House Calls:Callaghan Brothers, Book 3(3)

By: Abbie Zanders


Maggie reached back and snatched the clip. She re-secured her hair immediately, turning crystalline green eyes on her friend, staring pointedly at the curtains of silken platinum that framed Sherri’s perfect features.

“Yeah, I’ve heard that men really hate blondes. A real turn-off. Must be hard on you. My heart bleeds, really.”

Sherri ignored her, raking her gaze up and down the oversized man’s flannel shirt that reached practically to Maggie’s knees. “And what are you now, like a size six?”

Maggie snorted. “Hardly.” Not that it mattered. That was the beauty of living and working out of her own home. She lived in soft, comfortable flannel and baggy jeans that hid what her grandmother used to refer to in hushed tones as a “full figure”. She could sweat to as many oldies as she wanted, but she would never have Sherri’s lithe, slim body. No, she would always carry a little more on her hips. And the only way her breasts would get smaller is if she had a reduction. The best she could hope for was to tone what lie underneath. Way underneath.

“Please, Mags. Just help me out this one time and I swear I’ll never ask you again for anything as long as I live.”

Maggie shook her head. “No way, sister. I love you, I really do, but no.”

Sherri sighed heavily, then pulled out the big guns. “Mags, thirty minutes of dancing pays around five hundred bucks, and that’s not including tips.”

“Five hundred dollars?” Maggie hated the interest the flash of a little cash could spark in her. But hey, it would pay a couple of bills. A definite plus since she hadn’t been successful in finding work outside of her sporadic contract jobs from home. Her savings were down to nothing. Most of the people she made homeopathic herbs and wraps for were barely making ends meet themselves, and Maggie didn’t have the heart to take what little they had, so that certainly wasn’t pulling in any income.

She was already living from one paycheck to the next, budgeting out every penny, stretching her meager income so thin it was almost translucent.

“Uh-huh.”

Sherri went in for the kill. “And you can wear a costume and a mask. No one will ever know who you are.”

Maggie bit her bottom lip. “No one?”

“No one.”

It was tempting. Something the old Maggie might have jumped at in a heartbeat, when she was naïve and optimistic and fun. Before she became ‘chubby’ and ‘prudish’ and ‘boring’.

“All I have to do is dance?”

“I swear it, no funny business. These guys are first-class.”

Five hundred bucks plus tips. Total anonymity. Dancing. An illicit thrill went through her at the thought of doing something so brazen, so naughty, so un-Maggie like. “Alright.”

“Yes?”

“Yes.”

Sherri bounced up and down and almost knocked Maggie over with her fierce embrace. “You’re not going to regret this, Mags.”

Maggie wished she could be as certain.





Chapter Two




Jake’s Irish Pub was closed to the general public. Those allowed in were by invitation only in honor of Ian’s upcoming wedding, and consisted of family and a few close friends.

“Oh. My. God.” Sherri stared slack-jawed at Maggie, seeing her for the first time in full regalia. She was dressed the part in layers upon layers of thin veils and silk, bedecked by rings and bracelets, her unique green eyes outlined in black kohl beneath the mask, her dark ruby hair cascading freely .

“Honey, it’s a good thing Crystal’s not here, because if she saw the way you fill out her costume she’d hang up her veils for good.”

“I feel ridiculous.”

“You look amazing,” Sherri said, shaking her head in disbelief. “I can’t believe you are the same woman who spent half the morning horking cookies! How can you eat that much and have a body like that? I don’t think I like you anymore.”

Maggie rolled her eyes, but refrained from an acerbic retort when there was a soft knock on the door. Sherri opened it, allowing one of the largest men Maggie had ever seen to slip into the room with them. She swallowed audibly as her face lifted up... and up.

“Hey, Sherri, you look stunning as always. We’re ready when you are,” he said with a smile that could have powered half the state for a month. Then he seemed to notice Maggie, who had instinctively taken a step backwards toward the corner. His smile faltered for a moment.

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