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Authors: Kelly McClymer

Tags: #family, #secret shopper, #maine mom, #mystery shopper mom

License to Shop

BOOK: License to Shop
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LICENSE TO SHOP

Secret Shopper Mom Mystery
Book 2
Kelly McClymer

Copyright © 2015 Kelly
McClymer

All rights
reserved.

Other Books by Kelly McClymer

 

Chicklit

The Ex-Files

 

Secret Shopper Mom Mystery series

Shop and Let
Die

License to Shop

 

Once Upon a Wedding series

The Fairy Tale
Bride

The Star-Crossed
Bride

The Unintended
Bride

The Infamous
Bride

The Next Best
Bride

The Impetuous
Bride

The Twelfth Night
Bride

 

FOR TEENS…and the young at heart…

Blood Angel

Getting to Third
Date

The Salem Witch
Tryouts

Competition’s a
Witch

She’s a Witch
Girl

Must Love Black

Must Love
Halloween

 

Boxed Sets

Once Upon a Wedding Bks
1-4

Once Upon a Wedding Bks
5-7

Dangerous
Secrets

A Very Romantic
Christmas

License Notes

This ebook is licensed for
your personal enjoyment only. No part of this may be used or
reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission except in
the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and
reviews. This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places
and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or
used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or
persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

Dedication

To all the university
faculty, staff, and students who toil under-appreciated in the
so-called ivory towers of academia: higher education is worth it,
so thank you.

Free Download:

 

Get your sneak peek at
Galatea’s
Revenge
here
.

Autograph
Available:

Did you know you can get an autograph on an
ebook? Thanks to Authorgraph, I can autograph any ebook. If you’d
like an autograph, please go
here
.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

The Mom
with the Golden Interview

 

Monday mornings were always a whirlwind, after the relative
laziness of the weekend, but this Monday morning felt particularly
whirly. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why until, halfway
through simultaneously making breakfast and packing lunches for the
kids, I caught sight of the calendar with the big red circle on it.
I only used red for very important events.

Interview, it said inside
the red circle.

My stomach clenched and I
reached for my mug and took a deep gulp of coffee. Blah. It was
cold. As I dumped out the cold stuff and poured a fresh hot mug, I
couldn’t help but wonder: Was I ready for the real work world if I
could forget what day of the week it was so easily?

Seth came in just in time
to grab the toast from the toaster and butter it before Anna and
Ryan clomped down the stairs, groggy and ready for food. They sat
down and attacked the toast as I spooned scrambled eggs onto our
plates.


Scrambled?” Ryan was
surprised. “But I was going to make mine over easy.”

At twelve, it was a matter
of pride for both of us that he could make his own breakfast. But—
“If I’m going back to work full-time, we can’t have a dozen dishes
in the sink every morning.”

He looked unhappy. “Then
don’t go back to work. Just keep doing that secret shopper thing
you do.”

Anna chimed in, “If you’re
working all day, who will be home when I get home?”

I wanted to give her a hug
and reassure her that she was not going to be forgotten, one of the
major anxieties of my anxiety-ridden little girl.

Seth’s reply cut off any
comfort. “Anna. You will go to the after-school program. Ryan. Your
mother has more useful skills to offer the world than shopping for
a living.”

They both frowned at him,
preparing to ask him more questions, but he said sharply, “Do you
want to go to college? If so, then stop giving her a hard time. It
isn’t easy to face a job interview. We need to make her feel
confident and successful.”

They both looked at me
dubiously, and I could hear their thoughts. “Confident? Successful?
Mom?”

I addressed Ryan’s concern
first. “If you agree to clean your pan after you make your eggs,
and put your dishes in the dishwasher, I’m okay with you cooking
your own breakfast.”

He thought it over for
thirty seconds, shrugged, piled his scrambled eggs on his toast,
sprinkled on enough hot sauce to kill half his taste buds, and ate.
Figured. One kid’s objections down.

Anna stared at her eggs as
if they were poison. “But I like cereal. I don’t have to use a pan
to make my own cereal.”


Okay, then. You’ll put
the cereal box, and the milk, back in the refrigerator, and put
your bowl in the dishwasher?”


Yes.”


Then give your dad your
eggs, and show me you can be a big girl.”

She shoved her plate at
Seth, who happily ate her eggs while she got a bowl, a spoon, her
favorite cereal, and the milk carton. We all held our breath while
she poured from the heavy carton, but she didn’t spill a
drop.


Good job, sweetie. And
don’t worry. The after-school program is supposed to be a lot of
fun. They go hiking, and play on the playground, and watch a movie
every week.”

She nodded. “Sarah goes to
after school care. She says the movies are lame old movies with a
lot of singing and dancing, but the popcorn is pretty
good.”

Around a spoonful of
cereal, she added, “The interview people will like you, Mom. Maybe
you should bring them some Snickerdoodles. Mrs. Glenn always loves
it when you bring Snickerdoodles. She says you’re the best homeroom
mom ever.”


Snickerdoodles.” I basked
in the praise for approximately half a second, and then I
remembered something I’d forgotten. Oops. I jumped up from the
table. I’d promised Mrs. Glenn I’d give her my recipe. I grabbed
the recipe card I’d written out last night, wiped off some egg
spilled on it, and stuck it in Anna’s backpack. “Remember to give
Mrs. Glenn this card, Anna, okay?”

She nodded, and looked at
the clock. “But you better get dressed fast, Mom, or we’ll be
late.”

It was my turn to nod. I
had been known to drive the kids to school while still in my
pajamas, but that is a luxury for a mom with a very flexible
schedule, not a working mom. And especially not a mom going on her
very first interview in ten years.

Seth looked over his mug
and said, “Why don’t I take the kids to school this morning so you
can have some extra time to get ready for the
interview.”

I laughed. “You mean I’m
not going to get hired if I go in my jammies, without brushing my
hair?” I tried to keep it light and positive, even though I was
panicking inside. I could change out of my jammies. I could brush
my hair. I could even wear makeup. But inside, I was still going to
be a woman who hadn’t worked in the real word for a long time. My
resume was pitiful, especially since Seth, and my mentor Dierdre
the heart surgeon, had both suggested I leave off my mystery
shopping experience. That left me with PTA and Girl Scout volunteer
service to fill in the gap between today and the day I left my
full-time job for a life of part-time work and full-time
motherhood.

He herded the kids out the
door, backpacks, lunches, and all. “You’re going to be fine, Molly.
Deirdre and Deb will give you excellent references. You know the
university well, through me. That’s a plus. You’re good with kids.
You’ll make a great admissions counselor.”

I stood in the doorway,
watching them climb into the car. He made it sound so easy.
Interview, get the job, do the job. “I hope so. You never know if
someone with more experience than I have will apply. The university
has to go with experience, after all, even if Deirdre and Deb do
make me sound like the most awesome volunteer ever.”

He stopped, his hand on
the car door. He frowned. “Don’t be negative. You
promised.”

Was the truth really
negative? Maybe. “I just want to be realistic.”

He sighed. “The mystery
shopping was fun, but we agreed: we need something reliable now if
we want to be able to send the kids to college.”

Reliable. Seth means
respectable. If he’s going to be Assistant Dean, I’m going to have
to do something Assistant Dean’s-wife-respectable. Mystery
shopping, which I have been doing for six years, in between car
pool and dishes and laundry, is not going to cut it.

I picked up my plate and
coffee mug, trying to sound confident. “I’m going to wow them at
the Admissions office today.” I couldn’t help adding a cautionary
finish. “And if they don’t hire me, someone else will. I have five
more jobs circled that could be good prospects if this one doesn’t
turn out.”

He lobbed his backpack
into the passenger seat of his car. “Think positively. This one
will turn out.”

I knew Seth well enough to
see the shadow of worry in his eyes he was trying to hide. We were
being brave for each other, even though we both knew the odds of my
getting the first job I applied for fell heavily on the “luck” side
of the gambling equation.

I watched them drive away,
hoping the smile I had plastered on my face for them had fooled
them into thinking I was positive, confident, and about to conquer
the interview.

 

The Admissions office was on the opposite end of the campus
from the physics department’s building. It took me a while to find
a parking lot with an empty space. Happily, my phone assured me
that I was ten minutes early for my interview. Early. I should get
points for that. Right?

I stopped just before
entering the Admissions office, took three deep breaths, and tried
to wipe any lingering terror from my expression. You will be a
great asset to this office, Molly. Be confident and composed.
Unleash your inner Dierdre.

Dierdre, my new mentor and
the heart surgeon wife of my husband Seth’s dean, had counseled me
to smile as I entered the office. She claimed that smiling made you
not only look confident, but feel confident. I put my hand on the
door handle, took one more deep breath, tried on a few smiles until
I found one that didn’t feel too fake, and opened the
door.

The admin sat behind a
bulkhead that kept everyone at bay. She looked up when I entered,
and met my smile with her own. Point to Dierdre. I did feel more
confident. Maybe I could get a “real” job, after being home raising
children for ten years. Maybe I could put my scandalous part-time
job as mystery shopper behind me for regular hours, an office,
benefits, and a much happier, more promotable, husband.

BOOK: License to Shop
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