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Party Girl: A Novel

Party Girl: A Novel

4.3 9
by Pat Tucker

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An unforgettable novel with ripped-from-the-headlines appeal: is being at the wrong place at the wrong time reason enough to ruin your life?

Twenty-nine-year-old Hope Reed didn’t pull the trigger….But a simple choice landed her behind bars, and now she is literally fighting for her life. After her car broke down, Hope accepted a ride from two


An unforgettable novel with ripped-from-the-headlines appeal: is being at the wrong place at the wrong time reason enough to ruin your life?

Twenty-nine-year-old Hope Reed didn’t pull the trigger….But a simple choice landed her behind bars, and now she is literally fighting for her life. After her car broke down, Hope accepted a ride from two neighborhood thugs. Later they were pulled over and arrested for a deadly convenience store robbery—and Hope was arrested too.

Brendon Reed stood by his wife after her arrest. He took out a second mortgage on their house and wiped out the family’s savings for her defense. But as Hope’s case dragged on, he was forced to consider other options.

Hope’s best friend Katina vowed to step in and help out with Hope’s children. But that was when everyone thought Hope would get out of jail and be able to pick up where she left off. Now as years passed and Hope’s chances of acquittal began to look grim, Katina is torn, and the feelings she’s developed for Hope’s husband have thrown her loyalty into question.

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Strebor Books
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Read an Excerpt

Party Girl

When the car fluttered, and seemed to be making a clunking sound, the next thing I knew, I was pulling over. My heart was racing.


As I steered the car off to the side of the road, I bit down on my bottom lip. I allowed it to decelerate before I brought it to a complete stop. By the time I jumped out, the car had started smoking. I didn’t know if the thing was gonna blow or not.

“Dammit! Now what?” I sighed.

I glanced around in both directions and could barely see a few feet in front of me. The hiss from the engine had me completely spooked. It was pitch-black outside and besides the sounds from the engine, the only other sounds I heard for miles were crickets and grasshoppers. What little I could see was only visible because I didn’t turn off the headlights.

I shivered from the cool February night air, but trembled at the thought of becoming road kill. Here I was on a deserted, two-lane road out in the middle of nowhere!

Since I had to get Mona there before eight, it was already dark and I didn’t feel good about being out here all alone. I wasn’t sure if I should try to walk back toward Hempstead, where I thought I remembered a convenience store, or take my chances and walk up toward Prairie View University.

In the hour or so that I’d been trying to make up my mind, only two cars had passed along on Highway 290. During that time, I tried to flag them down with no luck and I was trying to see if the car might cool off. When it didn’t, I was more than pissed. Brendon would be fussing by the time I finally made it home. Whenever he was home alone with all three kids, he acted like he forgot how to father.

Suddenly what looked like a familiar car came swooshing past me. I shook thoughts from my mind; no way that was who I thought it was. I had only been stranded for a little more than an hour and I was already getting delusional. Only in my dreams would someone I know be way out here just when I needed them.

I looked back at the car that was still smoking and decided to leave it. Since it hadn’t exploded, I walked back over, removed the key from the ignition, and put it near the middle console.

“Oh, well, guess I’ll send a wrecker for it when I make it to the university.”

I flung my purse over my left shoulder and started walking toward Prairie View University. With my luck, I’d make it before sunup the next day.

Less than twenty minutes later, the candy-apple 1964 Chevy Impala on spinners that first zoomed by going east was now headed west and slowing as it pulled up alongside me.

“Q, that you? What you doing way out here?” I asked, feeling so happy I could kiss him. For the first time since the breakdown, my night didn’t seem as bleak.

“Whassup, Ma?” Quenton said.

Quenton Tolland and I went to Yates High School together. He had been up to no good since he could walk and talk, but at this very moment, I was so glad to see him and his sidekick, Trey, I didn’t know what to do. It’s not like I was about to marry the guy. I needed a ride, and he had wheels.

“Looks like you need a lift,” Q said.

“Do I! Mona’s car broke down on me a few miles back. Did you know it was me when you passed the first time?” I asked.

Trey looked uneasy, but I never liked him anyway, and I suspected he didn’t care for me too much either. Knowing him, he probably tried to talk Quenton out of turning around and coming back for me.

“Girl, I’d know you anywhere,” Q joked.

I really didn’t care whether he realized it was me or some chick he was about to try and pick up. I was simply glad he turned around.

“Believe me, playboy...this ain’t the business,” Trey said with his creepy-looking self.

“Aw, dawg, chill. Hope is the homegirl from the neighborhood,” Q said. He turned back to me. “C’mon, hop in; we kinda in a hurry.”

“Well, I’m real glad you stopped then. What’s the hurry, and what y’all doing way out here anyway?” I asked.

“Whassup with all these damn questions; you working with the Feds or what?” Trey asked. He looked at me like I’d stolen something from him.

Trey, whose last name I didn’t care to know, had big, dark eyes that made him look like he was always surprised. Other than that, his face never had any expression. He was chubby with fat cheeks and had a massive scar that ran from his left ear to the edge of his mouth. It looked like he was on the losing end of one too many knife fights.

I ignored Trey and quickly shuffled into the backseat of Q’s car. I was glad they’d come along when they did.

“So Q, how’s your mom and your sister?”

Quenton was cute. He was small, but growing up he was known for his quick temper and being short on patience; most times if he had trouble, it was because he started it.

“The fam’s good.” Right when he was about to turn the radio back up, three police cruisers whizzed by with their strobe lights flashing and sirens blaring.

“Dang, where’s the fire?” I looked at the cars through the back window. “I’m glad we’re going away from the drama; whatever’s going on.”

I turned my head in time to see Trey exchange an odd look with Quenton, but that was none of my business. I figured Trey was probably still salty about them turning back for me.

“Yo, Hope, what’s up with your girl Stacy? Why she act like she all too good and shit?” Trey said.

I started to ignore him, but didn’t want to start anything after they’d helped me out with a ride. I wanted to say, “Really, Trey, are you serious?”

“Stacy’s married,” I replied instead.

Two more cruisers swooshed past us. I noticed Q’s eyes glance up to the rearview mirror, and it looked like he watched until the cruisers were only taillights and strobe lights in the dark night.

At that moment, my purse toppled over and most of my stuff spilled onto the floor. “Dammit!”

“What?” It was Q.

“No biggie; my stuff spilled out of my purse.” I quickly started feeling around on the floor of the car. I found my compact, my tube of lip balm, and the dead cell phone. I tossed them back into my purse, then felt around for the rest of my stuff.

“Oouch! What the hell is that?” I pulled my fingers to my mouth.

“Whassup?” Q asked.

“I don’t know. What’s under your seat, Trey? Something burned the heck out of my fingers.” I tried to examine my fingers, then sucked them again for relief.

Trey looked at Q and Q looked at me in the rearview mirror, but neither one said anything.

I went back to examining my fingers when suddenly Trey’s next words snapped my eyes onto the road ahead.

“Damn, dawg, what the fuck!”

My body jerked forward violently when Q unexpectedly stepped on the brakes. The tires screeched and it felt like we skidded to an abrupt stop. I didn’t know what was going on, but it didn’t look good.

Suddenly, my heart felt like it was also about to stop. I struggled to catch my breath while staring ahead with wide, worried eyes. There were at least three police cruisers blocking the road with their strobe lights on. If that wasn’t enough, officers stood behind open doors with their guns drawn and pointed directly at Q’s car.

The very car, I was riding in!

“Q, wh-what in the world is going on?”

“Shut the fuck up!” Trey turned and hollered at me. He had a menacing expression on his face. All of a sudden he bent down and started to reach under his seat.

Q held his arm out and stopped him. “Nah, big homie, just chill!”

“I told yo’ ass we ain’t had no business turning around for this chickenhead; now what?” He was fired up and I was confused.

“Who you calling a chickenhead?”

Now sirens were blaring from behind. One quick turn and the strobe lights were so bright it no longer looked like night outside. That’s when I realized how crucial the situation was, and I was petrified.

I swallowed the massive lump in my dry throat. My heart felt like it was about to give out on me, and my body went from dry to drenching wet with sweat in no time.

Suddenly, I got the eerie feeling that maybe I should’ve taken my chances alone on the side of the dark, rural road. There was no way for me to know how much of a grave mistake accepting that ride would turn out to be.

Meet the Author

By day, Pat Tucker works as a radio news director in Houston, Texas. By night, she is a talented writer with a knack for telling page-turning stories. She is the author of Somebody Has to Pay, The Cocktail Club, Sideline Scandals, Party Girl, Daddy’s Maybe, Football Widows (soon to be a movie), Daddy by Default, and Lachez (an original e-short). She is the coauthor with Earl Sewell of Loyalty Among Friends and A Social Affair and has participated in three anthologies, including New York Times bestselling author Zane’s Caramel Flava. A graduate of San Jose State University, Pat is a member of the National and Houston Association of Black Journalists and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. She is married with two children.

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Party Girl 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
OOSABookClub More than 1 year ago
Wrong place. Wrong time. Those words could ring no truer than for Hope Donovan, a married mother of three. Car trouble and accepting a ride from old friends landed her on death row. Death. Row. Six years in Hope is still fighting for her life and her freedom, but now she must add to that her marriage and her sanity. I closed “Party Girl” feeling torn. I’m having the coulda, woulda, shoulda blues. This coulda, woulda, shoulda been a really good book. That’s the way it started. The concept alone had me hooked. It’s everything that came after the concept that was problematic. For starters, the book faltered with its execution. The narrative, told from the point of view of four characters, flipped and flopped and flopped and flipped between the past and present with little or no warning. One minute you’re in the present. Next minute you’re weeks or years into the past. Then you didn’t know exactly when you got back to the present. It made for a confusing read at times. Had the past simply been signified by italics, problem would have been solved. “Party Girl” had all the elements for a really good read, but I think that was part of the problem. This novel worked against itself. There were too many variables thrown into this story. An innocent woman on death row is a story all in itself, especially with the controversial law under which she was convicted. Add to that a possible cheating husband, backstabbing friends, hoodoo voodoo, misconduct from the DA’s office, sibling rivalry and a woman bent on vengeance – it was just too much. Each variable could have been its own story. Instead of enhancing this plot, it pulled it in so many different directions, pulled away from the main story and resulted in stretched side plots. That was very unfortunate because had the story been focused, this could have been great. I don’t understand how this, unanswered questions and other slight issues (Jemar/Kemar) got past the editing staff. On the upside, besides those shortcomings, “Party Girl” is an entertaining, enjoyable and quick read. It’s just enough to keep readers engaged. This was my first read by Pat Tucker and I think I’d like to try something else by her as her style was easy reading. Reviewed by: Toni 3.5 stars
Adrienna More than 1 year ago
Pat Tucker pens Party Girl, not only does the title set you up for the read but the cover as well. While reading on the job, some stared or wondered what the book was all about. Tucker had a great concept on “Texas Law of Parties” whereas Hope Jenay Donovan was sentenced to death for a murder she didn’t commit. Conversely, Adena wanted to see her “True Justice” for the brutal murder of her beloved husband and setup a committee of parents/mothers for the 5 years Hope was incarcerated. She became excited to see that after 5 years that Hope was ready to set a date for her execution but her family and friends wondered after this long period of time that Hope would go forth and expedite execution—guess she lost her fight. There were a pair of jail mates that kept her faith and gave her hope, then civil leader and Rev. Al Sharpton comes to see Hope and plead in her behalf of the ill-treatment for someone who is not guilty, based on a line of events to defend her case. This is not the first case; one similar to Hope's is the Todd Willingham’s case. After his death row was revealed of his innocence, to discover that he wasn’t guilty of the alleged crime. This gave Hope faith but she went back three steps and wants to get it over with! Some readers may shake their head to see a loved mother and wife, who never pulled the trigger, just happened to hop in a ride of her homeboys due to her borrowed car breaking down and needed a ride. However, Q and Trey, who actually committed the crime but all were arrested for a brutal convenience store robbery. Side note: I wished to see more of this brutal crime, and what actually happened to Q too. Brendon Donovan believed his wife innocence and fought for their love to be reunited but after all was said and done; he moves on and sleeps with someone close to her. On the other hand, her sister, Chastity is holding it down to take care of sister’s kids over these 5 years while her sister is behind bars but refuses to visit or respond to the numerous letters sent from Hope. She has an unstable relationship with a demanding boyfriend, Trey, and undernourished feelings for her brother-in-law, Brendon that should've never flourished in the first place. Trey accuses her of this fatal attraction and reminds her of what he had to give up being with her—making this unbalanced relationship work. My personal dilemma was how could Chastity date a married man and the same one who was responsible for the crime that her sister is behind bars? Moreover, I was glad to see Hope get over the “victim mentality” and others to encourage Hope to want to live once more, and seek justice beyond this stupid law. Fight for your rights. Although this novel derives from the Texas Law of Parties, if a murder occurs during the process of a crime that all parties are eligible for the death penalty. Many would say “at the wrong place at the wrong time” and this is a debatable issue of capital punishment. Will Hope be a “dead woman walking”? Did anyone have substantial evidence to stick on Hope’s case? Did the police or detectives get involved in this case, or only base it on the law of parties to send an innocent women to the electric chair long as justice is served? There were some things unanswered, and oddly didn’t tie securely together for me in this read. Is there a sequel? I hope there is a sequel to resolve all the unsolved mysteries. (Full Review on other review sites).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book makes you think about value of ones life. Being at the wrong place at the wrong time can cost you a lifetime.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Id starts singing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey sexy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm here watsup?
DarleneGinn-Hargrove More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago