(Trinity Academy #1)
by Michelle Heard
Release Date: September 2nd
Genre: New Adult College Romance
Cover Designer: Sybil Wilson, PopKitty Design
Photographer: Wander Aguiar Photography
Models: Andrew, Forest and David
About The Book:
Wealth and power make them untouchable.
Bound by an unbreakable brotherhood, Falcon, Mason, and Lake are the monarchs of Trinity Academy.
I just want to study, get my degree, then join Dad in his travels around the world.
My hopes of flying under the radar during my three years at college are quickly shattered when I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place. Falcon and Grayson are sworn enemies and business rivals, and I’m caught in the middle of their cold war because Grayson showed interest in me.
Then there’s my secret… which Falcon knows about. He uses it to keep me under his thumb, and I’d love nothing more than to knock the arrogant heir off his throne. But in a world where possessions, connections, and status rule, I can’t afford for the students to learn the truth behind my attending Trinity Academy.
It leaves me at Falcon’s mercy, but at the rate we’re fighting, one of us might just die before the term is over.
At least, that’s what I thought… until feelings get in the way and complicate things.
Grabbing a seat in the middle of the auditorium, my gaze scans the group of first-year journalism students.
Nervous excitement fills the air, the kind you only feel on your first day of the rest of your life. Who you were in high school doesn’t matter because college is a fresh start – new friends, new environment, new standards for what’s acceptable and what’s not.
The fact that I got a free ride to Trinity Academy because my mother is the personal assistant to Geoffrey Reyes, CEO of CRC Holdings, is something I’ll take to my grave. Mr. Reyes’ father was one of the founding members of Trinity, a college meant for the rich and famous, which obviously doesn’t include me.
Even though my mom gets paid a pretty decent income, and I’ve never wanted for anything in my life, it’s not close to the wealth the other students come from – old money that’s been built up over generations.
If they found out I’m not from the top one percent wealthy in the country, I’d be singled out which is precisely what I want to avoid. I’m here to get my degree in journalism because it will go a long way in getting freelance jobs. It’s my dream to join my dad and to travel the world with him.
A girl with long brown curls, classic features and striking blue eyes takes the seat next to me. An eager grin spreads over her full mouth when she looks at me. “Kingsley Hunt. I have a 3.8 GPA and an out of control chocolate addiction.”
Holding her slender hand out to me, she raises an expectant eyebrow.
“Layla Shepard. I hate wearing a bra and always change into my PJs as soon as I’m home,” I say as I place my hand in hers.
“I like you.” I’m surprised at the sincerity in her gaze as she bluntly admits this. “Let’s be friends.”
“Uhm… okay.” Seeing as I don’t know anyone else here, I figure I can use a friend and Kingsley seems to be friendly.
A wave of murmurs washes over the auditorium, and I look to the front to see what all the commotion is about. Three guys walk onto the stage, each of their steps oozing with wealth and power. They take a seat next to the podium with an air of grandeur one can only obtain from having infinite riches, making the chairs look like thrones.
Kingsley leans closer to me and whispers, “Their grandfathers are the founding members of the academy.” Pointing to the guy nearest to the podium, she continues, “That’s Lake Cutler.”
Lake slouches in the chair, and leaning his head back, he closes his eyes, as if our orientation day is taking away from his sleep. Light brown hair stands in every direction, with some sweeping over his forehead. With his features relaxed, he gives me the impression nothing in the world can bother him. Only confidence will allow you that kind of freedom to not care what others think of you.
“Lake’s father is the vice-president of CRC Holdings.” She stops and looking at me asks, “You’ve heard of the company, right?’
Nodding, I answer, “Yeah.”
“Oh, then I must be boring you with useless information,” Kingsley laughs.
“Actually, I don’t know much about them,” I admit.
Mom never talks about her work with me. To be honest, that’s putting it lightly. I hardly get to see Mom because she’s either at the office or away on a business trip with Mr. Reyes.
“Cool, then I’ll go on.” Kingsley immediately proceeds by pointing at the guy next to Lake. “That’s Mason Chargill.”
The second I look at Mason, a shiver slithers down my spine, and every one of my alarms begin to go off. The guy looks like trouble with a capital T. There’s a condescending smirk on his face, only adding to the menacing look courtesy of features which might as well have been carved from stone. Handsome… but the indifference and contempt rolling off his shoulders make him look threatening.
I’ll be sure to avoid him at all costs.
“Mason’s father is the president of the company. I heard Mason, Falcon, and Lake are studying to take over from their fathers, which makes sense seeing as the three of them are the heirs to CRC Holdings.”
When Kingsley doesn’t continue, I ask, “So the third guy is Falcon Reyes?” Mom told me to be on my best behavior because Mr. Reyes’ youngest son is a senior here at the academy, but I’ve never met any of them in person. Now that I know what the heirs look like, it will make it easier to avoid them.
“Oh, yeah. Sorry, I got stuck on Mason,” she admits with a grin. “I could stare at him all day long.”
My eyes drift over the guys before stopping at Falcon. My first impression of Falcon is no better than the one I have of Mason. With a sharp, intelligent look, he reeks of arrogance wrapped in an icy layer of indifference.
He lifts his chin and glances in my direction as if he can feel my eyes on him. From across the auditorium, our eyes lock and every muscle in my body tenses as an unnerving feeling ripples over me. There are easily ten rows of chairs between Falcon and me, yet his cold gaze has the power to make me feel like I’ve just been singled out. His shoulders are set square, commanding and formidable, giving me the impression he’s the leader of the three.
Breaking eye-contact, I slide down in my chair and hide behind the guy sitting right in front of me.
Yeah, definitely gonna stay away from Falcon.
“Falcon’s father is the CEO and chairman of CRC Holdings.” Kingsley lets out a sigh. “With the kind of wealth they come from, they might be gorgeous to look at but deadly to play with.”
“That, my friend, I one hundred percent agree with.”
The introduction begins, and all the students quiet down. I usually pride myself in paying attention, but today, I find myself zoning out as my eyes get stuck on the three men sitting upfront.
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have such wealth – not having to worry about your bank account ever running on fumes.
Deep in thought, my eyes leave them only to jump from one student to the next. Most are wearing watches I’ve never seen before, making my TAG Heuer look like a pavement special. It’s not like I’m into the latest fashion and luxury brands, but coming to this college, you quickly notice it’s what sets you apart from the rest of the students.
Once the introduction is over, we all file out of the auditorium and into the bright California sunlight.
“Which building are you staying in?” Kingsley asks as we walk over the well-maintained green lawn toward the residence section.
I scrunch my nose because I think the names for the buildings are lame. “I’m staying in the Hope Diamond. What’s with the weird names for the buildings?” I ask, hoping Kingsley will be able to tell me more.
Instead, her eyes widen, and she grabs my arm. “You’re so lucky! How did you manage to get a room in their building?”
“Their building?” I ask, raising an eyebrow.
“The penthouse belongs to Falcon, Mason, and Lake. Usually, only other business partners can get a suite in The Hope Diamond.”
I blink as she rambles overly excited, and once I find my bearings, I mumble, “It makes no difference to me where I stay.”
I hope she doesn’t ask about my family because I’d hate to lie to her, but there’s no way I’m trusting her with my secret only minutes after meeting her.
“Well, you’re lucky. Your family must be business partners with CRC then?” Kingsley asks the question I’ve been dreading most.
“Something like that,” I skirt around the truth hoping it won’t come back to bite me in the ass.
I know for a fact Mom being Mr. Reyes’ personal assistant won’t mean shit to the other students and might make me a target which is the last thing I need.
We walk toward the dorms which look like five-star hotels instead of student housing.
“I’m in the Pink Star, which is the building opposite yours. The Oppenheimer Blue is the third building.”
“Why the names?” I repeat my question from earlier.
“They’re ranked according to the most expensive stones. Depending on where your family falls on the wealth ladder, you get assigned to a room in the appropriate building. The Oppenheimer Blue is where you’ll find the millionaires next door or the capitalist class. If you’re from one of the ruling fifteen thousand families in the States or glittering rich like my family, you’re in the Pink Star. Only those on the Forbes 400 list make it past the doors of The Hope Diamond.”
Shaking my head, I let out a sigh, “Ridiculous if you ask me. I’m going to have to research all these things, so I don’t step on any toes.”
“I’ll make you a list of the important stuff,” Kingsley offers.
“That would be great.”
We part ways at the entrance to the Hope Diamond, agreeing to meet in an hour for an early dinner.
Walking into the luxurious building, the marble floors gleam under extravagant chandeliers. My shoulders sag, and I lose a little of the excitement from being able to study here.
My dad is a gypsy at heart, and since the divorce, he’s never stayed in one place for long. I love both my parents, but I take after Dad. Material things have never mattered to me, and now I’m in a college with people who only care about status, power, and money.
Damn, it sucks. I should’ve insisted on attending a regular college, but Mom was so excited I couldn’t let her down.
Sliding the card through the electronic lock, I step into my suite. I glance around the space then look out the window at the perfect view of the hills. I love the Ojai Valley where Trinity Academy is situated. The hills surrounding the campus are gorgeous.
“You can fool everyone for four years,” I mumble, not quite believing the words myself. “Just don’t stand out in any way and no one will notice you.”
About The Author:
Author previously published as Michelle Horst
Michelle Heard is a Bestselling Romance Author who loves creating stories her readers can get lost in. She might have a slight obsession with alpha heroes who are not afraid to fight for their women.