Beauty in Deception – A Diamond Magnate Novel Read Online Charmaine Pauls

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, Crime, Mafia Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 61
Estimated words: 59734 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 299(@200wpm)___ 239(@250wpm)___ 199(@300wpm)

“I’m a decoy, another woman’s double, and now her enemy has taken me.”

My life is governed by three rules.

Don’t get caught.
If caught, play the role.
Win time until rescue arrives.

My life depends on playing the role convincingly. I’ve been trained for that role since the age of fifteen. For ten long years, I’ve been taught to be someone else, to respond to a different name, and to live in another woman’s shadow. Evie Warren is the most coveted mafia princess in the country, and I’m her double. I’m the decoy, her stunt girl, so to speak.

So when I break the first rule, I know it’s bad. I know it’s going to get worse when the man who carjacked my convoy gives me two options, telling me he hopes I won’t choose the second one. And when he calls me Evie, he confirms my worst suspicion. The attack was premeditated.

There can only be two reasons why he wants to take Evie. He wants her either for ransom or for revenge, and Bell Warren, her father, has more enemies than money.

Beauty in Deception is a short standalone novel with no cliffhanger. The book is part of the Diamond Magnate Collection. You don't need to read the other books to follow this story.

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“I want to show you something.”

Whenever Evie says that, I don’t want to see it.

But no isn’t an option.

She takes my hand and leads me from her bedroom to the elevator at the end of the hallway. The red light blinks when she pushes on the button. We stand side by side, our full-length images reflecting in the steel of the door.

We could’ve been twins. We’re the same height and weight, and, thanks to hair dye, we’re both blondes. Evie’s natural color is wheat blond. Mine is mahogany brown, but the shoulder-length strands have been expertly colored to match Evie’s shade down to her platinum highlights. My diet has been adapted so I weigh the same as her. If we strip naked, my breasts are smaller and my hips narrower. However, with the high necklines and wide skirts of our identical evening gowns, the difference in our build is hardly noticeable.

The elevator pings.

“Come,” she says, tugging on my hand when the door opens.

We step inside.

I check my watch, not a Rolex like hers but a good imitation. “We’re going to be late.”

She stares at the floor numbers above the door. “They can wait.”

“Your father won’t be happy.” If there’s one man I don’t want to piss off, it’s Bell Warren.

A frown scrunches up her face. “It’s not like I want to go to the party.”

I try to sound upbeat. “It’s your engagement party.”

“Exactly.” She blows out a sigh before meeting my gaze. “It’s not like I want to marry Nathan Stone, either.”

Biting my lip, I consider my answer. I want to tell her it will be fine, but I don’t know Nathan. Neither does she. All we know is that the marriage will further her father’s business. The alliance will unite two of the most powerful crime families in Johannesburg. Together, the Warrens and the Stones will own most of the private diamond mines in South Africa.

The elevator stops on the underground level. Overhead lights flick on as we exit into the hallway. The air is cool down here. Goosebumps run over my naked arms. Our heels clack on the tiles as we make our way to a room I’ve visited once. It’s the vault where her father keeps his most valuable antiques and paintings. He’s an enthusiastic collector. Some say he’s trying to compensate for his lack of character with exquisite artwork and priceless gems.

Evie punches in a code on the electronic wall panel. I’m surprised she knows it. Reflexively, I memorize the numbers. I won’t visit the room alone. I don’t have a death wish. It’s just something I’m used to doing. I’ve been memorizing Evie’s ID and bank account numbers as well as her secret pin codes from the age of sixteen. She’s twenty-four now, and I’m one year older. Nine years make for a lot of practice.

The metal door slides open soundlessly, revealing a room with a marble floor and gold-framed mirrors.

“There.” She lets go of my hand and points at the waist-high pillar in the center. “Let’s go have a look.”

“Won’t we get into trouble?” I ask, but she’s already halfway across the floor.

I glance over my shoulder before I follow and stop next to her.

In a glass case on top of the pillar sits the biggest diamond I’ve seen, and, thanks to Bell Warren’s business, I’ve seen a lot. This one is over sixty carats, nothing short of a wonder. It catches the light from the spots in the ceiling and throws it back in rainbows that bounce off the mirrors.

“It’s worth a few trillion,” Evie says, studying the stone. “Actually, it’s priceless.”

Like the first time Bell brought me here, I can’t stop staring at its pretty sparkle. Bell showed me the gem to demonstrate his wealth and power. The stone is pure, and its color is perfect. It’s a pity it’s tainted with blood.

The diamond was discovered on a plot of land Daniel Malan prospected in Cullinan. According to rumors, Daniel owed Bell money, and everyone knows how Bells collects his debts. To save the lives of his family, Daniel paid his debt with the diamond and signed over his prospecting rights to Bell.

Not one month later, Daniel was killed in a carjacking. People say he arranged his own murder for his life insurance policy to pay out. Allegedly, it was the only way he could provide for his wife and sons. Roman, the eldest, took the reins and built a new business with his inheritance. He’s thirty-three years old now and a billionaire in his own right. I’ve never met him, but not a single person in Johannesburg is unfamiliar with his name. He’s the head of one of the most notorious mafia families in the country. The Warrens and the Malans have been at war for as long as I can remember.