And they're often considered a right-of-passage for young people.
But when your car's almost demolished
By a drunk high-school driver
It gets a little personal.
When Sheriff Davis asks Holly to help him find out who's buying the alcohol for these parties, she doesn't feel she has a choice. She's compelled to find the person, if for no other reason than to try and get someone to pay for the repairs to her car.
Join Holly and her friends as they go “undercover” to hunt for the offending person. But as always in cases like this, there's a lot more to it than what appears on the surface. Could she have gotten in over her head with this investigation? And what would Nancy Drew do?
This is the 12th book in the Holly Lewis Mystery Series by a USA Today Bestselling Author.
Release date: July 8, 2021
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Holly & the Underage Party: A Holly Lewis Mystery
It was ever so dark outside. It was hard to see in all that darkness, and they had to focus all of their attention on just keeping their car on the proper side of the road. Besides, they had their headlights on, which meant that everything was fine, and would continue to be fine, even if they had trouble seeing the line that divided each half of the road because of the fuzziness their brain had concocted in their drunken haze.
Whenever they moved their head too fast, it felt as though they couldn’t keep their mind trained on the road. Everything was blurring and moving unnaturally. They blinked, trying to get their eyes to focus, and for a minute it had worked. Then they stopped being able to see it, so they blinked again, trying to clear their vision once again.
There it was. Right—no, it had moved again. Why wouldn’t it stop moving? They tried to keep panic from taking over. Panicking wouldn’t help them right now. They took a long slow breath, trying to steady themselves. Alright, so maybe they’d had more to drink than they’d thought.
But when they were at the parties, well, everything seemed to run together after a while. The music was turned up so loud that it was hard to think, and after shouting at your friends so they could hear you, and for so long, your throat went dry. After all, anyone would get thirsty after all that loud talking. And there was no water at these parties. The only thing to quench your thirst at one of these parties was alcohol.
They took the next turn very slowly, just to be safe. It was hard to press their foot down against the brake pedal on the floor, because it felt like there was a thick layer of mud underneath the brake pedal that they had to squish through before their truck would slow down.
This wasn’t the first time that they’d driven home drunk, and they’d never gotten in a wreck, so they were sure they wouldn’t this time. They were getting good at this, and anyway, they were almost home. Not too much longer now.
The party they’d gone to had more than enough alcohol for everyone. And then their favorite song had started playing, and there was sort of a thrill, a thrum that cycled and radiated all through the woods south of town where they had the parties that made it so easy to lose yourself among the other people. If someone else took a drink, they did too. And they laughed. They’d had a great time and forgotten they were going to have to drive home, so they’d just continued to drink, laugh, and enjoy themselves.
And they drank.
And they drank.
And they drank.
They knew there was no way they wouldn’t wake up with a raging headache in the morning. Everything would be a little too loud, and a little too bright. But it wouldn’t matter, because they would remember tonight and it would be worth it. Or, even better, they wouldn’t remember tonight, but everything would have been recorded, and they’d be shown the videos at school. Then they’d laugh and ask when the next party was going to be.
Then they’d go to that one, and they’d do the same thing all over again just because they could. That was what made it so fun. Knowing they weren’t supposed to be doing these things, but doing them anyway.
The center line in the road was back again. They were way over it this time. They blinked hard again, shoving through the cloud that seemed to sit between their brain and their eyes. Pulling the car back into their lane, they promised themselves that they’d completely focus on their driving. No more daydreaming until they made it home.
The city limits weren’t far from where they were. If they were going to avoid not being pulled over on their way home, then they better get it together real quick. They definitely needed to take the long way through town, even though it meant driving in a few local neighborhoods. They knew the cops might be out looking for drunk drivers, and if they were, they’d most likely be right in the middle of town.
If they didn’t put their entire focus on driving like they were sober, they knew they’d get pulled over. But it wasn’t as if they could avoid going through town, because their home was all the way on the other side of it. They debated whether or not they should take the long way through town by using the back roads and dark rural roads.
But just as quickly they changed their mind. They didn’t want to take a thirty-minute detour. No, that just seemed like they were looking for trouble. The longer they drove, the more likely they were to get caught. They needed just the right balance of flying under the radar and getting there as fast as possible. They knew they could do this.
They’d made it to Main Street without running off the road. Barely, but even so, that was a plus. They weren’t sure how, but earlier they’d avoided going into the ditch when a car had come out of nowhere. Thank goodness they’d avoided that.
They’d be in big trouble with their parents if they found out they’d been drinking, and if they got stuck in a ditch. If that happened, it would be almost impossible to hide the fact that they were drunk. Their parents would kill them, bring them back to life, and then kill them again if they found out that they were drunk and had wrecked the car.
Nope. They liked their life just the way it was.
Existing, that is.
They drove on Main Street only as long as they had to, and then took a turn down a street and hoped it would lead to a neighborhood that had driveways and garages. Having to move out of the way of parked cars probably wouldn’t work very well for them or the other vehicles. The fewer obstacles in the street, the better.
They were going under the speed limit, still trying to blink away the inner fog when a car appeared, parked on the side of the street. Wait, was it moving? No, it wasn’t.
And now that thick, tar-like mud that had been under the brake pedal had wrapped around the steering wheel, and they couldn’t get their arms to move fast enough, and the haze which was clouding their mind, was shouting something at them that they couldn’t understand. They pressed their foot down on the brake, but they had to go through the mud again.
However, this time they weren’t fast enough, and the front of their truck smashed into the back of the little car that was parked outside of a house. It was too dark, and they were too afraid to be able to make out anything about the car right now, but maybe they’d figure it out later. All they knew was that if they stayed, they’d be buried by the end of the week. And if they didn’t…
Shoot. Shoot, shoot, shoot!
If they stuck around and their parents found out, they were going to be dead before the sun came up in the morning. No way. They couldn’t stick around for this. Wasn’t living to see another day worth it?
And so, in what may have been the dumbest move they’d ever pulled in their life, their now mostly-sober brain allowed them to put their truck in reverse, and then they pulled around the little car, which looked like it had definitely seen better days. Yeah, their brain said back to them. Until you came along.
But maybe, if they were lucky, they wouldn’t have to let their parents know they’d been responsible for the wreck. They could blame it on someone backing into their truck instead of them driving into someone else's. No, they wouldn’t have to know that had happened because they were driving home drunk from a party they weren’t even supposed to be at after they’d snuck out of their house when they were already grounded.
It would all be okay.
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