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Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance

Problem Child

Book 1 in the Blue Ivy Prep Series

This series must be read in chronological order, to avoid spoilers

Enrollment begins this autumn.

Born into Hollywood royalty, I’ve been making the hot sheet and generating internet buzz since before I could even walk. Doesn’t matter that my parents divorced prior to my second birthday, I can’t escape the shadows—or scandals—of my movie star mother and my rock star father.

At least, I couldn’t until Aubrey, Yvette and I formed Torched and went double platinum as we made a name for ourselves. Four years after taking the world by storm, I’m exhausted. We all are. I’m also ready to try and be a regular kid. Only problem is I’ve never been normal. I don’t actually know what that feels like. Accepted into the prestigious Blue Ivy Prep, I have a lot to prove to the students, the faculty, our fans, but most of all to myself.

Despite my tabloid reputation or maybe because of it, I don’t intend for anything to get in my way. Especially not anyone who decided I’m an empty-headed pampered partying princess before I even showed up. If they want a fight, I’ll bring them a war.

*Please note this is a reverse harem and the author suggests you always read the forward in her books. Contains some bullying elements, mature situations, and is recommended for 17+. This is book one of four in a series and the story will continue through future books.

Problem Child

Book 1 in the Blue Ivy Prep Series

Problem Child

Excerpt

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KC

Nothing said “good luck on your new adventure” like being the subject of an email blast. Especially one that read like a burn book from a mean girl who got jilted at prom to a few million of our closest fans and haters. Haters are going to hate only goes so far to soften the blow. I was used to the biting, clawing, and stinging statements. Right?

“Hey little Kissy Kats, did you hear that Torched’s lead singer is going back to school? A little birdie told me that this isn’t about education so much as leashing the problem child while she gets a certain bad habit under control. The prep school, of course, has no comment. They wouldn’t. They can’t even confirm she’s enrolled. Who wants to get a picture for us so we can see where our favorite problem child is? Kiss. Kiss. More soon.”

Aubrey made a face as she read the blast out aloud. Somehow, despite years of exposure, she could still manage to be shocked by the tabloidesque commentary on our lives. At least they hadn’t discussed the state of her virginity at twelve. Mine, apparently, vanished long before in a clearance sale, but hey what did I know about my own sexual exploits?

“What a cunt,” she muttered. “Why does this bitch hate you so much?”

I laughed as I held up a finger for each item. “Daddy. Mommy. Mom’s big dick boyfriend. Then there is my drama when I’m the so-called lucky one with the blessed life. I’m clearly a stuck-up, pampered bitch because I can’t even be bothered to give her an interview.”

Rolling her eyes, Aubrey slumped into the seat. “You realize she’s just set like everyone and their brother out to take photos of you.”

“Yep,” I said with a shrug. “Nothing I can do about it.”

“Stay on the grounds of the school,” Dix said over his shoulder. I’d almost forgotten he was driving us. Rude, KC, rude. “Any press that trespasses, or fan for that matter, can be arrested. You should consider the bodyguard, K. I know you want normal, but I can stay. We arranged it with the school so you could have someone there to run interference.”

Fuck, no. “Dix, I adore you for wanting to protect me.” I did. “But the whole point of this is to be normal. Normal kids don’t have bodyguards.”

“Normal kids don’t have drivers, million-dollar contracts, and platinum albums,” he countered and Aubrey laughed.

I shot her a dirty look but she looked less than impressed. “Can’t hurt to have some backup,” she coaxed and I shook my head.

The minute I allowed it, I would be admitting defeat and I might as well follow Yvette up to Boston and finish school with online classes. That wasn’t what I wanted. We were going to an exclusive school in the middle of nowhere Connecticut. Yes, it wasn’t precisely normal but it was far more normal than the first twelve years of my life and a hell of a lot more normal than the last four.

“I don’t want a bodyguard. I don’t want to stand out.” Another perk of the exclusive school. We would be like the other students. Their student population drew wealthy pools that included foreign dignitaries to politicians to old world aristocrats and the ever expanding digital and social media conglomerates.

Aubrey twisted in the seat to look at me. “We’re arriving in a type of limo, yes. Sure, it’s almost black car service. A highly secure Cadillac SUV.” Despite her description, it wasn’t a stretch limousine. It was just a standard black Cadillac Escalade.

“But he’s not staying with the car and neither of us have licenses yet.” I knew how to drive—sort of. Aubrey had taken lessons at one point, but we’d never been anywhere long enough to actually apply, take the tests, and get our licenses. That was on the list for this semester.

Then we could buy a car, or cars, if we couldn’t find one we wanted in the collections of vehicles we’d received over the years. At least the ones I hadn’t gone ahead and donated, since I couldn’t drive them. A bridge to cross when we got there. I didn’t even know what car I wanted. Aubrey wanted a Mini Cooper. But she’d seen The Italian Job like five hundred times.

“KC, I love you, but—you’re never going to be normal.” Aubrey flopped back in the seat. “You didn’t even change your hair and got permission from the school to keep it that shade, even if we’re supposed to be conforming with uniforms that have ties—why did I let you talk me into this again?” She tapped a manicured nail against her lower lip then grinned. “Oh, right, I wouldn’t let you do this alone, even if Yvette told us both to go to hell.”

She really had. A laugh escaped me and I shrugged. “We still have some commitments that we’re not going to just be able to ignore. If I have to strip my hair and recolor it constantly, it’s gonna fall out. The blue has been a signature for the group from the beginning.”

“Very true,” she reached over to stroke her fingers through the ends. “You do need to get a trim.”

“Anastasia wasn’t available when we were in the city and she had a litter of kittens the last time I let someone else cut my hair.”

“I’ll do it,” Aubrey volunteered. “Anastasia’s hot when she’s mad.”

Dix laughed and I grinned up at him. I appreciated Dix taking the time to be in New York while we’d been there. Especially since he was based out of the LA house. Mom had an apartment in the city. She’d planned to go with us for the drop-off, but a change in a film schedule meant she was on location. I hadn’t even known there had been a change until Dix showed up. He’d volunteered to handle the driving and hauling.

There were easily six suitcases in the back of the SUV, you’d think life on the road would make us expert packers, but we weren’t staying in a hotel. We had a dorm room, and there was some equipment I didn’t want to leave in the city or California. My guitars for example. Music. Clothes. We had six or seven sets of uniforms, winter gear, and more shoes than anyone needed—that was Aubrey, not me. I was fine barefoot or in my running shoes, unless we were performing.

My phone buzzed and I dug it out of my bag to see a message from Yvette on it. Aubrey was already laughing. Yvette had sent the message to our group chat.

Good luck with High School Drama Nightmare Fall Edition. You two are nuts, but I love you. When you need to escape, my door is always open. I’ve even stocked up on the liquor.

“She’s the best,” I said with a laugh.

“You know, she might have the right idea,” Aubrey said with a hum.

“Still time to change your plans,” I reminded her. “I love you for going with me, but you don’t have to. This—crazy plan is all me.”

“I know, but I’m exceptionally awesome and you definitely don’t deserve me. You need to be reminded of that daily. Besides… friends don’t let friends walk into a horror movie on their own.”

“You’re the brunette,” I reminded her. “You would survive.”

Her grin was pure mischief. “You’re the quirky one who either dies in the first five minutes or barely makes it out.”

“Helpful.” But I was still laughing. Some of my nerves evaporated. Or at least, bubbled to a place I didn’t have to focus on right now.

“Ten minutes out, ladies,” Dix said. “Do you know what building you’re in?”

Blue Ivy Prep was huge, it had its own app with a map and locator so we could get directions on campus, very helpful if you asked me. We’d also gotten a welcome packet with paper maps, and booklets that included everything we needed to know as first-time students.

Our orientation would be different from the others in our class because we were new arrivals joining in our junior year. We’d almost had to settle for sophomore, but our scores qualified us to begin as juniors.

I liked that plan much better.

“We’re in the Apollo-Volusia complex.” It was one of the newer dorms. Blue Ivy Prep included an on-campus college that was affiliated with one of the bigger universities. Several endowments had let the school expand. Students began enrollment there as early as the third grade. But housing and classes were in separate buildings. We would be in the high school dorms with access to our various lecture halls and libraries.

Collegiate dorms were located not far from the “high school” buildings, because at Blue Ivy Prep, we would be taking college-level courses alongside typical high school curricula. I couldn’t wait. It was going to be a blast. We were going to be discussing the books we read, the assignments we’d done, and we would all survive this experience together. It was everything I wanted. The sudden palpitations and the racing of my heart kind of called me a liar, but I could fake it until I could make it. All of life was a stage, and we were but the actors on it—or however the Shakespeare quote went.

“Southside of the campus,” I told Dix as the huge iron gates appeared ahead of us, after I cleared my throat. The closer to Blue Ivy we’d come the more rural the area seemed to be. The school had everything and covered several acres. It was as far from California glitz and sunshine as you could get. It was even a gray day with a hint of rain. The temperature was barely hitting eighty-five and it was August.

It was just about perfect. The leaves were going to be changing soon. We’d get real seasons and time to savor them rather than see them outside of the tour bus window as we drove in and out of various towns. That was if we saw them at all. So many times we were asleep on the bus when it was on the road.

A huge banner was up welcoming new and returning students. Dix slowed down as he passed through the gates and then stopped to talk to the girl with the iPad and the no nonsense expression.

“Welcome home to Blue Ivy Prep,” she said. “Names?”

“Crosse and Miller,” Dix said as he handed over a card. It was a temporary ID card for campus. We were going to have to go and get all the real things once we got to our room. But we also had our dorm assignments and keys. They’d sent those ahead of time. Once we got registered, though, everything would be coded to our ID cards.

“Wait for it,” Aubrey murmured.

“Crosse and Miller,” the girl repeated, then did a double-take at the screen. “For real?” She glanced toward the back of the Escalade and I rolled the window down to smile at her. We didn’t have to hide back here, even if ice slicked over my skin and sweat dotted the back of my neck. The sunglasses hid her eyes, but I had on my own pair. “Yes, for real.”

“That’s really awesome,” she said, tapping a couple of things on the screen before handing the card back to me rather than Dix. “You’re already assigned to Apollo One, third floor. That’s the brand-new renovated building, so you’ve definitely got a sweet suite.”

The genuine warmth rolling off the blonde girl helped settle my nerves.

“I’d be jealous, but my sister, Olivia and I also got a suite in that building so we’ll see you there. I’m Sydney, by the way. We’re on the second floor, B wing. Room 2205. If you need anything at all, come grab me. We know everything on the campus.”

“Thank you very much,” Aubrey said. “We’ll do that.”

A car honked behind us, but Sydney didn’t miss a beat as she held up a hand to them indicating they needed to wait.

“Once you get to your room and get your stuff inside, I’d head down to the admin building to get your actual ID cards. They will load it for your food account, library privileges, and access to WiFi, as well as let you pick up everything you need from the bookstore. Today’s upperclassmen move-in day, but the underclassmen tend to flood in as soon as they can because they want to get the good assignments.”

“Thank you,” I said. “We’ll definitely check it out.”

“Great—I promise not to fangirl too much, but I’m pretty sure Olivia is going to have an aneurism. There was a rumor that you girls were enrolling, but I didn’t think it was true.”

“Just going to school,” I said. “Don’t be a stranger.”

She waved us on and Dix chuckled as he glanced at me via the rearview mirror. “Totally normal.”

“Bite me,” I muttered, setting him and Aubrey off laughing. The driveway was long, lined with trees, and everything the handbook promised it would be. Despite their earlier teasing, we weren’t the only limo. There were parking areas marked off that were tucked behind trees and hidden by the landscaping. Instead of heading to the right, we went to the left and followed the signs for the Apollo-Volusia buildings.

The closer we got to the old-world brick buildings, with their decades of history and links to the past as well as promises of the future, the more nervous I became. I’d stopped throwing up before performances a long time ago, but this was as close as I’d been in years.

Look out, Blue Ivy Prep, here we come.

end of excerpt

Problem Child

is available in the following formats:

Nov 22, 2022

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