Thursday, April 8, 2010


Chapter 1
Pink underwear?
Cain Nestor tossed his formerly white cotton briefs into the washer and slammed the door closed. Damn it! He should have stopped at the mall the night before and bought new, but it had been late when his private plane finally landed in Miami. Besides, back in Kansas he had done his own laundry plenty of times. He couldn’t believe he’d forgotten so much in twelve years that he’d end up with pink underwear, but apparently he had.
Tightening the knot of the towel at his waist, he stormed out of the laundry room and into the kitchen just as the back door opened. From the pretty yellow ruffled apron that was the trademark of Happy Maids, he knew that his personal assistant was one step ahead of him again. He’d been without a housekeeper since February 1 – three long weeks. Though Eva had interviewed, he’d found something wrong with every person she’d chosen – his maid lived in and a man couldn’t be too careful about whom he let stay in his home – but the lack of clean underwear had clearly proven he’d hit a wall.
Leave it to his assistant to think of the stopgap measure. She’d hired a cleaning service. Ready to make an apology for his appearance, Cain caught his once-a-week housekeeper’s gaze and his heart froze in his chest. His breathing stopped. His thigh muscles turned to rubber.
Though her long black hair had been pulled into a severe bun at her nape and she’d lost a few pounds in the three years since he’d seen her, he’d know those catlike green eyes anywhere.
A million questions danced through his head, but they were quickly replaced by recriminations. She’d quit a very good job in Philadelphia and moved with him to Miami when she’d married him. Now, she was a maid? Not even a permanently employed housekeeper. She was a fill-in. A stopgap measure.
And it was his fault.
He swallowed. “I don’t know what to say.”

Liz Harper blinked a few times, making sure her eyes were in focus and she really was seeing her ex-husband standing wrapped in only a towel in the kitchen of the house that was her first assignment for the day. He hadn’t changed a bit in three years. His onyx eyes still had the uncanny ability to make her feel he could see the whole way to her soul. He still wore his black hair short. And he still had incredible muscles that rippled when he moved. Broad shoulders. Defined pecs. And six-pack abs. All of which were on display at the moment.
She licked her suddenly dry lips. “You could start by saying, ‘Excuse my nakedness. I’ll just run upstairs and get a robe’.”
Remarkably, that made him laugh and myriad memories assaulted her…
The day they met on the flight from Dallas to Philadelphia…
How they’d exchanged business cards and he’d called her cell phone even before she was out of the airport...
How they’d had dinner that night, entered into a long-distance relationship, made love for the first time on the beach just beyond his beautiful Miami home, and married on the spur of the moment in Las Vegas.
And now she was his housekeeper.
Could a woman fall any farther?
Worse, she wasn’t in a position where she could turn down this job.
“Okay. I’ll just—“
“Do you think—“
They stopped. The scent of his soap drifted to her and she realized he hadn’t changed brands. More memories danced through her. The warmth of his touch. The seriousness of his kiss.
She cleared her throat. “You first.”
He shook his head. “No. Ladies first.”
“Okay.” She pulled in a breath. She didn’t have to tell him her secrets. Wouldn’t be so foolish again as to trust him with her dreams. If everything went well, she wouldn’t even have to see him. “Are you going to have a problem with this?”
He gripped his towel a little tighter. “You working for me or chatting about you working for me while I stand here just about naked?”
Her cheeks heated. The reminder that he was naked under one thin towel caused her blood to simmer with anticipation. For another two people that might be ridiculous three years after their divorce, but she and Cain had always had chemistry. Realistically, she knew it wouldn’t simply disappear. After all, it had been strong enough to coax a normally sensible Pennsylvania girl to quit her dream job and follow him to Miami, and strong enough that a typically reclusive entrepreneur had opened up and let her into his life.
“Me working here for you until you hire a new maid.” She motioned around the kitchen. The bronze and tan cut-glass backsplash accented tall cherry wood cabinets and bright stainless steel appliances. “Is that going to be a problem?”
He glanced at the ceramic tile floor then back up at her. “I’ve gotta be honest, Liz. It does make me feel uncomfortable.”
“Why? You’re not supposed to be here when I am. In fact, I was told you’re typically at the office by eight. It’s a fluke that we’ve even run into each other. And I need this job!”
“Which is exactly why I feel bad.”
That changed her blood from simmering with chemistry to boiling with fury. “You feel sorry for me?”
He winced. “Not sorry, per se—“
“Then sorry, per what?” But as the words tumbled out of her mouth she realized what was going on. Three steps got her to the big center island of his kitchen. “You think I fell apart when our marriage did and now I can only get a job as a maid?”
Three more steps had her standing in front of him. “Honey, I own this company. I am the original Happy Maid.”

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