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"Maggie? What the hell are you wearing?"
"It's my disguise," Maggie Kincaid answered, stuffing the rolled-up knitting she carried into her laptop bag and placing it on her desk. She was working on a scarf to match the knitted cap she had on. She removed her tattered gloves, along with the cap and the curly gray wig she wore beneath it, and patted the honey-blond hair she'd pulled back into a tight bun. Tossing the aviator sunglasses on the desk, she reached into her shirt pocket for her customary red-rimmed spectacles. Oh, thank God. Now she could see much better.
Susan Delaney laughed as Maggie doffed a garish overcoat to reveal the white shirt and tie and pleated, gray, no-nonsense skirt underneath. "That coat is hideous. Why are you wearing that get-up?"
Maggie turned her head and nodded to the crowd of male students clustered outside the front doors of the University of Washington's undergraduate library. "I had to get past the fans. I borrowed from the costume department over at the School of Performing Arts." She kept her voice low. "I didn't want them to notice me coming in."
Susan handed her a steaming mug of coffee. "Clever."
"Thanks." She wrapped her hands around the mug. The weather outside was brisk, the walk from her apartment long, and she relished the opportunity to return circulation to her near frozen fingers.
Susan leaned a hip against Maggie's desk. "So, what did your mother say about Miss April Hotrod?"
Maggie rolled her eyes as she set up her laptop. "It took me nearly two hours to convince her it wasn't me in the picture." She opened the top desk drawer and pulled out the calendar she'd tossed there. The nude woman in the picture, sprawled suggestively over the hood of a car stared up at her. Maggie still wasn't used to that almost familiar face gazing back at her with lowered eyelids and a seductive pout.
She tossed the calendar into the trashcan underneath her desk. "She's everywhere, damn it."
"Um, have you seen the website yet? With our resident librarian centerfold?"
"There's a website?" The words came out as a whisper and Maggie closed her eyes to try to stop the heat that flooded her cheeks. She'd aced her exams and had attended the University of Washington on a full scholarship. She'd taken pride in her academic achievements. Over the years she'd built a good, solid reputation at the university. Now she was popular for the size of her boobs and a likeness to a nude centerfold. It was frustrating. And possibly career-ending.
"It's amazing how much the woman looks like you."
Maggie turned her laptop on. "Ms. Kandy Karamel is making my life hell." She swiveled in her chair and reached for her mug while she waited for her laptop to boot up. "I've got to wear disguises to avoid oversexed students wanting autographs at the front door. The Library Director talks to my chest, and my mother nearly had a heart attack when the delivery boy asked if I was home to sign his calendar." She looked down at the trash can on the floor next to her desk. "Did you ever have that nightmare where you turned up to work naked? Well, welcome to my life."
"Hey, look at the bright side. Think of all the dates you could score. Miss April could be your claim to fame."
"But I don't want to claim her fame," protested Maggie. "Besides, how many men wanting to date Miss April would accept the ninety day rule?"
Susan shook her head. "I can't believe you use that probation thing for dating."