More Than a Maid (Barboza Brothers) Online - Reeni Austin

CHAPTER 1

Marcy Cameron closed her eyes and pressed her teeth together in frustration. She was already too familiar with the tone of Mr. Sandlin's voicemail. That "we need to talk" tone, like a boyfriend who wanted to break up.

Only, Mr. Sandlin was not Marcy's boyfriend. He was one of the few remaining clients of her office cleaning business. The small office of Sandlin Excavating was one of the first clients she obtained three years earlier when she started her business. And he always paid in full and on time.

Marcy called him back, refusing to let herself cry about it. She told herself for the umpteenth time that something better would come along. But she was growing tired of her own pep talks. Eyes shut, she waited patiently for Sandlin to answer.

Less than a minute later, the conversation was over. Marcy had indeed lost another client to a new industrial cleaning company with which she couldn't compete. They offered maintenance services in addition to cleaning, and they could easily undercut her already low prices.

Marcy's only full-time employee was herself. Others were part-time and largely unreliable, except her best friend Cara, who was currently out of town and engaged to the rich, handsome Victor Barboza.

Secretly, Marcy enjoyed cleaning and organizing. She was never one to keep her own living quarters tidy, but she loved to help other people with theirs. Cleaning gave Marcy a sense of satisfaction, especially when clients offered her free rein to organize as she saw fit.

But now, Marcy was down to only two clients.

Two months earlier she had moved to a cheaper apartment with a roommate: a flight attendant who was only home long enough to get drunk and trash the bathroom before she flew out of town again.

Marcy sat numbly on the couch, unable to focus on the daytime talk show that blared from the television. During a commercial she went to the kitchen to pour wine into her favorite coffee mug.

Before taking the first sip, she considered the implications of drinking wine at three o'clock on a Monday afternoon. Later that evening, she planned to go to ladies' night at one of her favorite clubs in downtown Newark. She had a brand new outfit straight off a clearance rack that emphasized her curves quite nicely.

As she pondered, her phone rang. She set her mug down on the kitchen counter when she saw it was Cara.

"Hey hon," Marcy answered in a perky tone.

"Hey! You busy?"

Marcy sighed. "Not really. How's life in Texas?"

"Good. Really good. Hold on." Cara got quiet for a little while. When she returned to the phone, she was still speaking to someone in person, "Yes, okay. I will." When her attention turned fully to Marcy, Cara said, "Still there?"

"Yeah."

"Think you can make time to come down here in a few weeks for Isaac's birthday party?"

Marcy heard Isaac squeal in the background at the mention of his name. She asked Cara, "What? You were supposed to be home two weeks ago!"

"I told you, Victor wants to stay a while longer."

"What about what you want?"

"I miss home but I like it here. Isaac loves it. He definitely wants to have his birthday party here at the ranch. And now that Mom's here it feels like home to me."

Marcy chuckled. "What about that brother of his? Ramon? Has it gotten any better?"

Cara groaned. "A little. I can't really talk about it with," her voice momentarily lowered to a whisper, "certain people around."

"Ah."

"So anyway, can you come down here? Isaac's been asking about you. We miss you."

"Aw. I miss you guys, too. But I don't think I can make it for the party. Tell him I'm sorry. I'll make it up to him after you guys come home."

"Is it about the money? We'll pay your airfare and you can stay here at the house with us. There's an extra bedroom now that Armando's gone. He already flew down to Cabo San Lucas for his wedding this Saturday. The rest of us are flying out on Wednesday. Oh, and you're invited, by the way."

"That's nice, but I don't need a handout. And I'd rather not be a stranger at someone's wedding."

"Okay, but I wish you'd reconsider. How's business going? Did you get that new client you told me about?"

With a sigh that Marcy hoped wouldn't give away her frustration, she said, "No new clients. Lost another one today. Sandlin Excavating."

"Oh no. I'm so sorry."

"Eh." Marcy huffed a dismissive grunt from her throat. "Who needs 'em, anyway? Things'll turn around, they