Authors: Debra Jupe
Tags: #Romance, #Suspense, #rock star, #Texas
in the Wind
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
Echoes in the Wind
COPYRIGHT © 2014 by Debra Jupe
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Contact Information: [email protected]
Cover Art by
Rae Monet, Inc. Design
The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
PO Box 708
Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708
Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com
First Crimson Rose Edition, 2014
Print ISBN 978-1-61217-979-7
Digital ISBN 978-1-61217-980-3
Published in the United States of America
This book is dedicated to the most giving person on earth, my mom, Mildred for her unyielding support and her strong belief that if I dreamt it, I could do it. Thanks mom, for giving me the courage to spread my wings and soar.
“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this.” Darla Hennessy twisted an errant curl around her finger as she watched the craziness surrounding her. “This was a bad idea and yet you convinced me, no wait, you dragged me here kicking and screaming. I’d much rather stayed at home to catch up on my self-pity wallowing.”
“You needed an evening out. It’ll do you good to socialize with people.” Her best friend, Stephanie, stood beside her, enthralled by the wildness. “A night on the town is much better than you sitting at home sobbing.”
“This party is not better, Steph.”
“It’s not so awful.” Stephanie defended but stopped. Her eyeballs almost popped from their sockets as a man strolled past them wearing only a metallic G-string and a huge boa constrictor draped around his neck.
“You’re right on one account, though.” Her friend laughed. “This isn’t the type of crowd we normally hang out with.”
Reptile guy turned around and walked back to Darla. He nodded downward where the boa’s large head hovered over a glittery slip of material that barely covered an oversized bulge, and then looked at her with a wide smile.
She rotated to Stephanie who giggled. “I think he wants to show you his snake.”
“Did I mention this was a bad idea?”
“Will you stop complaining? Seriously,” Stephanie replied in a defensive tone. “This madness wasn’t my intention. I just hoped to meet some singers or musicians.”
They made a quick move from the man to a nearby floor-to-ceiling window and gazed through the glass. Beyond the home’s eve, the ocean washed across the shoreline as the waves flowed in slow motion and harmonized perfectly with the setting sun.
Darla didn’t answer but continued to observe the evening tide force its spray over the shore. Under normal circumstances she preferred the beach’s solitude to interacting with a bunch of people she’d never met. Tonight she most certainly wanted to be alone. It took everything in her to resist the urge to run outside and disappear.
“Maybe we could find a place to sit.”
Darla sighed. “I’d rather do something productive.”
“How bout we mingle?”
“How bout we don’t?” Darla’s voice rose. “I was leaning more toward leaving since I didn’t want to be here in the first place.”
Stephanie had learned about this party during a trip to her hair salon. She’d eavesdropped on a woman as she discussed the shindig with her hairdresser. When Steph discovered the location was only a few houses from where Darla lived, she managed to catch Darla in a weak moment and persuaded her to crash.
Less than an hour ago they’d entered a stranger’s home. A strong stench of tobacco and sweet perfume hung heavy in the air while loud chatter drowned out the background music. The invitees included everyone from the beautiful to downright oddballs. All were crammed into the sparsely furnished space. Thus far, they’d wandered within the crowd thrusting through throngs of guests only talking to each other.
“Come on, Dar. The guy who owns this place is a concert promoter. I came to intermingle with some rock stars.”
“I thought we’re here to get my mind off my ex.”
Stephanie lifted a shoulder. “That too. But I’ve seen quite a few musicians just roaming around.”
“And are there any who make you scream and want to hurdle the furniture to get to them?”
“There’s a group of guys standing over in the corner.” She nodded to where several men stood on a raised area in an odd angle of the room. At least a dozen women circled them. “I wouldn’t mind hooking up with one of them. They were once a lot more than stars. Back in the day those men were mega huge. Superstars.”
Darla’s gaze followed to where her friend indicated. “I don’t remember them.”
“Yes, you do. Ah, what’s the band’s name?” She paused. “Ahm, that’s it. Raging Impulse.”
“Oh wow.” Darla leaned forward with narrowed eyes. “They sure look different.” She straightened. “I recall they had lots of hair and were very popular with the younger girls.” She laughed. “Appears they’ve gotten haircuts and graduated to almost women.”
Darla glanced at her friend with a hint of a smile. “Don’t tell me you had a thing for one of them.”
“My crushing days on cute boy band guys were long gone during their time, though I’ll confess to a slight interest in the bass player. I went as far as to go to their concerts. Stood on my chair and screamed along with the teenagers. I even tried to sneak backstage to meet them.”
Darla’s brow furrowed. “That’s more than a slight interest. Is the entire band here?”
“I think so.” Stephanie lifted to her tippy toes and raised her chin. “Well, I see four of the five members. And a couple of other guys.” She lowered to the balls of feet.
“They’ve changed a lot,” Darla said. “I mean, they’re men now.”
“Yes, they are.” A smile played at Stephanie’s lips as she threaded her fingers through a silver chain around her neck. “And they’re definitely better as men.” She shot Darla a full grin before she returned her attention to the band.
Darla lifted her shoulders in a careless shrug and turned away from them. “I suppose they aren’t bad if you’re fond of manufactured appearances.” A tidal wave of anxiety slammed against her insides. The mechanics whirling in Stephanie’s brain were almost visible.
Stephanie grabbed her arm, spun her around, and scowled. “So what if they’re manufactured? Live a little, Darla. We’re here to meet people, not make a lifelong commitment.”
“I have no interest in either. Besides you’re the musician freak. I could care less about meeting any teenage has beens.”
“You know this break up has sure brought out the negativity in you.” Stephanie’s mouth flattened into a straight line. “I’m only trying to support you and help take your mind off your troubles.”
Darla gulped hard and then made a face. Guilt tasted like bad cheese. She should ease off her friend. If it hadn’t been for Stephanie’s alliance, she probably wouldn’t have emotionally survived these past few weeks.
“I’m aware, and I appreciate the effort. Except I think I’d been better off left to myself to work through this.”
“I’m all for a good cry to help clear the soul, and there will be plenty of time to reel in your sorrows.” Stephanie’s tone exuded sympathy which irritated Darla almost as much as her usual persistent one. “Later. Tonight is rough. I wouldn’t be any kind of friend if I let you do this by yourself.”
Darla didn’t want anyone’s pity. “Maybe being home alone and crying is what I needed to do. You know, purge the pain.” She slanted a look in Stephanie’s direction with raised eyebrows. “And did you really use the word reel?”
“Staying by yourself and bawling your eyes out would allow your no account ex to win. You don’t want that.”
“This isn’t a race, Stephanie. There’s no victory for anyone.”
“Race,” Stephanie repeated. “Competition has nothing to do with what I’m talking about. The point is he didn’t give a rat’s gluteus over you or your years together when he dumped you and hooked up with that, that cash cow. Now he’s with his new rich bitch while you’re alone mourning the loss of the relationship and him.” She stepped in front of Darla and looked at her with a perceptive frown. “Mourning the loss.” Her brows lifted. “Seriously? Hard as this is, you need to shake this off. He doesn’t deserve such a depressing tribute. You’ve suffered in silence the past eight weeks. By now you should be jumping up and down because you found out where his priorities lie. Be glad you’re rid of him and move on.”
After her breakup with her longtime boyfriend, Darla did her best to swallow her pain whole and dry, willing the years to evaporate from her memory. Until today. Today her tears were unstoppable. If Stephanie hadn’t dragged her out tonight, she’d be lying in bed, eating chocolate ice cream and watching old movies while she floundered in her own devastation.
“I wish moving on was that easy.”
“It’s simple, Dar.” Stephanie raised a hand and snapped her fingers. “Make up your mind to be done and be done. Seriously, the guy’s not worth crying over. Save those tears for someone who matters.”
“Don’t be so sarcastic. Things are crazy tonight, and we should do something insane too.” She grinned mischievously. “We ought to go talk to those boy band guys.”
Darla awarded her friend a glare that conveyed she doubted her sanity, but apprehension fully set in. The idea petrified her.
Those guys, even among the hoard of barely dressed, barely out of their teens women surrounding them, would notice beautiful, tall, blond Stephanie in a heartbeat. With Darla’s confidence level plummeting lower than ever, plus the additional parade of gorgeous females here tonight, she wasn’t up for meeting anyone even if she’d wanted to. “This party is beyond adventurous enough for me. And I don’t get the idea of how interacting with a bunch of ancient rocker wannabes would make me feel better even under normal circumstances.”
Darla glanced at the guys again. Big mistake. She caught one of the member’s eyes. Her heart bounced. In the brief instant she knew he’d spotted her too. Beautiful eyes, bluer than the ocean, returned her stare. She started to smile, then stifled the reaction when his attention diverted from her to zero in on a pretty thing that sashayed by and gave him a “come hither” glimpse.
She jerked her gaze away. Who was she kidding? With her emotions immersed in her relationship failure, she couldn’t endure even the smallest of slights. And seriously, she’d never be able to compete with “little miss wiggle her ass” who was currently enticing him.
“Suit yourself.” Stephanie spun away and took a step toward the group. “I’m going to take a shot.”
A sharp pop echoed through the crowd, followed by the tinkling of glass. The noisy room instantly hushed.
Stephanie twisted back to Darla. “What was that?”
Darla’s pulse leaped. “It sounded like a gunshot.”
flashed twice, then the entire house became dark. Screams erupted at the same moment flocks of people stormed the home’s exits.
Darla and Stephanie were caught up in the middle of the stampede. Within seconds, the mob drove them outside and onto the sandy beach. The crowd milled over the grounds, most kept a wary eye on the darkened house.
A jolt of adrenaline vibrated through Darla as she stared into the night. An imaginary red ‘S’ appeared on her chest, and she shed all fear, prepared to take on whoever got in her way. For a brief moment. Then sanity overtook her, and the idea of rushing home and burrowing under the covers with ice cream made much more sense. She so wanted to go home.
“What do you think is happening?”
“I have no idea.” Darla heaved a loud sigh. “But we’re going to be on the news, for sure.” She glared at Stephanie. “Did I mention this was a bad idea?”
The lights from inside the home flickered and then turned on. A pale, thin man dressed in studded, black leather pants and a dark mesh tank top climbed upon a connecting deck’s rail and screeched. The huge group returned his shriek.