Could love be a nip/tuck away? Having endured her mother's fourthwedding, hypnotized by makeover shows and tempted by a Zvengali-esque image consultant named Kennedy J, über bridesmaid Dot Lindell launches into an odyssey of self improvement, plastic surgery and therapy. Then new and improved Dot encounters former high school hottie John Miller. She begins a risky deception, convincing both John - and herself! - that she's a totally different person. Maybe she can pull it off: after all, she's unrecognizable. But John introduces Dot to his best friend and that bully from her nightmares Jack Weston. Jack has changed since high school, too. He's grown more dangerous. Beauty and the Bridesmaid is a darkly comic tale of transformation and choices, frenemies and friendships, the heroic saga of a nice woman who only wants to look in the mirror and feel beautiful, but may find the price higher than she bargained. Please visit CLP Blog Tours for all the tour stops!
Doctor Devers wiggles her pen back and forth against her clipboard. It looks like butterfly wings.
“You hired an image consultant?” Jasper’s eyebrows attempt to hide in his hairline.
“More of a prisoner exchange. I got his computer working and he waived his fee. Which is hardly fair to him. All he needed was Adobe Acrobat installed and bam, problem solved. It’s a free download for goodness sakes. Took maybe three minutes. It’ll take months to get me overhauled.”
“Yes. I hired him.”
“Isn’t that a little…you know... tragic? Having some stranger dude decide what you’re going to look like?” Elvira’s problem is not shyness.
I bite down hard on my lower lip to keep from spewing with laughter. “Possibly. But no one’s come begging for my style secrets. Whereas Kennedy win awards for his.” I shrug. “Seems like a sensible solution. Calling in the professionals. Like they do on TV.”
Anna shakes her head. “Unnatural. Having some man do dis to you.”
Jasper considers. “People wear braces to straighten their teeth. They take medicine for medical conditions.” He directs his gaze at Anna, “People kick nature in the ass plenty when it serves them.”
Dr. Devers swings toward me. “This isn’t TV, Dot. The money and the pain won’t be a thirty-minute blip with commercial breaks. They’ll be real. So my question is, where are your boundaries? Have you decided what’s sacred? What you’ll protect?”
“Nothing’s sacred, Doc. At this point, I intend to follow Kennedy’s suggestions to the letter and let the chips, the pounds, and the fashion faux pas fall where they may. I have little to lose.”
She frowns. Apparently that’s the wrong answer.
“Look, you might want to schedule some private sessions, Dot. Doesn’t have to be with me, I can recommend some people.”
“Sorry, Doc. My money is going to be tied up for some time. Oh, and that reminds me, I won’t be coming to group for the next few weeks.”
I’m flattered at the chorus of no’s from my fellow cast offs.
“Just for a few weeks. I have all these appointments that Kennedy set up and with all the bus trips –” I let myself trail off, stand up to leave.
Donald and Susan shake my hand. Elvira cracks an eerie black smile and wishes me luck. “Come back and show off the new look, right?” She shoves a card into my hand. Oh my heavens the girl has a business card! I push it into my pocket.
Anna clucks her tongue disapprovingly. “I vish you vould retink dis decision. But I hope all vill be vell wit you.” She surprises me by jumping up and giving me a quick peck on the cheek.
Mikey isn’t there (back in the pokey again), so that leaves just Jasper and the doc.
Jasper’s face is unreadable, which is frustrating. “I’m going to miss you, Dot. You’re coming back, though, right? After the ‘few weeks’ is up?”
My turn to feel pink hit my cheeks. “That’s the plan at the moment. Things are pretty up in the air at the moment, so I’m trying not to make too many promises.”
He looks thoughtful. “I see. Well, I wish you all the best.” His eyes lock on mine. He looks like he’s about to say something, then drops his eyes.
I walk out.
I wonder if he’s really a doctor. Or a plumber. Or a figment of my imagination.
At the bus stop, I strain to read "The Race for Love," by the poor light of a streetlamp which would be book number ninety-two on the Barbara Cartland countdown to romance. Fortunately for me there's no rain (yahoo), but it's nippy and dim and the sounds of voices approaching makes it difficult to concentrate.
The voices grow more agitated and soon the unmistakable surfer-Goth cadence of Elvira cuts through. The other voice isn't familiar, just the grunts of some young Neanderthal. I duck into the shadows of the overhang, fading into the darkness, and dog-ear the page of my book.
" - waste of fuckin' time," grunts a guy about my height. He seems beefy and squat next to the lean line of Elvira. His clothes are all dark, but the streetlight occasionally winks off one of the piercings, marking his proximity.
She crosses her arms over her nonexistent bosom. "No one holding a gun to your head, dude."
I do like that girl. "Hey, Elvira."
She starts a bit. "Oh, how-dee, Dot. You shaved a few years off me."
"Sorry about that. Didn't want to intrude."
The troglodyte wheels on me, a cold look in his eyes. "Yet ya did." He rams his shoulder into Elvira's stiff form as he turns on his heels, the force of it causing her to take a step back into the bus stop. I catch her before she falls over. "Fuckin' outta here. I'm heading to Burger King."
He huffs off in the darkness, leaving Elvira and I holding our breaths at the bus stop.
"That one's a keeper."
She shakes her head, her enormous eyes shimmer with unshed tears. "He's not usually such a dick." She sniffs and digs into a big bag for a tissue. "He can be really nice. Sweet, ya know?"
What kind of a monster would start a fight with those eyes? "Sure. Everyone has their bad days. Was he your ride?"
"Not to worry. The bus will be here soon."
Her mouth twists sideways. "Not sure it's even my bus, dude."
She has a point. "True. But it'll get us out of here."
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