His Millionaire Maid

By: Coleen Kwan

Her car had sunk, taking everything with it. All she had now was her phone, the soaked clothes on her back, and a few dollars in her jeans pocket. No BMW, no fancy wardrobe, no credit cards, and most important of all, no identity. She was Ms. Nobody from Nowheresville. Just like she’d said she wanted not five minutes ago. Maybe fate had been listening to her after all.

“I think there’s a reason I crashed my car here,” she said to Lindsey. “This is my chance to find out what it’s like not to be me.”

Nina found a house about half a mile from the quarry, and it appeared no one was home. She crouched behind the bushes, rubbing her chilled arms. On the clothesline nearby flapped some women’s clothing—cheap, plain, chain store clothing—that looked about her size. She needed to change out of her clothes, not only because they were wet, but because the pricey labels would give her away if she was serious about going incognito.

Of course she was serious. To prove it to herself, she whipped out her cell phone and called her manager. She told him something unexpected had come up and she wouldn’t make it to the office this afternoon and needed tomorrow off, too. Harry didn’t make a big deal about it. After tomorrow, she was on vacation anyway, and there wasn’t anything urgent waiting for her at the office. Then again, Harry never reprimanded her, even when she made mistakes—because she was Carson Beaumont’s daughter.

“Harry,” she said, putting on a casual tone. “Just out of curiosity, why did you give me the promotion and not someone else like Ryan or Fiona?”

“Because you’re the most qualified, of course.” Harry gave a hearty, fake-sounding laugh that confirmed Nina’s worst fears. She wasn’t the best qualified, and Harry didn’t honestly believe she deserved the promotion. He was only doing it to impress the higher-ups, or because he’d been ordered to.

“I see. Okay. Well, thanks.” She couldn’t even pretend to be pleased, she was so nauseated, and quickly ended the call.

The sorry truth was, although she worked harder than her colleagues, she’d never pushed for that promotion because her heart wasn’t truly in her job. She’d taken it to mend fences with her dad, but now this promotion meant she was stuck there for the long haul.

Okay, that did it. She was even more determined to follow through with this screwball plan of hers.

After another quick scan of the deserted yard, she darted forward and snatched a few bits of clothing off the line before scampering back to the bushes. Her heart pumped with nervousness as she stripped and changed into faded jeans, a cheap T-shirt, and a scruffy denim jacket. She would leave her designer jeans and T-shirt hanging on the line for the owner; that would more than cover the cost of these Kmart threads.

The only clue to her former life lay in her striking, hand-tooled cowboy boots, now soggy and squelchy and uncomfortable. But she had no way of replacing them, so she’d just have to make do.

When she was fully clothed, she couldn’t resist taking a selfie and sending it to Lindsey. Lindsey clearly thought she was nuts, but she was used to Nina’s schemes by now, and she’d keep her secret.

She slipped the phone into her pocket, squared her shoulders, and stared at the road leading into Hartley, a place she’d never heard of. A place where she could be herself. Who knew what lay ahead for her? It could be disaster, embarrassment, or total failure. But she had to find out. Going back wasn’t an option anymore.

With fingers crossed, she took the first steps toward her new identity.

Joe Farina sat back on his heels and rolled his shoulders, trying to ease the tension knotting his back. Some days, owning and running the Comet Inn was tough on a guy, and this was one of those days. One of the waitstaff had twisted an ankle, his chef was threatening to cut someone’s balls off, and the new temporary employee who was supposed to have arrived at two still hadn’t turned up. It was now after five, and since he was short staffed, he was on his hands and knees in the reception lobby cleaning up a bottle of lavender oil one of the guests had spilled.

The front door jingled as someone entered the inn. Joe stood and his gaze fell on a girl who didn’t look a day over eighteen. She was small and slim, with short blond hair and blue eyes almost too big for her face, like a doll. Judging by her faded jeans, cheap T-shirt, and scruffy denim jacket, she had to be the new temp.

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