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Pushing the Boundaries (Off Limits #1)
by Stacey Trombley
Publication Date: January 16, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Teen Crush
Myra goes to Haiti with one goal: take the photograph that will win a scholarship and prove to her uber-traditional family that she has what it takes to be a photographer instead of a doctor. Her camera has always been her shield against getting too close to anyone, but she didn’t expect the hot teen translator who has an ability to see past her walls.
Elias needs his job as a translator to provide for his siblings. He can’t afford to break the rule forbidding him from socializing with a client. Except this girl Myra insists on going outside the city to capture the perfect picture, and he steps in as her guide in order to keep her safe.
The deeper they travel into the country, the harder they fall for each other. Now they’re both taking risks that could cost each other their dreams.
If they get too close—it could ruin both their lives.
Sweat drips down my forehead the second I take my first step out of the plane. I wipe it quickly. Yeah, that’s cute.
I pull at the baggy green T-shirt. Paired with stupid khaki pants, I’m a full-on frump-fest. I guess it doesn’t really matter. There isn’t anyone to impress here. They dressed us in matching, hellishly bright T-shirts so we wouldn’t lose each other in the rush of a new country. Convenient, but ugly.
Hungry eyes watch us as we pass through the crowd, looking for our massive bags. It was only a two-hour flight from Florida, but I feel like we flew straight to Africa. No one speaks English. They shout out in a strange language.
I thought I was prepared for this trip to Haiti, but ten seconds here and I’m already feeling overwhelmed. I grip the camera around my neck. The world is much easier to cope with when you’re looking at it through a lens. I snap a picture of the big warehouse-looking room of baggage claim. It’s an ugly picture, but I feel better for taking it.
You’d think I’d be used to this feeling, this out-of-place, stands-out, “what’s up with that girl” feeling. I’ve felt that my whole life. A Pakistani girl living in middle-of-nowhere, bumfuck, Middle of America, where, I swear, some people must not have seen a person of color in real life before.
But here, it’s a totally different feeling. I’m still an outcast, still getting odd looks, still totally out of place. Only it’s not my darker-than-normal skin color, big eyes, and lush black hair that makes me stand out here. It’s how light my skin is.
It’s the first time in my life I feel white.
But really, it’s not the race these people care about. It’s my nationality. I’m American. To them, American means rich.
The people at the gates, the workers, the other passengers—all of them with skin black as night. It’s beautiful, really. It’s just clear I don’t belong here.
No one in my group does.
I finally catch sight of my last bag among the remaining luggage. With a huff, I pull my massive green suitcase from the conveyer belt.
“Myra! Get a move on.” I suppress an eye roll and heave the stupid heavy bag across the crowded airport. Thick voices bombard me.
A black man in a collared shirt I think was once white approaches me and reaches for the bag in my hands. I rip it from his fingers, taking a panicked step backward but having no idea where I’ll go. My stomach leaps to my throat. Oh shit…
But he doesn’t pursue me. He just shakes his head and says something in a language I can’t understand. Then reaches for the bag again. I take another step back.
“Mom?” I call out, looking for her in the mass of bodies around me. Dirty, sweaty men everywhere.
“Myra! Let the man have it, he’s toting the bags for us,” I hear the familiar accent call from somewhere in the huge crowded room, and my head clears. I can’t mistake my mother, not anywhere. No one has a Pakistani accent like hers. Not even my father’s is as thick.
I blink and find a flash of green through the crowd before me. Okay, maybe the T-shirts were a good idea. I see another man in the same yellowed-white shirt stacking suitcases on a big trolley thing. Oh.
I give the man next to me an awkward smile, and he takes the bag, mumbling under his breath. Like I could understand him in the first place.
Stupid Americans. Yeah, it’s probably something like that.
About the Author
Stacey Trombley lives in Ohio with her husband and the sweetest Rottweiler you’ll ever meet. She thinks people are fascinating and any chance she has, she’s off doing or learning something new. She went on her first mission trip to Haiti at age twelve and is still dying to go back. Her “places to travel” list is almost as long as her “books to read” list.
Her debut novel Naked released from Entangled Teen in 2015. Find her online at www.StaceyTrombley.com and on twitter @trombolii.