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Mary Camden is working as a lifeguard at a fabulous beach resort, and she’s invited her siblings to visit her. What could be more perfect? But this idyllic resort town holds secrets. . . . First, Mary’s friend disappears from the beach during Mary’s watch. Then, Mary gets blamed for a burglary. Can the Camden kids get to the bottom of the mystery and clear Mary’s name?
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“A lifeguard? At a beach town? For a whole month!”
Reverend Camden opened his mouth to speak again, but Mrs. Camden placed her index finger over Reverend Camden’s lips, silencing him. She gave her husband a look that said he should stay quiet.
She doubted he would.
“You can’t stop me, Dad,” Mary said, tossing a stack of T-shirts into her suitcase. “I’m an adult.”
“Barely an adult,” Reverend Camden countered. “Practically not an adult. You certainly don’t always behave like an adult, do you?”
“Well, the law says I’m an adult,” Mary shot back. “I’m twenty-two years old.”
She yanked open a drawer and pulled out more clothes, tossing them onto a growing pile on the bed.
“Even the law can be . . . in error,” replied Reverend Camden. “Once in a while the law can even be wrong . . . sometimes.”
“See!” Mary cried, closing the drawer with her hip and throwing up her hands. “That’s why I’m going away for the month. All I did was come home for a day to pick up some extra clothes, and you’re on me to change my plans.”
“Not change them, necessarily,” Reverend Camden said. “Just rethink them a little. When you said you had a month off from the airline, we were all hoping you would spend at least some of that time with the family.”
“I’m an adult, and I want to be in a place where people treat me like one,” Mary replied. “And obviously that’s not here. So I’m going to be a lifeguard at Pacific Paradise!”
Mary pushed her hair back into place and took a deep breath. She didn’t want to start yelling, but her father made her so mad sometimes.
“Dad,” she said calmly. “I have a job. Responsibilities. People who trust me to do the right thing.”
“They only trust you because they don’t know—”
“Eric!” Mrs. Camden shot her husband a stern look. Reverend Camden’s mouth snapped shut. When he opened it again, his words were spoken slowly and chosen more carefully.
“Mary,” he said evenly. “You already have a job. A great job. You’re a flight attendant, remember? Now, your family . . . Well, we all love you dearly. We want to spend some time with you before you go and . . . fly off into the stratosphere again.”
“I’m a flight attendant with a month’s vacation,” Mary said. “So it’s not likely I’ll go flying off to the stratosphere anytime soon. And working as a lifeguard is a chance for me to earn some extra money.”
Mary continued to pack her beach gear. She dumped the pile of clothes into her suitcase. Then tried to close it. The suitcase was so stuffed with clothes that it wouldn’t lock.
She punched the clothes down and tried again. Still no luck.
“Since I don’t go back to work for the airline until September,” Mary continued, “I feel the need to do something constructive for the rest of the summer. When has either of you ever objected to work?”
“Never!” Mrs. Camden and her husband said in unison.
“Of course we understand,” Reverend Camden said. “But couldn’t you do something constructive around here? Somewhere within the city limits of Glenoak?”
“Like what?” Mary demanded. “Baby-sit the twins? I’ve been a baby-sitter . . . for Simon, for Ruthie . . . for the twins. I could be a waitress, but no one will hire me around here because they all hired me before and then fired me.”
Mary paused, then shook her head.
“No, Dad. Now I want to do something else. Something more important.”
“But do you have to go all the way up the coast?” Reverend Camden asked.
“Pacific Paradise is hardly all the way up the coast,” Mary replied. “It’s only a two-hour drive.”
Mary hopped onto her suitcase to close it. Then, still sitting on it, she reached down and snapped the latches in place.
“I seem to remember the drive to Pacific Paradise takes closer to three hours,” Reverend Camden said suspiciously. “Are you going to speed in Robbie’s car? I don’t think he would like that.”
Mary’s eyes flashed.
“Robbie wouldn’t have lent me his car while he’s out of town if he thought I would be speeding in it,” Mary cried. “Robbie trusts me. Why can’t you?”
“Calm down, Eric,” Mrs. Camden said, jumping into the conversation. “Mary’s right.”
Reverend Camden’s eyes widened in surprise. He was sure Annie would agree with him.
“But—” he stammered.
“Remember your heart condition,” said Mrs. Camden.
Mrs. Camden shot him a look, then turned to Mary.
“I think working as a lifeguard is a wonderful idea,” she said. “And a job at Pacific Paradise is a golden opportunity. You can earn some extra money before you go back to work at Jet Blue and maybe meet some interesting people.”
Mary grinned. “That’s what I said.”
Mrs. Camden patted Mary’s arm. “And you’re right, sweetheart,” she said, smiling.
“What are you thinking?” Reverend Camden asked. “A summer alone at a beach resort? There’s bound to be parties and guys and who knows what else. It’s a golden opportunity for trouble!” Mary and Mrs. Camden both glared at him.
Reverend Camden stood in the center of Mary’s old bedroom, shaking his head in disbelief.
“I can’t be hearing this,” he muttered.
“Out!” Mrs. Camden said, pushing her husband to the door. “Let’s give Mary privacy to pack her things.”
“You can help me make lunch, and we’ll all eat together as a family one last time before Mary has to leave.”
Mary smiled. “Thanks, Mom,” she said, hugging Mrs. Camden. “Thanks for trusting me to do the right thing.”
“I do, I do,” she said, hugging back. “And don’t worry about your father’s paranoia. He’ll come around.”
“I’ll finish packing and come down for lunch,” said Mary. “Then I’ll get on the road.”
“Come on, Eric,” Mrs. Camden ordered. “You were going to help me make lunch, remember?”
Then she turned to Mary. “Lunch in half an hour.”
Still surprised that Annie was going along with Mary’s insane scheme, Reverend Camden allowed himself to be led away.
But when she opened the door, it was Mrs. Camden’s turn to be surprised.
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Book Description Random House Books for Young Readers, 2003. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # MB01071C4F0
Book Description Random House Books for Young Readers, 2003. Mass Market Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX037582409X
Book Description Random House Books for Young R, 2003. Mass Market Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P11037582409X