Chapter 1:

Mackenzie

Mackenzie Raines sighed, sitting back on her ankles, wiping a dirty hand across her sweat-soaked forehead. Why was she always given the harder, longer, more challenging jobs? And yet, she decided, that it was better than the alternative – most girls her age were taken to work at a special inn not too far from here. Its purpose was to serve men however they wished. It was really more of an institution, a hell-hole, then it was just an ordinary tavern.

She was lucky…so far, she had, by some miracle, not yet been chosen to report there. Instead, she worked laboriously in a lord's household. She had since she was a little girl – Mackenzie knew nothing of her parents, other than they were commoners (or so she had been told). From a young age, Mackenzie had learned obedience and the law of the land here at the lord's house - she had never known a life outside of a servant's in a lord's household.

Shiny black boots suddenly appeared in front of her. She looked up, fearful and surprised, into the cold eyes of Lord Robert Marcans. He was a second-in-command and head of the servants' and their routines. Mackenzie gulped…he was neither a kind nor lenient man. So of course he would find her in her moment of respite.

"Slacking, are we, girl?"

"No sir," she replied, looking quickly down, as protocol dictated.

"You'd better not be," he said, his voice cold.

"Stand up," he ordered. She obeyed silently, but was anxious as he circled her, his eyes tracing up and down her figure.

"Sir, what do you need from me?" she asked, breaking the silence. The girl didn't like how he was looking at her. He stayed silent a moment longer, worrying her.

"Go get cleaned up and report to my office in a half-hour's time. Perhaps it's time for a change in jobs," he said suggestively, before turning sharply and leaving, his boots clicking.

The minute he was out of site, Mackenzie sank to her knees, shaking, holding back tears. It would seem that she had hoped too soon that she would never be taken to that dreadful place. Trying to hold back her fear, she went to her rooms and changed into her only other dress, before reporting to the lord's office. As she had learned over time, she kept her emotions off of her face – this had only gotten her into trouble in the past. But she would be a fool not to admit she was terrified for what he would say – for what his words would force her future to be.

Please let me know what you think and if I should continue. Thank you ~ MidnightLily.