I can’t believe I gottalked into this, I thought for the millionth time since I left the house. So, what if I’m in between jobs right now? That doesn’t mean that I’ll take whatever the temp agency will throw at me.
“It’s not like I didn’t have other offers,” I muttered to myself as I turned down the road toward my new place of work. “Sure, all those offers were for jobs I wouldn’t do even if I was starving, but that didn’t mean I wanted to be someone’s maid.”
My words trailed off as I pulled into the driveway of my assigned house. A wrought iron fence wrapped around the entire premises with an intercom box at the gate entrance. I could barely see the brick mansion behind the gate between the large hedges doing their best to block my view.
That wasn't promising. With my luck, I was going to be saddled with some grumpy old shut-in who would hover over my every movement.
“Can I help you?” an annoyed voice barked out of the intercom, making me jump.
The fact that I had heard the voice even through my closed window did not make me feel any better about this job. It was getting even more certain that my new boss was a wrinkly old geezer with too much time on their hands which meant they’d have plenty of time to harp at me.
Quickly rolling the window down, I stuttered, “Um, yeah, hi. I’m Piper. Piper Billings. The agency sent me.” I paused and then added, “To, uh, clean.”
Smooth. Real smooth. Already off to a great start.
The voice didn’t answer back, but a buzz sounded, and the gates opened before me at a glacial pace. Grandpa pace.
I shouted toward the box, “Thank you!” then inched my way into the circular driveway.
Now that the gate was out of the way, I could see the brick mansion in its entirety. Large columns held a roof over the porch where two black double doors stood looming before me. All the windows in the house were covered by heavy drapes. I couldn’t even peek into the house I would be working at for the next few months.
Shut in? Check.
I sat in my car, gaping at the house. Sure, I’d bitched and moaned about going from a cushy desk job with benefits, two weeks of vacation, and holiday pay to temporary work, but I never imagined I’d end up working in a place like this. I was a ‘hide behind my business casual clothing, let’s chitchat at the water cooler’ kind of girl, not a ‘uniform and manners required’ kind of girl.
My family wasn't poor. I mean, I was, but that was because I sucked at saving money. However, never in my wildest dreams would I think I would ever have the chance to walk inside of a house like this, let alone work in it.
Even though I would be living in it, cleaning it would be a bitch, which more than put things in perspective.
Knock, knock, knock.
I jumped for the second time in my seat, my heart pounding in my chest as I turned to my driver side window. Now I was gaping for a whole other reason.
A handsome man in a suit with white gloves stood bent over, his hand held up as if to knock again. The impatient look in his eyes showed that he had definitely noticed me loitering out here.
My face flushed red. If I thought I had embarrassed myself before, being caught drooling over the front of the house just put another point against me.
I'd be out of points before I even made it through the front door.
Turning my car off, I grabbed my bag and quickly got out of the car. Standing next to the handsome man, I was dwarfed by his height. I smoothed a hand over my dress pants and cleared my throat before offering him my best professional smile.
“I’m sorry. I always get nervous on my first day.” I let out a neurotic chuckle and tucked a strand of my blonde hair behind my ear.
The man’s face was as straight as the slicked back black hair on his head. “This way, Miss Billings.”
His tone held a no-nonsense sort of feel to it as if he'd scold me for daring to think of doing anything other than following him. Not that he waited to see if I was coming. He strode across the driveaway, his long legs carrying him into the house before I had time to process what had just happened.
What a stuck-up twat. I grumbled under my breath as I took my time entering the house. If he wasn't going to be nice, then he couldn't expect me to do the same.
All thoughts of pretending to be professional went out the window the moment I stepped into the house. With my mouth falling open once more, I stared up at the walls around me.
The foyer had vaulted ceilings with a shiny chandelier filling the room with artificial light. Two sets of staircases sat on either side of the room, and a balcony off the second floor could be seen from the ground. The runner carpet covering the front area had to cost a fortune with its crimson color and gold inlay, not to forget the pieces of art decorating the walls and side tables.
If I hadn't been nervous before, I was now.
I wasn't what anyone would call graceful. Okay, I was a klutz, a ‘Murphy hates me, stay away from anything so much as a fork’ kind of klutz.
Don't believe me?
Okay, I once broke a bone in a bouncy house. Yes. True story. How does one break a bone in something literally filled with air?
For me? Easy.
I'd been told I was a walking insurance claim waiting to happen. Something that made me think I should just turn right around now and save everyone the trouble.
Except I needed the money. Desperately.
By the time I stopped gawking at all the breakable things around me, I’d already lost my guide. My eyes darted around the room looking for the severely-in-need-of-a-blow-job guide, but he was nowhere to be found.
Taking a chance, I decided to go through an archway to the left which led into what looked like a living room. This room was even worse than the last one!
Unlike my home, there was no television, and the only entertaining thing was the large portrait of a couple who looked to be right out of a cliché horror movie. A severe expression marred both of their features, and their eyes seemed to watch me with every step which was easy to see from where it sat above a large fireplace, surrounded by a few dark maroon couches and chairs.
As I looked around and noticed my guide was nowhere in view, my eyes went down to the carpet. It was an oriental style rug that covered the sitting area in creams and dark reds to match the couch, except there was one spot on the carpet that was out of place. I knelt and rubbed my finger over the brown spot. Rough to the touch, it seemed to have dried on a while ago.
That’s going to be tough to get out.
Standing back up, I didn’t notice someone else was in the room until a throat cleared. Startled, I spun around and came face to face with the most beautiful man I had ever seen, and ‘man’ would be putting it lightly. This guy was an Adonis, a god, someone I should fall to my knees and worship just for allowing me to be in the same room as him.
His dark hair fell over his piercing blue eyes, and an aristocratic nose filled his face. The top lip of his mouth was thin while the bottom one was full as if he had a permanent pout on his face. His scruffy jaw and relaxed form made him seem like he had just gotten out of bed, not to forget the button-up shirt he had left unbuttoned and flapping at his side as he moved toward me.
“Uh, hi.” I waved weakly. Cursing myself, I cleared my throat and tried again. “I’m Piper. Piper Billings. I’m the new maid.”
The man didn’t answer me but watched me intently. His head cocked to the side as he inched closer, one languid foot in front of the other. Like a large cat prowling toward their prey, but not like any cat I'd ever seen.
My eyes trailed down from his face to his exposed muscles, and my mouth went dry.
Don’t think about sex. Don’t think about sex.I chanted my mantra over and over again in my mind as my eyes settled on the line of hair going into this mystery man’s pants. I jerked my eyes back up to his and swallowed hard at the hungry expression on his face.
The expression was so intense that it scared me.
I stumbled backward and stuttered over my words, “I’m not sure who you think you are, but I better find my guide before I get fired. I really need this job, you know.”
A small part of me hoped he'd claim to be my new boss and show me how I could keep my job. Oh, I could think of several wicked ways he and I could enjoy some time together.
What the fuck? Am I in a trashy romance novel?
I shook my head to clear it, but the man kept coming. I kept moving back, trying to put some distance between us, not that it helped any. Swallowing down my desire for the man, I stumbled over my feet. Catching myself before I knocked an expensive lamp over, I pivoted left.
My feet found the side of the stand before I noticed it was there. I tried to stop it from falling, I really did. I didn’t care much about my own wellbeing, but if I broke something my very first day, I was going to get fired for sure.
However, for all my good intentions, there was nothing I could do. Down came the stand, the vase sitting on it, and me. The sound of the vase smashing into a dozen pieces made me wince, or maybe that was the shard of the vase that I had fallen on. Either way, it was painful.
Sprawled out on the floor, I glanced down at my bleeding hand and then to what had to be an expensive vase decimated on the ground. Well, there goes this job. I sighed and cursed myself for my clumsiness and my raging hormones.
The beautiful man knelt before me and picked up my hand. With as much intensity as he had stared me earlier, he picked the pieces of the vase out of the wound and sat them on the antique coffee table. Each touch of his hand made my blood pump harder in my veins. An aching need pulsed between my thighs, and my nipples pushed against my white blouse.
Geeze Louise, get a hold of yourself. It's just a guy. A smoking hot guy but still, only flesh and blood.
“Ah,” I gasped as he withdrew a particularly deep piece.
His blue eyes shot up from my hand, and a small smile tipped his lips, but he didn't say anything. Those piercing eyes made me squirm.
I forced myself to stay still while he worked, my heart pounding in my chest all the while. When he was done, all that was left was a small cut.
“There,” he said. “It doesn’t look quite as bad as before. Just a little blood.”
I gaped at him as he smiled, flashing his unusually long canines at me. It took a moment before I realized I was staring.
I licked my lips, an action that did not go unnoticed by him, and nodded. “Yeah, it’s fine. I just need a bandage.” I let him help me to my feet and then turned to the broken vase. “I’m really sorry about that. I’ll pay for it of course.”
The man chuckled, a sound that I found myself eager to hear more of. “You have fifteen million dollars to spend on a Qing Dynasty vase? I thought you were a maid?”
I could feel my face pale at his words. “Fif- fifteen million? On a vase?” My eyes bulged from my head at the broken pieces on the ground.
Lifting one shoulder as if it weren’t a big deal, the man grabbed my wrist and led me to the couch. “Here, have a seat. I’ll get you something to bandage your hand with, and then we can figure out some kind of payment plan.” He winked at me and then left out a door on the other side of the room.
I sat there for a moment, reveling in my mortification. Fifteen million dollars. Who the hell had that kind of money? And to spend it on something like a vase? One that you placed anywhere that it could get knocked over! Rich people. I would never understand them.
“There you are,” the same annoyed voice from before growled at me. I shot to my feet to meet my guide’s vexed gaze.
My guide’s brown eyes widened as he took in my bleeding hand and the broken pieces on the floor. “What the hell happened here?”
I winced. “I tripped?”
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