The morning of his arrival Paige checked his suite to make sure things were as he requested and also the suite next to it where his bodyguard would be staying. Satisfied she went back to work, she needed to finish the other rooms before the staff meeting with Mr. Maestri. All the employees got together and signed a petition to stop the sale of the hotel. It had been faxed to him and he replied, demanding a meeting. He hadn’t asked or told them about the meeting, just said they better be there or they would be fired.
Having done her morning duties, Paige was talking to a co-worker when the revolving doors to the hotel swung open. All the happy chatter stopped when a man walked in and the air in the place seemed to stand still. He was tall, had dark hair and was very handsome. He walked with the aura of a man who knew no fear, but one who put fear in anyone in his path. She heard he was twenty-nine years old, and thought he was so young to be one of the richest men in the world, and even under his expensive tailored suit, she could tell he was muscular. But his face scared her, he looked mean, dangerous, like one of those mob bosses you see in the movies.
He was not alone she noticed, behind him was a big, husky man. He sported a suit and dark sunglasses. His lips set in a firm line and a scar ran down his face, he was even scarier than the other one. As they walked up to the front desk the clerk’s hand shook as he handed the keys over, stuttering as he welcomed them to the Maestri Hotel. Without so much as a thank you the two men walked away and got on the elevator. For a second, just a split second her eyes met his before the doors closed. A cold chill ran up her spine at the way his dark eyes stared into hers.
The staff was summoned to the ballroom an hour later after his arrival. While waiting for Mr. Maestri to make his entry everyone was quietly talking, but it all ceased when his powerful presence entered the room. Paige thought he was more frightening up close once she gazed at his dominant figure. While he spoke perfect English you could still hear his heavy Italian accent.
“I received this fax and all I have to say is that the hotel is closing.” Taking the fax he tore it in half and threw it to the floor.
Everyone’s mouth dropped open in shock as they stared at each other. As he turned to leave Paige shouted out.
“No, that’s not fair, you haven’t even let us discuss it with you.”
He stopped in his tracks and turned back around. “Who said that?” he barked.
No one moved or said a word, that was until one of the other maids pushed Paige, making her stumble forward.
“You,” he points to her. “Come closer.”
Putting her hands behind her back she took several steps forward, moving slowly and feeling as though her legs would give out from underneath her.
“What is your name girl?”
Casting her eyes down, afraid to look at him she stared at the floor.
“Look at me when I speak to you,” he snapped harshly.
She snapped her head up and peered into his dark, cold eyes that held not an ounce of warmth in their depths and whispers. “Paige Mosley, sir.”
“How old are you?” he asked as he looked at her from head to feet.
“Twenty-one,” she answered nervously.
“You look to be nothing more than a child, or maybe eighteen.”
“I’m not a child,” she dared to snap at him.
“What is your job here?“he asked, staring at her.
“A maid, sir,” she said, looking down at her feet.
“Then you will clean my room, and only you. I wake at seven o’clock and shower, you will come to my room at precisely eight to clean the bathroom. Be one minute late and you will no longer have a job, not that you’ll have one much longer anyway.”
She could feel her lips trembling, everyone’s eyes were on her when she spoke. “Will you not at least listen to us, maybe you might change your mind.”
“I never change my mind once I decide on something.” He looked at the others. “I suggest you all get back to work or you are fired,” he said, turning he walked out, followed by his bodyguard.
Her heart was beating like a drum in her chest. As a rule, she never disliked anyone without getting to know them better, and she could never find it in her heart to hate anyone. This man though, he was arrogant, rude and downright mean and for the first time in her life, she thought she could finally hate someone.
“Shit Paige, I feel sorry for you having to clean that bastard's room.” Sandy, the girl who pushed her forward said. “But I must say he is one fine piece of meat, I bet he knows how to satisfy a woman in bed.”
Paige rolled her eyes, Sandy was always willing to sleep with any of the guests, and she has. “We better get to work. I have a feeling he means it when he says we’ll be fired.” But she had to agree, he was indeed very sexy, if only he wasn’t so vile.
She had trouble sleeping that night, the way his eyes stared into hers was unnerving. Yet she hoped that maybe if she tried talking to him he might listen, she had to give it a shot.
The next morning she arrived at his room right on the dot and was confronted by his bodyguard who was standing outside his door. When he wouldn’t move she became agitated, not wanting to be a second late. “Let me in, he’s expecting me.”
“I need to search you, for concealed weapons,” he said in a rough tone and with a smirk on his face.
“I don’t have any weapons,” she cried out. When he put her up against the wall and ran his hands over her body she felt tears stinging her eyes and when his hand went between her legs she pushed him away.
“You’re clear, you can go in,” he said, again smirking.
Pushing the cart in she wiped the tear from her eyes. She looked away when Gabriel walked into the main room, wearing pants but his shirt was in his hand.
“You may clean the bathroom now.”
Grabbing the cleaning supplies she went to walk past him but he grabbed her arm.
When he looked at her face he could tell she was upset by the way her face was red and she looked like she was about to cry. “Has something happened to you?”
She wanted to say no, just wanted to do her job and get the hell out of there. But instead, she looked at him, her face turning even redder. “Your man out there just felt me up, said he was searching for weapons. I have never felt so violated in all my life.” She choked back a sob.
“He was just doing his job which is to protect me. It was nothing personal.”
“Nothing personal, it felt personal to me when he tried to put his hand between my legs and up my dress.” She tried pulling her arm from his grip but he held it too tightly.
“I will speak to him. It will not happen again, I give you my word,” he said, letting go of her arm.
Finishing up cleaning the bathroom she went to clean the rest of the suite. He was gone by the time she started, she was glad as she didn’t want to be around him. When she was finally finished in his room she left for the next one, it was the one where the bodyguard was staying in. Swallowing the lump in her throat she knocked, praying he wasn’t in there. Finding that he wasn’t she let out a sigh of relief and went through the room as fast as she could. He was weird and she knew he was enjoying groping her.
She was done working her shift when she got word that Gabriel Maestri wanted to see her in his suite. Reluctantly she headed for the elevator to go see what she was being summoned for this time. The whole ride up to his floor her thoughts ran rampant wondering if she had not made his bed to his liking, or was the bathroom in need of more scrubbing, or had the bodyguard complained about her work trying to get her fired. Approaching his door she hesitated, afraid that the big goon was going to search her again. But he didn’t, instead, he knocked twice and opened the door for her, he did not look at her. Gabriel was sitting on the white leather chair, a drink of some kind in his hand. “You wanted to see me?”
“Yes. Did he give you any trouble?” he asked, pointing at the door, indicating the man on the other side.
“No,” she answered.
“Sit,” he ordered.
Knowing the kind of man he was she did as she was told.
“Would you like a drink?”
Remembering what happened in the ballroom she looked at him when he spoke to her. “No thank you.”
“Do you know why I asked you here?”
“I want for you to walk me through the hotel. To point out the things that need fixing, painting and what new furniture we need to get this hotel up to date. I can’t very well sell it looking the way it is. You’ll take notes and make any and all necessary calls to have the work done.”
“Why me?” she asked, her hands in her lap, trying to stop them from shaking.
“Because you were the only one brave enough to talk to me, the others stood looking like scared little rabbits.”
“I’m sorry I can’t. I am already busy with cleaning.”
“That’s so cute, you actually think you have a choice in the matter,” he scoffed. “You will do as I say, Miss Mosley.” He got up and poured himself another drink and poured one for her. “Here, drink this, it will calm your nerves.”
Putting the glass to her lips she took a long swig of the whiskey, she made a face as it burnt her throat going down. “What about the cleaning? I can’t very well do it if I’m busy trailing after you all day.”
“Someone else can do it,” he said and poured them both another shot. “Tell me why it’s so important to you that the hotel stays open.”
Taking another long sip of her drink, and not used to drinking the hard stuff it gave her courage to speak to him. “Mr. Maestri, this is a fine hotel, it just needs some work done on it. Our clients are regulars who come here every year. They love the place and are treated with the utmost respect. They’ve come to know us as we have gotten to know them. The people who work here, well some of them have been here for years, it’s like a second home to them.”
“Miss Mosley, of all my hotels this is the only one that is not making as much money, so I see no reason to keep it running.”
“Money isn’t everything,” she said, her eyes watching him.
“It is to me,” he said, staring back at her.
“Won’t you please at least think about it? What does it matter if one hotel is not as profitable as the others? It is still making money.” She was starting to feel the effects of the alcohol she had consumed.
“Are you OK? he asked her when he saw her swaying in her seat.
“I don’t usually drink hard liquor, it’s starting to hit me. I think I should go home now if you don’t mind.”
“I will have someone drive you home.”
She looked at him, her eyes wide with fear. “Not that man who is outside your door. I don’t like him. I’ll find my own way home.” She stood to leave but her legs felt weak and she had to sit back down.
“Do not move,” he ordered her and stood up. “I will make you some coffee first and then I’ll have a cab drive you home.” He left her and went into the tiny kitchen and plugged in the kettle, then added a teaspoon of instant coffee into a cup. Once the water boiled he poured it into the cup and took it out to her, her eyes were closed. “Miss Mosley.”
Her eyes popped open and she sat up, reached out for the cup when he handed it to her and she thanked him.
“I wasn’t sure how you took it so I left it black.”
“This is fine,” she answered and took a sip.
“Take your time, I will call for a cab and have it wait for you when you’re ready.” Going to his phone he made the call and hung up.
Her hand shook a little, but that was because he was watching her, making her nervous. Putting the cup down when she was only half done stood up. “I’ll go now.”
“He walked her over to the door. “So tomorrow you will come with me, I will see to it that someone takes over your shift. Good evening Miss Mosley.” Opening the door he waited till she was out before shutting it.