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Mr. Knightsbridge – The Mister
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Dexter Daniels prefers gems over women. Emeralds over girlfriends. Diamonds over marriage.
He might be the most successful jeweler of his generation, a loyal friend and some say the most handsome man in London, but his past means he doesn’t deal in love.
When Hollie Lumen enters the ballroom where exquisite royal jewels are on display, she brings Dexter’s world to a screeching halt. Despite her hand-me-down dress and borrowed shoes, Hollie is even more stunning than the jewelry. Feisty, funny and ferociously independent, she’s all Dexter can see.
Hollie Lumen can’t catch a break. She thought an internship in London was her chance to escape her responsibilities back in Oregon and for her dreams to come true. When she’s fired only a few weeks after touching down, she’s ready to give up and go home. Hollie never asks for help. She knows the only person she can rely on is herself.
So what’s she going to do about the tall, dark, handsome stranger who keeps rescuing her?
She’s going to rescue him right back.
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She was the kind of beautiful that could send a man straight to the asylum. Just a glimpse of her had the hairs needling the back of my neck and my fingers stiff, desperate for a simple touch.
Exotic. Glorious. And bloody expensive.
“Very pretty. You should be extremely proud,” Gabriel, one of my best friends, said while staring at the display case in the middle of the Dorchester’s ballroom.
“She really is glorious,” I replied. I hadn’t seen her for a long time, but you didn’t forget beauty like hers.
“You know that’s a headband thingy and not a woman, right?” asked Tristan, another of the group of six of us who had been friends since we were teenagers.
“Tiara,” I corrected him. To Tristan, it was just something women wore on their heads. To Gabriel, it was a collection of pretty stones. But to me, the tiara was beauty, life force—it was my fucking legacy.
“Right,” Tristan said. “And your parents made it?”
“My mother designed it. My father made it.”
“For the queen?” Tristan asked.
“The queen of Finland. She wore it on her wedding day.” As a child, sprawled in a heap of Lego underneath the display cases in their shop on Hatton Garden, I’d felt like the only thing my parents did was work on this design. Hearing about the tiara was the soundtrack of my childhood. Though their lives were dominated by the tiara for just one summer, it consumed them entirely. Seeing the piece again now, for the first time since their death, I understood why they had been so consumed. It was gorgeous, an audaciously modern design still classic enough to be regal.
My parents’ passion for their work had percolated through the air I breathed, and I grew up in the enviable position of knowing exactly what I was going to do with my life—follow in their footsteps and be a jeweler. But when my parents died and my brother sold their shop without me knowing, my desire to become a jeweler wasn’t enough. For them, for their memory, I wanted to be the best in the world at what I did. I wanted their name—my name—to be known internationally for the most beautiful jewelry in existence. It was what they deserved.
“I still don’t understand why we’re in London and not Finland,” Tristan said.
“The princess is marrying a British man, so they’re holding the competition to design her jewelry here. It’s raising a lot of money for charity. Pockets are deeper in London.”
“Makes sense,” Gabriel said.
Tristan pushed his hands into his pockets and nodded. “Well, it’s nice stuff.”
I grinned. Tristan might be clueless at times, but he didn’t flinch when I asked him to come tonight. Far more comfortable in jeans, in front of a computer, he put on a dinner jacket without hesitation because he was as loyal as you could want in a friend. He needed a drink. I caught the eye of a waiter with a tray of champagne. He came over and we all grabbed a glass.
“To diamonds?” Tristan offered in toast.
“To your parents,” Gabriel corrected. He had been the dad of our friendship group since we were seventeen, long before he was actually a dad—wise, measured and always armed with the right thing to say.
“Thanks, mate,” I replied, clinking my glass to his. “To my parents. And to winning this bloody competition.”
“I predict that if you do, you’ll open your first store in London. It would be a great way to burst onto the scene,” Tristan said.
I took commissions in London, and our workshop and design studio were based here. But I had yet to open a Daniels & Co storefront in the UK. My flagship store was in New York, with locations in Paris, Rome, Beijing and Dubai. We’d just opened in Beverly Hills and Singapore.
But not London.
In London, I existed in my own tightly controlled bubble. I lived and worked here, but didn’t interact with the local industry. There were too many memories from the bleakest part of my life—my parents’ Hatton Garden store that no longer existed. Sparkle’s shop, which only survived because of my parents’ designs. And David, my brother, the man who destroyed my parents’ legacy and gave Sparkle theirs. There was too much here to forget.
I was asked about a London offering all the time, but continually dodged the questions and kept quiet. A Daniels & Co London shop wasn’t going to happen. I believed in moving forward, not looking back. There was no need to dredge up the past when it could stay properly buried and undisturbed.
“And cheers to being mate dates,” Tristan said. “I’m quite enjoying being on your arm. Just as long as you don’t try to kiss me at the end of the night.”
“You should be so lucky,” I replied.
“I’ve been that lucky—that weekend in Prague, remember? I don’t want your wandering hands near me again,” Tristan said.