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The Secret between Usby Barbara Delinsky
Synopses & Reviews
They were arguing in the seconds before impact. Later, Deborah Monroe would agonize about that, wondering whether, had she been focused solely on the road, she might have seen something sooner and been able to prevent what occurred--because the argument had been nearly as distracting as the storm. She and her daughter never argued. They were similar in looks, temperament, and interests. Deborah rarely had to tweak Grace--her son, Dylan, yes, but not Grace. Grace usually understood what was expected and why.
This night, though, the girl fought back. You're getting hyper about nothing, Mom. Nothing happened.
You said Megan's parents were going to be home, Deborah reminded her.
That's what Megan told me.
I would have thought twice if I'd known there would be a crowd.
We were studying,
You, Megan, and Stephie, Deborah said, and, yes, the textbooks were there, damp from Grace's dash to the car in the rain, plus Becca, and Michael, Ryan, Justin, and Kyle, none of whom were supposed to be there. Three girls study. Four girls and four boys make a party. Sweetie, it's pouring rain, and even above the noise of that, I could hear shrieking laughter all the way from the car.
Deborah didn't know if Grace was looking guilty. Long brown curls hid broad-set eyes, a straight nose, and a full upper lip. She did hear the snap of her daughter's gum; its spearmint shrouded the smell of wet books. But she quickly returned her own eyes to the road, or what she could see of it, despite the wipers working double time. Visibility on this stretch was poor even on the best of nights. There were no streetlights, and moonshine rarely penetrated the trees.
Tonight the road was a funnel. Rain rushed at them, swallowing the beam of the headlights and thrashing against the windshield--and yes, April meant rain, but this was absurd. Had it been as bad on the way out, Deborah would never have let Grace drive home. But Grace had asked, and Deborah's husband--ex-husband--too often accused her of being overprotective.
They were going slowly enough; Deborah would repeat that many times in subsequent days, and forensics would bear it out. They were less than a minute from home and knew this part of the road well. But the darkness was dense, the rain an unreckoned force. Yes, Deborah knew that her daughter had to actually drive in order to learn how, but she feared this was too much, too soon.
Deborah hated rain. Grace didn't seem fazed.
We finished studying, the girl argued around the gum in her mouth. Her hands were tight on the wheel, perfectly positioned, nothing wrong there. It was hot inside, and the AC wasn't on yet, so we opened the windows. We were taking a break. Like, is it a crime to laugh? I mean, it's bad enough my mother had to come to get me--
Excuse me, Deborah cut in, but what was the alternative? You can't drive by yourself on a learner's permit. Ryan and Kyle may have their licenses, but, by law, they're not allowed to take friends in the car without an adult, and besides, we live on the opposite end of town from the others̵
Picking up her sixteen-year-old daughter Grace after a party, Deborah Monroe accepts responsibility for hitting a man with the car on the way home, even though Grace had been driving, a deception that takes on a life of its own, threatening their family and the bond between mother and daughter. 225,000 first printing.
Barbara Delinsky is the author of more than seventeen bestselling novels with over twenty million copies in print. She has been published in twenty-five languages worldwide. Barbara lives with her family in New England.
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