on another excursion. Keith, Gene’s personal assistant, announced that the head chef sent a message that the dinner is served. They decided to go back home now.

Xenia saw a large gazebo on a small forest she saw in sight, on the left side of the estate. “What’s in there?” She asked. Gene glanced at Keith before turning to his wife. “It’s a gazebo near the family mausoleum. That is where family members were buried.” He replied. “Don’t come there unattended because I have received reports once that there were trespassers seen on that area. Security measures are just about to be installed soon.”

Xenia nodded and followed her husband on the way back to the mansion.