Carolyn Keene. Trial By Fire

Carolyn Keene. Trial By Fire

Carolyn Keene. Trial By Fire

Chapter One

“I hope George has a good time,” Nancy Drew said as she, her boyfriend Ned Nickerson, and Bess Marvin drove onto the expressway away from the airport.

“She won’t,” Bess said. She giggled, and her long blond hair bounced around her shoulders. “George hates ruffles—and that bridesmaid’s dress is covered with them.”

“Then why did she promise to be in the wedding?” Ned asked.

“George made that promise years ago,” Nancy explained. “She was hoping Marian had forgotten it.”

“So now she’s on her way to Dallas,” Bess said, an impish grin on her round face, “carrying a shrimp-pink gown with lace and ruffles and bows. Speaking of shrimp, I’m hungry. How about stopping somewhere for lunch?”

“Are you kidding? We just had breakfast,” Nancy said.

“That was three hours ago!” Bess pulled against her seat belt so she could lean over to the middle of the back seat to see Nancy in the rearview mirror. “Pizza, maybe? With sausage and mushrooms and pepperoni and anchovies?”

“Arrgh!” Ned groaned and clutched his mid-section.

“Forget the anchovies and it’s a deal,” Nancy said, passing a slow-moving pickup truck. “All right with you, Nickerson?”

He reached over and flipped a strand of reddish blond hair off her forehead. “Sounds great. Let’s stop at the Pizza Palace. I can ask if they could use a hardworking college kid for two weeks.” Ned was on a break from Emerson College.

“That’s not fair,” Nancy protested. “I promised I wouldn’t take any cases while you were on break so we could spend some time together. You can work, but I can’t?”

Her reputation as a successful young detective kept Nancy busy most of the time. All too often her job had meant she couldn’t see Ned as much as either of them wanted.

“I won’t be working twenty-four hours a day,” Ned said. “And the important thing is, when we are together, we won’t be out on some case chasing anybody around.”

“And nobody will be chasing you,” Bess said, referring to Nancy’s most recent case, This Side of Evil.

Nancy shuddered. “I sure hope not.” Taking the next exit, she headed for the Pizza Palace.

“By the way,” Bess said, poking Ned in the shoulder, “George really meant it when she said you could use her car while she’s gone.”

“I’m still thinking about it,” Ned said. “But if someone ripped it off while I had it—”

Ned’s car had disappeared two days before. It had been stolen in broad daylight from the parking lot of a River Heights mall.

“Why would anyone want it?” Ned asked now. “It was five years old. It needed washing, and there was a rip in the cushion of the back seat.”

“And a nail-polish stain on the dashboard,” Nancy said, reminding him. “My fault for trying to fix a nail in a moving vehicle.” She quickly glanced at his handsome profile. He wore a gloomy expression. “Don’t worry, Ned. You’ll get it back.”

“Let’s talk about something else,” Ned said and sagged in his seat.

“Like pizza,” Bess suggested. “With pepperoni and—”

Ned laughed. “Bess you’re hopeless!”

By the time they reached their destination, it was just past noon. The tiny parking lot behind the restaurant was full, but Nancy managed to find a spot at a meter across the street.

They lost Bess as soon as they got out of the Mustang. “Go on. I’ll be right there,” Bess said. Her nose was already glued to the plate glass of a shoe store. “They have sandals in already!”

Nancy and Ned headed for the corner, holding hands. Seeing their reflection in the window of a store, Nancy smiled to herself. Ned, six-foot-two and co-captain of Emerson’s basketball team, had the kind of good looks that would turn the head of any girl. Nancy felt a surge of happiness thinking that their relationship had survived despite the demands her job placed on her.

They crossed with the light and started toward the Pizza Palace, which was nestled between an electronics/appliance store and a barber shop. As they were in front of the appliance store Bess caught up with them. “I saw two pairs I want,” she gasped. “A bright turquoise pair and a white pair. They’re great!”

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Categories: Keene, Carolyn