Girl In the Woods (Part 20 – Home Front)

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Girl in the Woods

Part 20

Home Front

Blessedly home from the cesspool of Allegory, Dare sat in his office at the palace thinking about Olivia. He knew everything about the woman the prince had asked about. Her likes, her dislikes, every bit of background from the day she was born, her family history, her financials, even her lovers, but he’d never met her.

He knew the scars that marked her body but not the scars that must have been on her heart. A heart he was sure was as hard and cold and slick as polished obsidian. Easy to break and in turn, easy to turn into a sharp edge that could easily cut a man’s heart out, without regret or remorse.

Simon was openly hostile to anyone who would tarnish the unblemished reputation of his business partner. For that matter, Simon was openly hostile to almost everyone and everything that didn’t fit into his ideal of a perfect world. Had Simon been behind this? Had he finally committed the ultimate defiance to authority and orchestrated a meeting to advance his own power?

Dare looked through the images, choosing carefully the ones he’d send to Alexander. She smiled in most. Odd that anyone with her burdens of shame and guilt and pain could smile so sweetly. It was amazing to him that she ever left the house, much less looking so put together and confidant. Then again, she was a wizard. Wizards always prided themselves on their appearance, even if they didn’t practice the craft.

Her files were sealed order of Florien, but it was no secret to Dare. He’d asked Florien about it when the request had come in. The king had told him “Keep my son wondering. It will be good for him not to get all the answers for a change.”

Over the years Dare had kept his watch on her through his spies and sources. He knew things that even Simon couldn’t guess. He knew about her late night meetings with Crystal Mountain expatriates and mercenaries, he knew about the men in her life, he knew about her haunted tormented nights in her mansion in the woods. He knew the small details of where she got her clothes, her habit of making lists, the way she devoured books, the small sketches she made while sitting in restaurants and bars with friends.

She’d been systematically and without her knowledge kept away from Alexander.

“She’s been kept away from me as well.” He said aloud. “The game is up Miss Snowhawk.”

He thought about what it would be like to dance the dance with Olivia Snowhawk. He studied her image looking at her face, her body. He thought of her kiss in Allegory. It took everything he had in him not to take it to her bed.

He never took advantage of women, but seduction of Olivia Snowhawk would be the ultimate conquest for this wizard. She’ll be a challenge. Women were so easy and casual with Dare. No string or heartbreak, just fun and games. This one would be different because he hated the very idea of her existence.

The door opened and a dazzling sight greeted his eyes. Princess Candi was all in form fitting pink lace and diamonds.

“I’m going to some clubs, you know, like the clubs you like to go to when you pick up on women. Would you care to join me?” she asked, all girlie giggles.

“I have to work.” He said still surprised she was there, looking like a powdered sugar confection good enough to lick.

“Or, if you don’t want to go clubbing, my friends and I, well we could go to your house and party there. I know where you live. Nice place.”

“Are you high?”

She laughed. “You’re cute and built and all my girlfriends want you to come with us. They say you’re a real pleaser.” She giggled then took a deep breath. “Come with us Dare. Pretty please with sugar and ripe red cherries on top!”

Dare was lost for words. Candi’s invitation was so random and unexpected. “Not tonight, I have to leave early tomorrow, before the sun comes up,” he said, suddenly not feeling like himself at all.

She leaned over the desk and gave him an air kiss and flashing a good bit of cleavage. “Party pooper. Dream of me tonight.” Then she turned with a twirl and headed for the door.

“Princess Candi, I want to ask you something,” he said, making her spin around with a smile.

“What do you think of Alexander’s change of plans?”


“He is now traveling with Olivia Snowhawk. Does that bother you?”

“My mom says Miss Snowhawk is a strange bazarro bitch. And she’s old, like almost your age. I mean not that you’re old but it’s different with men. You can be hot forever. What bothers me is the fact that Alexander decided to go off and take Andrew and Charles with him. Now you’re going too. No fair all the good looking fun men are gone.”

“You’ll have plenty of fun on your own Princess Candi.”

“Yes I will. Goodbye Dare. Have fun.” She grabbed his collar and before he could respond the princess planted a lingering kiss on his lips.”

“Goodbye Princess,” he said not even knowing what to think. And he was left alone again. He’d been totally disarmed by the girl. Sitting for a while Dare tried to clear his brain and get back to business on hand.

Princess Candi and Olivia he thought. They weren’t even the same species. He would have liked to tell someone the amusing story of Candi’s visit, but who could he tell?


~ To be continued