A Calculated Seduction(8)

She pulled out a plastic hat covered with holes. “What are you going to do with all of that?”

“Don’t you never mind.” She placed that on the table and continued to empty the bag. After she finished, Dulcy was amazed there was any room left on the table. An assortment of bottles, boxes, scissors and combs littered the surface.

“If it takes this much to make me beautiful, why don’t I just give in and go to the plastic surgeon?”

“Very funny.” She grabbed the chair and pulled it to the sink. “Sit down and let’s get started.”

The first argument stared over the length of her hair. But after ten minutes, Dulcy gave in and Maude whacked a good twelve inches off. Snipping the extra inches away added body and lightened the weight of her thick hair.

Then Maude placed a strange looking cap on her head and tortured her with a plastic hook. Sticking the hook into each hole, she yanked strands of Dulcy’s hair through. Once done with that, she lathered her hair with foul smelling goop. After that, Dulcy stopped resisting and decided she’d gone so far, why complain. Maude even had her talked into waxing.

“I have to say,” Maude said three hours later, “with those blonde highlights in your hair and your eyebrows shaped, your eyes are more noticeable.”

Dulcy studied herself in the mirror, moving her head from side to side, marveling at the body added to her hair.

“Yeah.” Her eyes did indeed look like they had changed color from ordinary brown to topaz. Without the extra weight holding it down, her hair bounced.

* * * *

“Ethan will definitely be amazed.”

“Ethan?” Then everything connected. She turned around and looked at Maude. “Maude, did you and Bill cook this up together? Because I have to tell you, you two picked the last two people who should be thrown together.”

“Why not?”

“Why not?”

Why not indeed? Because he was tall and handsome and sometimes, when he looked at her with those gray eyes of his, her heart jumped into her throat and she forgot her last name.

“Ethan can have his pick of any Dallas deb. Why would someone like that be interested in me? Besides, he’s not my type.”

“Not your type?” Maude shook her head and crossed her arms. “Honey, from what I’ve heard, that man is any woman’s type.”

She snorted and walked out of the bathroom. Just thinking about Ethan had her thinking about last night. And last night brought memories of how his eyes heated at the sight of her breasts. Tingles chased along her spine down to the tips of her toes. “I’m sure he’s more into...women who are more attractive. Besides, he’s my boss. I like to keep everything on a professional basis at work.”

Of course, she’d never heard flashing your boss was professional, but by Monday, she was sure Ethan would have forgotten everything.

* * * *

Monday morning, as usual, Dulcy arrived at work before everyone else. She liked to get in, look over any email from the night or weekend before, and check over Ethan’s schedule for the day. It was a habit she’d developed while working for Bill. With Ethan, it was essential. The man never seemed to rest and if she didn’t get in early, her day would be longer than it’d been since he arrived.

As the elevator climbed to her floor, she thought about her weekend with her nephew. Richy had not been any happier about her change in appearance than her stepsister, Tori, had been. He was worried now that she looked like a girl, if she’d be able to make it to his baseball games. Tori just gave her a disapproving look, shaking her head as if to say, no matter what, you pale in comparison to me. Which no one had to tell Dulcy. She may look different with her new hair and clothes, but Dulcy would never compete with her beauty contestant stepfamily.

She stepped off the elevator and headed down the hall. When her father had married Clarice, she hadn’t been upset. It had been so many years since her mother’s death, she was happy he had found someone. And, although they were never intentionally mean, having two tall, gorgeous blondes around never did help anyone’s self-image. Especially that of an average, mousy nerd of a sister.

She sighed as she reached the office door and paused when she noticed the light on. Testing the doorknob, she found it unlocked and opened it, hoping Ethan hadn’t beaten her to the office. She wanted to be busy with work when he arrived.

Slowly, she opened the door and smiled when she found Bill MacMillan sitting at her desk behind her computer.

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