Read an Excerpt
A Woman Without Lies
Angelina Lange stood quietly amid the rainbow blaze of her stained glass creations. She was barely aware of the people milling slowly around in the art gallery, murmuring about the beautiful art she had made from pieces of sharp-edged glass. Some panels of glass gleamed in shades of green and blue, forest and ocean and sky, mountain ridges falling away into the distance. Other panels radiated the iridescent beauty of Tiffany glass touched by shafts of gold, evoking British Columbia′s cloud-swept summers. handful of panels were impressionistic swirls of color and movement, a sensual richness that was as compelling as a lover′s whispered invitation.
The stained glass works came in all sizes and shapes. Most were set in wooden frames and hung against the gallery′s huge wall of ocean-facing windows. A few panels were suspended from the high ceiling. Light from both natural and artificial sources struck rich colors from the pieces of glass, making the room quiver with shadows of every hue. A summer cloud came and went, concealing and then revealing the sun. Murmurs of pleasure rose from the people inside the room as Vancouver′s clear sunlight poured through the gallery′s wall of windows. The stained glass art glittered with brilliant colors.! Unconsciously, Angel tipped her face toward the cataract of light, letting it wash over her. Her pale, curling hair glowed molten gold, a color as pure and beautiful as any she had used in her stained glass. For a moment she simply stood, filling herself with light, keeping shadows at bay.
Angel opened her haunted, sea-colored eyes and turned toward the diffident voice. Bill Northrup, the gallery owner, stood nearby, quietly waiting for her attention. At one point in their relationship, he had wanted considerably more than her attention. Now he settled for what she would give him-her ′friendship and her art. Angel smiled at Bill, but her eyes were still haunted by the sadness that was as much a part of her as her long legs and slender body.
"I always feel that I should sign my pieces ′Angelina and Sun,"′ Angel said, "because without that incredible light, my stained glass is nothing." Bill shook his head unhappily.
"You′re too modest," he said. "Look around. You′re selling very well, especially for a first show."
Angel looked, but she had eyes only for the art itself. Brilliant shards of light and shadow, a shifting play of colors, the feeling of being in the center of a fantastic, slowly turning jewel. She was pleased that she was selling her creations, because that was how she earned her living. Money as such didn′t give her any particular joy, however. Colors did. That, and knowing that other people enjoyed her rainbow visions.
"I′m glad," Angel said simply. "Beauty should be shared."
Bill sighed. "You′re not hard enough for this life."
"A hardcase angel?" she asked, laughing lightly, turning aside the old argument. "Not very likely, is it?"
"So I′ll be the hardcase and you be the angel," retorted Bill. "That was our agreement." Her lips curved in a tiny, teasing smile. "You′ve held up your end very well."
"The guy waiting for you could give me lessons. Angel′s honey eyebrows arched in silent question.
"On the phone," explained Bill. "Miles Hawkins."
Angel shook her head in a gesture of bafflement that made her breast-length hair shimmer and run with light.
"I don′t know him," she said.
"He knows you."
"Are you certain?"
"He said it was something about Derry and he had to see you immediately." Angel′s smile vanished.
"I explained that the show won′t be over for an hour," Bill said, "but the man wouldn′t listen to reason. I′ll tell him to" I
"No," Angel interrupted. "If it′s about Derry, I"ll take the call."
"I thought so. Derry′s the only male you care about."
Angel gave Bill a swift, blue-green look, sensing the beginning of another old argument.
"Derry is like a brother to me," she said quietly. "Nothing more. And certainly nothing less."
Bill sighed and muttered to Angel′s retreating back, "Yeah, and he′s one handsome kid who isn′t related to you in any way."
Angel heard and was momentarily surprised. She didn′t think of Derry as physically handsome, although she had to agree that he was. Derry′s blond looks and muscular body had turned more than one feminine head. But when Angel thought of Derry, she thought of his dedication to becoming a doctor, the ruthless discipline that kept him studying even in the summer, his anguish and rage the night he had dragged her clear of the wrecked car. If anyone, even an utter stranger, wanted to talk to her about Derry, Angel would listen. She walked into Bill′s private office, punched in the lighted button on the front of the phone, and put the receiver to her ear.
"Mr. Hawkins?" she said quietly, but her question and hesitation were clear. "I′m afraid I don′t remember you."
"I suppose Derry spoke of me as Hawk," said the deep male voice at the other end of the line.
"Oh ... that Mr. Hawkins. Derry′s letters have been full of ′Hawk this′ and ′Hawk that′ for weeks. I didn′t recognize your full name."
There was a pause. Angel wondered for a moment, if she had insulted him. She hoped not. Hawk was crucial to Derry′s hopes of becoming a doctor. "Derry said you′d be up to your blond curls in admirers," Hawk said impatiently, "but that you′d meet me in the Golden Stein if he asked you to." Angel smiled to herself, hearing Derry′s soft teasing in the curt rhythms of the stranger′s voice."Derry is a tease, Mr. Hawkins. The people here are admiring stained glass, not me. But...A Woman Without Lies. Copyright © by Elizabeth Lowell. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.