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He stood amid the seagrass, arms folded and eyes following the fluid movements of the auburn beauty as she galloped her horse across the beach. The young man accompanying her was her brother. He never met the boy, but he knew of him and of the siblings' close relationship. It could prove challenging to get her alone with her protective brother in the house, but that only added to the fun.

All eyes would be on her this weekend, a girl blossoming into a woman, like a rose bud spreading its petals to take in the sun. And he would waltz in, sweep her off her feet, and not a soul would dare challenge him. Except, perhaps one – her Uncle Z, as she fondly referred to him. But the only way Z could discredit him would be to blow their cover, which he expected would happen soon anyway.

Lexi was turning eighteen, old enough to take part in the convenient scheme they had going at the Maxwell estate. But the poor girl had no idea what was coming. He imagined her wide-eyed expression when she learned about the charade that had been perpetrated under her nose. No doubt, she would cry foul at the lies she'd been told by the people she trusted.

And what of their plan to force her into servitude when her parents met their eventual demise? How severely would she protest? Such frail creatures, mortals. While his intentions had not been to interfere – he'd merely come to have a bit of fun, he wondered if it might be prudent to step in. Help this young flower discover her gifts. It would be a shame not to cultivate such potential. Yes, this seemed prudent.

In the meantime, he would enjoy the view.

PLAYLIST SONG: I'm on Fire by Bruce Springsteen

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