Note: I really hope you all like this story. It sort of just popped into my head one day, and I had to write it down furiously before the premise escaped me! I have so many ideas for it. I hope it gets good reviews and all of you appreciate it! The chapter is sort of long, but I think you'll enjoy the ride.

Protecting a Prince

Summary: Avalon Rider has only known hardship and must acquire a high paying job. The catch? Her work includes fighting murderers, defeating kidnappers, rescuing the helpless, and protecting the innocent. Colton Holds has known only a life of ease in the comfort of his palace until one day he's stolen from his way of life and thrust into an adventure of peril, danger, and romance. Will this sweet, charming Prince shatter the stalwart walls Avalon has created around herself when he becomes her new assignment?

Rating: T. I don't think there will be any graphic romance scenes, but if I change my mind later on, I'll change the rating as well. There will be a multitude of swear words, so brace yourself.

Chapter One: Mischief and Defiance

A battle cry erupted as thousands of men and women ran at each other from opposite ends of the wide expanse of the field. Some of the soldiers hid in trenches, aiming their rifles at the opposing side. The war had commenced days ago, and endless battling had occurred. On top of a craggy hill stood a white horse, strong and muscular, sure of itself. Atop the magnificent creature was a beautiful woman. Her blonde ringlets blew radically in the wind as she pointed her heavy sword upwards, towards the heavens, and roared a resilient battle cry, "FOR NARNIA!"

Suddenly, all men and women stopped and, with wondering eyes, turned their attention towards the blonde.

"What?" a male voice asked, a hint of laughter in his tone.

"Narnia, you know, the fictional world C.S. Lewis created in his beloved novel 'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,'" answered the girl.

"No, we are not playing that game. I thought we decided on Star Wars," the boy argued.

"You decided on Star Wars. I never complied. I want to play Narnia."

"Narnia does not contain any rifles."

"It is called 'imagination.'"


"Colton!" his sister mimicked his whining voice.

Colton huffed, shoving his action figures into his toy chest. "You are just too difficult."

"And you are just too easy to annoy."

"That must be your personal goal in life," the blonde haired boy mumbled.

"Why, of course. I am your little sister."

"By seven minutes."

"So, I am seven minutes younger. And it is my job to make sure you remain annoyed every second of every day," the twelve-year-old child stuck her tongue out at her brother.

"Well, congratulations, you have accomplished just that." Colton turned his back on Felicity with his arms crossed over his chest.

"Aw, come on, you let me get under your skin too easily. Let us play another game, shall we?" Felicity suggested.

"I do not want to play a game with you; you are impossible to get along with."

"That comment might hurt if I were not aware of how you love me dearly," Felicity replied sweetly. "I have an idea."

"I wish not to hear it."

"It is quite devious and mischievous."


"A prank, per se," she elaborated.

"On whom?"

"On Mrs. Creavey."


"Well, that is as far as I have gotten. You need to place some input in this prank."

"Shall we go traditional?" Colton wondered.

"Why not?"

"I think I have an idea." Colton smiled, grabbing his sister's hand and dashing out of the playroom.

"Whoa!" Jayden called as the two children rushed quickly passed him, almost knocking him over.

"Sorry, father!" Colton called after him as he scampered down the hallway.

"And where exactly are the two of you rushing off to?"

"Playing a prank on the head-maid," Felicity explained over her shoulder.

"Well, make it quick, you two. We have a luncheon at one!"

"We shall be ready, we promise," Colton replied just as he rounded the corner of the large hallway.

Jayden chuckled to himself as he continued on his way to his bed chamber. As he entered the doorway of his room, he replied to a text message from the prime minister of Lavinia. His brown eyes lit up when they spotted a blonde bombshell at the vanity. She had just finished applying her signature rosy perfume, and Jayden reveled in the delicious scent. She turned around to face her husband, and a spectacular smile spread across her face.

"You look wonderful, my sweet," Jayden complimented, appraising her lacy attire. The cream colored dress was knee-length with a sweetheart neckline. Black six inch heels adorned her delicate feet. "You do not look a day over twenty."

Giselle smiled, but she retorted lightheartedly, "Well, that doesn't mean much coming from such an old man."

Jayden chuckled, "You should not joke about my age, young one. You too will become forty in due time."

"In eleven years," she scoffed.

"Come here, you tease." Jayden opened his arms for her. She gracefully crossed the grand room and hooked her arms around his stalwart shoulders. In her heels, she didn't have to rise onto her toes to reach his lips.

"Where are the children? We only have an hour until we need to depart for the luncheon," Giselle reminded him.

"The twins are playing a prank on Mrs. Creavey."

"Oh, not again. Why didn't you stop them?"

"They are just having a fun time. It means they have colorful imaginings. You should be proud of them."

"She will surely quit her job one of these days. The last time Colton and Felicity messed with Emma, she threatened to report to the police that we are not parenting well."

"We control the officials. They are not going to arrest us or take our children away. Have you already forgotten that you and I are royalty?"

"If Mrs. Creavey quits—"

"We shall hire a new maid, and she knows that. Her threats are only that—threats."

"Oh, all right. I surrender. Where is Winston?"

"He is still in his public speaking lesson with Mr. Wilkes."

"Oh, the poor boy. We should get him out early. You know how he hates public speaking."

"But he needs to learn how to get over that fear. He is a prince, after all."

"He's only a child. He doesn't have a scheduled public conference until he's fourteen. And he's only nine."

"Princes must learn early."

"Oh, all right. I surrender yet another dispute."

"That's my girl." Jayden pulled her closer to his body.

"Careful, sweetheart, you might break a hip in your old age," Giselle joked.

Jayden growled. "Old age will not hinder me in my passionate endeavors."

"Speaking of passionate endeavors, I have some news." Giselle's face lit up. "I was going to announce it at the luncheon today, but I believe my husband should be the first to know."

Jayden looked at her curiously. "News?"

"We're expecting."

Jayden smiled. "When did you find out?"

"Yesterday evening. I thought it was the flu, but I went to the nurse, and she informed me that I am indeed pregnant."

"Why did you not tell me last night?"

"You seemed so exhausted after the meeting."

Jayden smiled at her thoughtfulness, but he lightly reprimanded, "When it comes to you, I am never too exhausted."

"Always so charming."

"I am a prince."

Just then an earsplitting screech filled the tall hallways of the Holds Palace. Giselle cringed as her eardrums ached from the loudness of the yell.

"It appears that the twins have accomplished yet another trick," Jayden commented.

"Oh, dear, here we go."

The prince and princess exited their room hand in hand, but only had to walk a few paces before a very haggard, very wet and sticky, old woman appeared before them. The royal couple stopped abruptly, prepared for a confrontation. Giselle noticed two blonde heads poke out behind the corner of the hallway. Both had reminiscent grins on their mouths; their eyes shone with scheming trickery. Giselle caught Felicity's eyes and shook her head slightly, knowing exactly who had come up with the idea. The heads disappeared behind the corner.

Returning her attention back to the graying woman, Giselle patiently heard Mrs. Creavey out. "Those—Those two scoundrels—"

"Careful, Emma. Those two scoundrels are our children," Jayden warned.

"They poured milk and honey all over me!" she croaked.

"But I thought those were your favorite condiments," Giselle replied.

The woman began to sputter. "This is an outrage! Children should be disciplined! There needs to be some punishment! They believe they have every right to do whatever they so desire!"

Giselle snuck a glance at Jayden, who was fighting very hard to suppress a smile. And she could sense countless chuckles trying to escape his chest.

"Come now, Mrs. Creavey, why don't we get you bathed? And then you can take the rest of the day off, your pay included," Giselle suggested.

"That would be quite kind of you, but those children need some sort of—"

"We will have some words with them in due time," Jayden assured her.

"Very well. I will see myself home," Emma Creavey huffed as she shuffled down the carpeted hallway, leaving a trail of sticky honey and wet milk.

When the royal couple heard the kitchen door slam shut behind her, Jayden called out in a menacing tone, "Colton! Felicity!"

There was no hiding from that tone of voice. The rambunctious twins slowly, uncharacteristically walked towards their parents with their heads down and their hands crossed behind their backs.

"What were you two thinking?" Giselle asked, giving them her disappointed face. It was more effective than her angry visage. The children never wanted to hurt their mother; she was too kind, too sweet. They always wanted her to be happy.

"We were just having a little fun," Colton explained shyly.

Giselle placed her hands on her hips. "And your playroom, filled with hundreds and hundreds of toys and games, is not enough for the two of you?"

"We were playing in there, I promise," Colton replied earnestly. "But we got into an argument. And you always tell us that when we have our differences, we need to settle them."

"So," Felicity added, "we forced ourselves to cease fighting and came up with a new antic to distract ourselves. We were only doing as you told us to. We didn't want to bicker."

Giselle could sense Jayden's defenses lowering. Felicity was a spitting image of her mother, and Jayden had a soft spot for her. Whenever she spoke, her father instantly became calm and loving. He could never reprimand his only daughter; she simply was too precious. Giselle caught his eye out of the corner of hers and slowly shook her head. He could not back down this time; Felicity needed to be punished.

"Felicity, we will discuss your punishment when we return from the luncheon," Giselle informed her.

Colton muffled his laughter behind his hand. Giselle's sharp eyes snapped to his face where they bored into his. "And we will deliberate your repercussion as well, young man." His chuckling quickly died away.

"Now go get your little brother and begin dressing for the outing," Giselle commanded.

The twins scampered off to the fourth floor in order to find Winston, both accusing the other of getting themselves into trouble with their mother. Giselle smiled silently after her two children, but her arms remained akimbo. When she turned to face Jayden, she noticed an odd glint in his eyes. "What?" she asked defensively.

"It amazes me how such a sweet, loving woman can transform into such an authoritative, stern rule-keeper in a matter of minutes," he answered.

"I'm not sure if that's an insult or a compliment."

"Oh, my sweet, it is most definitely a commendation. Not many have the versatility to be both tender and severe when the occasion calls for it," he expounded.

"Well, now, that you have clarified that, I must bestow upon you the most courteous of gratitude that I can procure for such a winsome, delectable, benevolent—"

"Are you mocking me?"


Jayden scoffed, feigning hurt.

She continued, "When you decide to dictate in such eloquent verbosity, I must emulate your most scholarly vocabulary."

"You are still doing it."

"Oh, all right, I'll stop being mean."

"No," Jayden rejected, pulling her tightly against his body, "I like it when you're feisty."

"I do believe, your majesty, you're only saying that because you want me to continue speaking so regally for your mother. I do know that she abhors when I use contractions. Even more, she absolutely finds it despicable when one of her own grandchildren uses a contraction."

"How is that you see right through every ploy of mine?"

"'Tis the benefit of being your most intimate bride," Giselle whispered seductively in his ear as her fingers twirled one of his short curls behind his lobe.

"Oh, gross," Felicity murmured as she and her two brothers walked through the hallway. "Mother and father are showing PDA again."

"I think it's a good thing that mum and dad still love each other," Winston, the youngest Holds offspring, replied to his sister's comment.

"You know mother hates it when you call her that," Colton taunted.

"She wants you to remember your 'American' heritage," Felicity agreed, successfully beginning the early stages of ganging up on her younger sibling with her twin.

"Well, that is just too bad," Winston rejoined. "Saying 'mother' and 'father' takes too much of my time and wastes my breath."

Colton chuckled at his younger brother's logic. "Suit yourself. Just be prepared for a good lashing when we return from the luncheon."

Winston deliberated what his older siblings were telling him. Maybe they were right.

"Ready, children?" Jayden called when he spotted the trio walking towards him and his wife.

"Mother, how long is this going to be?" Winston asked.

Colton nudged Felicity, giving her a furtive smirk behind Winston's back. She smiled in return, appreciating that fact that they had gotten their brother to do what they wanted, no matter how small the degree.

Jayden noticed the exchange between the twins and raised an elegant eyebrow at them. Both straightened up, clearing their throats, as if nothing had passed between the two of them.

"Only about three hours, sweetie," Giselle answered her youngest child before taking his hand and leading him to the front portal.

Jayden strolled to her right side, taking her free hand in his as he ushered the twins in front of him where he could keep a close eye on the two mischief makers. When everybody was prepared to face the numerous paparazzi that never left their front steps, he nodded toward a servant who slowly opened the heavy door for the regal family.

At first, everybody was blinded by the incessant flashes of light from the cameras. Each and every member of the family knew the routine: smile and wave gaily until their vision returned to them. After a few minutes of posing, three bodyguards escorted them to the awaiting limousine which would take them to the much anticipated lunch.

"FASTER!" her instructor bellowed through the microphone. "COME ON, BEAT YOUR RECORD! PUSH!"

Avalon Rider huffed as sweat poured down her face. She had only been training for over an hour, and she could feel the burn of the intense exercise already. She really wanted to pace herself since she knew she still had six more hours until her shift was over, but her supervisor was egging her on.


Another pretend adversary launched himself in Avalon's direction, but she slipped underneath his spread legs as easily as if she were on a slip-n-slide. The bulky, muscular man who had been running at her only seconds ago looked around, momentarily confused, which gave the young girl enough time to knock his legs out from underneath him. When his weight fell to the padded ground, Avalon energetically jumped on top of him, pinning him to the ground with all of her weight. She placed the gun in her hand to his forehead and pulled the trigger.

He flinched even though he knew the gun wasn't loaded. It was natural instinct when he heard the sound. A buzzer went off, and Avalon, panting, pushed herself to her feet before she extended her hand down to the large man who was still lying on his back.

"Thanks," he replied, breathing just as heavily as she was, when she helped to pull him to his feet again.

She didn't respond. Instead, she walked off, out of the padded room and into the locker room where her water bottle awaited her. She only had a few seconds to herself before her nagging instructor was behind her, yacking about all of her mistakes. She ignored Sierra as she gulped down the delicious liquid that quenched her parched throat. When she had downed half of the large bottle, she finally turned and faced the redhead who was still yammering on about what antics she could utilize to progress her skills even further.

"Sierra," Avalon interrupted her superior without a care in the world, "I don't know if you're aware of this, but I just beat my own personal record in there. And, if for some absurd reason you don't this, my previous personal record outshined everybody else's at this agency by a milestone. So, I think I'm good for now." She almost laughed at the shocked expression Sierra gave her for back-talking her. "Now, if you don't mind, I really would just love to work on some endurance, so I'm going to go to the weight room."

"Avalon Rider, I don't know who you think you are—"

"Only the best agent this place has seen since Vanessa Daniels," Avalon replied flippantly as she began her exit.

"You wait right there, young lady," Sierra commanded. But her demand was completely disregarded by the twelve-year-old blonde who continued to waltz down the corridor in the direction of the weight room.

"I told you to wait!" Sierra screeched, walking faster to catch up with the stubborn, hot-headed little twit.

Avalon abruptly stopped and whipped around to face the redhead with her hands firmly on her hips. Cocking her head to the side, she replied, "And when have I ever heeded anything you have told me to do?"

Sierra began to stammer, completely taken aback by the audacity of this child. "Just because you're everybody's favorite little spy here doesn't give you any right to disrespect your superiors."

"I have heard this lecture one hundred and seventeen times. And each time, I simply allow the words to flit by without a care in the world. Why would you think this time is any different?"

"You need to learn your place."

"My place? Why, I do believe that I live three blocks down—"

"You know very well that is not what I mean," Sierra barked. "You need to stop undermining your authority."

"The only person in authority I obey is the myself."

"One day, your defiant insubordination and unruly disobedience are going to get you into trouble."

"When that day comes, I'll let you wiggle your fat finger at me and say 'I told you so.'"

"Why, you little—"

"Sierra, Avalon," a new, authoritative voice entered the hallway.

Sierra immediately moved to a stance of alert attention when she recognized the voice of the head boss. Avalon, on the other hand, remained undaunted by the intimidating Derek Daniels. Sure, he was the brother of the famous Vanessa Daniels who had been the most talented agent the organization had ever seen. Sure, he was tall, dark, muscular, and strong. Sure, he had a booming voice that could shake the room if he wanted it to. But none of that scared Avalon. She could handle herself. Even though she looked like a little twelve-year-old, she had the heart and ambition of a middle aged woman who knew what she wanted in life and wouldn't let anyone get in the way of her achieving it.

"I'd like to have a word with you, Avalon, if you please," Derek stated, his dark eyes landing on the young blonde.

"I'm all ears," she replied.

"In my office," he expanded.

"This must be mighty important," she responded lazily, moving towards the door that made everybody else quake in fear to be near.

Once the door was closed and the pair was ensconced in the large and lush room, Derek strode to his desk and shuffled some papers. "I have been observing you closely these past few months and have come to recognize the great potential you possess."

"What a compliment," she rejoined perfunctorily.

"You should be more excited to receive such flattery from the boss."

She shrugged her shoulders.

When he continued to give her a mildly befuddled look, she asked, "Is there something you wanted to tell me, sir?" She grudgingly added the title, hating the way it made her feel so inferior. She didn't like to look up to anyone.

"I'm promoting you to junior agent. If your progress continues to amplify with the same amount of velocity as it is now, I'll bump you up to senior agent within the year and then head agent within two years."

"That sounds great. I'm sure it'll look really good on my college resume," she joked with dry humor.

"You're not giving me the enthusiasm I was expecting."

"Don't take it personally; I never show any enthusiasm."

"Okay, well, your first mission is to rescue Jenna, a four-year-old girl who was reported missing yesterday. We have discovered that there are four kidnappers who are keeping her downtown. You'll begin tomorrow. All right, then, back to work," he ordered, and for the first time in her life she complied with somebody else's mandate.

Laughter and tinkling glasses permeated the air at the luncheon of Lavinia's prime minister. The expensively garbed guests were protected from the sweltering heat by a light covering that served to block the sun from the garden party. Many of the dukes and duchesses stood around in small circles, talking amiably about what they each had been up to since they had last seen each other. Others, like important counts and kings, spoke of more serious matters, including financial advice and economic chatter, giving their opinions, each thinking his was the most superior.

The younger children dashed about their parents' heels and in between skirts that billowed in the light breeze, playing tag or hide-and-seek. The older children and the teenagers had migrated over to the lake off a distance to gossip about those who hadn't had the privilege of being invited to this extravagant party.

Everything was going perfectly fine until Felicity announced that she was perspiring much too much for her own liking and was going to get punch from the patio. Before she left her circle of friends, she winked at her twin brother. Colton caught the notion and smirked back, indicating that he was well aware that her departure was an excuse to set up the lark they had concocted as soon as their parents told them they were going to the prime minister's home.

Colton stood next to his friend, the seventh in line to the throne of Boshcow, and laughed at a joke the other had made.

"I do not see how you think that is so funny, Prince Colton," Beatrice sneered, her upturned nose high in the air as she glowered at the two boys who had been chuckling behind their hands.

"Oh, Bea, get off your high horse," Vincent, the seventh in line, bade, rolling his green eyes. "You never think anything is funny. You are such a drab sometimes."

The high and mighty thirteen-year-old scoffed. "I take offense to your accusation."

"You take offense to everything," Colton replied lazily, wondering how long Felicity was going to take. He really wanted to show Beatrice what it meant to 'lighten up.'

"I just do not see how the two of you can be so immature. You are almost teenagers, and many responsibilities will be laid upon your shoulders in just a short time."

"Here we go again," Vincent said, bracing himself for another lecture from their elder by one year on how the two of them needed to mature and realize how important it was for them to leave behind childish antics.

"Excuse me, sir, but may I have a word?"

All six of the youngsters in the group turned to see a servant who was holding a platter of triangular sandwiches. The servant directed his gaze to Colton.

Reluctant to leave his stance, he asked, "Is the matter of great importance?" He did not want to miss the trick Felicity was setting up for Beatrice.

"Your mother commanded that I find you immediately and bring you to her."

Oh, blast it all. His mother had discovered Felicity and his potential jest and was stopping them. No doubt, she would punish them more thoroughly than they were already being punished for the prank they pulled on Mrs. Creavey. Hanging his head, he followed the servant through the patio, the two French doors, the long hallway, and towards the grand ballroom where the dancing had commenced. Only, before they entered the grand room, the servant stopped him and directed him to a smaller room on the right side of the long hallway. Confused, Colton walked in the room, wondering where his parent and sister were.

Only when the door behind him closed did he realize what a mistake he had made. His blue eyes widened when he turned around to see the servant had placed the platter filled with food on a nearby table and was now pointing a gun to his head. Defenseless and scared witless, Colton backed up slowly, raising his hands up to his shoulders, palms forward in surrender. His eyes flitted to all corners of the room, trying to espy a route of escape.

"Don't even think about it, your highness," the servant barked, moving closer.

"W-What do you want?"

"Wrong question."

Befuddled, Colton wracked his brain. "Who are you?"

"There you go. I'm surprised your mother hasn't told you about me."

"My m-mother?" Colton tried to think of any enemies his sweet, kind mother could have acquired, but none came to mind.

"Why, young prince, I'm your grandfather."

"My mother's father?" he queried, not recalling any memory of his mother telling him about her parents.

"Well, per se. I am her foster father."

"S-She never bespoke of her origin," Colton commented, still trying to find a way out of this room.

"That's just too bad. I was deprived of my rightful position as her father. I should have at least been invited to the wedding or been able to meet my grandchildren, but she was too much of a stuck-up, conceited bitch to think of me."

Anger bubbled in Colton's chest at the vulgar name this stranger had called his beloved mother. How dare he? Colton's fists curled into tight balls as rage shook through his body.

"You're going to have to pay for her selfishness. She deprived me of the fame and fortune I deserve, so I'm going to take one of her treasures from her."

"You shall never get away with kidnapping a prince without some sort of justice," the royal boy spoke through clenched teeth, still seething about this wretch calling his mother names.

"Won't I?"

"No," a new voice growled from behind the criminal. Colton watched with round eyes as his captor's eyes rolled upwards and into the back of his head before his body crumpled to the floor. Behind the unconscious brigand stood Jayden, breathing heavily and rubbing his red knuckles.

"Father!" Colton breathed, running into his open arms in relief. "But how did you find us?" he asked, pulling back to look into his father's brown eyes.

"Why, from me, of course," Felicity declared, flitting into the room ahead of two officers. She leaped gracefully over the unconscious form before twirling and placing her hands on her hips. "When I came back to watch the show—you know, the one we designed specifically for our dearest friend, Beatrice—I noticed your disappearance and asked Vincent where you had gone, wondering how completely rude you were being for missing the spectacle I set up. When he told me you were summoned by our mother, I knew something was amiss because I had just seen our lovely mother a few moments beforehand. That was when I dashed to find father, and voila. We found you, utterly helpless and vulnerable. You are quite welcome for saving your life, dearest brother."

"Oh, you certainly are wonderful, Felicity," Colton praised moving to hug his twin. What would he have done without her?

"Where is he? Where is that no good, despicable, rotten asshole!" Giselle cried, rushing into the room. After reassuring herself that her son was safe and sound, she moved to the man who was propped up between the two police officers and was slowly rousing from the oblivion he had been sent to by Jayden. "You! You rascal! How dare you? How dare you even conceive the idea to present yourself in one hundred feet of me or my family? I hope you rot in prison for years to come. Don't ever think of coming within eyesight of me again, or I will have you gelded!"

Jayden chuckled as his wife spat insult after insult at the man who had caused such trepidation. Once Giselle had calmed down a mite and the anger had fled her cerulean eyes, she knelt down in front of Colton and placed each hand on one of his shoulders, her eyes searching every spot of him. "Are you okay? Did he harm you? Are you bruised or hurt?"

"No, mother, I'm fine."

"Oh, God!" another voice entered the group that had formed in the room. Everyone's eyes turned to see Kathryn Holds, the queen, placing a hand over her mouth. "And now my own grandchild is using contractions! 'I'm'? 'I'm'? Heaven forbid."

Giselle smiled. It was so typical of her mother-in-law to let the speech of 'an individual who is not imperially tutored,' as she would put it, be the one thing to get under her skin at a moment like this.

"Mama, please," Arabella Holds interceded, "Colton has just suffered an awful trauma, and you're going to badger him about his dialect?"


Arabella winked at her mother. "The more it bothers you, mother, the more we, children, find it entertaining to do."

"You, my young one, are no longer a child."

"I am, at heart," Arabella insisted.

"And that will never change," Jayden added, pulling on one of his sister's dark curls.

"What happened here?" a young voice asked after he had struggled to push his way through the enlarging crowd of spectators.

"Oh, Winston," Felicity sighed. "Always the last to find anything out, the poor child."

"Hey!" Winston cried.

"Our dear brother was almost just killed, but your daring and perceptive sister saved his sorry derriere," Felicity informed her younger brother.

"You make it seem as if you did all of the manual labor when, in fact, I was the one who proved the thief's undoing," Jayden inserted.

"Oh, technicalities," his daughter waved her hand as if nobody needed those details, producing laughter from the spectators and bringing the garden party back into the fun and lighthearted atmosphere.

Avalon sprinted through the darkened passageways of New York City as she led the kidnappers behind her in the opposite direction of the one they wanted. She glanced at a large, spotless window a couple of yards in front of her and, judging by the proximity of the three behind her, calculated that the evildoers were catching up to her. She ducked under a low bar and slid into the manhole at the corner of the cobblestone street. Landing in drainage of muck was the least of her worries as she maneuvered her way to the side of the sewer where she continued dashing in the wrong direction.

Once she was satisfied that she had lost all four of the large, gang-bangers, she began stealthily retracing her steps to find the young girl she had hidden from the four abductors. She shed her soiled shoes in a dumpster and peeled her ruined sweatpants off her legs and threw them into the gutter. Her tight, black shorts didn't do the job of concealing her long, slender legs from prying eyes, but she no longer needed to avoid the captors' searching eyes. They were long gone by now. She continued jumping over fences and slipping through holes in the walls as she made her way back to the abandoned building in which she had stowed the child.

"Are you okay?" Avalon asked when she opened the closet door to find the little auburn-haired girl huddling in the corner, her ragged teddy bear squeezed in her small arms.

The child nodded with large brown eyes as Avalon took her hand and led her out the backdoor to the alleyway.

"I thought I might find you in one of these alleys," an ominous voice rang off the bricks of the two surrounding buildings.

The little girl let out a yelp of fright as she huddled behind Avalon's five foot six form. For a twelve-year-old, Avalon was tall and could intimidate many. Turning around to face the one who had spoken, Avalon pushed the child behind her, forming a human wall between the frightened girl and the menacing kidnapper. This must be the fourth gang member whom she thought she had lost at the beginning of the chase.

Quirking the corner of her lips upward, Avalon asked, "Where are your other three buddies?"

"You skillfully led them astray, it would seem," the brooding man answered, pointing a pistol between Avalon's silvery gray eyes.

"But you're just too smart for my tricks, huh?"

The six foot mongrel nodded his assent to her statement. "It would also seem that you have no more weapons since you seem to have lost your pants."

"That's what it would seem like, wouldn't it?" Avalon smirked.

The man's eyes narrowed at her tone of voice. What was this young girl talking about?

"But," she continued, "You should never assume things." With that said, her hand slipped to the covert patch on the inside of her tight, black shorts and pulled out a small knife, letting the blade reflect the light of the moon and glint before the other man's eyes.

He began to guffaw in mirth at the size of the small weapon. The little twit would never get close enough to him for that petite item to render any harm to him. Halfway through his chuckling, a sharp pain erupted in the middle of his chest, and he stared down in shock to see the handle of the knife jutting out of his chest. The intrusion of the weapon prohibited any oxygen from entering his lungs. Soon, he was spitting up blood as he fell to his knees, his surprised eyes on the twelve-year-old girl standing triumphantly before him.

"Don't judge a book by its cover," she advised as she ruthlessly pulled the knife out of his chest, causing more excruciating pain. "I'll be taking this back; it's my favorite."

She left the man, gasping in the narrow alleyway as she scampered back to the little girl. She knelt down in front of the terrified youngster and brushed a stray strand of golden-brown hair from the little forehead.

"We're almost to safety, okay, sweetie?" Avalon assured her. "Hop on my back, and I'll carry you the rest of the way to the safe house. You're going to see your parents in just a few hours, I promise."

The girl nodded and climbed onto Avalon's back before the elder hastened towards the agency building. Once Avalon had brought the child to safety and saw with her own eyes that the girl had returned to the arms of her grateful parents, Avalon turned on her heel to take a much needed shower.

"Wait," a crying voice stopped her before she left the room. She turned around to see the child's father standing up. "I want to extend to you all of the gratitude I have."

"Don't mention it," Avalon stated, turning again.

"Won't you let us give you a token of our appreciation?" the mother asked, stilling hugging her child.

"Give it to Derek. He's the boss."

"But you did all of the work," the father persisted.

"Seriously, don't worry about it," Avalon said before stalking out of the room and to the showers without a second glance over her shoulder.

Author's Note: No, there is no such place as Lavinia or Boshcow. I made them up.

Also, BEFORE YOU RANT TO ME about how 12 year olds don't speak like that. Let me explain to you why I had them talk so eloquently:

A: the prince and princess speak as they do because, well, they are royalty. They have been tutored by the best and educated since they were toddlers.

B: Avalon speaks the way she does because she's exceptionally mature. And, later, you'll find out that she's had to face many hardships and had to grow up quickly.

Also, this story is not about 12 year olds. Only, the first chapter depicts them when they are at this age. The rest of the story takes place five years later. Just a heads up.

Okay, now that we got that out of the way. I really want to know what you think of this first chapter! I know a lot of people wanted a sequel to 'Breaking Giselle,' so I am sort of giving you one. I hadn't meant to actually publish this yet, but when I decided to incorporate a bit of 'Illegal Emotions' in this story, the words just started spewing forth. And I really like it so far. I have so much more I can't wait to write! I really hope this story takes off!

So, please, please, please, review and let me know if you like it or not! Thanks so much!

~Chelsea Elizabeth