Read First Date Online

Authors: Krista McGee

Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #Religious, #Christian, #General

First Date

First Date

First Date

Krista McGee

© 2011 by Krista McGee

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other—except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Thomas Nelson is a registered trademark of Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Published in association with literary agent Lauren Yoho of D.C. Jacobson & Associates, an Author Management Company,
www.DCJacobson.com
.

Thomas Nelson, Inc., titles may be purchased in bulk for educational, business, fund-raising, or sales promotional use. For information, please e-mail [email protected]

Publisher’s Note: This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. All characters are fictional, and any similarity to people living or dead is purely coincidental.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE
®
. © The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977. Used by permission.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

McGee, Krista, 1974–
  First date / Krista McGee.
        p. cm.
  ISBN 978-1-4016-8488-4 (soft cover)
  1. Orphans—Fiction. 2. Reality television programs—Fiction. I. Title.
  PS3613.C457F57 2012
  813’.6—dc22

2011030772

Printed in the United States of America

11 12 13 14 15 16 QG 6 5 4 3 2 1

To my husband, David.
Your passion for Christ and
dedication to family inspire
me daily. I love you.

Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Acknowledgments

Reading Group Guide

About the Author

Chapter 1

Y
ou’re going to be on television, Addy,” Mr. Lawrence said, as if it were a good thing. As if all seventeen-year-old girls dreamed of being told that and Addy should jump up from her seat, squeal, and thank him for the opportunity.

“The show is supposed to be a cross between
America’s Next Star
,
Survivor
, and
The Bachelor
, with a little Miss America thrown in.”

Addy tried to calm herself. On the walk from her AP US History class to the office, she had imagined dozens of possible scenarios as to why the principal would want to see her in the middle of the day
. Suddenly my fear that I’ve bombed the SATs doesn’t seem quite so awful
.

“It’s called
The Book of Love
.” Mr. Lawrence looked at Addy with eyebrows raised.

The wrinkles on his forehead were very much like the lined paper Addy left on her desk when she was called out of her class to come here. The paper she should be working on right now.

“The president’s son is going to choose a date for his senior prom on live television.”

Addy wasn’t a big fan of teen magazines, but she would have to be blind not to know about Jonathon Jackson. His movie-star looks and leader-of-the-free-world father made him the poster of choice for many teenage girls across the country.

“But I thought he was dating that girl from the Disney Channel,” Addy said.

“Janie Smart?” Mr. Lawrence leaned forward, his eyes dancing. “Where have you been? They broke up last month. It was huge news.” He clicked his mouse a few times, then turned his computer screen to face Addy.

She read that Jonathon had asked Janie to come to a state dinner with his parents and she refused. Apparently, Janie had already made plans to promote her new TV movie in LA. Jonathon was supposedly very upset—as was the journalist whose article Addy was reading.

“Who turns down a chance to meet heads of state so she can schmooze with Mickey Mouse?” He shook his head.

So Jonathon ended the relationship. Teenage girls across the country must have rejoiced at the news. “He broke up with his girlfriend and decided to choose his next date on reality TV?” Addy rolled her eyes. “That makes no sense.”

“Actually, it makes a lot of sense. Jonathon Jackson will make a fortune from this.” Mr. Lawrence looked at Addy, his expression full of hope. “Our school stands to make a fortune as well.”

“Our school?”

“You will represent our school in the competition,” he announced with a clap. “If you win, even if you make it to the Top Thirty, our school will receive so much publicity, our numbers will double, maybe even triple, next year.”

Addy knew her small Christian school was struggling to bring in new students. With the economy crumbling, many couldn’t afford to pay its rising tuition costs. She had heard rumors that if something didn’t change soon, the school would close next year. While she certainly didn’t want to be forced to transfer schools her senior year, she was not about to sacrifice her self-respect in order to keep it open.

“I’m honored you think I could do this, Mr. Lawrence,” she began, hoping she wouldn’t hyperventilate mid–sentence, “but I’m
really
not interested.”

Addy was the last girl who wanted to be in a reality TV show.
I don’t even try out for school plays. Not since that time in third grade when I was forced to play a molar in
Tooth or Dare.

“It’s already done.” He leaned back and reached into his desk drawer for a large white envelope. The envelope had a mock presidential seal on the front, the eagle replaced with a chubby, winking cupid holding “The Book of Love.” Addy’s name was drawn on a piece of parchment paper in one of the cupid’s hands. Jonathon’s name was on the other.

Her face got warm. “People on reality TV are there for a reason.” She stood and looked toward the door. “They want attention.
I
don’t want attention. I want to get good grades and get into an Ivy League school. Period.”

“Listen, Addy, you can be exactly who you are, and if you generate a large enough fan base, you can write your own ticket.” He motioned for her to sit down. “Look at what has happened to some of these reality TV stars.” He began clicking again, but Addy turned the computer screen back toward her principal.

“But I don’t want to be a reality TV star.” She slumped back into the leather chair. “I don’t want to be any kind of star at all. Why don’t you ask Alice Harrington or Tiffany Weaver or one of those girls? They’d
kill
for an opportunity like this.”

“That’s exactly why I
didn’t
choose them. One hundred schools were contacted. They were chosen at random from every secondary school in the country. We are privileged to be one of them. We can each send one girl. I imagine most of the principals will be picking their drama stars and head cheerleaders. I think we can have an edge in the competition by sending
you
.”

“Is that supposed to be a compliment?” Addy bristled, once again standing to leave.

“Sorry. That didn’t come out right. Please, sit back down.” Mr. Lawrence waited as Addy dropped back into her seat. “I don’t believe our school was chosen by chance. God was in that ‘random’ drawing.” He walked around his desk and sat beside Addy. “Mrs. Lawrence and I talked about this for a while last night. We’ve watched you grow up, and we know the kind of young woman you are. You will represent our school well, but you will also represent Christ well. That’s why I believe our school was chosen—to give Jesus some good press for a change.”

Addy’s heart raced. From the time she was young, people expected her to be a spiritual giant because her parents had been missionaries. She knew she could never live up to those expectations, so she learned to stay quiet and live in the shadows. So far, that tactic had worked for her.

“Look what you and Lexi have accomplished this year with the girls’ Bible study.” He blinked back tears. “Twenty girls staying after school on Mondays to study God’s Word. And you initiated that.”

Addy shook her head. She and God had had many arguments before she finally talked to Lexi about starting that Bible study. Her friend was thrilled at the idea, but Addy was nervous about being in charge. What if she messed up? What if no one came? But in the end, she knew it was what God wanted her to do, so she obeyed.

But this TV show
.
This is a lot more difficult than leading a Bible study for girls at my school
. She didn’t mind talking about her faith with other Christians, but sharing her faith with those who didn’t believe terrified her.

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