His Millionaire Maid

By: Coleen Kwan

“You’re here. Finally.” He couldn’t temper the frustration in his voice.

The girl stopped and raised her eyebrows. “Excuse me?”

He strode forward, his mind leaping ahead to everything that still needed doing. “I’m Joe Farina, your new boss. You’re the temp I’ve been waiting for all afternoon.”

Her eyes widened as they fixed on his hands. Joe paused. He’d forgotten about the rubber gloves he was wearing. Big, blinding, flamingo-pink gloves. Damn.

She bit her lip as if trying not to smile. “Cute. Pink suits you.”

He tore off the gloves and tossed them next to his bucket, feeling strangely flustered. “I’m allergic to lavender,” he said stiffly. “And those were the only gloves I could find.” Why did he need to explain himself to her? “You are my new maid, right?”

She tugged at her jacket. “Uh…your new maid…yeah. Right.”

Joe bit back a groan. She wasn’t slow-witted, was she? She didn’t look slow-witted. Her eyes were deep blue and curious as she glanced between him and the reception area. Her stance was wary, as if she wasn’t sure she should be here.

He waved a hand impatiently. “You were supposed to be here at two. I can’t have employees who turn up late, especially on their first day.”

She jutted her chin as if ready to argue with him. “I’m not—” She stopped abruptly, looking conflicted.

A beat of silence passed as they sized each other up. At first glance, he’d thought she was a teenager, but now that she was closer, he revised his estimate to early twenties, no more than twenty-five. Her hair was several shades of blonde, from ice to honey to caramel, and it was messy and slightly damp, as if she’d been swimming recently. Her mouth was wide and sensual, balancing out a stubborn chin. He liked what he saw, he realized, especially that bold curve to her jaw.

His gaze caught on a weird bit of green stuff tangled in her hair. Was that a fancy barrette? No, it looked more like some kind of vegetation.

“What?” She shifted uncomfortably. “Is there dirt on my face?”

“No, something in your hair.” He reached out impulsively and snagged the damp piece out of her hair. “What is this? It looks like…duckweed?”

Her cheeks turned bright pink—almost as pink as his embarrassing gloves—as she snatched the sliver from his fingers. “No, it must have fallen off a tree, but thanks.”

It was definitely duckweed, but clearly she wasn’t going to tell him how it got in her hair, and he didn’t have time for this.

“Listen. I’m really busy. If you want the job, then come with me.” He moved toward the hallway leading off the reception lobby, throwing a glance over his shoulder to see if she followed. When she did, his small twinge of relief surprised him. He was glad to get another pair of hands, but was he also glad it was her?

He led the way into the linen room and grabbed a stack of clean sheets and towels. He dumped them into her arms.

“Got that?”

Her eyes widened above the stack of linen, but she didn’t complain, just nodded like she knew he was testing her. Okay, then. She’d passed.

He walked into an adjoining utility room filled with cleaning equipment.

“There are eight guest rooms that get dusted and cleaned every day, even when they’re unoccupied. I like to keep them ready to use at all times.”

He picked up a bucket filled with cleaning products and a mop. The temp shifted the pile of linen in her arms and waggled one hand at him. “I got that, too.”

She had spunk, he’d give her that. Her sharp blue eyes dared him, so he handed the bucket and mop to her. She winced as she struggled to balance her load.

“Maybe I should—” Joe began.

“No, no. I can manage. It’s the least I can do, seeing as I’m late.”

This could be interesting. At the back of his mind a warning buzzer sounded. He needed someone efficient, not interesting.

But he couldn’t resist gesturing at the hulking industrial-strength vacuum cleaner in the corner. “Think you can manage that, too?”

She gulped. “Uh, I might have to come back for it.”

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