Belle of Bellville
Chapter 1

Copyright© 2015 by Catharinas_SOL

Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - The men at Barrington Ranch need a housekeeper and cook badly. When a mysterious and beautiful Louisiana belle responds to their ad, no one believes she's up to the task. But she soon proves she's as adept at cooking and cleaning as she is at hiding her secret past from everyone - everyone except Jacob Barrington, that is.

Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa   Consensual   Romantic   Heterosexual   Fiction  

Bales of hay surrounded the tractor shed where a couple was engaged in some quick and steamy afternoon sex. A beautiful Latina stood with her back against a wide wooden post, gasping in sexual delight while clinging passionately to her tall blond cowboy lover.

The button bodice of her dress was loose and open. Her bra was tugged down exposing her plump breasts that were jiggling tantalizingly for his hungry mouth. His hot breath burned her golden nipples as he vigorously suckled and nipped each one, making her throw back her dark head with sharp gasps and moans with lusty delight.

"Ah, mi ranchero grande! Papi! Harder! Harder!" she begged in-between "oooh's" and "aaah's", enjoying the rock-hard cock plunging into her wet and willing pussy.

She had her soft brown and green-checkered skirt hiked up around tummy, her golden legs tightly wrapped around his half-clothed hips. He was pumping hard between her soft thighs, savoring each deep plunge into her sucking channel.

"Ah, madre dios, you feel so good inside me, mi ranchero grande!" she gasped breathlessly with arms around his big shoulders, her bare buttocks grasped by his big, warm hands.

Aside from deep grunts, he said nothing. He wasn't much of a talker. He was a doer. In sexual delirium, he grabbed her to him, and then dropped her on a bale of hale so he could thrust a little harder, feeling his balls already tensing, ready to fill her with his hot seed. He twisted lean stiff fingers in her deep brown curls, shoving deeper and harder into her as she gasped in lustful ecstasy, clinging desperately to him.

"Puta madre! I'm cumming... !" she wailed.

"Urrrrggghh..." he growled long and deep, feeling as if every molecule in his body was exploding when he hit his climax. His cock swelled and exploded, jetting thick strings of sperm deep inside her contracting tunnel, over and over again.

Moments later, he laid himself quietly over her as they both caught their breaths. Their hot, no-strings-attached sex was always a welcome break from hard work on the ranch, and Elena was always ready for him. She was ready for anyone, but especially for him. They've been lovers for months now, and although she was adamant that she didn't want more than this, he was beginning to feel more for her than lust.

"I always cum hard with you, mi ranchero. You're the best," she said with a smile.

He lay a moment with eyes closed until he felt every ounce of sperm drain into her willing body. "I reckon you say that to all us pokes," he chuckled, hearing her giggling above him. He raised his head and then got off her before walking to the washbasin to clean himself.

"Si, but I mean it only with you," she said coyly. She rose to sit and found her white panties on the bale of hay. She slipped her golden slender legs through the openings and rose to her feet, pulling them up around her curvaceous hips and behind, ending with a snap.

"Gotta get back to work," he said, adjusting his denims. Then he ran his hand back through his blond locks before he put his cowboy hat on.

"Me too," she sighed. "I still have to change the sheets in your father's room although they're never dirty. He's been at me to hang 'em out in the sun to dry instead of using the dryer, but that's just too much work. So he makes me change his sheets every day to punish me," she said with a cute pout.

They both walked toward the wide doors of the shed and into the sunlight, heading back to a large, white ranch house in the distance.

"Well, he's an old cuss who's set in his ways," he said, shrugging. His mind was already on the new bales of hay that had come in earlier that day. There was a lot, and he wasn't looking forward to stacking them.

"Hey ranchero? Would you be jealous if I slept with your younger brother? He's been lookin' at me in that way and I don't think he's been with a woman for a long time. You know how I love to mentor the young ones. Unless," she smiled coyly up at him, "you want me to be yours only."

Her words stung him deeper than he was willing to admit. His handsome face grew just a little harder, but he merely shrugged as they climbed onto the verandah that encircled the entire house from front to back. It was then when he noticed it needed a good sweeping.

"I don't hold any papers on you, Elena. Do what you want." Then he smiled down at her. "You always do, anyhow," he said with a chuckle.

"Cabron!" she said and she slapped him playfully before they parted ways...


A dusty dark green Range Rover drove along the rural roads of longhorn cattle country in southeast Texas. On her way to her destination, Isabella Beaumont-Boucher, a native of the next State over, had passed quite a few of those magnificent beasts with the enormous horns. They fascinated her. Those horns looked so disproportionately large in relation to the rest of their body that she wondered how they kept from toppling over.

"They have to weigh at least a ton," she whispered in awe as her eyes seemed glued on one longhorn that stood, up close and personal, by a stretch of white fencing ... looking right back at her. "Amazing" she whispered. "And cheeky."

The radio softly played pleasant country music. It astonished her how music on the radio can suddenly change depending on the region. She'd listened to at least ten different stations from Nevada to here already! Quite an experience.

An all too familiar golden-oldie country song came on and she looked at the lit face of the car stereo with suddenly wounded eyes. It was Rose Garden by Lynn Anderson: her mother's favorite song.

"Is that you, Mama? Are you trying to tell me something?" she whispered as she briefly gazed up at the blue skies. Then she sighed. "Hoping against hope, I really hope it's the rose garden part. I can use it right about now."

Then she cleared her throat, perked up behind the wheel, and began to sing along, "You'd better look before you leap, still waters run deep, and there won't always be someone there to pull you out... and you know what I'm talkin' about." Then she sighed again. "Yes, Mama, I do now. I do know what you're talking about," she said with a sad whisper. "And that's why I'm traveling on this dusty road to god-knows-where."

When she felt tears burning behind her eyes, she cleared her throat again. She hated getting all choked up although she had every right to feel sad. But that's not why those tears were threatening to fall now. Whenever she thought about her mother, she couldn't help it. She missed her so damn much. No sense in crying over spilled milk, though. Time to change the radio channel, so she did...

Although she drove a luxury vehicle of foreign make and model, the Range Rover was well equipped for the bumpy dirt and asphalt roads of rural southeast Texas. It wasn't a vehicle normally found around those parts. Heavy pick-ups were the norm, and American made jeeps, SUVs, and vehicles outnumbered any foreign model by far.

This was Bellville, Texas: ranch lands, farmlands, and cattle country—and she was clearly out of place there. That would be because she wasn't from Bellville or Texas, for that matter.

She slowed the Rover when she came to what appeared to be the end of the white wood fencing surrounding the spread of many acres. A few large longhorns were grazing on lush green lands behind those fences and far beyond. She had to admit, this was by far the best-maintained spread she'd seen for miles—and she'd seen many.

This ranch, with its prominent two-story home, was also well cared for. The sight of it bolstered her mood. When she first drove off in search of Barrington Ranch, she was afraid that she might end up on some rundown spread in the middle of nowhere. It wasn't as if she'd refuse employment if offered. After all, beggars couldn't be choosers. And that was the sole reason for her being there: employment. She was destitute, and she'd beg if she had to.

She felt lucky today, though. She needed employment quick and when she saw the advertisement in the Postal Plus shop, she grabbed it with both hands. She was running dangerously low on funds and needed to replenish her resources posthaste.

She finally came to the wide opened gates of the drive that led toward the big white house. An oversized mailbox was perched on a heavy post, and she peered at the name in bold black lettering engraved on a large brass plate: Barrington Ranch.

Smiling, she steered the Rover through the gates and up the wide brick drive toward the white house. The closer she got, the larger it grew. A few ranch hands heard her coming and they paused in their work, peering curiously at the dusty Rover driving by as she made her way to the front of the main house.

One ranch hand smiled at a fellow worker. "Trouble," he chuckled from beneath his cowboy hat. "Must be one o' those boys' angry girlfriends."

"Don't know, Bob. Never seen her before. But she sure is pretty."

"Yea," Bob said, chuckling as he shook his head. "Like I said ... trouble."

And that she was—the "trouble" part, not the girlfriend part. She was a stranger in those parts and she didn't know any of the Barringtons. Up until that visit to the Postal Plus, she never knew the Barringtons even existed. Had she known them, she would've been wise to stay far away from their spread. Her presence alone could stir trouble and light the wick that would have the Barrington men at each other's throats in no time flat. In fact, her timing couldn't have been more off.

Ignorant of those facts, she slowed her Rover before she brought it to a stop in the curve of the drive in front of the great house. She shut-off the engine and looked curiously at the giant white house with the deep verandah, not seeing the curious looks cast her way by the small army of ranch hands walking around the property.

"Well, cross your fingers, Isabella," she said, speaking courage to herself. She took a deep breath and then pushed the door open and climbed out.

The ranch hands stopped to stare at the pretty young woman exiting the fancy jeep. From the look of her clothes, they knew she couldn't be from around those parts. In fact, none of the stunned ranch hands ever saw a woman more elegantly dressed than that raven-haired beauty standing by her dusty, foreign-made jeep.

She wore a snug-fit ivory pencil dress with pretty flowers that fit her slender frame. It was definitely much too elegant for rugged Bellville. The dress seemed to follow her curves perfectly before it ended just below her knees. A pink fine-knit sweater tied by the sleeves around her graceful shoulders completed the ensemble. She wore heeled dusty pink strap-sandals on her slender feet and moved naturally in them as if she'd worn nothing else all her life. In fact, her entire body moved that way, despite the restrictions that her pencil dress should have had on her.

Her long raven curls had a blue glimmer in the sun. They were bound low with a pretty pink ribbon in a bow, and a single and long curly tail tumbled down one shoulder. Except for body lotion and lip gloss against the dry weather in Texas, she was devoid of any makeup.

Although she knew she was a little over-dressed for the occasion, this was her most simple cut dress. She vowed that the moment she had made a little money, she'd pay a local fashion shop a visit to find daywear more suitable for Bellville. But right now, this was the best she could toss together that she believed wouldn't make her stand out all too badly. One look around her told her she'd failed in the endeavor.

"Oh my," she said with a sigh when she'd noticed the dusty ranch hands walking around her and looking curiously at her. She gave them a tentative smile and a brief nod, and felt so out-of-place. They smiled as they touched their hats to her in return. She tugged uncomfortably on the hem of her skirt a few times, as if she could stretch the skirt's hem right down to her ankles. She felt so awkward.

"Well," she whispered to herself. "No sense in crying over spilled milk." And with that, she swept a large off-white macramé bag over her shoulder before she double-checked the crumpled yellow piece of paper between her slender fingers and closed the Rover's door with a hip. "Yes," she said softly to herself. "This is the place."

As she looked up from the piece of paper, a lazy and deep voice called out to her.

"Can I help ya, Miss?"

She quickly turned her head and looked for the source of that voice. "Oh, good afternoon—" she paused as the sun hit her in the eyes and she squinted against the sting, "—sir," she finished, hesitantly, before shading her eyes with her hand.

When her sight adjusted, she saw the silhouette of a tall man with broad shoulders on the verandah. He was wearing a cowboy hat and was leaning down, gloved hands braced on the railing of an outcrop. The mid-afternoon sun stood at his back giving him the advantage while she was in full view, and she could barely make him out, but she could see he was wearing a denim shirt and pants. His hair was untied and long, reaching just passed his broad shoulders. His face, unfortunately, was hidden from view in the shadows of his wide-brimmed cowboy hat.

She suspected he had chosen that spot on purpose to give himself the advantage.


"Yes? Oh! I mean, yes!" She smiled. "Yes, you may help me. I'm here to speak with Mr. John Barrington. Is he in?" she asked politely, still squinting. She should have bought those sunglasses at the gas station when she had the chance but money was tight for unnecessary purchases. Too late, she realized that sun glasses weren't unnecessary in those parts. Then she realized he hadn't responded so she repeated, "If it's not too much trouble, sir, I'd like to speak with Mr. John Barrington if he's in?"

"What do you want to speak with him for?"

"Am I speaking to Mr. John Barrington?" she asked a little taken aback, but undeterred. She wasn't sure how things were done in that part of the country; how men behaved toward women, so she couldn't decide if he was being rude or if he was just behaving the way men in those parts behaved—which was pretty impolite, in her opinion.

"You sure you're supposed to be here? Cuz you look lost."

"Um, no, I'm not lost, and yes, I'm quite sure this is the place I was looking for, if the directions in the advertisement are to be believed." She smiled, trying friendliness. "This is the Barrington ranch, isn't it?"

"That's what it says on the mailbox."

"Good. Then I'm where I'm supposed to be," she said with friendly laughter, but she still didn't get a reaction. She bit her lower lip a little anxiously. She really didn't need any quarrels right now. It had been one very long, very warm day. With this in mind, she tried polite friendliness and flashed her best smile, but it quickly became apparent that this stoic and uncouth ranch hand wasn't even trying to be accommodating.

"Um, to clarify my presence, I'm here for the position of housekeeper and cook. Are you Mr. John Barrington?" She forced herself to keep that smile on her lips as she walked over to him. Much like the house she drove up to, the cowboy got bigger as she got closer.

"Housekeeper? You?" His tone sounded almost disdainful. Scratch that. It was disdainful.

"And cook. Yes," she said with a smile and a nod, struggling to maintain a friendly disposition. He wasn't making it easy!

When he made no further move or comment, she thought it would be a good idea to introduce herself. Perhaps that would break the ice. So with hand extended she walked up to him, but her smile faltered when she realized he wasn't about to accept it. His gloved hands seemed glued to the railing, but coming this close to him gave her a clearer view of him.

She was surprised that he turned out to be a very handsome man with wild long blond hair around a chiseled face that had intelligent deep-set sterling blue eyes. He was younger than she first thought—somewhere in his late twenties, early thirties. He was at least six feet tall, and from his elevated position on the verandah he appeared even taller and, much to her dismay, quite intimidating.

His expression hadn't changed as his blue eyes openly stared at her. His gaze moved down then up her length, and she felt highly uncomfortable—as her hesitant smile hinted at. Had he studied her with a degree of male admiration, she might've still felt a little uncomfortable but not the way she was feeling now. The way those deep-set blues studied her, it was as if he was critically scrutinizing some longhorn at market.

Her hand slowly lowered. She suddenly didn't feel all that friendly now. Actually, she felt downright cross. Still, she had a more important goal in mind and circumstances were dire, so her temper would have to remain at bay. Years of etiquette training taught her patience, and it came in handy now.

"Sir, please be so kind as to tell me if Mr. John Barrington is in."

She made clear that she didn't believe he was the man she was looking for. Her tone was as controlled as she could muster, but when his blue eyes flickered up to look at her, she knew he had heard the irritability in her voice. Then he moved as he leaned forward over the railing and his gaze seemed to pierce through her.

"If I was you, Miss, I'd get back into that Range Rover and high-tail it outta here. Do the right thing and leave. Now."

Although his words were hushed, they were no less threatening—or insolent!—than had he yelled them at her. Her eyes grew round as her cheeks flushed with pink color. She clearly saw a spark of interest when he noticed her frightened reaction and she quickly looked away, thinking that it was may be a good idea to take his advice and run for her Rover to "high-tail it outta there".

Suddenly the big wood frame screen door opened and the choice was taken from her. Her gaze shot to the tall, older gentleman coming out of the house as he stepped out onto the wide verandah with squinting eyes. He seemed curious as he looked around and, up until then, hadn't noticed her yet since he was looking at the Rover.

He had a thick crop of salt and pepper locks that were combed back over his proud head. He was dressed in a clean cream shirt, black leather vest, and blue denims. He was a big and solid man, and his black cowboy boots thumped loudly on the painted wooden floor of the verandah as he strolled toward the steps. It was then when he finally caught sight of her—and stopped in his tracks.

She flashed her most disarming and friendly smile. "Good afternoon, sir."

"Howdy, Miss." He smiled curiously. "Thought I'd heard an unfamiliar engine." He smiled a handsome and friendly smile as a strange look appeared on his handsome face. "Are ya lost or somethin'?" he asked as he proceeded toward the steps and took them with confident gait.

"My name's Isabella Beau—Boucher," she said, quickly correcting herself. She smiled as she walked over to the tall, older gentleman. She held out her hand in greeting and this time it was accepted—by a huge warm hand.

"Beau-Boucher? Never heard a name like that before," the older man said curiously.

She suddenly understood that her fumbled attempt to hide her true name and speak before thinking gave him the impression that Beau-Boucher was her name. Of course, it wasn't, but quick thinking on her part told her that this was as good of a name as any, and since she'd already decided that she wasn't going to take the job and just move on to something else, there was no need to correct him.

"Uh, yes. Beau-Boucher. Hyphenated. Perhaps not a popular surname in southeast Texas, but not as uncommon in Louisiana," she said as she nodded with a friendly smile.

Their hands parted as he smiled curiously at her. "You're from Louisiana?"

"Yes, sir."

He smiled. "I thought I'd recognized the accent."

She had an accent?

"Well, I guess I should be on my way. I was just asking directions—"

"—She's here for the housekeeper and cook position," the unfriendly cowboy said from his perch on the verandah.

She snapped big eyes to him and saw him look back with a lazy gaze. For the life of her she couldn't understand why he had to mention that when he had made it perfectly clear she wasn't welcome! Did he just want to ridicule her in front of this man?

A spark briefly lit in her eyes, irritated with him, but if he'd seen it, he wasn't the least bit impressed by it. Then again, what threat was she to a man of his size and attitude?

"You are?"

She directed her attention back on the older gentleman. "Yes, sir, I am. Are you Mr. John Barrington?"

"Since pa dropped it on my head after I near dropped outta my momma's lap," he answered in colorful Texian-speak, nodding with a generous smile.

She smiled a little shyly, briefly dropping her thick eyelashes before she looked at him. "Well, I was in the process of asking one of your men here," she looked briefly at the younger cowboy, "if you were in. I had indeed come to solicit the position of housekeeper but it's been made perfectly clear to me that I'm not what you're looking for."

To her dismay, she got the same scrutinizing look of disbelief from this older Texan, but she maintained her polite smile and disposition. At least this one looked shocked rather than hostile and impolite.

"You wanna apply for the position of housekeeper?" he asked with open surprise.

"Wanted," she corrected. "But I assure you, I'm quite capable of strenuous menial work—"

"—Menial work?" the previously silent ranch hand scoffed with a cynical chuckle.

She looked over at him with a disapproving frown as her lips briefly tightened. "Yes. Domestic work is also referred to as "menial" work, last time I checked."

"We just call it housekeepin' and cookin' around these parts."

She arched an eyebrow at him, but then she returned her attention to the man whom she had come to see and her frown evaporated as she smiled politely again. She had no idea why she suddenly felt the need to be defensive, but she did.

"I assure you, I'm a hard worker, and I've garnered extensive experience in the preparation of hearty meals for a party of no less than two hundreds guests. I bake, cook, and clean, and have adequate First Aid and CPR skills. I have references."

The insolent cowboy had to inject himself in her conversation again.

"Headin' a household full of dusty men is a whole different deal than playin' Belle organizing tea parties, Miss," he drawled. "We ain't got much need for cucumber finger sandwiches and champagne around these parts."

Isabella's confused gaze shot to him. She was baffled by his attitude since he was the one who had to go and tell John Barrington that she was there for the position when he could've just remained silent and let her leave! Then she realized that he could be playing a game with her, and her sapphire-blue eyes shot fire.

The older man chuckled. "Now, Jacob, mind your manners."

She looked cross at this "Jacob" as he returned a lazy look back. "I assure you, sir, I'm equally adept at preparing a ten-pound roast as I am at preparing cucumber sandwiches for two."

"Aw, don't mind my son, Miss Beau-Boucher. He's just an ornery cuss today."

She smiled at him, accepting the challenge. "Only today?"

John Barrington roared with laughter and she looked at him with a genuine smile. The big man had a contagious laugh that brought one on her lips. She was secretly relieved that he wasn't offended because she suddenly realized that he'd just outed the obnoxious cowboy as his son, Jacob Barrington. It explained his arrogance, she thought silently.

"And be rest assured that your son doesn't bother me as much as I believe he would like," she added with kind smile. She really had to restrain herself and mask her disappointment, though. Having heard that the rude and obnoxious cowboy was no ordinary ranch hand but the son of the man whom she'd come seeking employment with was very disappointing. There was no way she'd stay on now.

"I was just explainin' to the lady that she didn't look old enough to leave her momma's skirt, let alone head a household like ours," Jacob Barrington said.

She arched an eyebrow as she looked at him. "I apologize for having this inherent "flaw" of not aging quickly enough for your taste, sir," she said with a cool tone, "but I assure you, I'm not as young or as inexperienced as you persistently want to believe. I'm twenty-five years old, and I have excellent recommendations from other families I've been privileged to serve."

Why didn't his father intervene?

"Don't care how old you are, or how many families sing your praises, Miss. You still ain't right for the position."

Okay. So she finally got her answer. He still wanted her to leave, but he wanted to make sure that he got his pound of flesh and thoroughly ridicule her in front of his father before she did.

"On what grounds do you base your judgment? Appearances? Appearances don't bake bread, roast beef, or keep the dust from settling in the home any more than the appearance of a grown man is any indication that he is a gentleman."

"Never said I was a gentleman."

"To your credit," she quipped.

John Barrington chuckled his approval of the young woman's spirit and the reprimand she dealt with such flair. His boy, however, remained stoically silent.

"She beat you like a rented mule, fair and square, Jacob," John Barrington chuckled. "Well done, Miss Beau-Boucher. I've gotta hand it to you, you've got spunk. But about you wantin' the position headin' our household, well, that's a whole nuther thing." He scratched his head with a doubtful look on his handsome, weathered face, "I was actually lookin' for an older woman."

She was disappointed but relieved at the same time. She nodded and looked briefly away before she looked at the patriarch of the Barrington family. "I fully understand, Mr. Barrington," she said. "I won't take up more of your time. Thank you for speaking with me. Good afternoon, sir," she said without doing the same for his son, and turned to leave.

"Now wait just a minute, young lady!" John Barrington said.

She turned with a quizzical look in her big eyes.

"I didn't say no," he said as he looked at her big eyes. "Tell ya what," he nodded, "any woman who can hold her own against Jacob is worth a second look. And since we're gettin' tired of my youngest boy's whatever-the-heck-he's-been-whippin'-up for supper, and seeing it's nearin' that time of day, why not come in out of the sun and I'll show you where the kitchen is. If you can whip up a simple meal not pre-frozen, pre-instant, or pre-boxed, the position is yours. If not, you'll still get a full day's pay and be on your way. Sounds fair?"

She looked stunned at him.


"I-I-I..." Then she made a furtive look at the silent cowboy on the verandah. "Yes, Mr. Barrington. Very fair." She nodded. She could use the money and it's just a few hours anyway. What did she have to lose? Then she smiled. "I would like to take you up on your offer, sir. Thank you."

"Then let's get to it," John Barrington said with a smile and a nod of his head.

Jacob Barrington dropped his gloved hands from the railing as he straightened and looked at her. His gaze never left her as he approached the steps just as she followed John Barrington up them, but when he took them down and they came shoulder to shoulder, he paused and she looked curiously at him. Up close, Jacob Barrington was even more handsome ... and intimidating.

"Don't get your hopes us, Miss Beau-Boucher," he said with an unmistakable tone of warning.

Her smile faded some as she looked a little alarmed into his piercing blue eyes. "Thank you, Mister Jacob. I'll take that under consideration," she said politely although she looked anxious.

He didn't say more as he resumed his way, dismissing her already.

"Don't let Jacob rattle you, Miss Beau-Boucher. You might not know it by his attitude today, but my son's good with the ladies. He's just testin' you, as I'm sure you know. Now let me show you the kitchen where you can show your skills and whip us up a meal like you say you can. I promise you," he said as he held open the screen door for her, "Jacob will be happier than a boardinghouse pup with some good home-cookin', tell ya what."

She smiled, hiding her aggravation with that Jacob Barrington, and nodded. "I won't disappoint you, sir."

"Call me, John," he offered.

"If it's the same to you, sir, I'd rather address you with Mister Barrington," she said. "It's what I was brought up to do."

"Suit yourself."

"But you may call me, Isabella, if you like."

He smiled. "Beautiful name." He nodded. "I just might do that ... Isabella," he said.

She smiled as she nodded and entered the cool house with John Barrington behind her. He showed the way to what would turn out to be a somewhat barren but well-equipped and well-stocked Barrington kitchen and pantry.

Although the house was furnished with a woman's touch, there was no woman in sight, and it looked as if there hadn't been one for some time. It wouldn't be her place to ask where Mrs. John Barrington was, assuming that the woman had passed away and that's why they needed a housekeeper and cook.

Then, to her surprise, she saw a young and beautiful woman with chestnut brown hair standing halfway on the elegant stairs. She was wearing a green and brown checkered dress and had paused on her way down when she saw her. She instantly knew by the look on the young woman's face that she wasn't happy to see her. This couldn't be John Barrington's wife, could it?

Then John Barrington himself wiped all doubt when he called, "Elena!" the moment he spied her on the stairs. "Have ya changed the sheets on all the beds?"

Definitely not Mrs. John Barrington.

Elena gave him a smile that didn't reach her eyes. "Am busy doin' it now, John."


She only smiled as she turned and climbed up the stairs again.

John Barrington shook his head. "She's like a blister, that one," he said with a sigh.

She frowned, confused. "Excuse me, sir?"

"That one never shows up till all the work's done," he said as he resumed his way.

"Oh." Then she looked up to find Elena glaring hostile down on her. She knew the young woman had heard John Barrington's colorful words, and she felt a little sorry for her so she smiled and nodded a hello. She got a cold glare in return. Her smile faded before she quietly followed John Barrington down the hall.

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