Enter Oliver Black and his irresistible persona. He’s strong, caring, and doesn’t question her need for freedom. Sophie is Oliver’s feminine equal in a lion’s life—she’s his eyes and ears and has his heart in her pocket. They have enough passion to paint the town red with love; however, a lurking and dangerous rival fears their union is a problem.
The price of fame and the cost of a high-profile relationship collide as the media spins a yarn to suit their ratings. Before they know it, the romance begins to falter. Can the two reconcile their opposing views before it is too late, or will they lose the greatest love they’ve ever known? A devil of a choice is in order.
The odds are stacked against Sophie and Oliver in this second installment of the Diamond in the Rough series. What is the truth? Who is the real enemy? There’s no two ways about it—ready or not, he will come.
“You know how stars die?” he says, pensive.
Sophie doesn’t realize he’s looking at her until he speaks. “What?” His question comes in the middle of her haze.
“Supernova,” he explains.
Sophie is so far removed from her own everyday personality that Oliver thinks she’s using up all her willpower to not tumble to the ground or show any indication of weakness. Whatever it is, whatever happens, Sophie is calm. She’s stubborn like that—gloriously, delightfully stubborn—and can keep up the act until the end of things if she wants to. Even though Sophie is determined to make the best of it, Oliver is certain she’ll explode like a radiator cap under pressure at some point, fears for the day that he’ll hear of it.
“Massive stars die when they have exhausted their burning fuel,” he points out, “and the result is a stellar blast that briefly outshines an entire galaxy.”
“You’ve been watching too much Discovery Channel,” she jokes, returning her gaze to the sky.
“Actually, it was Cosmos on Fox. But give it some thought, stars give out large amounts of energy and burn and gleam with their diamond brilliance and then…then nothing.”
Sophie has no clue what hocus-pocus this man says most of the time or how his mind operates. But it’s wonderful, the way he gets her thinking about life.
“When a star dies, it shoots out cosmic dust across the universe, and the remains are scattered all over, creating new stars, new solar systems. We are all formed from this rich elemental material. This is our life. This chair. This lake. You. Me.”
“Stardust,” she says, voice low.
“So a star died and gave me life, is that what you’re saying?” She glances at him, her eyebrows raised in disbelief. “How tragic.”
“Well, yes. You live because stars died; it’s that simple. It’s not tragic, it’s science. And I wouldn’t just look at it that way. There’s always a different way to see things.”
“How would you look at it then?”
“There are almost seven billion billion billion atoms inside the human body, yes?”
“Uh…huh…” Who even knows the answer to that? Not her, that’s for sure.
“And almost all atoms are formed in atom forges. Otherwise known as stars.”
“What’s your point?”
“My point is, Sophie, the stars of long ago are physically a part of us. So, perhaps, a millennia ago someone may have wished upon a star that you are made of.”
Sophie looks at him, his face silhouetted under the radiance of the moon, his eyes the palest blue, and even though the night partially dims his features, she still sees him in a positive light. She gets up and goes to sit on his lap, her back against his chest, his chin on her shoulder, his arms around her.
That night, they sit and talk for hours about nothing and everything until the sun comes up.