A Falcon's Tale
A Falcon's Tale
Charmed, I'm Sure
Justin Greystone, intent on finding a bottle of wine in the cellars of Castle Baaldorf, rounded a corner and ran squarely into an auburn haired young woman who was standing motionless in the hall, apparently looking blankly ahead of her. His brown cloak swirled around her as he grasped her shoulders to keep her from falling. He noted her narrowed eyes, but took it for irritation at the collision.
"Sorry 'bout that, darlin'." He winked at her. "New to the castle, are we?" He noted her features and figure. She had a nasty bruise on her forehead, but she was pretty. And tall. Hmm. Might have to spend some time with this one. He hadn't seen any new girls around the castle on his most recent visits. Most of the others were aware of his reputation and avoided him after a few encounters. Not that those encounters weren't pleasant, but Justin did have a tendency to get bored rather quickly. This girl didn't look like a servant either, even though her blue riding dress was a bit worn. "You shouldn't stand in the middle of the hallway where ya can get run over. Why don't you let me give ya a tour?" He looped his arm around her shoulders and started down the hall with her in tow.
"Let go of me," the woman commanded coldly. "Who do you think you are, handling me in this manner?" She pulled away from him and his hand caught on the neck of her dress.
The prince stopped in surprise. He always assumed every woman he met had heard of him already. "The name's Justin Greystone, miss." He used his most spectacular smile on her.
The suspicious glare she had fixed him with softened only a bit. "Prince Greystone, your familiarity with me is not welcome. If you don't mind?" She shrugged her shoulders and Justin moved his encompassing arm from them.
"Sorry, miss. Just thought maybe you'd like to come with me and have a lil' drink. Didn't mean no harm. Really." He grinned at her again, his dark eyes twinkling. He liked the ones with spirit. Sort of considered them a personal challenge.
"My name is Lady Perrin Hawtrey. I'm here under King Edwin's protection from Prince Blackpool. Your brother, Erik, rescued me from two of his troopers this morning. I've had rather a trying day and I don't need you to add to it." Perrin looked at him from under her lashes, adjusted the neckline of her gown, and then began to move away from him. Malin had communicated with her about the lady-in-waiting looking for her just before the prince had run into her. She'd seen through Malin's eyes as the girl searched the chambers and then sat on the window seat to wait. She had to get back to the rooms quickly.
Justin effectively blocked her by stretching out his arm and leaning against the wall. He looked in her eyes. Strange eyes, he thought. Interesting though. He pursed his lips and smiled at her.
"Must'a been where you got that bruise, huh?" He brushed her hair from her forehead. "Then you 'specially could use a drink of some good wine. And I happen to know where they keep it." He was sure her day would get better now that he was in the castle. She just didn't know it yet, was all.
"No, thank you, Prince Greystone," Perrin returned briskly. "I was on my way to my chambers to settle in." She debated pushing him out of the way and decided against it. Even with him she'd have to play at being a lady. "I'm sure I'll have the *pleasure* of your company at dinner this evening. Good afternoon, m'lord." Perrin swept around the prince's other side in a rush.
"Charmed, I'm sure," muttered Justin. He turned and watched her move away from him. She appeared to be very athletic according to his practiced scrutiny. He raised his eyebrows in appreciation. Well, it'd be good to have a little project to keep him busy during the harvest festival. Lady Perrin would do real nicely. Yep, it was turning out to be a fine day indeed. He strolled down the hall, started whistling a cheerful, if slightly off-color, drinking tune and disappeared around the corner.
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