Love, friendship and the magic of a makeover
When an internet love affair goes wrong, Rose straightens her hair and boosts her bra size – but she discovers it takes more than a makeover to find the courage to be her real self.
After 28-year-old schoolteacher Rose Butler flies to the other side of the world to meet the hot Australian guy she met online, their romantic reunion doesn’t go quite as planned. Stranded in Sydney, and too humiliated to return home to San Francisco, Rose decides to stay. She aims to shed her old image, and reinvent herself into someone tougher, smarter – maybe even wilder.
Help with her makeover comes from three unexpected new friends – Carla, the born-again-virgin beauty editor; Sasha, the out-of-rehab heiress; and Kelly, the high-flying model.
And then there are the men she meets-sexy bad-boy photographer Elliot; and Luke, the handsome doctor who may not be as straightforward as he appears. It might just be worth risking her heart again…
But as Rose throws herself headlong into her new life, she gets tripped up by a painful family secret and unresolved problems from her past. She’s forced to question her beliefs about love and loyalty, old mistakes and new choices, and the bonds of both family and friendship.
By reinventing herself, can Rose understand where she’s been and where she wants to go?
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To boost the size of my breasts with the inflatable inserts of a pump-up bra isn’t easy. To try it in the cramped confines of an airplane restroom calls for the skills of a contortionist. But I persevere, twisting and turning to manipulate the tiny pump that will-I hope-give me the illusion of curves where they count.
When I get to my destination I want to wow Scott with cleavage. Sexy, but not slutty, is the look I’m aiming for. The blurb for the bra seemed to promise plastic-surgery type enhancement without the pain or the expense. Trouble is, I find it hard to judge how much pumping is enough for a gain of a cup size or two. Result? One breast higher than the other.
I try again.
Not that there’s anything wrong with my breasts. Yes, they’re on the small side, but during the years I spent married to a “leg man” I never worried about their size.
I only started obsessing over them after I needled LG (for love-god) Scott into confessing he was a “boob man”. And as I’m so in love with Scott I can scarcely think straight, I’m keen to ensure I make a good impression when I see him again in just a couple of hours.
So I pump.
Thud, thud, thud. Someone pounds furiously on the restroom door. Again.
I feel bad at making them wait. After all, I was brought up to consider others and I’ve already twisted myself around in the tiny space and managed a top-to-toe wash. But I don’t feel bad enough to vacate the restroom. Freshening up is important as I anticipate I’ll be making love almost as soon as I arrive in Sydney, Australia. No, not just anticipate. I’m hanging out for it. Hanging out for my love-god Scott.
“Sorry,” I murmur under my breath to the person on the other side of the door, as I push and prod to make the final adjustments to my newly-inflated cleavage. Think I’ve finally got it figured. Not bad. Not up-to-the throat but definitely an improvement on nature, even if one breast is still pumped slightly higher than the other.
I first read about the pump-up bra in Louisa, one of my favorite magazines. Practically everything I know about girl stuff I learned from magazines.
I have a folder stuffed full of clippings on how to tame the type of unruly, wavy brown hair that combs get lost in. Another on how to deal with learn-to-love-them freckles. And, since my marriage split from Dean Dawson last year, a whole lot of pages on ways to bail out forever from the role of doormat woman.
Right now the piece of magazine advice I intend to follow to the letter is: Spritz perfume everywhere you expect to be kissed.
I burrow into my purse for my bottle of Ralph Lauren’s “Romance”. One of my first graders gave it to me for my birthday back in January-I suspect someone gave it to his mom and she didn’t like it.
But I like it and I was wearing it the first – and only time – I hooked up with Scott in San Francisco. When he said goodbye to fly back to Australia, he nuzzled into my neck and murmured in that so-seductive Australian accent: “Rose, I’ll always think of you whenever I smell this perfume.”
At first I took his words at face value and was flattered. Thrilled. It was only after he went that I wondered exactly what he’d meant. When would he think of me? When he smelt Romance on another woman?
But I put my doubts aside and decided to take his words as the wonderful compliment I was sure he’d meant it to be. After all, isn’t Scott the most romantic man I’ve ever met? And that’s apart from being the sexiest.
I spray Romance in the conventional places-behind my ears and on my wrists. The magazine has got its advice a little wrong here. I guess I most expect to be kissed on the mouth and I’m not likely to spray perfume there.
Then I think some before continuing. Where exactly has Scott kissed me? Where hasn’t he kissed me is more to the point.
After months of long-distance cyber flirtation, I finally met him for a drink and didn’t leave his hotel room on Union Square until the next afternoon. The only time we got out of bed was to let room service in. I blush at the memory of my totally out-of-character behavior.
My safely-married friends would be horrified if they knew. But I didn’t tell them, not even my sister Daisy, though I think she may have guessed.
I spray some scent on my throat, tilting back my head and remembering the shudder of sensation that shot through me when Scott kissed me there. I lift the edge of my new bra and spray it on each breast. I flinch as the cool spray hits my nipples. They tighten and tingle-which is exactly what they did when Scott so expertly kissed them.
Heat floods through me as I remember how good it felt. It sounds cheesy to say it, but Scott really awakened me as a woman. Made me aware for the first time of how wonderful two bodies in tune can be. What all those breathlessly written articles in my favorite magazines were getting at.
No wonder I’m hooked on him. The remaining hour until I land in Sydney and see him again seems endless.
Decision time. Shall I spray Romance where I expect to be kissed or where I hope to be kissed? I suck in my tummy as flat as I can and spray right where Scott kissed my navel, caressing me with his tongue in a way I’d never realized could be so exciting. I shiver at the memory.
Spray it everywhere? I pull out the elastic of the sexy lace thong – also new – and pause, the perfume spray poised. I definitely want to be kissed down there again. Oh yes! But mightn’t the perfume sting like hell?
Heck, I’m not so sure about this. I already reek of Romance. It’s making me want to sneeze. Problem is, I’m a novice at being naughty – a twenty-eight-year-old with the dating experience of an eighteen-year-old.
I snap the elastic back against my skin and squirt some Romance on the back of my knees instead.
Someone bangs so hard on the restroom door that it’s in danger of sending the jet off course. “Okay, okay,” I mutter.
I struggle into the tight hipster jeans that – miraculously – make my too-big butt look better, banging my knee on the sink in the process. They design these restrooms for the vertically challenged, not five foot-nine women with long legs trying to get dressed in a hurry.
Butt girdle in place, I peer into the mirror, peer closer, then stifle a scream. No! That can’t, just can’t, be a zit on my chin. Not now. Not when I’m so close to my reunion with Scott.
It’s a zit all right, small but rapidly incubating into something spectacular. A veritable Vesuvius of a pimple. I itch to squeeze it but slap my own hand away. Years of experience tells me it will only look worse, and an angry red crater on my face is not what I want to present to LG Scott.
This is a classic “Surefire Ways to Blitz a Breakout” or “Zap that Zit!” magazine moment. But zit camouflage, make-up repair, and taming of out-of-control hair will have to wait until I’m back in my seat. There are mutinous mutters filtering through the door. I’m not usually so selfish and I really have taken up enough time in the restroom.
I push through the door to be met by the furious glare of a middle-aged woman. She starts to cough and splutter and put up her hands to ward off the wave of Romance that wafts out with me.
I feel myself color and I can’t meet her eyes-or those of the rest of the line of people with crossed legs and cross faces that snakes behind the woman down the aisle. I didn’t realize the other toilet in this section was out of order.