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River Traffic

144 pages
Sixteen-year-old Tom LeFave is trying to hold his world together. His family's marina is struggling. His dad is full of secrets. And the quarterback of the football team hates his guts. When a huge yacht docks at Tom's marina, things look brighter, especially when he meets Kat, the daughter of the boat's owner. Kat and Tom share a love of rum-running history. It's not long, however, before Tom starts to realize there's something more than history happening on the river. And if Tom can't figure it out in time, he just might be history too.
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River Traffic
Martha Brack Martin
Copyright ©2016Martha Brack Martin
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Martin, Martha,1967–, author River traffic / Martha Brack Martin. (Orca soundings)
Issued in print and electronic formats. isbn 9781459813366 (paperback).—isbn 9781459813373 (pdf).— isbn 9781459813380(epub).
I. Title. II. Series: Orca soundings ps8626.a77255r58 2016jc813'.6 c20169005461 c2016900547x
First published in the United States,2016 Library of Congress Control Number:2016931883
Summary:In this highinterest novel for teens, Tom gets involved in smuggling on the Detroit River while trying to save the family marina.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Cover image by iStock.com
orca book publishers www.orcabook.com
This book is for my îrst family, the Bracks,and my second family, the Martins.
The former gave me dreams to dream, and the latter are my dreamscome true. I love you all.
C h a p t e r O n e
I had only seconds to spare. The other machine was right on my tail. If I turned too soon, I’d be dead. I squeezed the throttle and pulled ahead a few more meters. I risked a second glance back at the other Jet Ski in my wake. It was closing in! I carved the water as I swung my machine to the right…
Mar tha Brack Mar tin
And suddenly I was airborne. I felt the yank on my life jacket as I ew off, taking the ignition key with me. Then a shock as I hit the cold river water. Coming up, I checked on my machine. It was nearby, bobbing in the waves. Nate held the steering wheel.He didn’t look as thrilled as I thought he would. After all, he’d just won our race. “You beat me! Why aren’t you happy?” I yelled. Nate was looking past me, over my shoulder. I whipped my head around. Dominik Oleg, the biggest jerk in the world, was in a sleek speedboat idling just behind me. His ride must have cost at least $80,000. He looked down at me as I bobbed in the water. “Of course he won.” Oleg smirked, moving his boat closer as Nate brought my Jet Ski over. “You could never win any race with that piece of crap, LeFave.”
River Traf f ic
“He could have if you didn’t swamp his machine!” Nate yelled over the motor. “Hey, I can’t help it if your friend doesn’t know how to drive, Murphy. Maybe you shouldn’t hang around with losers. Stick with the guys on the team.” Just because Oleg was the quarter-back, he thought he could tell the rest of the team what to do. Especially the younger ones like Nate. “I can pick my own friends, thanks.” I was glad to see Nate wasn’t backing down. I just hoped Oleg didn’t make him pay for it later. “Whatever.” Oleg pointed at my Jet Ski. “Did you borrow that from your daddy’s dumpy marina? Bet no one else wanted it.” “Shut up, Oleg. At least I paid for my machine myself. I didn’t need my daddyto buy it for me.” Oleg’s eyes ared. I knew I’d hit a nerve.
Mar tha Brack Mar tin
“You don’t know what you’re talking about, LeFave. I’m making so muchbankright now, I don’t need my father to buy me anything. And it’s only gonna get better,” he bragged. “Yeah, sure it is. ’Cause you’re a high roller. In your mind at least,” I said. “Listen.” Oleg pointed at Boblo Island behind him. I could just see the row of million-dollar mansions through the trees on the shore. I knew he lived in the biggest one. “You boys are playing inmybackyard. And you’re way out of your league.” He suddenly honked his boat’s horn, scaring the crap out of Nate and me. His grin was a nasty threat. “Don’t play with the big boys.You won’t like how the game ends.”
C h a p t e r T w o
I had lots of time to think about my run-in with Dominik Oleg the next day after school. I was volunteering at the LaSalle police station. I did it every Monday after school for a couple of hours. Nate’s dad was one of “LaSalle’s înest.” He knew I needed the hours to graduate. “Are you still only able to help out Mondays, Tom?” Nate’s dad asked.
Mar tha Brack Mar tin
“Yeah, sorry, Ofîcer Murphy. Dad needs me after school at the marina the other days. At least until winter.” Working for Dad at our marina didn’t pay well—or at all—but he needed me. We were struggling as it was. Since Mom left, Dad’s heart wasn’t in the business. That’s why Oleg’s cracks really bugged me. “You let me know if things change. You’re a good help around here.” “That’s nice of you to say. But I know I don’t do much. I try though.” “I always knew you’d do well here.” He looked around the new station. “You’re a kid who pays attention. You’d make a good cop.” “Thanks.” I could feel a big grin take over my face. “I love helping out here. I get to hear what’s going on. It’s interesting.”