In Secrets on the Sand by Roxanne St. Claire, Mandy, once known as "Mandy the Magnificent" is not the same person she was in high school. Things used to come easy to Mandy...but now, years later, circumstances now have her working as a maid at the resort in Barefoot Bay. She is still full of hopes and dreams though, even if they really are only dreams and she has to work under Tori (in my mind Tori the terror!) who makes her work life miserable. Disillusioned and broke after a bad marriage, Mandy is doing what she has to do to make ends meet.
Zeke, formerly known as "Ezekiel the Geekiel" is now hugely successful financially and is back in Barefoot Bay for his father's birthday party. When Zeke opens his villa door, he is shocked that the object of many of his high school fantasies is now working as a maid. Mandy is even better than he remembers her being...and she is once again on his mind constantly. Zeke wouldn't mind spending some time with Mandy, but Mandy has no desire to enter into any kind of relationship...even if Zeke makes her hotter than she wants to be!
With Tori out to rid Mandy of her job, Zeke makes Mandy a proposition she tries to refuse but can't. What's a week of her time pretending to be Zeke's girlfriend? Soon though it doesn't feel like pretend anymore, but Mandy is going to have to deal with her past if she wants there to be a future. Will Zeke wait for her or have the demons from her past chased him away for good? Neither of them were looking for anything, and now that they've found it will they fight for it?
I loved both the main characters in Secrets on the Sand - they will pull you in and you will feel like you've known them forever. Mandy has been through a lot lately, but she's working hard to move on without immersing herself in self pity. I love that in a heroine, it really makes Mandy easy to relate to. I do think she thinks worse of herself than anyone else does, and this is demonstrated time and time again in Secrets in the Sand. Mandy really seems to be learning and growing from her past experiences, even if she is very cautious when it comes to men. She does not want to be burned again! Zeke has had his bad luck in relationships too, and it's made him very cautious. But something about Mandy makes him throw caution to the wind. He is really listening to his heart in Secrets in the Sand, and once he knows what he wants he goes for it! He sounds like a guy I wouldn't have minded getting to know a lot better! I like him because he has morals and wants to do right and for other's to do right.
Tori is the perfect villainess and she adds more drama to Secrets on the Sand. I love her character because Roxanne turns her into the typical immature, never left high school kind of character that will drive you crazy!
Secrets on the Sand is a fast paced, fun and easy to read novella. Roxanne manages to give us a full story in a novella length without leaving you feeling short changed. It was fun to see other characters from the Barefoot Bay books, but they make minor appearances and you definitely can read Secrets on the Sand as a stand alone! (Although I highly recommend the other books too!) I'd recommend Secrets on the Sand for any romance reader looking for a fun but romantic novella with a little drama to stir things up!