Lisette Pannebaker speaks five languages and has a brilliant business plan—personal language immersion. Clients can hire her to shadow them and speak all day in any language they need to learn for business or travel—whatever.
But there’s a major hitch: she’s far too pretty. Clients with less than honorable intentions sign up just have Lisette at their side. Solution? A make-under. Way under.It works like a charm. None of her male clients show her the least bit of interest.
Erik Gunnarsson is charming, kind, and smart—everything she’s ever looked for. Even though he seems to have a secret and she swore she’d never date a client, Lisette is tempted to shed her disguise—even if it means jeopardizing her career.
Jennifer Griffith studied French, German, Japanese, and a wee bit of Spanish in her school days. Her grandmother was Norwegian, and Jennifer grew up with lots of Scandinavian traditions floating around, including fabulous cardamom laced cookies called Krumkaker, made on a fancy waffle iron. However, she’d never dream of trying to teach someone any of those languages. And she might botch the cookies. Instead, she writes novels in English, drives her five kids a million places, and laughs with her husband, who came up with the plot forImmersed because he’s just a cool muse like that.
“Plain and simple: you’re too pretty for this job.”
Lisette rolled her eyes and picked up her brush again, going at the high spots on the wall with vigor. “You’ve been talking to my mom again. Did she finally rub off on you?” Great. Now no one believed in her. Not even Aunt Corky. Just a pretty face.
“No, not in that way. What I’m saying is that your business has merit. It can totally work. But just not with you, the way you are.”
Aunt Corky probably didn’t mean to make Lisette want to cry, but the tears welled in her eyes all the same. This dream had taken every waking hour of the last eighteen months. She’d poured her heart and soul into making it grow, not to mention all the money she’d buried in it—advertising, the office, everything. And her time. Day and night. How entrepreneurs lived past age forty mystified her. She barely had time to keep an eye on her elderly next door neighbors. And when a girl was too busy to serve other people, she was too busy.
Aunt Corky reached over and grabbed Lisette’s hand. “What I’m saying is you need a makeover.”
Lisette raised an eyebrow.
“Don’t raise that eyebrow at me, Z. I’m serious about this.” Aunt Corky folded her arms across her chest. “Not a makeover in the traditional sense. More like a make-under. You know, to make you look less…gorgeous.”
Here it went again, with the appearance factor. Didn’t all the studies say that people who were good-looking had a better chance at success than those who were below average?
“You’re not buying it, I can tell. But think with me. Dark circles under the eyes. A greasy wig. Lines at the mouth. And right about here,” she pointed at her nostril, “a big wart.”
“Okay, maybe not a wart. That might be over the top. But something that will keep all the pawing maniacs at a distance.” Aunt Corky shrugged and leaned against a dry wall like she’d made her case and the prosecution rested. “Think about it, Z. I mean, you want Immerse to succeed, right? All the years of language skills and business acumen you’ve amassed, they’re going to waste.”
Lisette sighed. Even though she wouldn’t admit it aloud to Aunt Corky, unless something changed at Immerse, things could go south pretty fast. However, she wasn’t convinced it was reason enough to subjugate her dignity and go into daily disguise just to ward off pretenders.
Aunt Corky resumed painting. “Just think about it. Don’t decide now. But if you want to do it, I know somebody. Samantha. A genius with bad makeup. She could absolutely transform you. No one would even recognize you.”
This was crossing over from ridiculous into the absurd.
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