Belle Foster stood in front of Prince Maxim’s apartment in Grimm Towers with her two suitcases at her feet and a whirl of butterflies in her tummy. She rang the bell one more time. Breathe, breathe, breathe. Her father had warned her the prince did not run a typical household, but since Dad had suffered his stroke she hadn’t been able to press him for further details. He couldn’t talk, much less finish his work for the prince. She was determined to save her father’s job—because he would recover. He had to.
Tapping her foot impatiently, she rapped on the door. Perhaps the buzzer was broken. Or maybe he was keeping his new carpenter waiting to make a point—he was in charge, and business would be conducted on his time. As she stood in front of the door, a woman in a red cape walked down the hall and approached her.
“Are you here to see the prince?” she asked, surprised.
Belle nodded. “I’m remodeling his library. It’s my first day.” When she’d approached the prince’s assistant about taking over her father’s job, he’d offered her room and board while she finished the work so she didn’t have to drive in to the city each day.
“Good luck.” The woman in red held a white pastry box. “I haven’t met him, but I can see his effect on his staff when I make my deliveries.”
Belle gulped, just as the door finally opened. A dour man with a balding head and a faded butler’s uniform looked at her and then at the woman in the cape. He addressed her first. “The usual, I presume?”
“Of course, six freshly-baked Sea Goddess muffins.” She handed the box to him, which he opened, inspecting the goods.
“Very well. You’ll charge that to our account and leave yourself a twenty percent gratuity.”
“Thank you.” She looked as if she might curtsy as she slowly backed away.
The man turned to Belle. “And you’re the carpenter?” His eyes flicked over her like he’d discovered an insect he needed to exterminate.