Read The Rules Online

Authors: Delaney Diamond

Tags: #contemporary romance, african-american romance

The Rules

BOOK: The Rules
10.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Table of Contents


Copyright Page


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one

Chapter Twenty-two

Chapter Twenty-three

Chapter Twenty-four

Chapter Twenty-five

Chapter Twenty-six

Chapter Twenty-seven

Chapter Twenty-eight

Chapter Twenty-nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-one

Chapter Thirty-two

Chapter Thirty-three

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More Stories by Delaney Diamond

About the Author


Terri Slade learned the hard way to play by her own set of rules. Rule number one, maintain control. Rule number two, never fall in love. Then she met Gavin Johnson and broke both her rules.

Gavin Johnson has lived a charmed life full of adventure. In Terri he thinks he’s found a kindred spirit and even considers settling down. But when the truth about her past is revealed, their perfect relationship falls apart, and Gavin’s left to wonder if he ever really knew her at all.

The Rules

by Delaney Diamond

Copyright © September 2015, Delaney Diamond

Delaney Diamond

Atlanta, Georgia

ISBN: 978-1-940636-20-7

This book is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No part of this e-book may be reproduced or shared by any electronic or mechanical means, including but not limited to printing, file sharing, and e-mail, without prior written permission from Delaney Diamond.





Three years ago


She shouldn’t have come. She should be long gone by now, on a plane to the other side of the country, but had been unable to leave Georgia without seeing the conclusion of the trial. Terri Slade sat in the back of the crowded courtroom and listened to the judge hand down the sentence.

Five years. They only gave him five years. Not nearly enough time for the havoc he wreaked on the lives of unsuspecting victims. The scams he perpetrated generated millions in a criminal enterprise, in which he was the CEO, COO, and CFO. The effects of his illegal activities would ripple through the state for years to come.

The judge pounded her gavel, finalizing the sentence for Talon Cyrenci, and then he was being led toward the exit in an orange jumpsuit in between two deputies. Terri’s eyes followed him, wary tension vibrating through her body.

He’s handcuffed. He can’t hurt you.

Suddenly, his head turned, and those evil eyes zeroed in on her in the back row. His jaw tightened when their gazes met and the icy green stare caused her to freeze on the wooden seat. She tilted her head higher, unwilling to cow to his intimidation tactics, even as the knot in her stomach betrayed the fear his very presence evoked. At the last moment, before he stepped through the door to exit the courtroom, the expression on his face changed. His thin lips upturned into a mocking smirk and a promise entered the depths of his eyes.

She recognized the look. It was one that she’d seen directed at men who had crossed him. Oftentimes, the look had been directed at her, and the meaning made the cold sweat of fear trickle down the back of her neck.

She was going to pay for what she’d done.

Chapter One

Present day


Gavin Johnson rolled down his pants leg when the doctor finished the examination. The past couple of months he had rested in Seattle, healing from broken bones after a rock-climbing accident in the Andes mountain range of Argentina. Today the door to freedom edged open, and once the doctor confirmed his complete rehabilitation, he was going on the road again.

“So doc, what’s the word? Am I free man?” He hopped down from the exam table.

“A bit anxious to get out of here, are you?” Dr. Amee, one of the country’s leading orthopedic specialists, observed Gavin over thick glasses from his position on the rolling stool. The older man’s salt and pepper hair lay swept back from his broad forehead and a wrinkled face which remained in a perpetual frown, no matter his mood.

“A little bit. I need you to confirm everything is fine and I’ll be on my way.” Gavin rubbed his palms together, anticipating good news.

His family had made such a stink about him remaining in Seattle after the accident, he acquiesced and did as they asked—no, demanded. They insisted he stay at his mother’s house, but he compromised by renting a three-story mansion not far from hers on Lake Washington.

Dr. Amee stood. “You’re fine. The broken femur repaired itself very well, your ribs are fine, your ankle—”

“Yeah, yeah. We’re done, right?”

The doctor sighed. “Yes, Mr. Johnson. We’re done. But are you done?”

“What do you mean?” Gavin knew exactly what the doctor meant. The question hinted at the same cautionary words he’d heard for years.

That’s so dangerous.

Slow down.

Don’t take so many risks.

He heard the pleas but didn’t know how to do what they asked. The adrenaline rush of extreme sports and endurance-testing competitions made his heart race and mind go blank, sending him into a drug-like state where he felt suspended in the middle of time and space. Nothing else came close to giving him the same high.

“Your mother is very concerned about you.” Dr. Amee watched Gavin from beneath bushy, furrowed eyebrows.

“You know how parents are. You’re a parent yourself.” Gavin flashed a grin, already contemplating the next adventure. He might fly to Dubai for a fortnight to spend time with his favorite Middle Eastern prince. That guy knew how to party, and Gavin was ready to get back on the party scene.

“You’re free to go, Mr. Johnson.” The doctor’s disapproving tone mimicked the discontent of a parent rather than a doctor.

“Thanks, doc.”

Gavin shook Dr. Amee’s hand and bolted from the exam room, the weight of stagnation lifting from his shoulders. On the way out, he said goodbye to the receptionists and once outside, donned sunglasses and lifted his face to the sun.


Hours later, a driver dropped Gavin off in front of his younger brother’s building, on the corner of Virginia and Fourth Avenue in the heart of Seattle. He’d called ahead to let him know he was coming by. He took the elevator to the penthouse, and when he stepped into the vestibule, used the key card to let himself into the deluxe condo. Immediately, inconspicuous speakers emitted the sound of stringed instruments to greet him.

“Trent, where are you?” he called, strolling to the kitchen.

“Be right there.” Trenton appeared—light-skinned with green eyes—the physical opposite of Gavin. He wore a pair of aged jeans, leaving his tatted arms and back exposed.

His girlfriend’s dog, a black and brown Yorkshire Terrier, trotted out beside him.

“How’re you doing, Angel?” Gavin asked the dog.

She barked and wagged her tail before plopping down next to the wall.

“What did the doctor say?” Trenton asked.

Gavin spread his arms wide and grinned. “I’m done. No more therapy or checkups necessary.” He opened the refrigerator and flicked his eyes over the offerings on the shelves. “What do you have to eat in here?”

“Nothing much. Half a sandwich I picked up from Aldi’s Market and leftover Thai.”

Gavin glanced at his brother. “Do you eat at that place every week?”

“Almost.” Trenton rested his back against the wall. “Alannah will be here any minute. You should stick around. She’s cooking tonight.”

“No, thanks. You and your wife together are nauseating.” Trenton and Alannah weren’t really married, but they might as well be.

Trenton laughed. “After all those years of teasing me about her, and now we’re together, you’re mad?”

“I’m not mad, but did you have to move in together? I’m still trying to figure out how you convinced sweet, nice Alannah to move into your condo to ‘save money’ while she goes back to school.” A weak argument if he ever heard one.

Trenton’s face broke into a mischievous grin. “We were together all the time anyway. It made sense.”

“Uh-huh. If you say so.” Gavin lifted the sandwich from the refrigerator and peeled back the paper. Roast beef on rye. He sniffed it. “I’ll take this,” he announced, and took a bite.

“Throw me a beer.”

Gavin tossed a can of their family’s Full Moon brew to his brother and grabbed one for himself.

The music came on again, indicating someone had entered the condo. The dog jumped up and started dancing around, and Trenton’s face transformed into a big grin when Alannah appeared.

Yep, nauseating.

Gavin couldn’t deny Alannah was a cutie, though, with her freckles and sweet smile. But recently she’d transformed from a quiet, conservative woman into a confident hottie. Today she wore her long hair in a high ponytail, had a yoga mat tucked under an arm, and wore pale pink yoga gear that hugged her slender curves.

Right behind her, another woman, dressed similarly, followed. This woman practically burst out of her exercise clothes with a video-vixen body—a veritable gift from the gods to his eyeballs. Her breasts strained against the top, large and hefty enough to overflow in his hands if he cupped them. Her legs, which looked as sturdy as columns, were clad in black yoga pants.

Not too tall, not too short, she moved with effortless grace, hips swinging from side to side in a way that made his loins heavy and his mouth water. An eye-catching woman. Her brand of sex appeal inspired the average man to make bad decisions—like hand over his heart and empty his wallet. Fortunately, he was not average.

“Hey Gavin, how are you?”

Alannah’s bright smile rivaled Trenton’s as she sidled over to his brother.

“Hey, Alannah,” Gavin muttered. He watched as Trenton enfolded her in his arms and they kissed, loud and long, as if no one else was in the room and they hadn’t seen each other this morning. “Don’t mind me. I’m just here for the food.”

“Sorry.” Alannah giggled, blushing. “I’m being rude. This is my friend, Terri Slade. Terri, this is—”

“Gavin Johnson.” Terri extended her hand. “Nice to meet you.”

A smooth, cool voice slipped into his ears, containing a hint of sultriness that sent a shiver down his neck.

“The pleasure is all mine.” He took her hand. Slender fingers touched his, and a tingling sensation suffused his palm.

Terri looked him directly in the eyes, as though challenging him. She had a firm handshake, but extremely soft hands and white-tipped, manicured nails. Everything about her seemed well put together. Ebony hair pulled back into a short French braid, arched brows above dark brown eyes, full lips, and a honey-brown complexion with a fine dusting of makeup.

And her body…Gavin stifled a groan, unable to resist making another sweep of her build, and bit into the sandwich. Chewing slowly. He tried not to stare, but it was nigh on impossible when she had curves galore, just the way he liked his women, with hips, breasts, and meat on her bones.

“You staying for dinner?” he asked.

“No. Hanging out for a bit, then I’m heading home.”

“Make sure you guys are out of my kitchen when I come back out so I have room to work,” Alannah said, picking up her dog. “Come on, Terri.” Both women headed down the hall.

Gavin watched them disappear, Terri pulling up the rear and her heart-shaped backside swinging like a clock’s pendulum in the most provocative way. What a beautiful view.

BOOK: The Rules
10.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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