Kayla had always lived on the streets; she had always stolen her food. And she had never been caught. Until now.


Suddenly, almost as if he had no control, Derrick gently pulled Kayla against him, touching her mouth with his. Kayla let her arms slip around his neck, loving the feel of his lips on hers.

The feel of his arms tightening around her waist jolted her back to reality. With a jolt of horror, she realized what she was doing. Putting her hands against his chest, she shoved him away from her forcefully.

"You shouldn't have done that." She said harshly, her hands shaking. Quickly, without looking back, she fled the room.

Derrick let her leave, not knowing why he had just kissed her. No, he did know why he had kissed her. It was because of the look that had been in her eyes for the split second their eyes had met. It had been the same look she had given him the last time he had wanted to kiss her but hadn't. It was the look that told him that no matter what she said, she had wanted that kiss as much as he did. Sighing, he left the room and went to his chambers.

Kayla sat out in the garden, wishing that Derrick hadn't kissed her, but glad that he had. It simply wouldn't work, she thought fiercely, he's a noble, and I'm only a thief, picked up off the street to spy on him. That was the other problem, besides their status differences. She was working for the man he was trying to defeat. The man who was trying to take over Derrick's land.

Filled with frustration and despair, she went back to her rooms, telling herself that no matter what she thought, she did not love Derrick and that if her heart disagreed, she would simply ignore it.

Later that evening, as she prepared for dinner, there was a knock on her door. When she answered it, one of the servants said, "Master Derrick would like to see you in his rooms." Without waiting for her reply, the servant left.

Grumbling, Kayla slammed her door and finished getting ready. If Derrick wanted to see her, he would have to come to her, she didn't answer to anyone, especially self-absorbed noblemen.

As if in answer to her thoughts, a few moments later there was another knock on her door. Thinking it to be the servant again, Kayla opened the door, ready to tell her to leave. Instead, she found herself looking at Derrick. Ignoring the butterflies in her stomach, she turned on her heel and returned to her mirror, trying to put up her flaming red hair.

He came in and shut the door behind him. "Come here." He ordered softly. Anger flared up inside of Kayla.

"No." She hissed, turning to face him. "I don't take orders from anyone, especially not from you!"

In two long strides, he was across the room and had her held firmly by her elbows. "Then why did you get dressed for dinner? I seem to remember telling you that you had to come, so why did you put on the dress?"

"Because I felt like it." She snapped, trying to pull herself free, but his grip only tightened. She wished he'd let her go, because even if he didn't mean to, he made her unable to think when he was so close. "What did you want, anyway?"

"It's time to go to dinner." He said shortly. Gently but firmly, he led her to the door. Once they were there, he held out his arm, and grudgingly, Kayla took it.

If I'd known spying on him would cause this much trouble, she thought, I'd have let Monterro turn me in.

Dinner seemed to pass in a blur for Derrick. All he could think about was Kayla. She looked beautiful tonight, the dark blue dress set off her red hair and emerald green eyes. He remembered the look she had given him when he had ordered her to approach him. To him it was all new and strange that this fragile looking figure held such a rebellious spirit. He wondered why, out of all the women he could have, that Kayla seemed to be the one he wanted the most. He was startled out of thought when one of the men closest to him asked him a question.

"I'm sorry? What did you say?" He asked, looking at the man beside him.

"I said, what is the news on Monterro?" The man asked again.

A slight frown creased Derrick's forehead. "I'm afraid we've heard nothing from or of him, although it appears he is finding things out about us. Just the other day, he tried to enter while almost all of my men were hunting."

"Aye, I remember that." The man replied, "I was one of the few who stayed here."

Kayla leaned forward, listening carefully in on the conversation.

"Any ideas as to how he knew exactly when and where to attack?" The man asked. Kayla recognized him as Thomas, one of the older men that lived on Derrick's property.

"No." Derrick sighed, taking a drink of water from his glass. "We would've seen anyone who tried to sneak in."

"Maybe he has someone working in here that didn't sneak in." Thomas suggested.

Derrick frowned. "That thought has entered my mind, but there just isn't any explanation as to how he would get a spy in here."

Kayla listened until the two men started talking about less interesting subjects, then she focused on her meal until dinner was over.

Derrick stood and offered her his arm. She took it but made sure that she barely touched him. She wanted him to still know that she was upset at him.

Stop acting so childish, part of her mind said. I'm not the one who's childish, she argued with herself. If he hadn't been stupid enough to try and order me around-

Her thoughts were interrupted when he halted in front of her chamber door. She yanked her arm out of his and was just about to close the door in his face when he stepped in after her.

"What do you think you're doing?!" She exclaimed. "Get out right now or I'll-"

He grabbed her right above her elbows, and kicking the door shut commanded quietly, "Stop."

Furious, Kayla opened her mouth again only to be silenced by Derrick's mouth on hers. Seemingly against her will, she kissed him back, letting her body relax in his arms. When he stopped kissing her they were both breathing hard.

"You shouldn't have-"

"I wanted to. I've wanted to since the last time I did." He said, interrupting her.

Not knowing what to say, Kayla sank down onto the bed. Derrick sat down next to her, taking her hand in his.

"No, don't." She said, trying to pull her hand out of his. He tightened his grip.

"Please don't." He said, taking his other hand and tilting her face up to look at him. He smoothed his thumb across her cheek, sending shivers up her spine.

"If someone finds out…" She whispered. His only response was to pull her towards him and kiss her fiercely. A few moments later, there was a knock on the door. Kayla moved quickly away from Derrick and went to answer the door. When she opened the door, a little boy of about twelve was standing there.

"Are you Kayla?" He asked. Kayla nodded, and the boy handed her a sealed letter and then quickly darted off.