Secrets in the Sand - Carolyn Brown Page 0,1

wall. She crossed her arms over her chest, sucked in a lungful of air, and let it out slowly.

“Did you see Clancy?” Bonnie asked.

All of the members of the band were blonds except Angela. Patty and Susan were the same height, but Bonnie stood at just under six feet tall when she wore her cowboy boots.

“Yes,” Angel answered. “Looking just as egotistical and full of himself as ever. And he’s even sexier than he was ten years ago.”

“Methinks I hear a note of love gone wrong. Hey, sounds like a good title for our new song. Maybe I just got the inspiration for the Billboard chart–topping song that we’ve needed all these years to take us straight to the top in Nashville.” Patty pulled on her boots and twisted her straw-colored hair up in a twist.

Susan tossed Angel’s cowboy hat across the bus. With her honey-blond hair and round face, some folks said that she could have been Miranda Lambert’s sister. “Right. Just when we’ve decided to give up touring.”

Angel caught her hat and laid it beside her. She stuck out her tongue at her friends, stood up and peeled faded jean shorts down over her hips and tossed them beside the hat. She jerked her knit tank top over her head, threw it in the direction of her shorts, and slipped on a black silk kimono-style robe.

“Hey, girls, I want to thank you again for tonight. Only real friends would play a two-bit gig like this, and I appreciate it. Means a lot to me.” She sat down in front of a built-in vanity, complete with mirror and track lighting, and slapped makeup on her face, covering a fine sprinkling of freckles across her upturned nose. She outlined her big green eyes with a delicate tracing of dark pencil, then brushed mascara on her thick lashes. She flipped her dark-brown hair around her face with a styling comb and sat back to look at her reflection. Not bad for a backward girl who’d been scared of her own shadow ten years ago.

She wondered if anyone would recognize her. Not that Angel had planned to attend this reunion any more than the other nine that had already gone by. But then she had received the letter from the class president and decided—without exactly knowing why—that she’d come to this one. Some of the alumni might doubt she’d even been in their class when they saw her onstage, but after tonight, they’d go home and drag out their yearbooks to find her name and picture. And there she would be in big glasses, which she’d since replaced with contacts, and wildly curly hair, which she still couldn’t tame.

Tonight, Angel was going to put away the past and forget about the pain. The self-help books she’d read and her therapist both told her to face her fear. Tonight she was doing just that. Tomorrow she was going to wake up a brand-new woman, ready to face whatever life might bring her, and she was never going to think about Clancy again.

She forced a smile at her reflection and then reached up and peeled the letter from the class president off her mirror. The committee had asked for a brief paragraph listing her accomplishments in the decade since she’d finished high school. Her short biography would be published in the alumni newsletter that would be sent out the next week. They had also asked for a contribution of some kind to the reunion. Angel had written back and offered to bring her band and play for the dance—free of charge.

“Better jerk them jeans on, darlin’.” Mindy came out of the small bathroom and looked at Angel in the mirror. “Clancy Morgan’s eyes would pop out of his head if you got to gyratin’ your hips in nothing but that cute little lacy bra and underpants. I can’t wait to see his face. Be sure you do something so that we know which one of the guys is the man who broke your heart.”

“Oh, hush.” Angel giggled as she stood up and took her freshly starched white jeans from a hanger and shimmied into them. Then she topped them with a sequined vest with flashing red and white horizontal stripes on the right side and white stars on a ground of blue on the left.

“Lord, all I need is a couple of pasties with tassels.” Angel checked her appearance in the mirror one last time.

“Hey, we’re playing a gig for a bunch of high