Housekeeper to the Millionaire(2)

By: Lucy Monroe


Making no effort to respond to her comment, he turned around and started walking down the hall, clearly expecting her to follow him. “I’ll interview you out in the courtyard.”

She walked behind him, cataloging his attributes like an inventory control clerk and powerless to focus her attention elsewhere. Despite his obvious wealth, Win’s clothes were that of a working cowboy. His long legs were encased in a pair of jeans washed to a comfortable, faded softness that clung to his backside with almost indecent snugness. His ebony hair brushed the collar of the dark T-shirt that rippled with his muscles as he walked.

The man was too hot for Carlene’s peace of mind. Maybe this job was not such a good idea…but hand-tooled boots clicked on the tile floor ahead of her drawing her inescapably toward a future as uncertain as the past she’d left behind.

Where was his wife? Why would he conduct the interview for a housekeeper and cook?

Win led her through the entrance hall to another interior hallway that surrounded the courtyard. An intelligent concession to central Oregon’s cold winters, she thought. They went outside through one set of four sliding glass doors placed in the walls of windows that faced the courtyard from the house. She followed him to a large brick patio and couldn’t help but admire the beautifully kept foliage along the way. Small shrubs and patches of grass, broken by stone pathways leading to the house, surrounded a two-tiered cement fountain. “It’s lovely.”

“Thank you.”

He moved forward and pulled out a chair from the wrought-iron patio set. She sat down.

“Want anything to drink?”

She shook her head. “I’m fine, thanks.”

He nodded and sat across from her.

When he didn’t immediately begin asking questions, she decided to ask a few of her own. “Mr Garrison, I’m afraid I have almost no information regarding you and your family. When I called on the ad in the paper and spoke to your housekeeper, she told me little more than that she planned to be gone as of yesterday. Do you have children? Will Mrs Garrison wish to interview me as well?”

It made her nervous to have to go through a two-interview process for the job of housekeeper, but she would survive. It just meant that much longer before she knew whether or not she had the position. What she really wanted to ask was if there had been a lot of other applicants.

He leaned back in his chair, his boots scraping on the stone tile. “No.”

No? No, what? She smiled faintly. “Would you care to expand on that a little?”

“No kids. No wife. No other interview.”

She wasn’t sure if she was relieved or worried by that bit of news. “Then perhaps you would like to commence with this one?”

His eyes narrowed. “You sure you wouldn’t like to do it? You seem to be doing fine so far.”

Crud. It was the teacher’s instincts coming out again. She would have thought, after all this time out of the classroom, she’d have no problem treating adults differently than the children she used to work with. But then a lot of times patrons at the bar needed the same kind of handling.

She tried another smile. “Um…okay. We can get the rest of my questions out of the way first. Is this a live-in position?”

“No.”

She managed to bite back a sigh of relief. The job of live-in housekeeper to a man as good-looking as the one before her was rife with the potential for gossip. The last thing she wanted was any more gossip. “What are the hours, then?”

“Rosa worked from seven-thirty to four.”

Carlene nodded. “What exactly do the duties entail?”

He frowned and shrugged.

She stared at him in shock. “You don’t know?”

“Why do you think I need a housekeeper? It’s the house stuff. I don’t want to have to worry about it. A cleaning service comes in a few times a week. Rosa took care of setting that up.”

Great. His Spanish-speaking housekeeper had set up the cleaning service…which meant that the maids probably spoke Spanish as well. She could hope they were bilingual because her college French wasn’t going to do her a lot of good here.

“What else did Rosa do?”

Win’s frown deepened. “I told you…I’m not sure. I run my ranch and the stables. She ran the house.”

“And that’s what you want me to do…run the house?”

He nodded, almost smiling. “Yes.”

“Did Rosa cook all your meals?”

“Yes. Both for me and the hands.”

“Okay.” Now they were getting somewhere.

“Did she make your bed?” Oh, nuts…why had she asked that? Not that she didn’t need to know, but she really didn’t need to be thinking about bed and this man in the same sentence.

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