Sandra Antonelli

Books: Mystery | Romance 

At Your Service (2018)

At Your Service (2018)

Mae Valentine has been the butler for Major Kitt for three years, acting as butler, housekeeper, and cook when he's not away on assignment as a Risk Assessment Specialist.

She has always kept a clear demarcation between herself and Major Kitt–after all, she is an older woman, and a widow at that.

"You look tired, sir. Perhaps you might be ready for a holiday."

"You're so eager to be rid of me already you suggest a holiday. Is that your way of sugar-coating that I'm beginning to look old?"

"If that were the case I would have said you look distinguished."

What you need to know about Mae: she's been a widow for 16 years, and retired from being a butler, but got bored and took it up again once Major Kitt became her tenant. She also remains in love with her husband.

"Apparently my still loving him the way I do is called complicated grief." Her mouth twisted. "I think that's so stupid. I loved Caspar, he died, and I still love him. What's complicated about that?"

What you need to know about Kitt: he enjoys women, he enjoys whiskey, and he enjoys many–but not all–parts of his job.

After two hours he wanted to gouge out his own eyes, after three hours he pondered Seppuku, the Japanese ritual suicide. Death was preferable to paperwork.  … 

"I dislike being a passenger slightly less than I dislike sitting behind a desk doing paperwork. I'd rather eat glass than do paperwork. Death is preferable to paperwork."

Yes, Kitt is a spy of sorts. Yes Mae is his butler/housekeeper. But Mae is also his landlady and well-enough off that his position holds now power over her. And Kitt isn't James Bond.

Kitt thought she looked as if she were about to cry, and it made him jealous. Tears, he knew, were not a sign of weakness. Tears were a rather healthy way to dispel and process stress and emotion that a good portion of the male population tended to bottle up and ignore— until a heart attack or something equally dramatic forced them into the socially acceptable masculine explosion of rage. Kitt was full of rage, so full of suppressed rage he would have appreciated the release of a good cry. Or a heart attack. Instead he had to sit on his frustration and roiling emotions and do nothing. He loathed doing nothing even more than he hated paperwork.

I really really enjoyed the characters, and the fact that this was NOT a James Bond type mystery.

"I once lived in Chelsea, and you do realise book Bond has a housekeeper named May, don't you?"

"I'm a butler and she's a surly, grey-haired elderly Scotswoman who—"

"You perform housekeeping as part of your duties and you have grey hair." Kitt's eyes wandered over her untidy hair and picked the strands of silver amid the blonde. "We both do."

Even if it was complicated and confusing and very much like how things might work in real life.

It's a very fun story, and I do recommend it. I'm not sure, however, if I want to read the next book, because the synopsis makes it sound like everything the two of them worked out–all the trust they came to develop–disappears. And I really hate a story that undoes all the relationship gains that happened in the previous book. We'll see.

That, of course, has nothing to do with this book, that you really should consider reading.

"You would have redirected my attention. You would have distracted me with some odd fact about yourself, confessed that you have a weakness for older women."

He sighed. "Yes. I find Dame Judi Dench astonishingly attractive. Helen Mirren, too. They're smart women. Smart is sexy."

I mean, come ON! How could I not love that!

Published by the author

Rating: 8/10