Diamonds in the Dust Read online Charmaine Pauls (Diamonds are Forever Trilogy #1)

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, Dark, Romance Tags Authors: Series: Diamonds are Forever Trilogy Series by Charmaine Pauls
Total pages in book: 74
Estimated words: 71865 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 359(@200wpm)___ 287(@250wpm)___ 240(@300wpm)
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Read Online Books/Novels:

Diamonds in the Dust (Diamonds are Forever Trilogy #1)

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Charmaine Pauls

Language:
English
ISBN/ ASIN:
9782491833015
Book Information:

A DARK MAFIA ROMANCE
Men like us, we see things. We do things, things that make us unfeeling.
That’s the price of power and money, of living la belle vie and running the French mafia. Then she came along like a pretty wildflower pushing through the cracks on a dirty pavement—fragile yet resilient, a breath of beauty among the filth. She was supposed to be just another job, a nameless person I was to pluck from her life and hand to my brother, nothing but a pawn in the gamble of our diamond business.
There’s a psychological label for men like us. We lack empathy and guilt. We do things to have what we want, things that make flowers wilt.
(This is Book 1 of the Diamonds are Forever Trilogy and ends on a cliffhanger. Diamonds in the Rough (Book 2) will be released on 14 July 2020, and Diamonds are Forever (Book 3) on 15 September 2020.)
Books in Series:

Diamonds are Forever Trilogy Series by Charmaine Pauls

Books by Author:

Charmaine Pauls



Prologue

The screaming in the kitchen turns louder. Mommy and Daddy’s voices travel through the thin wall and sting my ears. It doesn’t hurt like when I had an ear infection, but it hurts in my chest, and I’m really scared.

I crouch in the corner on the bed I share with my brother, Damian, and hold Vanessa, my doll, close. I wish Damian was here, but it’s Sunday, and he’s delivering newspapers.

A thump shakes the bunker beds of my older brothers, Leon and Ian, against the opposite wall. Cups and plates rattle on the other side.

“Always the fucking same.” Daddy’s voice is too loud.

The neighbors will hear. I cringe, because they’ll look at me weird tomorrow when I play on the stairs.

“You’re all the fucking same.”

My heart flaps like the wings of that poor bird I saw in the awful cage in Auntie May’s kitchen with the poo scattered around it on the floor. I concentrate on the moldy patches on the wall and the crack that runs down the middle, holding my breath as I wait for the next thud to shake the floor. The dark stain in the corner looks like the head of a wolf with a long snout and a floppy ear. The one in the middle looks like a flower growing from the crack.

I knew it was coming, but when something crashes against the other side of the wall, I gasp quietly, careful not to make noise.

“It’s all right,” I whisper to Vanessa, clutching her tighter. I wish my name was something pretty like Vanessa. I hate my name. Zoe is a stupid name.

“How many times must I tell you, woman?” Daddy bellows. “You don’t—”

Mommy’s voice is shrill. “You don’t tell me what to do!”

I lay Vanessa on the bed, trembling as I try to block out the angry voices. “Shh.” She stares at me with big, happy eyes, but I know she’s just as scared as I am. I know how to smile to look brave.

Maybe they’ll stop.

Sometimes, they do.

I push Vanessa’s arm through the hole I’ve cut from one of granny’s napkins with Mommy’s nail scissors and tie the ends in a knot. It doesn’t matter that she only has one arm. It’s a pretty dress all the same.

Something crashes. The noise is sharp and dull, like when grandpa chops wood.

“I’ll fucking kill us all!” Daddy shouts.

Mommy’s footsteps fall hard on the floor. “Don’t touch me! I’ll stab you! I’m not kidding, you fucking prick!”

It hurts to breathe. My eyes burn and tears start to drip. They plop on my hands, warm and wet. I’m dizzy and hot, like when I had the flu. Scrambling off the bed, I grab Vanessa and my book and dash down the short hallway to the broom closet at the end.

Please don’t let them see me.

I close my eyes as I pass the kitchen door, but nobody calls my name or grabs the collar of my dress. The closet door squeaks as I open it and slip inside the darkness that smells of shoe polish and dust. I close it tightly, so tightly you can’t even see the light through the crack, and feel under the cushions on the scratchy blanket of my nest for the flashlight. Huddling in the corner of my hiding place, I flick on the light and rock with Vanessa and my book in my arms.

The book is big and heavy. It’s my only other possession, and I take it everywhere I go. The pages are dirty from all the times I’ve licked my fingers to separate them. Damian says they have dog ears, although I’m not sure where he sees the dogs. When I ask him, he just laughs at me. The spine is cracked and slack with stitches sticking out like my dresses when Mommy takes out the seams so I can wear them another year. When I open the book, it falls open at the same place it always does, on the first page of my favorite story about the princess and the frog.

The tinkling of breaking glass pierces my safe place. Pinching my eyes shut, I block out the terrible sound that’s scarier than monsters.

More stuff falls over somewhere.

I force myself to open my eyes and look at the picture. I know each outline and every color of the princess in her puffy, pink dress, the golden ball lying next to the pond, the green leaves of the water lilies, and the frog sitting on them.

Pushing my finger on the page, I drag it along the letters as I whisper, “Once upon a time…”

I can’t read yet, but I know the story by heart.

“…there was a beautiful princess who lived in a castle.”

The book is like magic. The world in the story becomes real, and the sounds coming from down the hallway fade as I turn into the princess in the pink dress, standing next to the pond on the softest, greenest grass in my silk slippers with my golden ball. I’m a beautiful girl with yellow hair just like in the picture, not the boring color of dark-brown coffee like my own hair, and—

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