Suddenly Sexy

By: Kendra Little


Chunky? He'd never been called that before. He jogged every morning and ate a balanced diet. Maybe it wasn't enough. Maybe he should go to the health farm that T.J. Hopkins, National Paints' Director of Marketing, visited last year. It had worked for T.J. Sort of. He still needed to lose several more pounds to be considered slim but at least he no longer thought vegetables were invented to make a steak taste good.

"What do you think that means?" he asked Pete who was pulling funny faces at Ronan to get him to laugh and open his mouth.

"I have no idea," Pete said. "Maybe she's referring to your muscles. You're not as skinny as you used to be."

He was about to ask Pete whether Maddie preferred thin or large men, tall or short, when the two sisters emerged from the kitchen. Linda placed two bowls of chocolate ice cream in front of David and Emily.

"Where's mine?" asked Pete.

"If he's having some then so am I," Maddie declared. "Sam?"

"Maybe I shouldn't. Unless it's low fat."

"Low fat?" she said with disdain. With a shake of her head, she disappeared back into the kitchen.

So much for good impressions.





CHAPTER 3


The following morning, Maddie drove to BioDerma's lab, located in a technology park in Melbourne's outer suburbs. The brick building, built in the Eighties, was just like every other brick building in the so-called park—boxy, brown and boring. Maddie had never liked it, but it had become her home away from home since she spent most of her days, and some of her nights, there.

She shared her office and one of the small labs with Beaker, her partner. Beaker's side of the office was like his life—messy. Unsteady piles of papers threatened to topple off his desk at the slightest nudge and colored sticky notes decorated his computer monitor. He claimed the notes were color coded but Maddie couldn't see any connection between "Pick up laundry" and "Press Ctl+Alt+Delete to shut down", both written on pink paper. She didn't dare ask. Beaker's head was probably as untidy as his desk and she preferred not to see inside it.

Maddie unpacked the sandwiches she'd made the night before and placed them in her desk drawer where they would sit until she took her lunch break at twelve-thirty. She switched on her computer and read her emails while sipping double strength instant coffee. Once the caffeine seeped into her system, she finally felt ready to face the day.

But for once she didn't immediately get up from her desk. Instead, she leaned back in her swivel chair and sighed. The image of a very sexy Sam Hennessy filtered into her thoughts and wouldn't budge. Damn, he was hot. Dark, brooding good looks with buns and biceps of steel. And those electric blue eyes that promised wickedness. A girl could lose her senses, and a few items of clothing, with one long look into those depths.

"Ready?"

She jumped out of her seat and bumped her desk, sending the pencil holder toppling and the pencils rolling onto the floor. She bent to pick them up. "You startled me, Beaker."

"Sorry, I thought you'd seen me, considering you were staring straight at me."

She'd been staring at the doorway, but damned if she'd noticed him. Her mind had been several suburbs away. She returned her pens to the left section of the holder and her pencils to the right then lined up the erasers and sharpener. Beaker shifted from foot to foot but said nothing.

"Okay, let's go," she said, smoothing her skirt. She followed him down the corridor to the lab, focusing on the back of his head. Beaker's haircut could best be described as a short back and sides, with a tuft on top. Like the Muppet he'd been nicknamed after, the tuft shot straight up as if he'd stuck his finger in an electrical socket. She wondered if he spent hours every morning gelling it into shape or whether it was nature's way of warning others about the danger of electricity.

They passed Miles in the corridor. Their boss grunted something which Maddie interpreted as "Good morning". It was the best they'd get out of him at eight-thirty. He needed at least three more cups of coffee in his system before civility made an appearance.

In the stark whiteness of the lab, Beaker tapped the wire cage of Fred the lab mouse. Fred paused in his running, twitched his nose in what looked like annoyance, then continued on his merry way around the wheel, going nowhere.

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