Anna Nowell loves her job--living rent-free in a fabulous mansion for an absentee landlord has perks she'd never imagined. But when her boss returns, her dream job is in jeopardy--unless Anna can convince him she's indispensable!
Wealthy, cultured Donovan Barrett was a renowned physician until the tragic death of his son. Grief-stricken, he craves solitude. Consorting with the help isn't on his agenda, but Anna, with her compassion and laughter, has a way of changing all his plans and bringing him back to life when he thought he'd never love again.....
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March 13, 2007
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Excerpt from The Maid and the Millionaire by Myrna Mackenzie
ANNA NOWELL stared at the telephone receiver she had just hung up. "Okay, don't panic," she told herself. "This is just a little bump in the road. Nothing to worry about."
But even as she whispered the words, she knew there was everything to worry about.
For two years she had been house-sitting Morning View Manor, the Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, mansion belonging to Donovan Barrett, Anna's wealthy employer and absentee owner. In all that time, Mr. Barrett had never once stepped foot on this beautiful lakefront property. With the exception of the gardeners who showed up to take care of the manicured grounds, Anna had lived here alone, playing at being lady of the manor.
Now Donovan Barrett was coming here. What was that going to mean for her?
A lump formed in Anna's throat. She knew what it meant. It meant that a house sitter was no longer necessary. She was going to lose her job.
She ran one hand over the rich golden oak of a nearby table and stroked the lush dusky-blue upholstery of a chair. Her days of pre-tending that she belonged here, that she had been born to privilege, were over, but not being able to pretend that this fantasy house was hers was the least of her worries.
All the time she had worked here, she had lived rent free and had been able to save a sig-nificant portion of her income. This job had paid better than most positions that were open to a woman without a university degree. Working here had not only allowed her to live a fantasy, but it had put her closer to being able to afford her dream of adopting a child.
Closer, but not close enough. She had saved some money but she could still not support another person for any significant length of time, not in the way she wanted to. And she would not bring an innocent baby into the poverty she had grown up with, the kind that had driven her father to abandon his family and had led to a painful and lonely ex-istence for Anna. She would never subject a child to that kind of life. Not ever.
Her throat ached at the thought that she might have to postpone something she had wanted for so long, a child she could lavish with the kind of love she had never known. But truth was truth and she had grown used to meeting it head-on when she had to.
Anna swallowed. "Face it. Things have changed."
The woman on the phone had been Donovan Barrett's Chicago assistant. Tomorrow morning Mr. Barrett would move from his home base to his Lake Geneva estate.
It was less than a two-hour drive by car and yet that distance would be life-changing in so many ways.
Anna took a deep breath. She had been hired to do a job and she had done it. Donovan Barrett had needed a house sitter and now he wouldn't. It wasn't the man's fault that she wished he was staying in Chicago. Now she had to get the house ready for his arrival. She wasn't jobless yet. "And I'm not beaten yet, either," she said, though her fear was still there. She knew little of Donovan Barrett other than what his assis-tant had reluctantly told her and what the area gossips had read on the Internet and shared. Born to wealth, he had been a renowned physician until the tragic accidental death of his young son. Dr. Barrett had given up his practice and become a recluse. In the eighteen months since his son's death, Donovan Barrett had become difficult. He disliked closeness; he disliked people. He craved darkness and quiet.
Anna loved light even though her upbring-ing had been filled with darkness. She loved conversation and music and company, perhaps because she'd had little of that in her life growing up.
She sounded like just the kind of person Mr. Barrett disliked, but,
"He'll need at least a skeleton crew," she told herself. "A cook?"