Krysten Lindsay Hager is an author whose books we really enjoy reading. So we are super excited to have an exclusive extract from her story, Competing With The Star.
The perfect guy, the perfect location. What could go wrong? Hadley Daniels’s life seems perfect. Before the beginning of her sophomore year of high school, Hadley and her family move to a beautiful beach town, where she makes amazing new friends and lands the boyfriend of her dreams. She and Nick form a deep bond, but insecurity sets in when Hadley discovers her boyfriend once had a huge crush on her friend—who just happens to be the beautiful teen TV star, Simone Hendrickson. Nick claims to be over Simone, but then Hadley is blindsided by the news that Nick and Simone kissed after school. Now Hadley must determine who is telling the truth. Love, betrayal, friendship…who needs TV drama when you’re busy competing with a star?
In this scene from Competing With The Star, Hadley and Nick are having a great date, but then the subject of when his ex and some mean girls started drama that broke them up in the past comes up. Hadley realizes Nick doesn’t see the passive-aggressive games those girls are playing and is unsure how to handle the situation.
“Have you given anymore thought to what you want to do for your sixteenth birthday?” he asked.
I shrugged, but I wasn’t sure what to say. He hung around girls like Simone, Reagan, and Morgan, who were the ultimate party girls, yet I was much more comfortable staying home and reading. A party would just make me anxious and uncomfortable. And I’d be worried about who to invite and whether or not I overreached with the guest list. Not to mention freaking out over whether or not anyone would even show up. No, a big blowout was not my idea of fun. But I didn’t want to seem boring to him, so I said I hadn’t decided yet.
“Maybe going somewhere would be fun,” he said.
“Yeah, last year I wanted to go to a Pistons basketball game, but I got sick, so my mom gave the tickets away. We went to another game that season though so it was okay. Lexi came with us and we did birthday cake and ice cream afterward. Then Lexi and I went shopping the next day with my birthday bookstore gift certificates.”
Oh man, did that sound like a little kid birthday? To me, watching a game and then going home to cake sounded amazing. And book shopping the next day? Perfection. But he was probably used to hearing about Simone going to movie premieres and having her picture on blogs across the world. I must seem so dull and boring next to her.
He smiled. “That does sound nice.”
“What would you do for your birthday if you could do anything—say money was no object and you could wish for anything?”
“Honestly, that baseball game with my grandpa that I didn’t get. That would be what I wished for,” he said. “Wait, can I add something to that wish? That was my old wish for my last birthday, this new wish—my amended one—would include someone else going with us. I’d want you there at the game with Grandpa and me.”
My face broke into one of those huge smiles that even showed my back teeth.
“Yeah, it’d be more fun with you along.”
“That’s so sweet,” I said. I could feel myself blushing and hoped my face wasn’t beet red.
“Maybe next spring we could drive up to Detroit for a game or even attend one of the minor league ones around here. They’re pretty fun too—if you go with the right person.”
I was so excited he was talking about future plans with me that I didn’t catch what he was getting at with the right person remark.
Instead, stupid me asked, “Oh, who have you gone with?”
He cleared his throat and shifted. “Um, you know. The gang. Connor, Morgan, and all of them.”
“Oh, like a group thing.”
“Sometimes, yeah. I mean, I did go with Reagan a couple of times. But she spent half the game on her phone, which was okay because otherwise I had to explain the game to her. Have you ever tried to explain baseball to someone who doesn’t really care?”
I tried to smile and rolled my eyes like I was agreeing with him, but it hurt because he had obviously gone with Reagan during the time that he and I stopped speaking because Morgan had lied to break us up. It still bothered me that when Morgan found out he had kissed me, she told him I had a boyfriend back in Goodacre. Nick had stopped talking to me and called Reagan and they got back together. If Morgan hadn’t interfered in our relationship, then it would have been me at those games with him and not Reagan.
“That whole thing with Morgan was so messed up,” I said.
“Yeah, I can’t believe she got so confused.”
“Yeah, I asked her about it and she said she misunderstood who you were talking to and thought your boyfriend had called you that night. She was just trying to be a good friend and looking out for me,” he said.
I wanted to say, “Clueless much? She’s the devil.” And then tell him how I never even took one call that night so there was no way she misheard anything. But was it worth getting into? Morgan was just barely tolerating me being in her little clique and I didn’t know if it would do any good to clarify things with him or if I’d just start drama with her.
“I don’t know how she overheard anything when I was never on my phone at that party,” I said. “I mean, you were with me or at least nearby the whole time. Did you see me on my phone at all?”
“Well, maybe she meant earlier or another time. She was just worried you were playing me.”
I wanted to scream, “Do I seem like that type?” But he and I were good now. Still, it bothered me that another mean girl was getting away with crap.
“I guess all that matters is you know the truth now,” I said, trying to keep my tone even.
“Yup, but I hate we missed out on spending the summer together. And it’s super awkward since I have so many classes with Reagan.”
“What?” I asked.
“Yeah, she’s in a bunch of my classes. I thought I told you that.”
Uh, no, I would have remembered that. It would have been seared into my brain right next to the times this jerk from my old school, Brittany Buchanan, humiliated me in front of my ninth grade class by calling me a loser, or the many other times she embarrassed me.
“Oh, well, it’s no big deal, right? We’re together now,” he said as my mind raced.
Competing With The Star is one of those books you will fall in love with from the first page.
It’s the second in a series, but can be read alone and you still get to know and fall for the characters. Although once you’ve finished you will likely want to go back and read Next Door To A Star as it makes the overall story more nuanced.
Competing With The Star is a story that will make you feel a mirage of emotions as you read it, happy, sad and everything in between. It’s a book that gives a real insight into teenage relationships and a book both young and adult will find an enjoyable read.
You can get a copy of Competing With The Star, here!