Write,' she ordered.

Micki laughed and did as her sister instructed. Okay. Hair is done.'

'Then on to clothing and makeup. The key is to accentuate your already beautiful qualities to make them pop more.' Sophie excitedly went through some simple makeup tips with Micki and offered her the spare jars and tubes she had in her makeup cabinet.

'Good thing you're anal and afraid of running out of things,' Micki said.

'It's even better that we have the same hair, eye color and complexion. Otherwise I'd drag you to Bendels for a full makeover. But that can wait until the weekend.'

Sophie applied as she explained and soon Micki wore a full face of makeup. She'd expected it to feel like armor but instead it was light and made her look… sexy, she thought glancing quickly in the mirror. Heart pounding with excitement, she let Sophie lend her clothing, too.

Transformation complete, when she finally turned around before the full-length mirror, Micki stared at a woman she no longer recognized but one she definitely wanted to get to know better. She couldn't help wondering if Damian would feel the same way.

'Now remember, you can't just rely on the outer dressing,' Sophie said, oblivious to Micki's thoughts. Her sister was obviously just pleased Micki was showing an interest in all things feminine, for once. She hadn't asked why.

'Attitude is everything' Sophie continued. 'Fortunately for you, you're comfortable with guys, so that's one hurdle down. Now just flirt a little and you'll be all set.'

Micki squared her shoulders and shimmied a bit, intentionally shaking her boobs. 'Like this?'

Sophie laughed. 'That's it. Work on the voice, too. A little breathy is sexy, you know?'

'Next thing I know you're going to ask me to sing Happy Birthday, Mr. President.”

Her sister grinned.

Micki glanced at her watch and groaned. 'It's nearly midnight. Do you realize how early Fm going to have to get up in the morning to duplicate this look?'

'That's the price of beauty,' Sophie said way too cheerfully.

'I might as well just sleep standing.'

'Whatever works for you.' Sophie shrugged, but couldn't stifle a yawn. 'I don't know who you're doing this transformation for, but I hope you'll tell me one day.'

Micki didn't know how to reply. She wasn't ready to admit the truth aloud. She could barely admit it to herself.

'I also hope he deserves you.'

'I do, too,' Micki said and hugged her sister. The only consolation she had was that regardless of Damian Fuller, this step in Micki's life was long overdue.


THANKS TO A CLUMPY mascara wand and a distinct lack of ability, Micki was late for work the next morning. Normally they didn't keep specific office hours but today Uncle Yank had insisted on his weekly meeting. With his obnoxious mood, Micki didn't want to draw attention to herself, especially not when she was dressed so out of character. However, with his vision problems and refusal to discuss the diagnosis of macular degeneration, Micki could only hope he wouldn't notice the changes she'd made.

She passed by the main desk, planning to head directly for the conference room, but the ringing of the telephone stopped her. Raine, the very new and young receptionist, wasn't sitting at her desk. Voice mail could take care of the caller but Micki hated to let one of their clients wait for no reason.

She grabbed for the phone. 'The Hot Zone, may I help you?'

“This is Damian Fuller. I need to speak to Annabelle.'

The deep, masculine voice reverberated through the telephone lines and Micki shivered, her reaction a jumble of emotions. She didn't know what affected her more, the rumbling baritone, the sound of his name, or the lingering memory of the degrading feelings she'd experienced in the locker room yesterday.

'Hello?' Damian asked, drawing Micki back to the present. 'Is anyone there?'

She cleared her throat. 'Sorry. I was distracted. Someone just stopped by the desk,' she lied. 'What can I do for you?'

'I already told you I'd like to speak to Annabelle.'

'Oh right' She heard the annoyance in his voice and she quickly glanced down at the check-in sheet Raine was instructed to keep. 'Annabelle isn't in yet Can I-' She was about to ask if she could take a message when an idea dawned.

Here was the man who'd prompted her transformation in the first place. Why not start flirting over the telephone? It would be good practice. Her heart rate picked up speed at the prospect.

'I haven't much time to talk,' Damian said.

Before he could hang up, Micki pulled herself together. 'Hold on, Mr. Fuller. I'll put someone on the line who can help you.'

Micki pushed the hold button, then drew a deep gulp of air. Think sexy, think sultry, she told herself and settled into the oversize chair. She crossed her legs in an ultrafeminine pose and slowly lifted the phone. 'The Hot Zone, Micki Jordan speaking. What's your pleasure this morning?' she asked in the huskiest voice she could muster.

'Micki?' He sounded as if he didn't quite believe it. 'It's Damian Fuller. I needed to speak to Annabelle about the schedule she's got lined up for the team this coming weekend.'

'I'm sure it's nothing a guy like you can't handle,' Micki said, infusing her breathless words with subtle meaning.

Damian Fuller could nail anything on the field and off. Micki just wished he wanted to nail her.

He coughed into the phone. 'I realize Annabelle's just doing her job and the autism camp's a yearly thing, but I don't want her overbooking the team's PR appearances. We're in first place going into August. I don't want the guys to blow it by being too exhausted to play well.'

'Are you sure you aren't just looking for more time to pursue other off-the-field activities?' Micki cringed as the question toppled off her tongue, especially since both Joe Gordon, the Renegades owner, and Coach Donovan had called with the same request.

He let out a laugh that set her nerve endings tingling. 'Let Annabelle know I called, okay?'

'I'll be sure to convey your concerns when she gets in,' she assured him.

'Thanks, and Micki?'


'Take care of that cold. You sound really hoarse.'

She hung up, completely mortified, and glanced up.

The clock on the wall caught her attention and she cursed just like the gamblers who'd come to her uncle's house every Thursday night while she was growing up. Micki scribbled a note for Annabelle, who was late, or Raine just hadn't checked her in as she was supposed to.

Micki rose and made a mad dash for the conference room. Tripping on her borrowed heels as she turned a corner, she saved herself by hugging the nearest wall. She waved at a startled Gert, the new office manager, a burly-looking woman who'd lasted a full three months so far in comparison to the others, whom Uncle Yank had sent home in tears-men included.

'That's it I'm finished waiting. The meeting will come to order.' Micki heard her uncle slam the gavel against the rubber plate, calling the Hot Zone's second meeting this week to order.

Micki yanked off the shoes she'd borrowed from Sophie, determined to make an unnoticed entrance. But if she'd botched her physical transformation as much as she'd messed up flirting with Damian, she wouldn't have to worry about her uncle realizing she'd done anything different.

She strode into the conference room and slipped quietly into her seat.

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