Stern(3)

By: Brenda Jackson


She had changed out of her hunting clothes and was wearing cut-off jeans and a short top. She had gorgeous legs, long and endless. But he knew he was one of the few men who’d ever seen them. She opened the shop at eight and closed after five. It wasn’t unusual for her to work late if she had a car an owner needed. And during that whole time, she wore an auto-mechanic’s uniform splattered with grease. A number of men would be surprised how she looked wearing something other than that uniform.

“You hide stuff,” he finally said.

She glanced over at him, frowning. “I hide what?”

“What a nice body you have. Most of the time men see you in your work clothes.”

Her frown deepened. “Well, forgive me for not wearing stilettos and a slinky dress while I change a carburetor.”

A vision of that flashed through his mind and he smiled as he took a sip of beer. “Stilettos and a slinky dress? You don’t have to go that far, but…”

He glanced over at her and saw she was pouting. He kind of liked it when she pouted. She looked cute.

“But what?”

“You would probably gain more men’s interest if you were seen around town after hours in something other than jeans and sweats. You’re a female, JoJo. Men like women who look soft and sexy once in a while.”

She studied the contents of her beer bottle. “You think that might do it?”

“Probably.” He suddenly sat up straight in the rocker. “I have an idea. What you need is a makeover.”

“A makeover?”

“Yes, and then you need to go where your guy hangs out. In a dress that shows your legs, a new hairdo—”

“What’s wrong with my hair?”

Honestly, he didn’t think there was anything wrong with her hair. It was long, thick and healthy. He should know. He’d helped her wash it numerous times over the years. He loved it when she wore it down past her shoulders, but these days she rarely did.

“You have beautiful hair. You just need to show it off more. Even now you’re hiding it under a cap.”

He reached over and took the hat off her head. Lustrous dark brown hair tumbled to her shoulders. He smiled. “See, I like it already.”

And he did. He was tempted to run his hands through it to feel the silky texture.

He leaned back and took another sip of his beer, wondering where such a tempting thought came from. This was JoJo, for heaven’s sake. His best friend. He should not be thinking about how silky her hair was.

“So, you think a makeover will work?”

“Yes, but like I said, after the makeover you need to go where you think the guy’s going to be—with a date. Whenever you pull it all together, I’m available.”

She met his gaze. “Not sure that will work. If I’m with someone, he might not check me out.”

“Most people around here know we’re best friends and nothing more.”

“He’s new to town and probably won’t know that.”

Stern thought for a moment. “You’re probably right. I wouldn’t come on to a woman if I saw her with another man. But you want him to accept you as you are. The woman who works as a mechanic during the day and the same woman who can get all dolled up at night, right?”

“Right.”

Stern smiled. “Then I suggest you let him see you with another man. Makes it obvious that you can be sexy when you want to be and that other men appreciate you. I bet once he’s seen you, even if you’re with me, he’ll contact you for a date. And then when he does see you in your work clothes, he’ll look beyond the uniform and imagine what’s underneath.”

Stern’s smile faded. For some reason the thought of men checking out JoJo that way, of men calling her for a date, bothered him. Suddenly, he was thinking that maybe a makeover wasn’t such a great idea after all.

“That’s a wonderful idea, Stern! As soon as I get back to Denver I’m going to get started on the makeover. First, I need to find out where this guy hangs out. Then I’ll find the name of someone who can make me look pretty.”

“You’re already pretty, JoJo.”

She patted his hand. “Ah, that’s sweet of you to say, but you’re my best friend so your opinion of my looks doesn’t count. I’ll get in touch with your cousin Megan for the name of her hairstylist, and it shouldn’t be hard to find a makeup artist. Then, I’ll go shopping. I’ll get some of your other cousins and sisters-in-law to go with me because they all like to shop. I’m excited.”