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A Braver Version of Me

A Braver Version of Me

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Dating is off limits. So why does she want him so badly?


Main Tropes

  • Shy girl/popular guy
  • Forbidden Love
  • Religious


I'm not supposed to like him. My parents are crazy strict. But I can't get him out of my head. He's the Student Body President and the headmaster's son at our private academy, and he's definitely the hottest guy in school.

I'm the awkward, quiet girl, an outcast. He doesn't even know I'm alive. But thanks to the new girl, my secret crush isn't so secret anymore. He knows I like him, and I'm dying of humiliation. I feel so lame. 

But now he keeps trying to talk to me, and I can't figure out what he wants.

Is it possible that he likes me back? If that's true, I'm about to be in a whole lot of trouble. 

A Braver Version of Me is the first book in a nine-book rewrite of a contemporary sweet romance series called The Destiny Trilogy. In this series you can expect flirting, blushing, and kisses in the woods, but you won't find any swearing, nudity, or sex.

Intro into Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Destiny

The stench of testosterone hung in the stagnant air. Nausea twisted in my gut as I
climbed the bus steps. Riding to the school retreat as the only girl on a bus full of freshman boys was not how I’d imagined starting my sophomore year.

Three rows back, next to a boy with shaggy red hair, I spotted an empty seat.
Gripping the straps of my faded, black and purple polka-dotted backpack, I pushed down the aisle, past row after row of smelly boys. Although I kept my
head down, their glares pierced me. I took the seat next to the redheaded boy, keeping as much distance between us as possible. He turned away and stared out
the window.

“What’s she doing here?” someone behind me sneered.

“I think it’s against her religion to wear a watch,” a kid said in a cocky tone.
He sounded familiar. I couldn’t quite place his voice, and I didn’t dare turn around to see who it was.

The group of boys behind me snickered. I stared straight ahead, keeping my arms wrapped around my torso as though that would somehow protect me from their words. It wasn’t the first time I’d been teased for my religion. I’d been going
to Bethel Baptist Academy since kindergarten, but ever since my family joined the Mormon Church eight years ago, I’d been bullied for my religion on a regular basis.

“The sophomore bus left half an hour ago. Maybe it’s against her religion to read itineraries,” a third, deeper voice said from across the aisle. He must’ve hit
puberty earlier than the other two.

“Why does she even go here?”

I dug my nails into my palms and wished their words away. Why couldn’t they leave me alone?

“I heard the guys get to marry as many chicks as they want. Maybe I should convert.” Arrogance dripped from the cocky kid’s voice.

“Yeah, Dr. Robinson would love that,” said the deep-voiced boy from across the aisle.

“Josh, you already have as many chicks as you want. You don’t need to stoop to their level to achieve that,” said the boy sitting directly behind me, probably with
a sneer on his face.

A braver version of me would have spun around, looked them in the eye, and told them that if they were going to hate on me, they should at least get their
facts straight. I’d explain that Mormons hadn’t practiced polygamy since the pioneer days and the people who still practiced had broken off from the Mormon
faith years ago. I’d finish by saying that most Mormons thought those people were a bunch of weirdoes. It was all very bold in my head. In reality, I sat,
stiff as a corpse, as though I hadn’t heard a word of it.

“What do you say, Destiny? If I convert, will you be one of my wives?”

A hush settled over the bus as my brother Michael’s intimidating frame filled the doorway. The easy smile and twinkle in his brown eyes told me that he hadn’t heard a word they’d been saying. I breathed a sigh of relief. The last thing I needed was my brother getting himself expelled for beating the snot out of the
punks behind me. But at least his arrival had shut them up.

Michael took a seat across the aisle and a few rows back from me. He ran a hand through
his dark, wavy hair and gave me an apologetic look. It was his fault we were stuck on this stupid bus of boys. He’d left his light on in his car all night, and when we’d gotten in the car to leave, his battery was dead. Without
Preston, his best friend from church, coming to get us, we probably would have missed the retreat.

For the rest of the ride, the boys left me alone. I hid my face in my backpack, willing my eyes to stay dry.

I peeked over to where Michael was sitting. He was chatting with Adam Jenkins, a sandy-haired kid who’d sat alone at lunch for as long as I could remember. I’d
never seen Adam speak before, and Michael had him laughing out loud. It was like Michael didn’t notice there were social boundaries at school. He
befriended everyone. It didn’t matter whether they were jocks, band geeks, computer nerds, student body government officers, or—as in this boy’s
case—loners. Where did he find the courage to talk to anybody and everybody?

Forty-five minutes later, the bus tires crunched onto the gravel road that led into camp.
When I stepped off, the humid Tennessee air clung to me. I lifted my hair off my neck and pulled it into a ponytail. Earlier, I’d flat-ironed it until it was silky, but thanks to the heat and the bus ride, the tiny hairs around my sweaty temples and the back of my neck were starting to return to their natural, frizzy state. As Michael and Adam, still chuckling, stepped off the bus, I walked over
toward them, and we joined the forming crowd.

Dr. Robinson, the new headmaster of Bethel Baptist Academy, stood in front of the
double doors of a large building. The boys finished filing off the bus, and we crowded around him. He was a tall man, handsome for his age, with dark hair, graying at the temples, and a broad smile.

“Everyone quiet down and listen up!” Dr. Robinson said in his thick Southern Baptist preacher drawl. The boys roughhousing to my left stood still and gave him their
full attention. “All right, the boys’ cabins are down the path to your left. You all will be staying in cabin number four. It looks like the luggage van had to stop for gas, so it will be here in the next few minutes. Until then, feel
free to look around, but try to stay in this general area.” The crowd began jabbering again, and Dr. Robinson raised his voice a notch. “One more thing!
The girls are staying in cabins down the path to your right and in the rooms underneath the cafeteria. Under no circumstances are you to go down that path
or into those downstairs rooms. Am I understood?”

Most of the boys nodded around me, but one kid called out, “So Destiny’s staying in our cabin? Score!”

I shuddered. Ugh! What a pig.

Dr. Robinson’s eyebrows knit in confusion until he finally noticed me standing near Michael on the outskirts of the crowd. The boys dispersed, and Michael stepped
forward to explain the situation to Dr. Robinson.

I hung back. Dr. Robinson wasn’t exactly fond of Mormons. He’d made that clear when I’d had him for seventh grade Bible class. But, Michael waved me over, and
I shuffled over to join them.

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