Skip to product information
1 of 4

A Whole New League

A Whole New League

Regular price $4.99 USD
Regular price Sale price $4.99 USD
Sale Sold out
Shipping calculated at checkout.
  • Purchase the E-Book Instantly
  • Receive Download Link via Email
  • Send to Preferred E-Reader and Enjoy!
The star quarterback dating a theater geek like me? As if anyone would believe that.

If Brian Kirkland is the reigning king of the jocks, I guess that makes me the queen of the drama department. Hard to believe we were ever best friends. These days we go to great lengths to ignore one another.

But when Brian's latest diva girlfriend convinces him to try out for my play, there's no way to avoid him. I try to keep it professional, but years of anger and resentment are hard to dismiss. It doesn't help that he's just as cocky as I remember. He lives to antagonize me, which is why I'm just as stunned as everyone else when he does something nice. Something...unexpected.

His very public kiss is an act of kindness to save me from humiliation, but it leads the entire school to think that we're dating. Which is just crazy...right?

Main Tropes

  • Enemies to More
  • Quarterback & the Nerd
  • First Kiss

Intro Into Chapter 1

The stadium seat beneath me shook from all the pounding and the clapping in Briarwood High’s large gymnasium. I held onto my seat and rolled my eyes. “Neanderthals,” I muttered, too quietly for anyone to hear. Not even my friend Julian who sat beside me and clearly shared my disgust.

Of course he did, that was why we were friends.

“Look at them,” he said, nodding toward the double doors where the football players streamed in, throwing their arms up as they encouraged the crowd.

God, I hated football players. Even worse, I hated these tedious school assemblies that we were forced to participate in to show our school spirit. 

School spirit was for suckers. Assemblies like this were a sort of brainwashing technique schools used to try and enforce a sense of bonding and camaraderie amongst us students. 

I’d been going to Briarwood since kindergarten, I think it was safe to say that if I didn’t feel a bond with my fellow classmates by our senior year, it probably wasn’t going to happen.

My eyes narrowed as one by one these high school “heroes” made their grand entrance, grinning at the catcalls and cheers as though they’d honestly done something of value that warranted this sort of attention.

What did they do? They threw a ball around. Whoop de doo. The cheers picked up a notch and I winced as my headache grew in direct proportion to the crowd’s noisy chants. What was the uptick in cheering for? I didn’t even have to look to know. Everyone’s favorite player had just arrived. 

Brian Kirkland. King jock, cocky jerk…and my former best friend.

We used to be neighbors. Actually, we were still neighbors but it was easy to forget since we’d gotten good at ignoring one another’s existence. We also used to be inseparable—right up until junior high. One day he was my kind, funny friend Brian and the next he’d shot up into a gigantic brick wall and his ego grew even bigger. 

He’d become a football star seemingly overnight. With his dark hair and eyes, classic All-American good looks, and easy confidence, he was instantly beloved. But worse, much worse, he’d become friends with the kids who’d ignored us in elementary school. Suddenly he was too cool to hang out with me, and all signs of intellect and humor vanished beneath that dopey perma-grin that had enchanted everyone in this school.

Everyone but me. 

All guys wanted to be him, all girls wanted to date him. He was your classic teenage horror show. 

There were some supremely lonely years after Brian ditched me for the cool crowd, but luckily Julian transferred to our school last year and we hit it off instantly. He’s one of very few people I actually liked in this school. No, that wasn’t fair—I liked a lot of kids, just none of the ones we were supposed to be cheering for today.

“What are we supposed to be honoring them for?” I asked, honestly perplexed. “It’s not like they’ve found the cure for cancer, they’ve just won some games.”

Julian was the only person I could say stuff like this to. Thank God he came to our school. I finally had someone in my life who understood me. 

And that right there was the reason I couldn’t bring myself to make a move.

I had a thing for my friend. Cliché and predictable, I know, but there it was. He was cute in a dorky emo kind of way. Lanky and tall, with dark-framed glasses and a jaded sarcasm that perfectly matched my own. Sitting next to one another, we must have made quite the geeky pair. Him with his glasses and ironic T-shirts and me with my oversized cardigans and blonde hair twisted up in knots on top of my head. No matter how I tried to keep it back, wispy strands always managed to float down around my face. Fine hair, my mom’s hairdresser called it. I called it thin and uncooperative. It was a white-blonde and always had been. Like everything else about me, my hair seemed to get stunted in my youth. It looked exactly the same as it did in the fifth grade. Sadly, everything else about me stayed the same too. I was still holding out hope that boobs and butt were coming my way, but I wasn’t expecting much. 

However, as my little sister liked to point out, it wouldn’t matter even if I did get curves since my clothes were on the loose side anyways. Oversized sweaters and slouchy jeans were pretty much my uniform.

I was fine with my look—except for the boobs and butt thing. Those would be nice, if for no other reason than I might actually start to look my age. I could drive a car yet I’d recently been given a hard time by a ticket taker for attempting to see a PG-13 movie on my own.

So embarrassing.

But back to my point—I was pretty certain Julian and I stuck out as the dweebs we were, but honestly, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I was still thankful I wasn’t sitting alone at this assembly like I had freshman and sophomore year, before Julian had arrived.

He hated this crowd as much as I did. That alone would have made us friends. But the fact that he was also into art and music had sealed the deal. It wasn’t easy to find creative types in our school, which valued brute strength and mindless athleticism over anything with substance and soul.

You’re probably thinking—jaded much? Yeah, I know. But you would be too if you went to a school where the dumbest and most shallow of the bunch were considered gods, and the rest of us were invisible or mocked. Sometimes both depending on the day.

Julian leaned over to be heard over the crowd. “Next week I’m throwing you a school assembly.”

His tone was so serious, I was already grinning. “Oh yeah?”

He nodded somberly. “A parade, really.”

“That sounds nice,” I said, playing along. “What did I do to deserve such an honor?”

He looked me straight in the eyes and I felt a sudden onset of nerves. “You got an A in algebra.”

I laughed. “I totally did! Why aren’t we celebrating me right now?”

His somber expression gave way to a super cute smile. “I know, right?” Then, just as I thought we might be having a moment here, what with the teasing and the unbroken eye contact, he leaned over and nudged my shoulder in a decidedly friendly fashion. “Seriously, though. You should get mad props for winning that playwriting contest.”

And just like that my cheeks were on fire. 

I looked down at the football players gathered below and tried to ignore the couple who’d started making out next to me. That’s what you get when you opted for the nosebleed seats in the school’s gymnasium. Some of us came up here to get away from the mindless mob and others…I snuck a quick peek at them going at it, devouring one another’s tongues like cannibals.

Well, some came up here to get some action, apparently.

Not us, though. Julian’s attention was back on the assembly below too. If he was tempted to sneak in a kiss while the rest of the school participated in brainwashing exercises, he showed no hint of it.

It was official. I would never be kissed.

I sighed before rolling my eyes at my own idiocy. I would be kissed—and often—once I got out of this fishbowl called Briarwood High and our small town.

“Are you coming to Java Hut tonight?” Julian asked.

Every Wednesday night a local coffee shop held open mic night and Julian liked to try out his new songs. I gave him a regretful wince. “I’d love to but auditions start tonight for the female lead.”

Ever since freshman year I’d been the stage manager for every show our school’s theater department put on. It was a small department, not nearly as well supported as other after-school activities like, say, football. But we did our best. As an aspiring playwright and potential screenwriter, I loved the backstage element, learning the craft by watching it in action.

Mr. Brenner, the director and head of the theater department, was fun to work with, too. He was like a kid himself sometimes. If Julian hadn’t come along, Mr. Brenner probably would have been my only friend. Pathetic, right?

“Who are they casting tonight?” Julian asked.

“Gwendolyn,” I said. I knew without having to ask that Julian had read The Importance of Being Earnest. He’d probably read it even before finding out that I’d be stage managing the production, but knowing that I’d be working on it I knew without a doubt that he’d read it. Not only was he wonderfully literate, my crush was also an excellent friend. He would be perfection personified if he would just kiss me already.

“You should audition,” Julian said. I jerked back in surprise at that. “Me? Why?”

“You’d make a great Gwendolyn,” he said with a shrug, seemingly not noticing my open-mouthed stare that clearly called him crazy.

“I don’t act,” I said.

He glanced over. “You could.”

“No, I couldn’t,” I said. Frankly I wasn’t even sure why we were talking about this. My role was backstage, out of sight. Always had been and always would be. I’d never liked the spotlight, I just liked the words and the way actors and directors could bring them to life.

I knew it sounded cheesy, but it always felt like magic, watching words turn into tangible action and emotions. It was a form of wizardry, as far as I was concerned.

I would never say that out loud, of course. I realized how corny it sounded. 

“Have you ever thought about it?” he asked.

“About acting?” I imbued the word with all the disbelief I was feeling. But seriously, how had he known me for this long and not know how much I hated to be the center of attention? 

He nodded.

“No. Definitely not.” I shook my head with a little too much vehemence and a thick strand of hair slid out from a hair clip and fell into my face. “Besides, the part is as good as cast,” I said, wanting to get the focus off me and his terrifically terrible idea that I audition.

He arched his brows in question. 

“Hayley Hayes,” I said.

His brows lifted even higher in understanding. “Ah.”


Hayley was another senior and the school’s leading diva. She’d been cast as the lead female character in every play or musical for the past two years. 

Her streak would not die today.

Julian wrinkled his nose, forming a crinkle at the bridge where his glasses rested. “I don’t think she’s all that great.”

Me neither. “She’s the best we’ve got.”

“Then it’s slim pickings around here,” he said, his tone decisive. Julian had judged the quality of potential actors at Briarwood and found them lacking. 

I made a noncommittal noise. I didn’t feel like arguing the point, but I wasn’t so certain that was true. Hayley wasn’t the best, but she wasn’t the worst either. She had charisma and enthusiasm on stage, but she didn’t take it as seriously as I would have liked.

In short, she lacked in the work ethic department. 

Her talent for actual acting was so-so, but since she clearly wasn’t harboring hopes of going pro. I supposed she did just fine for what she was aiming for, which was good for a high school production. 

But what Julian didn’t seem to get was that Hayley’s mediocre talent wasn’t the only reason she got the leading role. There was one other major factor that came into play, probably more than her skills on the stage.

She was popular. Pretty in a Blair Waldorf sort of way, she had the school wrapped around her perky little finger. How did that factor into her leading lady status? Well, the looks part was obvious…I mean, we could talk until we’re blue in the face about how talent mattered more than looks, but this was the real world and like it or not, it was hard to ignore a beautiful girl on stage, especially when her competition paled in comparison.

But then there was the fact that our department was underfunded and constantly struggling. Like a mini version of Broadway, our little stage also had to resort to hiring A-listers to headline in order to ensure the seats were packed.

Oh, no one ever outright admitted this. Mr. Brenner would rather eat his clipboard than admit that he’d cast a lead role based on anything other than talent. But I knew that was a factor.

And last but not least, Hayley’s popularity and that charming confidence did an amazing job of eliminating her competition before auditions even began. I’d already heard two of our regular actresses moaning about how they’d love to play Gwendolyn, but why should they bother when Hayley Hayes was auditioning.

Instead both girls were vying for the role of Cecily, though I was pretty sure neither of them was quite right. But that would be up to Mr. Brenner, I was just there to take notes and hand out scripts.

I was thinking about how many copies I’d have to make for tonight’s auditions when Julian interrupted my thoughts. 

“She would make a perfect Gwendolyn, wouldn’t she?” he mused.

I followed his gaze and saw that Hayley was below us, directly in our line of vision but in the second row, where she would have a good view of her boyfriend. The king jock himself, Brian Kirkland.

Ugh. Excuse me while I gagged. If ever there was a more obnoxiously atrocious couple than Brian and Hayley, I couldn’t imagine it. They were like stereotypes of themselves—the charming, smarmy, egotistical jock and his smiley, dramatic, gorgeous diva girlfriend.

View full details