His Millionaire Maid

By: Coleen Kwan

Crap, this was no time to get all steamed up over a man, especially a man she was about to lie to.

She tilted her chin up and returned his blunt stare. “You didn’t give me a chance to introduce myself before you hustled me up here.” She cleared her throat, praying she wouldn’t stutter over her next words. “I’m Nina. Nina Summers.”

She’d been christened Annette Martha, after her two grandmothers, but she’d always called herself Nina, and Summers was her late mother’s maiden name. Half an hour ago, while walking into Hartley and concocting her cover story, she’d resolved not to stray too far from the truth. She was Nina Summers from San Francisco, a down-on-her-luck girl hoping to make a fresh start in a seaside community. She’d entered the Comet Inn hoping for information on possible employment in the area; she hadn’t expected to walk straight into a job, albeit on false pretenses.

Joe stuck his hand out. “Pleased to meet you, Nina. Sorry I hurried you in without a formal introduction. I’m Joe Farina,” he repeated, “owner of the Comet Inn.”

The unexpected thaw in his manner threw her, and when she clasped his hand, her wits were further confused by the sudden seductive warmth of his callused palm. Holy hell, this man had some kind of magic touch. For a few moments all she could think about was his hands drifting over her, heating her skin, pleasuring her senses.

She hurriedly pulled her hand away. “Farina? That’s Italian, right?” she asked in an effort to mask her discomfort.

“Yeah. I’m told I get a little hot tempered at times, so be warned.”

His mouth lifted in a quirky little smile that sent a tingle down to her toes. She groaned silently. Why did he have such a killer smile? Why him, the first person she had to convince of her new identity? If she couldn’t get past Joe’s guard, then she might as well give up right now.

“I don’t mind a hot temper.” She flicked her fingers through her hair. “I can get hot tempered myself sometimes.”

His eyebrows lifted, and the air between them quivered with an unmistakable spark, a sharp tug of mutual attraction. Joe must have felt it, too, because he stepped back, looking momentarily confused.

“Uh—” He cleared his throat. “Let’s go downstairs and do the paperwork so you can start on those guest rooms.”

Darn, she shouldn’t have done that hair-flicking thing. What was wrong with her? Less than an hour into her new identity and already she couldn’t help flirting with her sexy new boss. She really had to get a hold of herself if she wanted this to work. Biting her cheek, she followed Joe downstairs and along a passageway that led to the back of the building, which appeared to be a private section.

He led her to his office and took down her particulars.

“Got any ID on you?” he asked.

Back in college she’d had a fake ID in the name of Nina Summers, but she’d left that in San Francisco. She’d have to ask Lindsey to mail it to her.

She shook her head. “No, but I’ll get it to you as soon as I can.”

He nodded, wrote something, and then glanced back at her. “Where are you staying in town?”

“Oh.” Good question. “I don’t know. I just got in this afternoon.”

“Yeah?” His eyes narrowed on her. “The agency must’ve interviewed you by phone if you’ve only just arrived in Hartley?”

“Uh-huh. I, er, caught the bus in.” She pushed her hands into the pockets of her denim jacket.

“No luggage?”

She’d prepared for that question. “I feel a bit stupid,” she said, lifting her shoulders in a self-deprecating manner. “I fell asleep on the bus, and when I woke up all my stuff had disappeared. I made the bus driver stop and search the bus, but the thief must have already gotten off, because we couldn’t find anything, and by that time some of the passengers were upset with me for making them late.”

Joe let out a soft whistle. “That’s a lousy way to arrive in town.” He looked her over again. “So that’s all you have with you? Not even a purse?”

“Not even a purse. That’s why I can’t show you any ID. All I have is my phone and a few dollars in my back pocket. I don’t suppose there’s a youth hostel around here?”

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