Housekeeper to the Millionaire(3)

By: Lucy Monroe

But Win looked as if he was thinking. “The service only comes in maybe three times a week…my bed is made every night when I climb into it, the towels and such are gone from the bathroom too. Yes…guess she made my bed.”

“And did the laundry.” Not to mention a pile of domestic stuff that Carlene was quickly coming to realize Win never even thought about.

Must be nice to be rich enough to leave all those details to someone else.

“Well, yeah.”

“It sounds like you want to hire a wife,” she quipped.

He didn’t smile at her small joke. Instead, his brows drew together in his fiercest frown yet. “The last thing I want is a wife, hired or otherwise. If you’ve got any ideas in that direction, we might as well part company right now.”

She experienced an odd combination of amusement and anger at his words. Amusement that anyone could be this blunt and anger that he would assume she was angling for such a thing.

Okay, so she had come to the conclusion that she wanted the husband, the white picket fence and the two point five children playing in the yard after the last decent guy she dated ended up married to someone else. And she wanted that yard well manicured, not full of rusty automobile parts. The guys she met at the Gulch had not been candidates for the “two point five kids and white picket fence” scenario. They were generally interested in one thing and, with her figure, they expected to get it.

But there was no way that Win Garrison could know about her secret dreams and she certainly hadn’t implied she was auditioning him for the role of husband in them.

“I’m here to apply for the position of housekeeper, not wife. Furthermore, I’m certainly not interested in marriage to a man who thinks monosyllabic replies pass for communication and rudeness is socially acceptable behavior. Don’t worry. If I were to take the job of your housekeeper, your unmarried status would remain perfectly safe.”

“Good.” He looked satisfied, her insults seeming to go right over his head. “Then we can finish the interview.”

She stood up. “I don’t think that’s a good idea, Mr Garrison.” That she was using his rudeness as an excuse to get away from a man she was far too attracted to was not a thought she wanted to contemplate at the moment. “Thank you for your time, but I think it’s best if I leave.”

There had to be another job she could get that would get her out of the Dry Gulch and maybe make her application to teach in the Sunshine Springs school district a little more appealing. Just because this was the first good prospect she’d seen in the two weeks since she started looking, didn’t mean it was the only possibility.

“Sit down, Carlene, and call me Win.”

“No, really. I need to go.” She turned to leave.

But his voice stopped her. “I said sit down.” His tone made the quietly spoken command more intense than shouting could have.

She turned back to face him.

He smiled and her stomach dipped and that was so not good. “If you can’t follow one simple direction, we’re going to have a pretty rough working relationship.”

Frowning, she remained standing. “I don’t think we can have a working relationship at all, Mr Garrison.”

“Why? Because I sometimes talk in monosyllable?”

“No. Because you are rude and I don’t work well with rude people.” It was the truth. She’d gotten chewed out more than once at the Dry Gulch for taking a bad-mannered customer to task for their behavior.

“If I apologize, will you finish the interview?”

She didn’t think he was the kind of man that apologized often. “It depends.”

“On what?”

“On why you were discourteous to begin with.”

“What exactly did you consider the discourtesy, if you don’t mind me asking? My one-word replies or my warning?”

She felt herself blush because she’d been rude too. Insulting even and it hadn’t gone over his head. He’d simply opted not to make an issue of it.

She sighed. “The warning. Most women would not find your assumption that they are looking at you as a potential mate on such short acquaintance flattering.”

Even as she said the words, she felt silly. She was taking them far too personally. Really.

His cynical laugh didn’t make her feel any better. “Honey, I’m a rich man with a lifestyle a lot of people covet. A fair number of women would consider marriage a nice way to ensure they share it. I learned a long time ago to make my lack of interest in marriage clear from the beginning, no matter what relationship between me and the woman.” He certainly wasn’t talking in single syllables right now.

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