Publication date: August 24th 2021
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
Five glowing stars! Diamond in the Rough is the dark and dangerous world that I love from Skye Warren. You will be completely caught up in Elijah and Hollys story from the first page to the last.” – New York Times bestselling author Aleatha Romig
A breathless dangerous romance between…
– An ex-military man who believes he has no honor left, and
– A reclusive author on a mission to save her sister
This is the complete Diamonds trilogy in one collection.
Kidnapped. Stolen. Taken. Im thrown into a cell in a French prison. But Im not alone. Theres someone in here with me. Someone more dangerous than the men who brought me here.
A novel full of intrigue, secrets, lies, and a love that wont be denied, Diamond in the Rough is easily a top read of 2020.” – Celia Aaron, USA Today bestselling author of The Bad Guy
Whats with the name?”
Theres a weighted pause. Its just a name.”
Is it your real name? Or your pen name?”
Its my real name.”
Theres more to this story.”
What does it matter? Im trapped by a man you wont even tell me about.” Her frustration zips through the air like electricity, lighting me up from the inside out. I dont want to be too weak for this, too weak to protect her, but it was not a goddamn game—not really.
Ill tell you how I ended up in here. You tell me about your name. Fair?”
A pause. Fair.”
I lean my head back until it hits a shallow puddle. Christ. Its my job to stop this operation. Its also my job to steal from it. So I did my job.”
What kind of boss asks you to do that?”
The US government. Not a very ethical one. So the other guys jump me. Five on one makes for some ugly bruises. I ended up in here, and shortly after that, you came in.”
That isnt quite the whole story. Adam left me here with those bastards. One of them in particular, Peter, has a really nasty streak. I have the cigar burns and whip marks to prove it. Between the beatings, the torture, and the starvation, Im weak as a kitten.
The truly interesting part, though, is that Adam was only gone for a full day. Around twenty-four hours. Barely enough time to fly to the States and then back. He probably didnt even leave the airport there. Why? Hes so mercurial that it could be anything. Maybe he fancied a fuck with a flight attendant. Or maybe he had a hankering for plane food. Either way, he came back with this woman. Holland, she said her name was. Holland Frank.
Fine,” she says on a long sigh. Holland is my real name, but I only use it for legal documents. And for my books. Its an awkward name that everyone asks me about.”
Your parents like tulips?”
Or was it some kind of commentary about tilting at windmills.”
I think then my name would have been Spain.”
And why Holland? I think Netherlands has more of a ring to it.”
Are you done yet?”
This is my only entertainment. I could literally go all night.”
Since you insist on knowing, and you did hold up your end up the bargain, Ill tell you. My parents named me Holland because thats where I was conceived.”
And your sister?”
Wow. Thats kind of sweet. Until you think about it.”
Exactly. It is kind of sweet until you realize its about where your parents had sex.”
And then you just walk around, like a sex souvenir.”
Arent all kids sex souvenirs really?”
Yeah, but they arent all labeled with the citys name.”
So thats why I go by Holly.”
And your pen name?”
They wanted me to use a male pen name. Or something ambiguous like H.D. Frank. Male pen names tend to sell better, for the same exact book.”
So you went with Holland.”
Its not really a girls name. Imagine if Id been conceived in Antarctica.”
They wouldnt have done that to you. Would they?”
They love me, but they are really into the meaning of things.”
Im sure they would be fair game.” She doesnt sound mad about it, though. She sounds wistful, as if she loves her family. As if she misses them. Thats one upside to having a bastard of a father. I could be tortured for years and never miss him for a second.
My father was a cruel bastard, and even he wouldnt name me Madagascar.” Not that hed actually been to Madagascar or anywhere interesting. He would have had to call me Podunk, along with both my brothers, because thats where we were conceived.
Her attention turns softer, more interested. He was cruel?”
There were three of us. Three brothers. I was the youngest, which means I was the one left behind when they enlisted.” Memories are black as night. To say he was cruel is to call this cell cold. It cant come close to describing the bone-deep chill.”
Im sorry,” she says softly. I cant imagine.”
Thats a good thing. No one should know what its like.”
I love my sister. We fought like crazy and then we would hug and go to sleep in the same bed, even when we were ten years old we slept on the same twin bed. No matter what my parents did they couldnt get us to sleep in separate rooms. Until she discovered boys.”
Your parents,” I ask gingerly. Are they alive?”
Oh yes.” Her voice turns soft. Very much alive and well. After travelling the world, they settled in northern New York. Every other weekend they drive to Niagara Falls.”
Do they know where you are?” Its both a good and bad thing if they do.
No,” she says. My sister and I have a long-standing pact, going all the way from when we were little. We dont tattle on the other one. We dont get each other in trouble. We dont make our parents worry if we dont have to. For example, London never told them she found me with a boy outside the cathedral in Reims.”
I have this sudden memory, this recollection of tasting her.
You dont know the way I have sex. Its rough, Holly. Its… disrespectful. Cruel. You deserve better than that, especially for your first time.
Im embarrassed that I told her that. She was so innocent. Too innocent for me to even touch. What the fuck had I been thinking? I hope she found some kind, gentle person to take her virginity. Someone who would whisper sweet words and hold her afterward.
He was cruel,” I say, though thats an understatement.
Its hard to explain for someone with loving, if quirky, parents. They can never fully understand what its like to know fear before you know love.
Im sorry,” she whispers. Is that why you killed him?”
I was beaten and burned and battered to within an inch of death, but it didnt hurt as much as the memory. Searing pain through my body that no amount of fighting or fucking ever really remove. I keep thinking that one more job will make me forget, but it wont.
Soft hands move gently over my arm, my side, noting when I stiffen. She curls herself into the side of my chest like a cat seeking warmth. Or offering warmth. Her head rests on my shoulder. With shock I realize this is how it would have been—if I had fucked her eight years ago, if I had held her afterwards. This many years later, were having that moment of intimacy Id been too afraid to take. And why? Maybe I shouldn’t have pushed her away. What would have happened if I’d told her everything about the Louvre and the diamond?
Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of dangerous romance. Her books have sold over one million copies. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, sweet dogs, and evil cat.
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