Hola! Well, I had a difficult time deciding on a prologue, but I have been thinking about it for a while. The two scenes you are about to read are taken from Romancing the Rose. So if you're reading that story, you might not wanna read this. Unless you've read it already. lol

The brief "teaser" below will partially explain the title. :)


He extended the candy on his palm and the building seemed to lurch slightly to the side when she didn't even grant him a glance.

"Hey," he said, almost dropping the candy as he leaned against the rail. "Can I trade a chocolate-covered cherry for a piece of your mind?"

Turning to him, she smiled and glanced down at the offering. "Is it fat free?"

Thank God, she's not ignoring me.

"Knock that off." He snickered, even though her question would normally annoy him. "Don't worry about the fat. But to put your mind slightly at ease, I'll inform you that it's dark chocolate. And we both know what that's good for."

Her eyes twinkled as she slowly grasped the chocolate with the tips of her fingers. After holding it for several seconds, she raised it toward her mouth and clamped it gently between her teeth. When she wiggled her brows, he formed a slow grin.

"Are you...teasing me, Rose?"


Leaning over and catching his mother's eyes, he said, "I'm sending Allie or Ryan in now. Just sit tight for a minute, OK?"

She smiled, emphasizing her laugh lines. "Get Mary, would you? I haven't seen her in years."

Dan swallowed. "I'll try." And with that, he gently patted her shoulder and made his way past the canopy bed and the desk and out the door.

The music was much louder in the hallway and he immediately wished it hadn't been. Allison seemed to enjoy playing songs that she probably knew would torment him. He supposed she found them equally as compelling as a good, motivational speech.

Not quite a year since she went away, Rosanna yeah
Now she's gone and I have to say
Meet you all the way, Rosanna yeah
Meet you all the way, Rosanna yeah

I can see your face still shining through the window on the other side
Rosanna, Rosanna
I didn't know that a girl like you could make me feel so sad,

He swiveled to the left and passed his father's closed office, where the evil overlord was most likely plotting a hostile takeover. Either that or he was plotting another mysterious move that would give the appearance of a whole new Oliver Fields. The only thing that had kept Dan from verbally slugging him was...

He paused and frowned. Not two feet from Allie's room stood a tall, blond man wearing a dark suit. Could have been one of his father's bodyguards but he didn't seem big enough. Tall and broad shouldered but not hulking like most of Dad's hired thugs.

"Hey!" he called as he picked up pace and the scent of roasted meat drifted up the spiral staircase.

Either this guy was deaf or so taken with spying on Allie that he was still oblivious to Dan's approach. As he closed the distance, he found the door cracked enough to see Allie's reflection dancing inside her vanity mirror. Spinning and twirling and swinging her hips to the tune of 'Rosanna,' undoubtedly working up a good enough sweat to kill her dinner.

Taking a deep breath, he stopped and found the shade-wearing punk smiling at the whirl of Allie's dress and her exposed thighs. Dan grabbed him by the collar and shoved him against the wall faster than he could think. Shocked at his violent reaction, he stepped back while the S.O.B defensively raised his hands and popped his gaze up and down the hallway.

"Mr. Fields, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, man...Just calm down, I wasn't going to do anything!"

"You're damn right you..." Dan narrowed his eyes. That voice...the build, the hair. The way he'd pleaded.

"I didn't mean it," he blurted, having inched into the snow-covered field, waving his hands while Rose grappled with her keys on the cold pavement. Dan could hear her gasping for breath as Brian shouted, "It was a joke!"

Dan snatched the sunglasses off of the young punk and gaped at the wild, green eyes that stared back at him. Of all the people to find standing in the mansion hallway...a kid who'd the nerve to beg for mercy after assaulting a young woman in the school parking lot and then to wear a sickening smile while spying on another woman in the privacy of her bedroom.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Dan pressed his hand into Brian's thick neck. The kid's eyes bulged, and Dan considered squeezing until the little prick recanted all of his misdeeds while pissing his pants. But unfortunately God wouldn't let him do that. Wondering why Brian wasn't fighting back, he loosened his grip.

"As if you haven't screwed up enough," Dan snarled through gritted teeth, "now you're spying on my sister, you little bastard."

And he'd actually claimed to have turned over a new leaf?

"The letter is talking about the things he stole, not about rape!"

"It seems to indicate more, if you ask me."

What else had Brian done that he wasn't aware of? How responsible was he for Rebekah's current condition?

Dan, let him go.

Why? Why should I?

You know why.

Releasing him, Dan shoved him against the wall again but Brian rebounded more quickly, rubbing his neck and straightening to a height almost equal to Dan's. Younger he might have been but he and Dan were basically the same size.

Physically fighting him had never been his main plan, anyway.

"What's going-" Allie had flung the door open, her chest heaving, her exposed collar bone gleaming with perspiration and thin strands of hair clinging to her cheeks. Grabbing and twisting her red dress at her side, she shot her wild gaze back and forth between the two men. "Oh no...Dan, don't tell me..."


Just curious- Anyone care to take a stab at what the "big surprise" mentioned in the summary might be? ;)