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Xenia looked up at the family crest on the front gates of the Dawson Hall. She went there on the second day after the night she attended Alice’s birthday party. The mystery caught her curiosity and decided to tour her into the estate. Who knows? She might even meet the new Duke. She hasn’t seen any blue-blooded person before and she’s looking forward to this stupid adventure. This is different and something that couldn’t be classified into her father’s own list of daredevil, life-threatening adventures.

High walls covered with thick vines must have surrounded the whole estate. Only through the gate she could see the majestic grounds of the estate. From a distance, she saw a lagoon with two pairs of swans paddling around. She also catches a glimpse of the infamous mansion, which has an impressive renaissance architecture. It stands in the middle of the estate, boasting its elegance and –

Xenia was interrupted by the sound of a car approaching and stopped on the side of the road behind her car. Nick came out and judging from the look, his eyebrows are deeply furrowed. “You must be crazy, Xenia.” He started towards her. “What stupid stunt are you planning to do here? Don’t you know the consequences once you entered that property?”

“I will be charged for trespassing,” Xenia replied without being slightly worried. “Besides, I just dropped by the gates. Leah’s house happens to be a few kilometers away from here.”

Nick sighed, charging a mental note to himself. “Are you single with boyfriend, or just plain single?”

“Why are you asking -?”

“Just answer me.” Nick ordered impatiently.

“Plain single.”

She wondered if her answer has made Nick grin at her. “If you entered the Dawson Hall, you’re going to be a duchess. But that’s not a one-day wish. In order for that to happen, you must marry the Duke’s heir. That’s what the codicil is all about.”

Xenia’s eyes widened. “Really?”

Nick nodded. “And I think you’re not the marrying type, especially to a beast. The Duke’s heir is a beast, literally. He suffered into a fire a month before his father died. Neither knew who did that or what has really happened.” Nick watched Xenia’s face turned into a pitiful and compassionate expression. Then slowly dawned into a smile. He found it amusing. Her face is exquisite.

“You’re bluffing, Mr. Carter. How would you supposed to know that? You just don’t want me to go inside.”

Nick grinned despite the complexity of what they’re talking about. “You are a very stubborn woman, Xenia. By all means, you may go inside the estate and get charged for trespassing but ponder on the truth of what I’m trying to tell you. Because if you didn’t, you’re going to call your Dad to tell him that you just got married to a duke.”

Xenia glanced at the gates then back to Nick. “Alright, you convinced me. I’ll leave.” She walked towards her car. She didn’t saw Nick breathing out a sigh of relief. Nick glanced at the Dawson Hall first before going back to his car.


She sneaked a glance at the clock located at the bedside table. It’s already dawn and she must really leave. She smiled wickedly when she heard the muffled groan coming from the man beside her. She met him on a club last night and after a few drinks, she managed to be taken in his hotel room to spend the cold nights in his warm bed. Slowly, she stood up and picked up the man’s wallet. She took out all the money she could find and quickly dressed up.

‘I had a good sex last night,’ she thought silently, ‘but nothing would be better if it would be Nick Carter lying on the bed beside me.’ The idea made her want to laugh as she recalls her schemes to hook the handsome and rich man. She finally got Nick’s attention but it never came close to stripping him within the areas of a four-walled room and a bed. Nick Carter is quite a challenge. She shouldn’t make another mistake this time. She didn’t mean on hurting the man before she met Nick. Her emotions were more powerful than her actual intentions then. She has been raging from jealousy that she forgot she just wanted the man for his wealth. Not with Nick. She must be careful with her feelings now. If she’d succeed on marrying him, Nick Carter is going to be her retirement fund.

And she must work harder now that another woman entered the scene and successfully gained Nick’s attention without even trying. The rich bitch is a threat to her hopes and dreams of living in luxury. She must do something to get rid of Xenia Wilkins. It’s now or never.


“I already read the project proposal and I think we’re being demanded of higher than the actual raw price,” Xenia said after the Product Manager, Cecilia Orville, presented her report. She called for a meeting on that day to catch up on the business when she took over it. “I conducted a comparative analysis and I’m going to give this to you.” Cecilia took the diskette she handed over.

Xenia liked being the boss of the company but she knew that she wouldn’t be staying long sitting on the executive chair longer than her father would have planned for her. She did this just to give them a peace of mind. Her free-spirited nature is calling her back to the usual life she used to. Being confined in this four-walled, air-conditioned office is not her cup of tea.

“Sales Report,” She immediately called out. Daniel Wright, the Sales and Marketing Manager, stood up and began his presentation. The man seemed to fancy her ever since she was introduced to him a week ago.

“Sales are up to thirty percent. The new branch in Aberdeen will be opening next week. We are targeting our third quarter quota that is now reaching to sixty percent of our goals. The Sales Team is working to develop strategic plans to boost the sales more. Our branch near St. Andrews University boosts up because of the tourists flocking there to catch a glimpse of Prince William.” Daniel handed her a clear book file that summarizes his report.

Things are going well with the company. Leah has been a good manager. All she wished now is to leave the office and find a place to eat. Her cousin Leah, who went down to be the Assistant Manager, is keying notes to Daniel’s presentation. Leah was more than happy to step down from being the company’s manager. Her family is her top priority right now that Alix was born.

Xenia saw her mobile phone blinking. She switched it to silent mode earlier. She took it and saw a new message in the inbox. Surprisingly, it came from Leah across the table. “I’m actually hungry, cuz. Could you please wrap this up?” She just smiled after that.

Thirty minutes later, Xenia finally adjourned the meeting and the cousins found themselves entering a restaurant downtown. “I’m so hungry, I’m probably pregnant again.” Leah laughed at her own joke.

“Well, I hope that it’s going to be a boy this time.” Xenia told her. She didn’t saw somebody coming around and bumped into him. “Oops, sorry.” The person caught her waist to avoid her from tripping over. Xenia looked up and saw Nick, who’s managing to balance her and the stack of folders on the other hand.

“This is not a library, Mr. Carter.”

Nick’s smile made her knees go jelly. “I know, but I’m hungry.” He removed his arm from her waist. “Damn, you smelled very nice, Xenia.”

“In your case, you’re not a skunk too, Mr. Carter.”

“What’s with the aversion from my name? Call me Nick.” The handsome blonde one said, chuckling, then waved goodbye to her and Leah. They saw him join two men on the farthest corner of the restaurant. Nick looked at Xenia once again and gave her a wink. In reply, she just raised an eyebrow and rolled her eyes.

“You’re too cute to be a couple. I could imagine little Xenia and Nick around right now,” Leah teased as they found the reserved table when the waiter ushered them there.

“Well, I’m not a dog, so I’m not cute. And I’m not going to have puppies as children.”

“But I can tell that you like him, Xenia.”

“I do?” Xenia chuckled. “Your imagination is just running wild, Leah.”