His Millionaire Maid

By: Coleen Kwan

“Humph.” Sarah aimed a look at Joe as if to say, God, a newbie? What were you thinking!

He said, “Nina will be busing tables tonight and helping with the dish washing, since Nathan’s out of action.”

“In those heels?” Sarah gestured at Nina’s fancy cowboy boots. “You won’t last an hour.”

Nina’s cheeks flushed as she lifted her chin. “I’ll be fine.”

Joe glanced at Nina’s boots. They were definitely sexy, but also impractical, and the leather looked damp. He was about to explain that Nina’s stuff had been stolen, but stopped himself, figuring she probably didn’t want everyone knowing her personal problems.

Sarah all but rolled her eyes. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Joe tugged at Nina’s elbow. “You’ll meet the rest of the staff when you come on duty. Right now, I need you to get moving on those guest rooms.”

When they were out in the lobby, Nina turned to him. “Did I do something to annoy Sarah? I get the feeling she doesn’t like me much.”

But Vince likes you. The thought intruded into his mind without warning. Why did that bother him? Vince was a good friend. He was an easygoing guy who liked a lot of people—that was what made him such a good bartender.

“Sarah can be prickly,” he said. “She’s a perfectionist, but if you work hard and pull your weight, she’ll come around.”

Nina moved closer, near enough for him to see the faint dusting of freckles across her pert nose and the tiny pulse beating at the base of her throat. “I intend to, and I’m grateful to you for giving me a chance.”

Joe’s concentration drifted to her mouth, those soft pink lips inciting illicit thoughts. Hell, he’d like to give her something more than just a chance.

“Let’s see how you do tonight,” he said.

“Sure thing. Why don’t I clean that up for a start?” She nodded at the remaining spilled lavender oil in the corner of the reception lobby. “I’m not allergic to lavender, so you can keep the pink gloves for yourself.”

He ignored the quip. “That’d be great.”

She drew in a deep breath and flexed her arms like she was about to run a race. “This is a new beginning for me.”

“Yeah?” Once again his curiosity piqued. “You’re turning over a new leaf or something?”

“Not only a new leaf—I’m turning over a whole tree.”

“Well, just remember not to drop a load on me while you’re doing all this turning.”

“I won’t, Joe. I promise. You won’t regret hiring me.”

Famous last words. Joe rubbed his upper lip as he watched her bend over the bucket he’d left in the lobby. The sight of her tight, round butt captivated him. Those boots of hers looked expensive, especially compared to the rest of her clothes. How could she afford them? Maybe she had a shoe fetish…aw, hell. Now he couldn’t help picturing her wearing nothing but those boots.

Nina was ready to lose it. If Sarah told her one more time to move her ass, she was going to tip her fully laden bus pan over the chef’s head.

Her feet, tortured by her boots, moaned in protest as she carried the full bus pan into the kitchen. Her shoulder muscles had stopped complaining an hour ago and were now numb, but she knew as soon as she sat down they’d start bitching again. It was better to keep moving. Also, staying on the move meant she was less likely to be the target of Sarah’s ire.

Well, this was what she’d wanted, wasn’t it? No special favors because of who she was. Yeah, now she knew what life was like on the other side. If she wasn’t aching with exhaustion, she’d have to laugh at the irony.

Nina hefted the bus pan onto the counter where Trevor, the other kitchen hand, worked. In between clearing tables, she’d helped him rinse and wash, though she was a tortoise compared to him. And a clumsy one, too, as she’d broken two plates, the cost of which, Trevor had informed her, would be deducted from her pay.

“Is it always this busy on a Thursday night?” she asked, leaning against the counter to give her feet a break.

“Gets busier every month.” Trevor kept on stacking dirty dishes as he talked. “Sarah’s new menu is a hit. You gotta try her twice-cooked pork belly with lentils.”

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