Trade It All (The Barrington Billionaires Book 3)

By: Ruth Cardello

Chapter One




August, ten years earlier

Willa Chambers hesitated at the door of the guest bedroom she and her twin sister, Lexi, were sharing for the week. Their friend, Kenzi Barrington, had invited them to join her family at their beach house on Nantucket Island as an end-of-summer getaway. It wasn’t the first time Willa had gone on vacation with the Barringtons, but this weekend was special.

Willa was eighteen and heading off to Acadia University with Lexi and Kenzi in a few weeks. They weren’t children anymore. They were confident women following their dreams and, happily, taking their first big steps together.

Willa wanted a solid career somewhere within the artistic community. She had a deep appreciation for creative works in all forms and, although she’d been told she had a natural talent, she kept her aspirations realistic. If she could support the art community in a meaningful way and make a living at it, she’d consider herself a success.

Lexi wanted to be famous. Or rich. Or rich and famous. She didn’t care which came first as long as she found her way to both.

Kenzi—well, she was harder to figure out. Her educational choices were based more on emotion than career path. She was already financially set for life. On her twenty-first birthday, she would inherit a large trust fund from a grandfather she said she’d never known. Kenzi didn’t talk about her family much, but Willa knew their relationship was strained. Kenzi didn’t like to go home without Willa and Lexi with her. They were her buffer. Her sisters. Willa wasn’t surprised when Kenzi choose the same university as she and Lexi had. For someone who seemed to have everything, Kenzi clung to their friendship. She said they were her sanity.

Us? Willa smiled ruefully. Poor Kenzi.

Lexi joined her at the doorway in a tiny, neon-pink bikini that was barely decent. Her long blonde hair was tied back in a ponytail that flipped back and forth behind her as she shook her head. Her blue eyes turned critical. “You’re not coming down to the beach?”

“I am,” Willa answered and waved a towel in the air.

Lexi frowned. “Did you forget your bathing suit?”

“I have it on under this.” Willa referenced her denim shorts and T-shirt.

Lexi shook her head and laughed. “Of course you do. Come on; Kenzi said to meet her down on the beach. Her brothers arrived late last night and this morning. They’re all here, you know. Even Lance.” Lexi wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.

Willa blushed. “I know.”

“Look at you, pretending you don’t care.”

Willa gave her sister a playful shove. “I like him. No big deal.”

“You don’t like him, you like him.”

Willa rolled her eyes and tried to look cooler than she felt. “Whatever.”

“You’ve had a crush on him for—like forever. Are you ever going to do anything about it?”

“He’s Kenzi’s brother,” Willa said in protest.

“So what?” Lexi flounced beside her. “We’re not in high school anymore. Aren’t you curious if college guys kiss better?”

I barely know how high school boys kiss. But that wasn’t a conversation Willa wanted to have with Lexi. Sometimes it was simply easier to agree. “I guess.”

Willa closed her eyes briefly and let herself imagine kissing Lance. He was two years older than them and already in college at MIT. He was a dual major: Applied Mathematics and Architecture. Brilliant. Gorgeous. He was also the reason she had trouble dating. No one could compare. From the first time Lance had visited the boarding school she, Lexi, and Kenzi attended, Willa had been smitten. Lance was naturally confident. He walked into a room and introduced himself as if everyone should know his name. And everyone did. And his eyes. Oh God, those eyes. Dark brown until he talked about something he cared about then they went almost black.

Willa sighed. A look from him was enough to bring a flush to most girls’ cheeks. Rowing for a college team had given him an enviable chest and arms—muscular, strong, powerful. He was the perfect height at just over six foot. His face? So stunningly chiseled even married women stopped to take a second look. Really there wasn’t an inch of him Willa could imagine not being perfect. She’d spent a significant amount of time imagining it.

And he was downstairs.

Lexi shot her a cheeky grin. “He’s hot. If you don’t want him, maybe I’ll give him a go.”

Willa froze. Her eyes flew to Lexi’s to gauge how serious she was. Lexi had always been the more impulsive of the two of them and Willa, for the most part, has been okay with that. Although genetically they were identical, with the same blonde hair and blue eyes, Willa had never felt beautiful. She’d heard people joke that even between twins there was a prettier one, and that had always been Lexi.

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