DIAMONDS IN THE DUST, a dark mafia romance, is now available on all platforms in e-book and paperback. Audio coming soon!
5 Little Flower CROWNS
Diamonds in the Dust is the first book of a trilogy. It is set in the same world as Beauty in the Broken by this author, and is about Damien’s younger sister Zoe. The events in this first book take place before those in Beauty but I’m assuming that at some point they will catch up. You don’t have to have read Beauty to enjoy this story but I highly recommend that book too.
Zoe very much finds herself a pawn in a complicated game being played by a powerful mafia family, in order to engineer and control a situation involving her brother. She’s essentially kidnapped, and, with little real alternative once the stark reality of her situation is explained to her, she choses the lesser of two evils and, almost by default, becomes the mistress of underboss Maxime Belshaw. Maxime’s decision is spur of the moment, and his need to shield her from his despicable family is unexpected and comes as a real surprise to him. I love the way he’s confused by his feelings for her. Then again, the life he leads means he’s never come across someone like Zoe before.
I have to say I really liked Zoe. Left to fend for herself she’s barely scraping a living but nevertheless, she has managed to build a life and keep a roof over her head. Without warning, however, she finds herself stripped of her independence and manipulated at every turn. Maxime likes to control her by seemingly giving her choices but really these are no choices at all when one of them comes with severe consequences for her. Despite this, I admired the fact that Zoe doesn’t cower, or lose the will to stand up for herself whenever she can. Even in her compliance she often remains defiant, even if that defiance has to stay within the confines of her own mind for the most part. I loved her spirit and her intelligence and the way that, in Maxime’s words, she’s a little uncultured but not uneducated. There’s a difference. There are however, a certain amount of “my body betrayed me” scenarios here, which under the circumstances are to be expected and are another demonstration of Maxime’s command over her.
This author has a distinct style when it comes to her leading men and Maxime is the epitome of an antihero. He tries to be fair, in his own way, whilst still maintaining his dominance over Zoe and operating a sort of tit for tat method of reward and punishment. However, just when I stared to warm to him he did something that reminded me that he is actually a very bad man and quite frankly made me want to chop his bits off! He may be all Zoe has at the moment but make no mistake, he’s no Prince Charming.
There’s a certain amount of setting the ground rules in this first book and, be aware, it is a dark read with possible triggers for some. Life seems to have been cruel to both these characters in the past and I feel we’ve only just scratched the surface when it comes to their earlier lives, what experiences have made them into the people they are in the present. I have no idea what’s in store for this couple and book one ends with everything very much up in the air. I loved it and I’m extremely excited to find out what happens next when their story continues with book two, Diamonds in the Rough.
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.
*Diamonds in the Dust is Book 1 of the Diamonds are Forever Trilogy and ends on a cliffhanger. Diamonds in the Rough (Book 2) releases on 14 July 2020 and Diamonds are Forever (Book 3) on 15 September 2020.
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Charmaine Pauls was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She obtained a degree in Communication at the University of Potchestroom, and followed a diverse career path in journalism, public relations, advertising, communications, photography, graphic design, and brand marketing. Her writing has always been an integral part of her professions.
After relocating to Chile with her French husband, she fulfilled her passion to write creatively full-time. Charmaine has published nine novels since 2011, as well as several short stories and articles. Two of her shorts have been
selected by the International Literary Society for an anthology from across the African continent.
When she is not writing, she likes to travel, read, and rescue cats. Charmaine currently lives in France with her husband and children. Their household is a linguistic mélange of Afrikaans, English, French and Spanish.