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Jill Shalvis, Jennifer Labrecque

New and…Improved? Andrew in Excess

New and…Improved by Jill Shalvis

Dear Reader,

It has always been my fantasy to…no, not that! To get totally made over. You know, be turned into Cinderella. But permanently, since I can’t seem to tell time and would never make it home by midnight.

Anyway, my chemist heroine gets this chance when she wins a makeover. Only problem, she’s never had such a fantasy. In fact, she’s a bit of a tomboy, so when all her workmates are now staring at her dazed by lust, it’s a bit baffling. But then, her boss is doing it, too, and he is her fantasy, so suddenly looking like a sex kitten has its appeal.

But is it just lust? Of course not, but don’t tell them yet-let’s let them figure it out by themselves. After all, they are brilliant chemists-but love isn’t a science, is it?

I hope you get a kick out of Becca and Kent’s wild ride into head-over-heels love. Happy reading!

Jill Shalvis

1

IT WAS JUST ANOTHER DAY in the life of Rebecca Anne Lewis. Work, work, work.

As a chemist for Sierra Scientific Laboratory, Becca did little else. It was in her blood. All her life she’d been a fine, responsible, steady human being. A rock.

And wasn’t that just the problem? Rocks were solid, but boring.

Last month she’d turned the big three-oh. Thirty. And while her life was fine, her condo was fine, her job was fine, she wanted to scream from all the humdrum fineness.

As it had more and more, her secret fantasy came to her, the one where she threw all caution out the window. Where she became mysteriously beautiful and bold, different and exciting.

She definitely wouldn’t have to struggle to remember if she’d had sex in the last decade.

The lab door opened, and steady, confident footsteps headed down the hall toward her. For a moment, Becca closed her eyes and pretended those footsteps belonged to a tall, dark, gorgeous man who was about to make her every fantasy come true. He’d take one look at her and reach out with a powerful swipe of his long, strong arm, sweeping the counter clear. He’d lift her up, then slide his hands down her hips to her thighs, which he’d open and slip between, still watching her with those smoldering eyes. His tennis shoes squeaked and-

Wait a minute.

Her dream man didn’t wear squeaky tennis shoes. Becca sighed as reality intruded on the only sex life she had at the moment-the one in her thoughts.

The footsteps still came. Not her mystery man, but her boss Kent Wright. “A change,” she muttered, fanning herself. “I definitely need a serious change.”

“What? You’re going through the change?” Kent stood in the doorway, looking tall, dark and annoyingly amused.

“Not exactly.”

“You sure? I mean, you are officially old now.” He came toward her, shoulders straight, stride long-legged and confident. Not cocky or full of ego, just incredibly comfortable in his own skin. Laughter twinkled in his dark eyes. “Practically over the hill,” he added.

“Funny.” Jeez, a girl turned thirty and everyone felt free to remind her of it daily. Just yesterday the staff secretary had brought her black roses. “And not that it’s any of your business, but I meant change as in adventure. Not the change of life.”

“Adventure.” He glanced at her speculatively, and she could hardly blame him. She was the epitome of nerdness. In school she’d been voted mostly likely to have her picture used in the dictionary to describe the word dork. College hadn’t been much better, but at least then, with all her various science classes, she’d been surrounded by people more like herself.

“What kind of adventure?” he wondered. “As in blowing up your work station?”

He spoke mildly, with good humor in his deep voice, but Becca blushed all the same at the reminder of how she’d lost her last chemist position. She had an incredible amount of book smarts, always had. But what she more than made up for in IQ, she seemed to lack in good, old common sense. It had gotten her into trouble more times than she liked to admit.

And had lost her more jobs than she cared to think about.

Thankfully she’d had a really good interview with Kent, and he appeared to believe in her. But she didn’t want to press her luck. Outlining her new plan for an exciting personal life might scare him off. Actually, it would scare off anyone that knew her. “And that particular incident with the explosion didn’t count,” she said defensively. “I didn’t mean that kind of adventure.”

“Ah.” He nodded sagely. “So this time you’re going to do it on purpose.”

“Yes. No!” But she laughed at herself because what else could she do? “This has nothing to do with work. I’m talking about my personal life.”

“What’s wrong with it?”

“It’s…fine.” She rolled her eyes. “But it’s so boring I can’t think of a thing to say about it. That’s going to change.”

“Should I be worried?”

“Of course not. I’m not your responsibility.”

Thankfully, he let that go. “Saw your report on the TD virus,” he said. “Fine job.”

Fine. There was that word again, and though she tried to not take it personally, she wasn’t entirely successful. “Could you think of another adverb?”

“But fine is the one that fits.”

“I hate that word.”

“Because…?”

“Because it’s as boring as the rest of my life is!”

He blinked slowly. “Which brings us back to this change thing, right?”

“Yes.” She glared at him. “So if you don’t mind, please don’t tell me my work is fine.”

Another man might have looked at her perplexed, or laughed, but Kent merely absorbed her request. Then in a deceptively serious voice said, “I’ll put out a memo. All employees take note, use the words ‘fine’ and ‘Becca’ in the same sentence at your own risk.

Oh, as if he could understand. He had dark hair, even darker eyes and a lethal smile when he used it. He was tall, lanky but muscled, and stunningly gorgeous in a dangerous sort of way that, according to his staff who were all too happy to talk about him when he wasn’t within hearing range, never failed to garner him female companionship when he chose.

And yet, despite looking like a Greek god, he didn’t choose often. She might have only been at Sierra a short time, but one thing she’d already learned through the watercooler gossip train was that he liked being alone, liked not having anyone to account to, and most of all, liked keeping his feelings and thoughts to himself. It gave him an edge that made him all the more appealing to the opposite sex.

But it wasn’t his appeal that bothered Becca. It was her own lack of appeal.

With one finger, Kent reached out and stroked the spot between her eyes that always wrinkled when she

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