The plantation house looked like something straight out of Gone with the Wind: it was supported with elegant columns and surrounded by trees draped with Spanish moss. Since it was a historical site, they had learned about it in school. Apparently the Prince family had built the house when they emigrated from France hundreds of years ago to escape the French Revolution, and it had been in the family ever since. Local folks often speculated on what would happen to it after the current owner died: Armand Prince was the last surviving descendant, and had no wife or children.
Despite being beautiful, the place gave Beau a sense of unease. There were no signs of life, and all the curtains were pulled against the morning sun.
He finally succeeded in dragging his suitcases up to the wraparound porch, and rang the doorbell. Somewhere deep within the house a bell chimed, but Beau didn’t hear anyone approaching.
He rapped timidly on the solid front door, but there was no response. On a whim, he reached out and turned the old-fashioned doorknob.
The door swung open on silent hinges.
Beau peeked around the door. “Hello?” he called. “I’m Beau Parker... I’m supposed to be Mr. Prince's assistant?” No response. Beau left his bags on the porch and slipped into the dimly lit house.
The main hall was filled with antique furniture and dominated by an imposing fireplace. A portrait in a heavy gilded frame hung over the mantle, and Beau moved closer to get a better look.
The painting was so realistic it gave Beau the shivers; he felt like it was watching him. The subject of the painting was a handsome man about Beau’s own age with long dark hair. He stared out from his frame defiantly, as if daring the viewer to keep looking. “Not very happy, are you, Mr. Painting?” Beau murmured.
“No, I’m usually not.” The voice was cultured, with a faint French accent, and directly behind him.
Beau thought he would jump out of his skin. He whipped around to see the subject of the painting in the flesh. Armand Prince stood about five feet away; Beau wondered how long he had been there. He was indeed strikingly handsome, his long hair tied back in a low ponytail, his dark eyes watching Beau expectantly.
“Oh, I’m so sorry... Mr. Prince, right? I rang the bell but nobody answered, and, I...”
“Barged right in, I can see that. You’re Parker’s son?” Armand tilted his head to one side, arching an eyebrow as he looked Beau up and down. “Are you adopted? Your father is much uglier.”
Beau bristled. “I take after my mother, but my dad is my dad. He-”
“Enough, I don’t care,” said Armand, with a dismissive wave of his hand. “Beau, is it? Alonso will show you to your rooms. There’s a list of your duties for the day on your dresser, and I expect everything to be finished by this evening. Your meals will be taken in the kitchen. If you need anything else, figure it out for yourself.”
He turned on his heel and headed upstairs, leaving Beau open mouthed and seething. What an asshole! If this was his father’s idea of some character building exercise, it was messed up.Can Beau tame the beast? Find out at the following e-book sellers!