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The Trouble With Lacy Brown
By Debra Clopton
Steeple HillCopyright © 2005 Debra Clopton
All right reserved.
"Rise and shine, Sheri, we made it to Mule Hollow." Lacy Brown leaned over and slapped the pair of pointed, high-heeled boots propped on the dusty dashboard of her classic pink Caddy.
The rumpled heap that was her friend and partner opened one eye. "No, not now," she grumbled. "I just started dreaming about handsome cowboys fighting over me."
"Why dream?" Lacy practically sang with enthusiasm. "Open your eyes and look around."
With her hair resembling Rod Stewart's on a bad hair day, Sheri plopped her feet to the floorboard one at a time, pushed up to a sitting position and gaped at Mule Hollow. "You're joking. Right?"
"Isn't it wonderful?" Lacy said, flinging her arms open wide. From her perch on the car's door she felt on top of the world.
"Wonderful. Lace, are we looking at the same view? Look at this place."
"No, no, no, don't go all negative on me, Sheri. Look again. Really look." Overflowing with excitement, Lacy jumped to her feet on the Caddy's seat.
"Picture all these sad, colorless buildings painted a different shade of the rainbow. Like...like one of those weird ski villages in Colorado -- only brighter." She grasped Sheri by the shoulders and met her eye-to-eye.
"We prayed about opening our own business. And you know when I read that classified ad, God gave me a vision. I'm telling you, girlfriend, whoever placed that ad is watching the same movie I'm watching. If we open it, they'll come. I know it. I feel it in my heart."
"Girlfriend --" Sheri took a deep breath " -- this is no cornfield and you are not Kevin Costner."
Lacy dropped back onto the edge of the door. "Nope, I'm not Kevie-baby, but when single women read about all these lonesome, long-legged cowboys pinning away for true love -- they're coming. All kinds of man-hunters from all walks of life. Who knows, there may be hundreds."
Sheri rolled her eyes, but grinned.
That's all the encouragement Lacy needed to rattle on. "No joke. Some gals will come to marry, some to play. Either way, when the courtin' starts, where is the first place those gals are gonna head?"
Sheri bit her lip to hide her smile, and then gave in. "Straight to Heavenly Inspirations," she drawled, "Where love is in the air and the hair!"
"Yup, yup, yup, that's what I'm saying," Lacy chirped. "With me styling their hair and you sculpting their nails, not only are we going to be independent, self-supporting businesswomen, we are going to get the opportunity to tell each and every one of those ladies what the Lord has done for us." Lacy's eyes twinkled. "There absolutely couldn't be anything better than that!"
Sheri started chuckling and dramatically slapped a hand to her chest. "Okay, Moses, I give up. God told you to come here and far be it for me to get in His way. We both know you're the one with the direct line to His office, I'm just along for the ride." She paused rubbed her eyes and stretched her arms heavenward. "But, friend of mine --" she yawned " -- we have to take a time-out now and find coffee, I'm dying here."
Sheri was right, it had been a long five-hundredmile drive through the night. Lacy slid behind the steering wheel, then rammed the gearshift into drive, all in one swift motion. "Coffee it is. I have to say, you do look as though you could use a few cups." She had to dodge a pillow as it was slammed into her shoulder.
Swinging the pink Caddy to the right she aimed it toward a building she'd spied at the end of the street, where a couple of beat-up pickup trucks were parked in front. "The real estate agent said there was a diner of sorts on Main Street. Mmm-hmm, this is it," she mused, swerving into an angled parking space in front of the building. A worn sign proclaimed Sam's Pharmaceuticals And Diner. To the side some small print had been added. Eat At Your Own Peril 6 a.m.-8 p.m.
Lacy stomped hard on the brakes. While her buddy peeled herself off the dashboard, Lacy scrambled over the closed door Dukes of Hazzard-style to survey the dilapidated building up close. She paused when a striped cat hissed at her from its hiding place beneath the plank sidewalk. "What's up, little friend?" Lacy asked, bending down to get a better look at the frightened creature. Obviously not tamed, it backed farther away into the shadows as it continued to emit unearthly noises. "I hope you're not the welcoming committee," she chuckled softly.
From the car, Sheri moaned, "It should be a sin to be so perky. Watching you, no one would believe we drove all night to get here."
Lacy stood and turned toward her friend. "I'm too excited to be tired. Don't you feel it?" She closed her eyes again. The tugging at her heart was stronger now. She felt a whisper of hope. Opening her eyes, she looked straight at Sheri. "This is our future. Our destiny."
Sheri pulled on the door latch. "Only you could read a little ad about a podunk town needing would-be-wives and see your future. And hear God's call at the same time."
"Our future." Lacy stuck her hand on her hip. "You have a stake in this enterprise also."
"Oh, yeah, my life savings," Sheri retorted. "All three hundred and thirty-four cents' worth."
Excerpted from The Trouble With Lacy Brown by Debra Clopton Copyright © 2005 by Debra Clopton.
Excerpted by permission.
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