A Beauty Uncovered(3)

By: Andrea Laurence

 Apparently not. But Sam could deal with this. Now that all the secrets were out in the open, the nervous butterflies had faded. This might not be so bad. “When do I start?”

 “Tomorrow. You’ll shadow me tomorrow and Friday, and then you’ll be on your own for the next four weeks.”

 “Okay. Any particular office dress?”

 Agnes shrugged. “Most of the employees here are fairly casual dressers. Mr. Eden wears suits every day, although I’ve never been able to figure out why given no one sees him but me. You have such a flair for fashion, so I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

 Sam tried not to laugh at her godmother’s mention of her “flair for fashion.” That was one way to put it. Another way was that she was obsessed with clothes and shoes. The more girly and feminine the better. She loved sparkles and glitter, pinks and purples. The right pair of platform heels or leather handbag could nearly send her into a climax.

 Sadly, her past two months of unemployment had been devastating for her wardrobe. She’d gotten so discouraged from how everything ended at her last job that she’d slipped into wearing sweats and T-shirts all the time. Heels seemed like overkill for watching Lifetime movie marathons.

 But that was in the past. She had a job, she was out in the world and her fashionable ways would reign once again. So yes, Mr. Eden would be getting a trendsetting eyeful from his little video cameras.

 “Let’s go get your badge and codes setup. They’ll scan your fingerprint to get you access to this floor while we’re there, too.”

 Sam got up from her seat and started following her godmother to the exit. Feeling brave, she stopped for a moment and looked back up at the video camera that was tracking her movements across the room.

 Looking directly into the lens, she flipped her long blond curls over her shoulder and straightened her posture defiantly. “If you’re going to spend the next month watching me from that little lens,” she said, knowing he couldn’t hear her, “I hope you like what you see.”

 * * *

 “Like” was an understatement. Samantha Davis was distracting.

 Brody had watched his new assistant train with Agnes for the past two days as though he were watching a fascinating new film. The two large screens that were connected to the surveillance cameras had captured his attention the moment Samantha came up for her interview. He’d ignored most of his work. Missed a conference call. He was just intrigued by her and the way she would turn to the cameras as though she were watching him as he was watching her.

 He supposed it might be because he wasn’t exposed to many people—women in particular—but even if he were, he couldn’t help but think that Samantha would catch his eye. He liked the thick golden-blond curls that spilled over her shoulders and down her back. Her skin had a kiss of sun like she enjoyed jogging or swimming outside. He was drawn to her large brown eyes and bright smile. She wasn’t particularly tall, but she made up for it with sky-high heels that made her legs look fantastic when she paired them with short pencil skirts.

 She was really quite striking. Certainly a change of scenery from fifty-nine-year-old Agnes.

 He loved Agnes like a mother. She was hardworking, efficient, if not a touch crotchety, but he liked her that way. Agnes was an office dynamo. It made Brody wonder how he was going to get through the next month without her.

 Agnes had mentioned this anniversary trip months ago. He had had plenty of time to prepare. And yet, he still wasn’t ready to deal with the actuality of her leaving for that long.

 When Agnes suggested hiring her goddaughter to fill in while she was away, it seemed like a sensible suggestion. But he hadn’t thought to ask if her goddaughter was attractive. He supposed most people wouldn’t think that mattered either way, but it did to him. Brody avoided most people, but he avoided beautiful women the most diligently.

 It didn’t make much sense to anyone, especially his foster brothers, who were constantly riding him to get out and date. But they didn’t understand what it was like. When they approached a beautiful girl, they only had to worry about rejection. And considering his three foster brothers were all handsome, successful and rich, they didn’t get rejected very often.

 When Brody approached a beautiful woman, he knew rejection was a given. But that wasn’t the worst of it. It was the look on a woman’s face when she saw him. That first reaction. That flicker of fear and disgust that even the most sensitive and polite person couldn’t suppress. In Brody’s world, that always came first, even if followed by a quick recovery and an attempt at indifference.

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