Lisette Pannebaker speaks five languages and has a brilliant business plan—personal language immersion. Clients can hire her to shadow them and speak all day in any language they need to learn for business or travel—whatever.
But there’s a major hitch: she’s far too pretty. Clients with less than honorable intentions sign up just have Lisette at their side. Solution? A make-under. Way under.It works like a charm. None of her male clients show her the least bit of interest.
Erik Gunnarsson is charming, kind, and smart—everything she’s ever looked for. Even though he seems to have a secret and she swore she’d never date a client, Lisette is tempted to shed her disguise—even if it means jeopardizing her career.
Aunt Corky interjected with a selling point. “Amanda, I think Lisette might have a good thing going with this plan of hers. Only the wealthiest business people will be able to afford to hire her as a linguist. It’s going to be a good pool to draw from.” She aimed her fork’s tines for emphasis.
Geez. Great. Now her mom would think Lisette was only starting this business to catch a rich husband. And she’d expect Lisette to be actively looking among the clients—a complete no-no on Lisette’s ethical standards. She’d even written it into the boilerplate contract she expected to have every potential client sign. Aunt Corky meant well, of course. Lisette could forgive easily. At least what Corky said worked—there was a visible relenting in her mom’s countenance.
Lisette pounced on that. “Look, Mom. I have a proposal. Give me three years at this. That’s a reasonable amount of time for a startup company to either make it or break. If I haven’t both paid you back and paid off my student loans in that amount of time—in full, to the penny—I’ll come take the Mandarin job at Pannebaker.”
Mom took a deep breath, let it out slowly, and relented. “Fine. But three years. Every penny. It’s a deal.” She put an arm around Lisette’s shoulder. “I know you can do it. Of course, I’d really rather see you fail.”
“Amanda!” Aunt Corky scolded.
“No, not that. I just want to see her settled and having a family by then. It’s not business success that I count as a real measure.”
Lisette had just been forcibly booted from a relationship not an hour ago. Now was not the time to debate the merits of marital bliss.
“Three years. You’ll only be twenty-seven by then. There will still be a chance of happiness.” Mom sighed, but Aunt Corky squeezed Lisette’s hand and gave a happy little jump and a squeal.
Jennifer Griffith studied French, German, Japanese, and a wee bit of Spanish in her school days. Her grandmother was Norwegian, and Jennifer grew up with lots of Scandinavian traditions floating around, including fabulous cardamom laced cookies called Krumkaker, made on a fancy waffle iron. However, she’d never dream of trying to teach someone any of those languages. And she might botch the cookies. Instead, she writes novels in English, drives her five kids a million places, and laughs with her husband, who came up with the plot for Immersed because he’s just a cool muse like that.
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