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Alice White walked from the elevator and into the air-conditioned chill of her law firm's office. She'd been a legal assistant at Gibson, Murphy and Dow for seven years now and couldn't have been happier. She enjoyed the challenge of the job and loved the people she worked with. But one call from her mom before she'd even had her first coffee had her questioning everything she'd worked toward. This was the first time in recent memory that her mother had presented her with a modeling offer that addressed nearly every issue she'd ever had with her prior career. She'd actually considered it for all of five minutes before saying no.
God, this was stupid.
The mirrored hallway practically begged her to turn her head and study her appearance to ensure she looked perfect as she passed. It was an old habit, one that liked to rear its ugly head from time to time, especially after she'd had a call from her mother. And yep, that had been the first thing she'd had to deal with this morning. Hi, Mom. Love you too. No, I don't want a shot at being the face for Regal Fashions. Yes, I'm certain I like working for lawyers. No, I won't change my mind.
Of course she liked her job. It was stupid to even think about going back into modeling, considering how much it had screwed up her childhood. She wouldn't start second-guessing things now.
Ensuring her gaze was locked onto the door at the end of the hallway, she kept going.
She'd spent longer than normal getting dressed, discarding everything she'd tried on before she was finally able to settle on something. Despite the weather predictions that the day would hit thirty-five Celsius, Alice had seriously debated putting on pants and a long-sleeved top that wouldn't draw attention to her body.
Dammit, she shouldn't still have these hang-ups. She didn't want to be that woman who always needed to be put together perfectly and would make adjustments throughout the day to keep the image up to par. She wasn't, not really. But some habits were harder to break than others.
Why the hell had her mom called her this morning to tempt her this way? She wasn't an actor, model or anything else her mother had aspired for her to become. Alice liked facts, loved digging through the flotsam and jetsam of the Canadian legal system, finding precedents that would be able to assist in her bosses' cases. It gave her a sense of security, and in the end, she was helping people.
Still, her mother hadn't given up the dream of having a famous daughter. Someone she could point to and say That's my baby. Isn't she beautiful?
"Hey, Alice." Brian, one of the shipping guys, waved as she approached. "Lookin' good."
And just like that, she was pulled back into reality. "Thanks, hon."
"Have you decided to take me up on my offer and run away with me?" The older man smiled at her, the lines around his eyes crinkling. "You know I love you, right?"
"And I love you." Alice made sure to bat her eyelashes at him and sigh as dramatically as she could manage. Her earlier panic and pressure started to wane, allowing her to be herself once more. "But it'll have to remain forbidden love for now. Your wife might get upset with me if I steal you away."
Brian sighed and shook his head. "She tends to ruin all my fun. Another day, then."