The Crofton Regent Hotel
"It's Alexa, isn't it?" Darien Lee asked, looking her up and down. His expression was unreadable.
Alexa raised her eyebrows. knew damn well who she was, she'd been working at the Crofton Regency Hotel for a year. "Yes, sir," she said, straightening her back a little more. "Alexa Diaz."
Despite her apprehension, being asked to see the newly-appointed night manager in his office was just about the most exciting thing that had happened to her all week. Hell, the sight of his exquisite cheekbones was enough to make a girl think ... words like "exquisite".
Darien rested his lower arms on his desk. "I didn't see you at the staff briefing this evening."
"Ms. Moore sent me out to get a coffee for a guest." Kaala Moore was the general manager of the hotel.
"Did we run out of coffee?"
"It's the Italian film director. He'll only drink ristretto from La Mia Tazza over at Broadway."
He frowned. "I see. And before that?"
"Various other errands outside the hotel. You may check with Ms. Moore to confirm."
"Yes, I will do that when she comes in tomorrow. For now, I'd like to speak to you about your duties here for the past six months."
"I don't understand."
"Ms. Diaz, I took a look at the housekeeping reports for the past several months," he said, turning to look at the screen of his laptop. "Do you know what I found interesting?"
"No, sir." She did.
His fingers slid up and down his computer's trackpad, his eyes still on the screen. "You haven't done much housekeeping. That's your job, isn't it?"
"Ms. Moore keeps me busy, Mr. Lee. I may not have been doing a lot of room duties but—"
"Five times, Ms. Diaz." He finally turned to look back at her. "In the past six months. That's how many times you've done a housekeeping round."
That sounded about right. Unfortunately. "If you say so, sir."
"What exactly do you do here, Ms. Diaz?"
A Suite at The Crofton Regent
The crystal vase smashed against the wall behind Kellan Butler. Luckily, he had ducked quickly enough to avoid having it broken on his face.
"Kimmy, please," he said, holding up his hands. "There's no need to get violent." Slowly, he tried to straighten up but he had to again to avoid the champagne glass that was flung at him.
Despite being the target of , he couldn't help but admire her aim. It was just his luck that his date happened to be the current forward for the New York Liberty basketball team.
The statuesque platinum blonde was wearing nothing but pale pink lace lingerie and a furious look on her face. "You brought me here for this?" she said, her barely covered chest heaving in anger.
"Will you stop throwing things at me, please?" he said gently. "It's dangerous to have bits of glass flying into our eyes."
She was just about to fling a small heavy stone figurine at him. She paused and set it down heavily on the table beside her.
"Thank you," he said. "Look, I'm really sorry. I understand you may feel ... deceived—"
"You invited me to your hotel room after dinner, and ?"
"I'm well within my rights to say no, Kim."
"You gave me this," she said, , "and told me to wear it."
"Well, yes, I did. Um, do you like it?"
"This was all so your girlfriend could see me like this? What kind of sick bastard—"
"I can explain—" Kellan didn't finish, having to drop down once again as the stone statuette sailed over his head and crashed with a loud thud.
"If you read Ms. Moore's reports—" Alexa started to say.
She felt her cheeks glow with pride. Thanks, Kaala.
It took her a moment to realize Darien was looking at her expectantly. "How much coffee could our guests possibly want that can't be provided by our own kitchens?"
"You'd be surprised, Mr. Lee." It wasn't just coffee, either. Last week, she'd had to hunt down a chef who was on holiday just to get him to whip up a special cake for the daughter of a Saudi prince.
The phone rang. "Excuse me a moment," he said. He picked up the receiver. "Yes? What does he need?" He paused and glanced briefly at Alexa. "No. I'll take care of it. In the meantime, keep me updated. Thank you."
After hanging up, he turned back to her. "It seems I'm going to need your irreplaceable skills for a task tonight, Ms. Diaz. A very special guest. A VIP, in fact."
This was a really bad idea. Housekeeping had never been Alexa's forte. In fact, she was terrible at it.
Sure, on paper she was a part of the housekeeping staff. But that was only because her credentials didn't allow them to hire her for any other position. was supposed to brief Darien on what it was that Alexa actually did to earn her pay, but she must have forgotten.
She parked the cart outside the door of the suite and rang the doorbell. "Housekeeping!" she called out.
It was one of the suites, which was puzzling because Darien said it was a VIP guest. Usually VIPs were billeted at penthouse or one of the more luxurious premier suites. But then it was entirely possible it was just a really cheap celebrity.
There was no reply, but she could hear the shower running. According to Darien, a few items had been broken and all she had to do was clean up and give a report on whatever it was that needed replacing.
"Rich people," she muttered softly. They paid so much to be surrounded by fine, expensive things only to break them so people like her could clean up after them.
She found small pieces of glass strewn all over the carpet, and what looked like a stone carven broken into three pieces. She looked around and saw that not much else was out of place. There was a bowl of strawberries, a champagne glass, and a half-full bottle of Dom Perignon in an ice bucket.
It didn't take her long to finish her task. Once she had swept up the last of the broken glass into a dustbin, she stood outside the bedroom and asked if the guest wanted her to leave the champagne or clear it.
"What?" was the muffled reply.
She noticed the shower was no longer running. "Would you like me to leave the champagne or would you like me to put it away in the fridge?" she said again.
"You can leave it, thank you," said a man coming out of the bedroom.
Alexa stared at him in stunned silence, the broom and dustpan in her hands largely forgotten.
His hair was still wet from the shower, his skin damp. She could see rivulets of water glistening on his bare toned chest and finely muscled arms. A few drops rolled down his six-pack to be absorbed by the towel wrapped tightly around his waist.
It was a very small towel. She was quite sure she had never seen a tinier towel in her entire life.
The man paused in the middle of drying his hair with another towel. It must have been two, three times the size of the one he was wearing.
"Is there a problem, Miss?"
A frown creased his handsome features. "What's tiny?" He looked down his torso.
"I mean yes," she almost shouted. Her brain was functioning again. "I'll leave the champagne." She forced herself to look up at his face without letting her gaze stray downward to his chest.
His damp, glistening, muscled chest.
He looked at her as though trying to figure out what she was staring at. "That will be all," he said.
As he was turning to go back into the bedroom, the phone rang.
Alexa dumped the contents of the dustpan into a trash bin, but from the corner of her eye, she watched as he hurried to answer the phone.
God he was hot. She'd always had a thing for tall men. This one was a little over six feet. Well-built, toned body. But not too buff. Just right. Perfect, in fact.
He tossed the towel he had been using on his hair onto the sofa and picked up the phone.
"Yes," he said. as he listened to the person on the other end of the call. "I understand."
She pulled the trash bag from the bin, but she couldn't resist stealing another look at him. Dios mio, but his shoulders were just so broad. His bicep flexed as he held up the phone to his ear. His other hand rested on his hip right above the towel that hugged the curve of his backside so snugly.
It was only when he turned around that Alexa realized she'd been standing there gawking, the trash bag forgotten in her hand.
He was looking at her, his brows furrowed slightly
"Sorry," she muttered weakly. "I didn't mean to—"
"Are you always this inappropriate with guests, Miss?" he said.
"Uh not really." It wasn't as though it was the first time a male guest walked around in a towel while she was cleaning. She was usually unaffected by it. Usually. "I was just ... I mean I'm not doing anything."
"You were staring."
"Yes sorry." She laughed, hoping to make light of the situation. "Relax. It's not as if I was about to take my clothes off and jump into your bed—"
He raised an eyebrow.
Did she just say that? Oh God she had to stop talking. And staring at his naked chest. It was seriously affecting her brain functions.
"I mean I would—" She managed another awkward laugh. Maybe she could convince him she was joking. "—but I have to get back to my rounds." She gestured toward the door and shrugged.
"What if I paid you?"
"I'll pay you," he said. "If you take your clothes off and get into the bed."