Authors: Lexi Summers
Tags: #love triangle, #new adult, #new adult romance, #billionaire, #Coming of Age, #college romance, #college, #erotic romance, #billionaire romance, #comedy, #American Royalty
Copyright © 2015 Lexi Summers
All Rights Reserved.
Published by Lexi Summers.
This book is a work of fiction. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is entirely coincidental. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.
Ignited & Unhinged (Billionaire Secret, Book One) CONTENTS
To all the women who aren’t afraid of their bodies.
To all the women who are.
To all the women who wish they could be or have what is described in these pages.
“Hey Luv, are you almost ready?”
Jasmine Coxe and I had only been suitemates for twelve hours or so, but I liked her already.
She is from Liverpool or Leeds, I wasn’t sure since the four of us on the 4th floor of Winsor Hall had all met at the same time in one jumbled mess.
Her British accent is somewhere between Julie Andrews in
and one of the Spice Girls.
“Um…” I look in the mirror.
I’m in my uniform: blue skinny jeans, black dolman top, tall black boots. It was a flattering combination, but not exactly special.
Jasmine stands with her eyes scrunched together.
“Oh no, no, NO darling!” She taps a finger to her lips.
“You need something that makes love to that gorgeously tight body!”
I want to look hot, not like myself, but I can’t say that out loud.
Jasmine is out the door and back before I finish my thought.
“Try this.” She holds a tiny black mini dress with the hanger at my shoulders.
“Hmmm, no that’s not enough…” her eyes search the ceiling for the right words, “
. D’you know what I mean?”
She waves a hand off when I open my mouth to answer.
“This is the first night of university and we made it to the Ivy League! This,
, should be a night that will live on forever. Here.”
She hands me the other dress she had brought with her.
It is red, short and I can’t be sure but I think the neckline plunges to my belly button.
“Jas!” I gape at her.
I wasn’t sure I had known her long enough to give her a nickname, but it felt correct somehow. “I can’t wear THIS!”
“Elle, you CAN and you MUST,” she says it with such conviction and in combination with her nickname for me, it was hard to argue.
Noticing my reluctance, she hands me a bottle.
It is vodka. What? When did she bring that in?
“One swig Giselle.” She holds one finger to her face and then extends her arm so it is in mine.
“It will make you brave, Luv. Liquid courage. Now is the time for guts,” she nods with gravity like this moment is a defining one.
I stare at her.
Now or never Ellie. What’s it gonna be?
A continued perfectly fine existence in the safe lane or was it time to jump into something new and just let go.
I’d spent the last four years holding on. Getting by.
I had to. Getting into an Ivy League school was exhausting. There was never time for smoky eyes, boys, or the kind of guts I thought about in those
in between moments
In between walking to class, on the bus driving from academic competition to academic competition.
Or after reading a particularly good book about a bold female heroine who wasn’t afraid of anything, including her own body…or the body of her hero.
It was time to be here.
I take a quick swig from the open bottle of Grey Goose.
“Yahhhwww, whoooo…” It takes me a few seconds to recover.
I open my eyes.
Jasmine just nods in approval and flashes her radiant smile.
Huh. A strange warmth spreads through me.
It makes my skin tingle and my muscles relax.
I feel better already.
“Alright, my British bombshell fairy godmother—what’s next?” I grin at her.
Thirty minutes later, the person in the mirror could be a model ready for a night of clubbing in London.
I didn’t know I could look like this.
I knew I could dress up and look fairly attractive, for a 5’4, pale-skinned brunette.
But I look…
“Oh yes.” Jasmine stands behind me.
“See the red lipstick was completely necessary. Your full lips are full on. It’s bold and it brings out your beau-ti-ful green eyes.”
She was right.
The bright red lipstick, heavy eyeliner, and eye shadow make my eyes look abnormally green.
I guess there is something to that whole complimentary color those eye shadow palette commercials always claim.
“One final touch.” She grabs my ivory pearl necklace off the desk and places it around my neck.
“Really?” I scrunch my nose. “Doesn’t this kind of not go with the rest of the…
I gesture across my breasts which were never something to look at, but in this dress they were very much
She changes her accent and makes it sound more refined, “On the contrary, the juxtaposition of the demure pearls and the hot dress is very alluring, and this way you keep a piece of the proper school girl with you on your first night as full-fledged fresher.”
It sounds like she is giving an academic lecture, instead of instructing me on what’s hot.
I blink at her, not understanding the last part.
. Jesus, I’ve been here less than a day. Give it a second!”
She rolls her eyes at me.
“Trust me. It’s hot.”
She places her hands on my shoulders.
We stare at our bodies in the mirror.
Jasmine in her tiny green dress that sets off her dark chocolate skin and hugs all 5’8 of her perfectly proportioned frame.
And me in my borrowed red trollop dress.
No, no more judgment
In my bold, red, here and now dress.
“More vodka,” Jasmine decides as she sees the thoughts travel across my face.
The four of us are on our way to the opening night party on the roof of our residence house.
Unless you were a legacy, a computer randomly sorted everyone into one of the twelve houses.
Ours was the oldest, named Sinclair Ellis House, or “SE” for short, after an illustrious alumnus who graduated in 1706.
All the freshmen stay on The Campus, the oldest part of The College, and move into their residence house sophomore year.
Each house is its own self sufficient mansion-compound complete with dining hall, common rooms, libraries, gyms, theaters, dance studios, along with some extras, and of course enough suites to accommodate three-hundred people.
The pre-gaming we had done at Winsor had already started to catch up to us. For some reason, everything is hilarious.
The random blue couch left under a tree on The Campus.
A person trying to drunk juggle—although I’m pretty sure this would have been hilarious without the alcohol.
A trio singing the theme song to
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
As we stumble our way across the quad of The Campus and the small street that separates us from SE, I look around at all the other students headed in the same direction.
I’m silently grateful that I let my newfound bold side listen to Jasmine.
Everyone is dressed to the nines. You’d think we were ALL in London heading to the hottest club.
This is the Ivy League, I guess.
Even in my tipsy state I make a mental note to go shopping with Jas.
“So. Ladies…” Kim begins.
My suitemates are all gorgeous. Really they could be actresses on a TV show about young, beautiful people.
Kimberley Connors has bright
Anne of Green Gables
red hair and cool blue eyes. She is as tall as Jasmine, but has that effortlessly thin J.Crew model look about her.
“Have any hot guys caught your attention yet?” She looks down the line at each of us as we walk.
They all just smile.
For some reason I look down and blush, which is a feat since the vodka had already spread to my cheeks.
“Ohhhh…Elle’s been holding out on us!” they all jump in.
I can’t make out most of what they say. I’m not used to this whole girls talking about guys thing.
It was so the opposite of me. Briefly I wonder whether I am an alien for never having had time for teenage girl relationships.
Time to just have a regular conversation about cute guys with a group of girlfriends.
Yup, I was probably a total weirdo.
Oh well, too late to change the past.
And it had gotten me here.
To this moment.
I find that I’m enjoying being the opposite of proper Ellie.
The idea of being completely different than the person I was yesterday, or even this morning, makes me feel alive.
I’m ready to be more.
To feel more.
To experience more.
“OK, so there is this one guy I met during Admit Weekend last April,” I smile shyly.
“What’s his name? Is he a freshman? Upperclassmen?” Are the only questions I am able to make out since they all speak together.
“Ummm…I don’t exactly know,” I say feeling a little stupid.
“We didn’t actually speak. We just stared at each other from across the room at one of the parties.”
It was weird to feel so connected to him.
I hadn’t said a word to the guy. For all I knew he was looking at someone to my left.
Oh well, he had fed my little fantasies in the in between moments.
They all exchange a look. Like I was a little crazy.
“So you didn’t make out?” Jasmine.
“You didn’t talk?” Kim.
“At all?” Jasmine.
Their questions continue.
“I don’t know, it was just—intense. Like he saw into my body or something.” I stare at the cobblestones in front of me.
“Sure, I’ve heard of that,” Kim sounds like she’s trying to understand.
“An instant deep connection that happens when your eyes meet,” she continues.
“You have?” I look at her.
She shrugs and then smiles, “Yeah, in romance novels.”
“Who gives a flit about a
?” Jasmine manages to enunciate and slur the last two words at the same time.
“What I want to know is…” she stops, making us all stop with her, “is he hot?” Her lips curl around the word.
In that moment, she sounds very tipsy.
And very British.
I want to laugh, but they’re all looking to me for the answer to Jas’ question.
“Oh yeah,” I smile. “Did you guys ever see that 80s movie
“Well he kind of looks like Jake Ryan.”
Jas’ mouth drops open, “Oh yeah, that’s hot.”
A minute later, we are on SE’s rooftop garden. It is a big space with trees bordering the corners.
The tall buildings of downtown glitter in the distance.
The library, the tower, and the gym occupy the other views.
Parisian café lights are strung everywhere.
Real-looking Paris street lamps are spaced evenly throughout.
There are nooks and crannies—dark, hidden spaces waiting to be found.
It is a clear night.
The stars manage to shine through the slight haze of city lights.
The effect is stunning, mysterious, and magical.
We split up in groups of two. Jas and I go straight to the bar set up discreetly behind a little alcove created by the sparkling trees.
She orders the same drink for the both of us, something that tastes fruity and very strong.
I’ve just finished my drink when the DJ raises the volume of the music to a pounding rhythm. It’s Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”
Jas and I immediately join the group of dancing women in the center of the roof where a formal dance floor has been set up.
I jump up and down in complete sync with the dance rhythm.
The liquid courage has saturated every part of my body and I lose myself in the music, singing out loud with my newfound friends.
It’s a glorious release.
I’m finally here.
Not studying. Not planning. Not strategizing about how to get in.
I’m actually here.
Jas has her hands in the air. I don’t even know where her cocktail glass is anymore.
Kim’s fiery hair fans around her as we dance together under the stars.
There are other smiling faces. Older.
It’s not just the freshman who are over the moon to be experiencing our first night.
The magic of this place seems to endure in the faces of the upperclassmen.
Their faces say
it only gets better
And I feel more excited than I have ever felt in my life. Because we’re all glad to be here.
And I know that there’s so much more to come.
The song ends and the familiar opening notes of another melody begin.
I stop a second to steady my breathing.
I’m about to start jumping up and down again, when I feel it.
A delicious chill runs down my spine.
I turn slowly, knowing whom I would see, and yet not knowing how I knew.
He was there in one of the partially hidden spaces. Leaning against the wall, a drink in his hand.