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Soon the Clarks had enough bodyguards on rotation that Kevin could finally take his long-deserved vacation. It wasn't easy for him to walk away, however. Charlie had been his charge for a long time, and Kevin felt more than a little protective of her. As he drove through Villa Rosa's gates and onto the road back to civilization, he had to remind himself that Adam and Charlie would be well looked after. Mentally releasing himself from duty, Kevin was finally able to truly relax.

As January progressed, it brought more than bodyguards to Villa Rosa. Just cleaning all the bathrooms was enough to turn anyone into an instant Cinderella, so Adam suggested they hire a housekeeper to free more of Vera and Charlie's time. Many applicants wanted the position, but Charlie and Vera finally decided on one particular woman they both liked.

Mrs. Freemont was a widow with five grown children, and eleven grandchildren. She was a few years younger than Vera, though in remarkably good physical condition for someone her age. This experienced housekeeper had a no-nonsense attitude, and vowed to keep the household running smoothly. She also gave Vera someone to talk to, and the two women quickly struck up a close friendship. This alone, was enough to endear the woman to Charlie, and she gave her ready approval. Before long, their new housekeeper moved into the bedroom next to Vera's, in the main house.

With all the new staff, there was still one more position to be filled, and it came harder than the previous employees. Adam was in need of a secretary, and though Charlie was eager to fill the roll herself, she didn't have the experience that he was looking for.

"I don't see why I couldn't do the job," protested Charlie, after Adam had tried to explain one more time why he didn't think it was a good idea.

"You aren't familiar with composition or music theory," he reasoned. "I need someone I can bounce ideas off, who's also familiar with the music industry. I was even thinking I might be able to teach that person a little of what I've learned, and maybe help get them started in their own career."

"She isn't going to be young and pretty, is she?" asked Charlie. "I can just imagine one of your fans, hanging on every word you say! Oh, no! I'm going to be your secretary, if I have to learn the piano, myself!"

At this, Adam laughed. "What if I promise to hire a man? Would I get your approval, then?"

"I suppose so," she sighed, disappointedly. "You're missing out on a good secretary. I can touch-type, you know."

"You don't say?" Adam's eyebrows playfully arched in surprise. "Why didn't you tell me this, sooner?"

"Go ahead and laugh," Charlie swatted his arm, "but I refuse to give you to another woman!"

Adam gave her a disarming smile that quickly eroded the last of Charlie's defenses. "There's no chance of that happening," he breathed, putting his arms around his wife, and inhaling her feminine scent. He could smell the shampoo she had used that morning, and detected a light touch of talcum powder on her skin. "You fit perfectly in my arms," he remarked contentedly.

"No female secretaries," Charlie made him promise.

Though Adam didn't tell her this, he had never considered hiring a woman in the first place. In fact, he already had a particular man in mind, but didn't want to say anything until it was certain that he would accept.
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