All-access doesn't mean no problems
The three Diamond sisters survived the summer in style after coming to live with their long-lost billionaire father. But making a place for themselves at their exclusive new Las Vegas private school is throwing them any number of gold-plated curves. Savannah's YouTube stardom turns into a Sweet Sixteen reality show extravaganzawith complimentary enemies on the side. Dangerous flirtations don't keep Peyton from a gamble that will risk far more than she planned to bet. And when Courtney and the sisters' archenemy, Madison, uncover two explosive secrets, it will rock even this town of glittering illusionand turn their lives upside down all over again.
Michelle lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she is writing more novels for young adults. She enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends, traveling, shopping, sunshine, Disney fairy tales, and Broadway musicals. She loves connecting with fans online, so be sure to follow her on Facebook (Michelle Madow), Twitter (@MichelleMadow), and Instagram (@MichelleMadow). For more information, visit her website, www.michellemadow.com.
Savannah Diamond wanted her first day at her new school to be perfect, so she'd woken up extra early to get ready. But her nerves had her so on edge that she couldn't even sing into her hairbrush along with her favorite songs, pretending she was a pop star performing a show. Peyton used to get so mad at her for it every morning, since she, Courtney and Savannah shared a room, and Savannah woke up earlier than Peyton because she needed more time to get ready. Having a room to herself was the best.
If this were her first day of her sophomore year at Fairfield High, she'd have thrown on jean shorts, a pastel tank and spar-kly summer flats. But The Goodman School was a fancy private school in Vegas, and since she and her sisters had found out last summer that billionaire casino owner Adrian Diamond was their father, and had moved into the penthouse next to his in The Diamond Residences, Savannah was supposed to be a sophisticated hotel heiressnot a girl who'd grown up in a poor neighborhood in a small town. She needed an outfit to fit the part. And since the only dress-code rules at The Goodman School were no ripped jeans and no belly buttons showing, she had plenty of options.
She settled on a metallic spaghetti-strap top by Young Fabulous & Broke, paired with a black flair miniskirt and strappy Jimmy Choo heels. She curled her hair to give it volume, put on a Swarovski crystal headband and went all out with makeupdeep purples and silvers from her Urban Decay Vice palette, winged black eyeliner with liquid gold sparkles, extra coats of mascara and shimmery lip gloss. As she walked to her jewelry box to decide what to match with the outfit, someone knocked at her door.
"Savannah?" Her sister Courtney peeked her head into the room. "Breakfast is here, and Adrian and Rebecca are on their way. Are you almost ready?"
"Are these earrings too much with the bracelets?" Savannah motioned to her dangly crystal earrings and Alex and Ani bangles.
Courtney examined Savannah's outfit. "I don't want you taking this the wrong way, but isn't it a bit much for school?"
Savannah pulled at her top and frowned. "The personal shopper from Saks said the outfit was perfect on me."
"It does look great on you." Courtney bit her lower lip. "But it seems better suited for a cocktail party or other nighttime event____Not for school."
"I shouldn't have bothered asking." She played with her charm bracelets, shuffling her feet as she scrutinized the outfit in her full-length mirror. It was flashy. But she couldn't take fashion advice from Courtney, who had on jeans, flip-flops, a sky-blue T-shirt and practically no makeup. The only jewelry she wore was a practical watch and that boring old key necklace Grandma had given her for her birthday last yearan heirloom from their great-great-grandmother. "Sure, it would have been too much for Fairfield High, but this is private school in Las Vegas. The first day is when everyone gets most dressed up, so I want to be ready."
"I was just trying to help, but whatever makes you happy." Courtney toyed with her necklace. "You're lucky you aren't nervous."
"You think I'm not nervous?" Savannah had tossed and turned all night, and her hands had been shaking all morning. "I don't know anyone in my grade. And I have no idea what'll happen if I run into Damien or Nickwhich I'm assuming I will, since the school is small." She frowned, thinking about how stupidly optimistic she'd felt in the beginning of July at the Diamond Hotel grand opening, when Damien had apologized for kissing Madison, and Nick had given her attention all night. Because a week later, Damien had left on a month-long teen tour to Alaska and Hawaii, and Nick was always busy with work. "I'm worried that they'll see me and pretend they don't know me. Or that they've forgotten about me."
The pathetic part was that it had been weeks since she'd heard from either of themaside from an occasional text from Nick that he felt bad about not having time to hang outand she checked up on them daily on Facebook and Twitter. Nick had been inactive on both, but Damien had posted pictures on Facebook from his trip, of him with gorgeous, confident girlsthe types of girls who made Savannah fade into the background. Girls like Madison Lockhart.
Which was why it was extra important that her first-day-of-school outfit was perfect. She needed to stand out, not fade away.
"You'll make friends," Courtney said. "And if Damien and Nick ignore you, they're not worth your time."
"Maybe." She knew Courtney was right, but that didn't mean it would hurt less if they pretended they didn't know her.
"I'm worried about the classes," Courtney said. "What if the tutoring this summer wasn't enough and we're behind? I could barely sleep last night thinking about it."
"You do look tired." Savannah observed the dark circles under Courtney's eyes. "Let me help." She applied concealer on her sister's face, pink blush to brighten her cheeks, and mascara so she looked like she'd made a little effort. "That's better. Now no one will know."
"Unless I fall asleep in class." Courtney laughed, wringing her hands together.
"That'll never happen," Savannah said. "You'll probably find class so fascinating that it'll keep you wide awake."
"We'll see," she said. "But let's head into the dining room. Adrian and Rebecca will be here any minute."
Savannah jingled her bracelets again at the mention of their father, Las Vegas hotel owner extraordinaire Adrian Diamond. He still didn't know her or her sisters deeper than surface level, even though they'd been living here for weeks. But he and his fiancée, Rebecca Carmel, had insisted they order room service so that they could have breakfast together before the first day of school. Adrian had been making small attempts like this to chat with them all summer, but he constantly traveled for work, and when he was in town he had business meetings, golf games or was locked in his office. He made time for Rebecca, but whenever he talked to Savannah and her sisters, there was a wall between them.
Savannah followed Courtney into the dining room. "Is Peyton up?" she asked.
"She was waging war with the snooze alarm twenty minutes ago, but I forced her awake," Courtney said. "She should be out of the shower soon."
"Sure she will," Savannah said. Peyton was notorious for her marathon shower sessions that stole all the hot water and made them late for school.
Her phone buzzed with a text message. It was from Evie, her best friend in Fairfield. Her heart warmed when she saw the texttexting before school had been something they did all the time before Savannah moved.
Good luck on your first day! You're so lucky your new school starts in Sep. Stupid fairfield high starting so early. #jealous ;) thanks! I'm so nervous tho. wish you were here!!! <3
Fairfield high isn't as fun without you! <3 What'd you decide to wear?
Savannah snapped a picture of herself and sent it to Evie.
Cute! But isn't it too much for school?? I would totally LOVE it for a party, but you don't want everyone to think you're trying too hard it's fine for school in Vegas!!! ;)
Savannah's hands shook, and she paused before pressing Send. Could Evie be right? It was the same thing Courtney had said, and while Courtney didn't care about fashion, Evie did. Maybe she should switch out the skirt for jeggings, or match it with a more casual top, or wear shoes that wouldn't hurt her feet by lunch.
She was almost back to her room to change when the door to the condo opened, and Adrian and Rebecca strolled inside.
Adrian wore a navy suitSavannah had never seen him in anything but a suitand even though it was 7:00 a.m., his blue eyes were bright and his skin was glowing. The same couldn't be said of Rebecca, whose brown hair tumbled down her back in the most unruly way Savannah had ever seen it, and who was still in her pink silk pajamas. She poured herself a generous amount of coffee and cradled the cup as if it held the key to her survival.
"Is Peyton not ready for breakfast?" Adrian asked, pouring his own cup of coffee.
"I'll get her," Savannah said, glad to have something to do. Especially since this was the opposite of breakfasts back in Fairfield, which had usually been eaten on the go, because their mom had cared more about sleeping off her hangover than waking up so they could eat as a family.
"Peyton?" Savannah stepped into her sister's room and found her bent over, unraveling a towel on her head. "Are you almost ready for breakfast?"
"In a minute," Peyton mumbled, wrestling a hairbrush through her hair. Once finished, she flipped her hair up, giving a full view of her outfit.
"You're not allowed to wear jeans with rips in them," Savannah said. "It's against the dress code."
"Screw the dress code." Peyton marched to her vanity and lined her eyes with thick black liner. "These are the jeans I feel like wearing today."
"But you have so many jeans without rips in them," Savannah pointed out, knowing the only reason Peyton "felt" like wearing those today was because they were against the dress code. "Why don't you wear one of them instead?"
"Because I want to wear these." Peyton jutted out her chin and continued with her makeup. "And you apparently want to dress like you're going to a club instead of to school, but I'm not knocking your outfit and telling you to change, am I?"
"You just sort of did, but whatever." Savannah ran her hands over her skirt. Her clothes might have been more fashion forward, but they didn't break the dress code. Besides, what did Peyton know about what students wore at The Goodman School? No more than Courtney or Evie. "It's not my problem if you get in trouble. Are you coming to breakfast?"
"It's so dumb that we had to wake up thirty minutes earlier for this fancy breakfast," Peyton grumbled.
"I think Adrian's trying to be nice," Savannah said. "But you should see Rebecca. She's so not a morning person."
"I guess I have one thing in common with her." Peyton smirked. "And what about Adrian? Pristine, as always?"
"Of course," Savannah said. "You would think he doesn't need sleep."
"Maybe he's a vampire." Peyton laughed. "Like in those movies you like where they sparkle. They don't sleep, right?"
"I know you secretly like Twilight." Savannah's stomach rumbled, and she wrapped her arms around it. "But I'm starving, and the food smells amazing. Come on."
Room service had finished setting up breakfast, so the glass table had a white cloth spread on top of it, and the plates waiting at each seat were covered with silver domes like they were at a banquet. Adrian raised an eyebrow when he saw Peyton's jeans, but said nothing.
"Is Brett coming?" Savannah asked Rebecca.
"He had trouble waking up this morning, so he's still getting ready," Rebecca said.
Savannah wasn't surprised. Ever since Courtney and Brett's public kiss at the grand opening, Brett avoided as many family meals as possible. Savannah had tried talking with Courtney about it, but her sister had shrugged it off, saying the kiss was a one-time thing, since Brett was off-limits as their stepbrother-to-be, and she needed to focus on school instead of guys. It was so typically Courtneyshe was too much of a rule follower to rebel, and she was an expert at controlling her emotions. Savannah wished she could control her own half as well.
Still, she felt bad for Brett. He had a lot in common with Courtney, and they'd gotten along so well. But Courtney wouldn't budgeshe'd had schoolwork and studying for the SATs on her mind all summer. Brett would have to get over her.
Just like Savannah would get over Damien. And Nick. At least, she hoped so.
"Are the three of you looking forward to your first day of school?" Adrian removed the cover from his plate, and they all followed his lead.
"Yeah." Savannah poured syrup on her pancakes and took a bite. They were fluffy and delicious. "I'm excited to meet everyone." Her knees also bounced with worry about Damien and Nick, but she couldn't discuss her guy problems with Adrian.
"I'm nervous about the classes." Courtney cut her omelet, releasing the steam from inside. "I hope I'm not behind."
"Your tutor said you're ready to begin Goodman," Adrian said. "She was impressed by your work ethic."
"Thanks." Courtney took a bite of her food, although she chewed so slowly it was like she was force-feeding herself.
"What about you, Peyton?" Rebecca asked.
"The only thing I'm excited about is how this will be the last first day of school I'll ever have," she said. "I can't wait to be done with classes forever."
"You don't know that," Rebecca said. "You might change your mind about college."
"No, I won't." Peyton huffed and poured herself a cup of coffee. "I can barely sit through high school classes, and I've heard they're short compared to college classes. No, thanks."
"You can make a decision about college when you find out which schools accept you," Adrian said calmly. "No one is forcing you to go, but it can't hurt to explore your options."
"Whatever." Peyton shrugged and focused on her food.
Once they finished eating, Adrian placed his napkin on the table and glanced at his watch. "Your ride will be waiting at the valet stand in fifteen minutes," he said. "Peyton, you need to change your jeans before you leave."
Peyton crossed her arms and glared at him. "Excuse me?"
"You have to change your jeans before you leave," he repeated. "I assume you put those on to disregard the school dress code. Your point has been madeyou dislike following arbitrary rulesand while I understand your stance, it would be selfish to make your sisters late because you insist on fighting a battle you can't win."
Savannah couldn't stop a laugh from escaping, and Peyton's glare turned to her. She refocused on her food and took another bite of pancake, even though it was now cold and soggy, and she was full.
"It's almost time to leave," Adrian said, his eyes on Peyton. "If you would like, Rebecca or I can assist you in choosing a more suitable pair of pants."
"That won't be necessary." Peyton shoved her chair back, the metal shrieking against the marble floor. "I can dress myself."
"Glad to hear it," Adrian said as she slammed her door. No one at the table said a word, and the hint of a smile crossed his face. "I used to be the same way when I was a teenager."
Savannah couldn't imagine Adrian as a teenager, especially a teenager who was similar to Peyton. But his approach worked, because Peyton returned a few minutes later wearing black jeans with no rips or holes in them, her lips pressed into a pissed-off line. The jeans were so low-rise that a slit of skin showed between them and her shirt, but her belly button wasn't showing, so she wasn't breaking the dress code.
"Much better." Adrian nodded at Peyton's choice. "I have somewhere I need to be now, but I've made a reservation for dinner tonight so that you can tell Rebecca and me about your first day at Goodman."
They said their goodbyes, and Rebecca stayed behind, making sure their bags were packed with everything they needed. Instead of Savannah's ancient backpack, she had a new purple Longchamp totethe same bag that many of the volleyball girls at Fairfield High had had and that she could never afford. Inside of it was her MacBook Pro. Apparently at Goodman, bringing a laptop to school wasn't begging someone to steal or vandalize it.
As Adrian promised, a limo was waiting for them at the valet stand. Savannah had been on many limo rides since arriving in Las Vegas, but it still didn't feel normal. Courtney's bodyguard, Teddy, drove them, and Savannah's and Peyton's bodyguards followed in a car behind. One of them would be on the Goodman campus at all times when they were at school. So awkward.
"It's dumb that Adrian won't let me drive us," Peyton said once they were seated. "What good are the Range Rovers he bought us if we can't take them to school?"