Gone to Dust

Gone to Dust

by Liliana Hart

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Overview

Gone to Dust by Liliana Hart

Liliana Hart returns to her suspenseful Gravediggers series featuring five dead men tasked with saving the world…and their latest member who risks it all for love.

The world thinks they're dead. The world is wrong.

Miller Darling is one of the most popular romance novelists of her time. Not bad for a woman who doesn’t believe in romance. She’s as logical as they come, and she doesn’t believe in happily-ever-afters. What she does believe in is family, so when her brother disappears, she doesn’t think twice about packing her bag and her laptop and heading out to find him.

Elias Cole lived and breathed the life of a Navy SEAL. Now he’s “dead” and his hero’s honor tarnished. The only thing keeping him sane are the men who are like him—The Gravediggers—and the woman who makes his head spin. He’s never met anyone like Miller Darling. Her smart mouth and quick wit keep him on his toes, and damn if he doesn’t find that appealing.

When Miller receives a package from the brother who abandoned her asking for help, it’s clear she’s in over her head with the mess he’s gotten himself into. She needs a professional, and Elias is just the man for the job. Only her brother is a former SEAL—the man who left his team to die—and Elias is more interested in vengeance than saving his life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501150050
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication date: 06/20/2017
Series: Gravediggers Series , #2
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 548,762
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Liliana Hart is a New York Times, USA TODAY, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than forty titles. Since self-publishing in June of 2011, Liliana has sold more than four million ebooks. She’s appeared at #1 on lists all over the world and all three of her series have appeared on the New York Times list. Liliana is a sought after speaker and she’s given keynote speeches and self-publishing workshops from California to New York to London. When Liliana and her husband aren’t spending time with their children, they’re living the life of nomads, traveling wherever interests them most.

Read an Excerpt

Gone to Dust

  • She’d captured his heart.

    This woman of noble birth—a queen—who’d traveled across vast lands to bring him gifts, to seek his wisdom and knowledge. But it was she who was wise, and her intelligence and cunning personality enticed him. Never had he met a match such as she. Her presence was greater than any gift she’d laid at his feet.

    “You’re quiet, my lord,” she said.

    He lay on a pile of furs, naked except for the amethyst ring on his finger—a ring of kings that bore his seal. A soft breeze stirred the air and cooled his overheated skin. The thin linen sheet couldn’t hide his desire as she walked through the shadows of his chambers and came to stand before him, bathed in the soft glow of lantern light.

    Her beauty stole his breath—her skin dark and smooth—her eyes black as the rare diamonds she’d presented to his kingdom. The white silk of her robes was tied at each shoulder and plunged deeply, displaying the fullness of her bosom—the material so thin he could see the jeweled adornments covering her nipples. The silk was slit up each side so every step she gave him a glimpse of the heaven he knew was hidden beneath. Her hair was her glory, rich and full, and she’d unpinned the crown of curls so it flowed almost to her feet.

    “You leave on the morrow,” he said, his heart pierced with sorrow.

    His body was rigid and stiff with pride. He was king. And he would beg for no woman to stay. But he wanted to.

    “I am queen,” she said, her smile sad. “My kingdom needs me. My people need me.”

    “I need you,” he rasped, his hand knotted in a fist at his side.

    “And you shall have me,” she said, moving toward him.

    She released the ties at her shoulders and the white silk slithered down the length of her body, leaving her bared before him. His phallus throbbed and his chest burned with desire. She was exquisite. Never had he wanted another woman as he wanted her.

    The days had turned to weeks, and the weeks to months since her arrival to his lands. But never had she offered herself. The desire had burned between them, the flames fanning hotter and higher as time passed, but he’d respected her wishes to remain chaste in her own bed, though he could have taken her, as was his right as king. And now she honored him by giving him her body.

    “You are more beautiful than all the treasures in my kingdom,” he said, his gaze lingering on her full breasts, the lantern light reflecting off the diamond adornments that sent fractals of light glittering across the floor.

    “I am your greatest treasure. Long will you remember me. Long will you love me.”

    He knew the words she spoke were truth. She knelt next to the bed and bowed her head, submitting herself to him. And then she said two words that made him rage at the injustice their positions had wrought.

    “My king,” she whispered.

    “As you are my queen,” he said, voice hoarse with sorrow and desire. “We could rule together, combine our lands.”

    She looked up at him, knowledge and wisdom in her eyes, and his hand moved to her cheek, stroking it softly. “Do you forget the lands between us?” she asked. “That which is ruled by another?”

    “I do not forget,” he said with a sigh. “And I know you are right. Those are lands not ours to take. To conquer would bring wars we cannot fathom.”

    “Then tonight we will give our bodies to each other. And when dawn comes and I take my leave, you shall know you are well loved.”

    She took his hand and kissed it softly, and then she joined him on the bed, sliding the sheet from his body and moving over him, so she was poised to take him into her. Their hands clasped and their gazes met, and he knew this would be a spiritual experience, that they would truly meld—mind, body, and soul—with their union.

    His jaw clenched and sweat beaded on his skin as her heat enveloped him. And then her head fell back with a moan as she sank down on him. The world spun away as pleasure unlike he’d ever known surrounded him.

    His vision dimmed and the incessant chime of a doorbell rang in his ears.

    “A doorbell?” Miller Darling said, shaking herself out of the scene she’d been writing. “What the hell?”

    She snarled and her head snapped up at the interruption. She was going to kill someone. No jury would convict her. The sign on the front door clearly said “Do Not Disturb.”

    She hit save on her keyboard and headed out of her second-story office, stubbing her toe on a box of books she didn’t remember putting directly in the walkway. Her footsteps pounded heavy against the stairs as she raced toward the front door and the unsuspecting victim who continued to ring the bell.

    The click of the dead bolt seemed unusually loud as she unlocked it with indignant righteousness and jerked the door open, only to have it catch on the chain. She closed it again and undid the chain, muttering under her breath at the wasted opportunity to make a real impact on the intruder.

    Miller stared into the startled eyes of the UPS man, ready to flay him alive. He was tall, thin, and pale, his sandy hair thinning on top, and his cheeks were red from the blistery wind and cold. He held a package and an electronic clipboard in his hands.

    She was pretty sure she growled at him. The last week of a deadline was the wrong time to disobey the instructions on the door.

    “Geez, lady,” he said, eyes wide. He took a step back and beads of sweat broke out over his upper lip. “Are you sick or something?”

    “Or something,” she said, eyes narrowed.

    She wasn’t sure when she’d showered last, but she was pretty sure she’d been wearing the same clothes for at least three days. Maybe longer. Her gray sweats had coffee stains on them and what might have been a smear of jelly from a PB&J she’d slapped together—minus the peanut butter because she hadn’t had time to go to the store.

    She wasn’t wearing a bra, but it was hardly noticeable beneath the fuzzy red bathrobe her best friend Tess had gotten her for Christmas about a dozen years before. There was a small package of Kleenex in one of the pockets and a mega-size box of Milk Duds in the other.

    “The sign says ‘Do Not Disturb,’?” she said.

    “You’ve got to sign for the package.” He shrugged as if he hadn’t just ruined her entire day, then held out clipboard for her to sign.

    She ignored the gesture and took a step forward. He took another step back. “I’m not sure you understand what I’m saying. I don’t care if you’re delivering gold bullion or the electric pencil sharpener I ordered three months ago and never received. The sign says ‘Do Not Disturb.’ Do you know how long it’s going to take me to get back in the mood?”

    His eyebrows rose and his mouth opened and closed a couple of times. “No?” he said, phrasing it like a question. He was starting to look scared. Good.

    “That’s right. You don’t know,” she said. “Lovemaking like that can’t just be performed on a whim. It takes preparation and the right frame of mind. I had the candles lit and the music playing, and she was about to ride him like a stallion. You’ve set me back hours at least. How would you like it if someone kept ringing the doorbell right before you were about to have an orgasm?”

    He swallowed hard and dropped his clipboard. “I . . . I wouldn’t.” He bent down to pick it up and then shoved it and the box at her once more. “I’m sorry for interrupting. But you’re the last house on my route. I’ve got to get it delivered and signed for so I can go home.”

    She sighed and scribbled her name in the little box and then took the package. “Next time, do us both a favor and sign it for me and put it in the rocking chair. I won’t tell anyone if you don’t. And I also won’t want to kill you, which is what I want to do now.”

    “I appreciate your restraint,” he said, swallowing again. “Sorry about that. I guess I’ll, uh . . . let you get back to . . .” He gestured with his hand, and she realized what he thought she’d been doing and what she’d actually been doing were two very different things.

    “I’m a writer,” she said by way of explanation.

    “Right,” he said, looking skeptical.

    She ran her fingers through the rat’s nest on her head and two pencils fell on the porch. Her shoulders slumped in defeat and she turned back into the house, leaving the pencils on the ground and dead-bolting the door behind her. The UPS man was still standing there. He was probably reevaluating his career choices.

    There was no point trying to get back to work. The moment was broken and the mood was gone. Besides, she’d had the opportunity to smell herself and feel the rumble in her stomach. A shower was in order, followed by whatever she could find to eat in her kitchen. Writing wasn’t a pretty profession. When she was in the trenches of a story she often forgot to tend to day-to-day life. Sometimes, the story took hold of her and wouldn’t let go, and that’s where she’d been the last several days.

    She tossed the package on her entry table on top of the mail that had been accumulating for the past week. Her housekeeper, Julia, came in every Tuesday and Friday, but she knew better than to knock on her office door and disturb her, so she put the mail on the table and cleaned around her office. She also made sure Miller didn’t leave the coffeepot or stove on and burn the house down.

    The mail was the least of her worries. The bills were all done automatically online, so she assumed anything in the stack wasn’t urgent. She caught her reflection in the mirror as she headed back up the stairs and had to do a double take because she thought a stranger was following behind her.

    “Yikes,” she said, grimacing.

    She looked bad, even by her usual definition of deadline crazy. She needed desperately to get her roots done and have her color touched up. It was rare she kept it the same color for a long stretch of time, and it was currently black with bright blue highlights. She looked like a cross between the Cookie Monster and Don King.

    Her face was pale and there were dark circles under her eyes. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been out in the sun or to the gym. And, Lord, her eyebrows needed a pair of tweezers.

    Since work was over for the moment, she decided to do damage control and transition back to human again. Maybe that was just what she needed to get back into the groove of things and not leave her poor characters on the verge of orgasm. She’d been there. It wasn’t a fun place to be.

    Maybe that’s what she needed to get back in the mood. It had been weeks since Elias Cole had left her high and dry, and her pity party had lasted long enough.

    Maybe he was married.

    Except where was his wife? Because she’d certainly never seen him or any of the others with women. He’d most definitely been interested in her, and boy, had there been chemistry. There’d been no doubt in her mind that the hardness pressing against her hip had been one hundred percent Elias Cole. He’d been her one rebellion. Or at least that had been the plan.

    She wasn’t an idiot. She recognized when a man was interested. He’d given all the signs, and there’d been no doubting the sexual attraction between them. Then he’d disappeared without an explanation or so much as a goodbye. The big jerk.

    Whatever. Sex was sex. It was a natural human function, and surely she could find someone to scratch her itch. Except that she wasn’t a fan of one-night stands, and she was unbelievably picky when it came to being intimate with a man. The tribulations of being a romance writer.

    It didn’t matter that the only person who came to mind was Elias. She knew her own ego well enough to understand that the reason she couldn’t get him out of her head was probably because they’d never done the naked tango. Fine. He’d changed his mind and it was time to for her to move on.

    She hurried the rest of the way up the stairs, her mind on him instead of the work she was abandoning, despite the mental pep talk she’d just given herself. The majority of her adult life had been spent writing the romances women dreamed about, but Miller was more practical than that. The kind of love she wrote about—that soul-deep connection to another person—wasn’t something she expected to find for herself. It wasn’t something she wanted to find. That depth of love could be devastating, and it wasn’t worth taking the chance. She much preferred for her relationships to be fun while they lasted, for the sex to be great, and to part as friends in the end. She’d never had her heart broken, and she had no plans to.

    Her parents had loved each other with the same focused obsession that they’d loved the treasures they’d sought their entire married life. From her earliest memories, the stories of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba were part of their daily conversations. Her bedtime stories had been filled with tales of adventure and temples of treasure. And of the love of two people who spent their earthly lives knowing they could never be together.

    It had broken her heart as a child to think of what it must have felt like to know a part of their soul had been missing. Her father had always told her that’s how he’d feel if he had to go through life without her mother, and Miller had decided as a young child to never subject herself to that kind of heartbreak.

    Her parents had spent their marriage traveling the world, searching for the treasures of the lost temple and piecing together a history that the greatest books in the world hadn’t achieved. And it was her older brother who’d been burdened with the responsibility of taking care of her. He’d been four years older, and probably the last thing he wanted to do was babysit his younger sister, but that’s exactly what he’d done. He’d been her only stability as a child, an adult long before he should’ve been, and they’d always been close. He’d never shown her outwardly that he resented the fact he’d been stuck home with her when he’d wanted to be hunting treasure alongside their parents. But she’d known. Every once in a while she’d catch a glint in his eyes that told her he’d rather be anywhere other than Last Stop, Texas.

    She could admit her abandonment as a child was one of the reasons she had trouble with long-term commitments and ideas of her own family. She could never do to her own child what her parents had done to her and her brother.

    After a few weeks, her parents would come back full of excitement and stories of their adventures. And more often than not, they’d have some trinket that had supposedly been housed in the temple where King Solomon kept his treasures. She had a box full of them in her closet. It was sad to think her best memories of her parents all rested in that box.

    Her brother had eventually left home and joined the military, much like her father had at his age, but the obsession with a three-thousand-year-old king and the queen who would never be his must’ve been hereditary, because Justin had taken up the search, and it had only intensified after their parents were killed when their small plane went down.

    Their obsession with each other and the love of two people in history had led to their death. Her brother was the only family she had left, and she only saw him on holidays, and only then if he wasn’t on a mission or involved in training. When he got the occasional leave time, he spent it searching for the same treasures and obsessions that had killed their parents.

    All she knew was that kind of love and obsession had left her without her parents and with a cynicism she worked hard to keep out of her books. People left. Even when they loved you. It was the way of things, and it was why she much preferred to end her books with a happily ever after instead of seeing where her characters ended up ten years down the road.

    She had a good life, and normalcy was very important to her—at least as normal as one could be when she made her living from making stuff up. To say she was a control freak was probably an understatement, but she liked knowing she was responsible for her own happiness and achievements. Her work fulfilled her. And the occasional relationship satisfied her.

    It wasn’t often she found a man she was intrigued enough by to invite to her bed. She was damned picky, actually. She wrote romance novels, for crying out loud. So what if she wanted great conversation, a smoking-hot body, and great sex? She’d never seen the point in settling. And since she didn’t believe in the happily ever afters she wrote about, she figured her chances with a man like Elias Cole were a done deal.

    He hadn’t seemed like the kind of man who was interested in happily ever afters either. He’d all but ravished her on her front porch and then calmly walked away, leaving her more sexually frustrated than she’d ever been in her life. He’d hardly acknowledged her existence in the weeks since the incident, and in place of the happy-go-lucky smile was a perpetual scowl.

    She shivered as she walked into her bedroom and turned up the thermostat on her way to the bathroom. At some point during the last three days, it had gotten colder outside, and she hadn’t noticed through the deadline fog or the warmth of her bathrobe.

    Her bedroom was tidy—the king-size bed neatly made and all her clothes folded and put away. She hadn’t felt the mattress beneath her in days. She’d been taking catnaps, crashing on the couch in her office when she needed to recharge.

    Miller loved color, and the bedroom reflected that. The bed was like a white cloud, but pillows in cobalt, teal, and turquoise added vibrancy, along with a crocheted throw using all the same colors at the foot of the bed. The large canvas on the wall was an abstract ocean scene using thick layers of paint, her bedside lamps were blown glass in the same bright blue, and the cozy chair in the corner was yellow with thick blue stripes.

    It was her favorite room in the house, and that was saying something because she loved all of her house. She’d painstakingly redone every room exactly as she’d wanted it. But this was her room, and it was perfect—from the reading chaise she’d found at a flea market that sat beneath the beveled windows to the large walk-in closet that had originally been the nursery that attached to the master bedroom. Perfect.

    Most people in the small town of Last Stop, Texas, considered her eccentric, and many of them had much more creative names for her. She hated to not live up to people’s expectations, so when the Gothic home on the corner of Elm Street and Devil’s Hill had gone on the market, she’d snapped it up in a heartbeat. And she’d gotten it for a steal too, because Realtors couldn’t even get clients to go inside of it.

    It was the house that had scared the bejesus out of every kid in Last Stop for the last century. It was the house that sat dark and looming, so people made it a point to always walk on the other side of the street instead of passing directly in front of it. It was the house with the creaking gate and the overgrown rosebushes, and it looked spectacular at Halloween.

    She never passed up the opportunity to help solidify her reputation by adding a little graveyard in front or sticking a voice box in the bushes that let out horrible moans. The house was rumored to be haunted by Captain Bartholomew T. Payne and his wife Annabelle, after old Bart had decided he’d rather see his wife dead than have her leave him for another man.

    Miller had always been fascinated by the story, even though she’d yet to feel the presence of the original owners of the house. She rarely had visitors other than her friend Tess or her cleaning lady, so the outside was rather deceiving. Even with fresh paint and repairs done to the sagging porch and leaking roof, it still gave off a menacing presence. But like with all great things, it had a story, and she’d always been drawn to a good story.

    She loved every square inch of it, and she would never move. The house fit her personality like a glove, and she cackled every time she peeked out her office window to see kids scurrying across the street and staring at the house in wide-eyed horror. It was the little things in life that brought joy.

    She sighed as she passed the bed. The soft sheets were looking a little too enticing. She couldn’t afford a comfortable sleep. Not until the book was done. If she got in that bed it might be a week before she woke up. It was important she keep her energy high, so she’d shower and dress, and then she’d get out and talk to actual people instead of the ones in her head before sitting back down at her desk and getting back to work.

    She stripped out of her clothes and considered throwing them in the trash instead of subjecting Julia to laundering them. Julia was a single mom to five boys. She not only cleaned Miller’s house, but did a few other houses as well. Then she cleaned the schools on Saturday, and the church on Sunday evening. Miller could only hope that the laundry of five boys was worse than that of a writer, though she wouldn’t have bet money on it.

    The pipes creaked as she turned on the water in the claw-foot tub, and while she waited for it to heat up she found an extra box of black hair color under the sink so she could tackle her roots. By the time she’d gotten the color on and her head wrapped in plastic, the water was hot. She lit the candles on the window sill and dimmed the lights, and then she tossed a bath bomb in the water and hoped the smell of roses was strong enough to overpower the smell of deadline.

    An hour later, her skin was pruny, her roots were dyed, and she smelled a whole lot better. She blow-dried her hair, moisturized her face, and put on double the concealer she normally would because she could’ve slept in the bags under her eyes.

    By the time she was done, she was exhausted. And talking to real people didn’t sound as exciting as it had before. Where was she going to go? Happy hour? By herself? Maybe Tess would come with her. But she was married now, and there were rules about things like that. She’d somehow talked herself out of a big night out, and she found it wasn’t as appealing as she’d first thought. Mainly because her mind was still stuck on Elias Cole.

    “Ridiculous man,” she muttered.

    What she needed was to clear her mind with a good friend and conversation, and Tess was three blocks away with a fully stocked wine fridge. Maybe they could have a girls’ night in like they used to, but there were those marriage rules that had to be observed. Since Tess’s marriage to Deacon Tucker, Miller had learned dropping in unannounced was never a good idea. They were still in that honeymoon phase of their marriage where they were almost always naked. It made the funeral home a really interesting place to visit after office hours. And sometimes during office hours.

    She put on black leggings, a sports bra, and an oversized gray shirt that warned people if they annoyed her they might end up in one of her novels. People always laughed, but she’d been known to kill off the occasional annoyance in one of her books. Comfort was the name of the game for the evening’s activities. She’d give her brain a quick break, and then get back to business.

    Miller hopped on the bed and struck a quick pose propped against a mound of pillows, and then she held up the latest release of one of her good friends. She took a selfie with the book and then uploaded it to Facebook, pimping her friend. The great thing about social media was no one would know she’d worked ninety-plus hours in the last few days, eaten nothing but carbs and chocolate, and drunk an unhealthy amount of coffee. She wouldn’t change things for the world, though she needed to hit the gym very soon so her behind wasn’t as wide as her chair. When it came to her readers, she’d continue to put on double layers of concealer so they’d see the fun and glamourous life they thought a bestselling author should live.

    She stuck her head into the massive master closet and dug out a pair of neon-fuchsia running shoes with lime-green laces. Tess told her they made her eyes hurt, but Tess hated everything to do with running, so her opinion hadn’t influenced Miller’s decision to buy them. She grabbed up her dirty clothes and robe, embarrassed to leave them for Julia to find.

    Her stomach rumbled again and she bounded down the stairs, making a stop at the laundry room and dumping the clothes in the washer. She hummed as she measured the soap and turned on the hot water, and then she added a little extra soap just to be safe.

    The pile of mail on the entry table caught her attention and she again scooped it up, taking it with her to the kitchen. Everything about the kitchen was functional, from the hidden cabinets where she kept her small appliances, to the wine refrigerator in the big butcher-block island, to the pot filler over the stove. Unfortunately, she didn’t get to actually cook in the kitchen very often, mostly due to the fact that when she was working, she frequently forgot to eat. Besides, what fun was cooking for one? When she did cook, it was to make emergency brownies or comfort mac ’n’ cheese. She figured if she was going to torture herself by working out, she might as well have a good reason.

    She dumped the mail on the island, then opened the refrigerator. A bottle of ketchup and a cold pack she sometimes used on her eyes were the only things on the shelves. It’d been a while since she’d had a real meal, and even longer since she’d been to the grocery store.

    She closed the refrigerator door and saw the note beneath the magnet in Julia’s handwriting.

    You need everything. This is no way for a grown woman to live. You’ll get scurvy. Make me a list and I’ll get what you need when I come on Tuesday.

    “It’s Friday,” she said, and then thought about it a second. “I think,” she corrected. “I could be dead of starvation by Tuesday,” she said.

    She’d just have to wing it. She wasn’t opposed to eating fast food until the fridge was stocked. The only things worse than going to the grocery store were visiting the gynecologist or getting bad book reviews.

    She went through the mail quickly, discarding most of it as junk, but the last envelope had her brother’s familiar block handwriting on it, so she put it aside and then turned to the package. It was a plain brown box, no bigger than the length of her hand, and just as wide. There were several layers of brown tape, so she grabbed a knife from the block on the counter.

    Justin had taken up the habit of sending her trinkets that had supposedly belonged to Solomon after he’d joined the military, but they hadn’t come in a while. She slid the knife under the layers of tape and lifted the flaps. The box was crammed with newspaper, and she noticed the headlines were written in Spanish. That was certainly odd. She pulled it out and then tilted the box over. Something weighty and wrapped in more newspaper fell into her hand, but it was the clank of metal hitting the counter that grabbed her attention.

    She picked up the heavy ring with the large purple stone. Within the stone was the carved insignia of the king she’d been told stories about her whole life. And despite her resentment of the tales and adventures that had broken her small family, the obsession had become hers. Because now she was writing the story of the great and troubled king and the woman he’d loved more than any treasure, hoping that putting it on the page once and for all would finally give her freedom.

    It was her brother’s ring, given to him by her father, as it had been given to him by his father, passed down from generation to generation. A ring made in the image of the one Solomon had worn during his reign. A ring that had been one of twelve that Solomon had given to each of the prophets of the twelve tribes of Israel.

    If her information was correct, and she had no reason to believe it wasn’t. In the chest with the trinkets and letters was a small book with her family history written on the pages, and tucked inside it were papers and letters, many of them museum quality that she needed to have protected between glass. It was on her ever-growing to-do list. But her history was there, dating back to the prophet that Solomon gave one of the rings to.

    What wasn’t written between the pages of her ancestry was the reason why her parents had been the way they’d been. There was no explanation for their obsession, other than pure academic fascination of a legend. Her father had been in the military before getting his degrees in ancient civilization. He wrote papers and taught graduate-level classes at the university so they could pay their bills, never really had to be in class much since most of the graduate-level study was research and writing papers. And her mother had spent most of her days planning the next trip, scattering maps across the dining room table and following leads.

    Before her parents had left on their last adventure, her father had taken Justin into his study and talked to him for a good while. She remembered how jealous she’d been of that time they’d spent together, of the attention she craved but never received. She’d been in bed when they’d finally finished their time together, but she’d been awake, listening for Justin’s bedroom door to close. When she’d gotten up for school the next morning, her parents were gone and Justin was wearing her father’s ring. The ring she was now in possession of.

    There was nothing in this world that would’ve made Justin send her his ring. It had been passed down from father to son for more generations than she could count. And if Justin never had a son, it would go to her son if she ever had one. The ring was priceless. And it was always to be worn by the living male heir. Which meant for Justin to not be wearing it was more awful than she could imagine.

    Cold fear clutched at her belly and her hands shook as she took the tissue paper in her hand and slowly unwrapped it. When she got to the contents inside, her mind couldn’t process what she was looking at.

    She dropped the package and took a step back, her hands clammy and bile rising in the back of her throat. In the middle of the tissue paper was a human finger. She had a sinking feeling she knew why her brother no longer wore his ring.

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    Gone to Dust 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
    AshleeT 7 months ago
    This book was much better than the first in terms of flow. The main female lead is witty and fun, and the male lead is broody, but in a believable and endearing way that has you rooting for the two of them to come together. The dialogue is witty and funny, and the action packed adventure will have you on the edge of the seat. There is a great back story for the characters that will pull at your heart stings and an over arching story line that has you picking up the next book asking yourself how they will all get out from under Eve's thumb.....
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This is a truly great read. I'm so glad I happened upon Lillian Hart! I first read the JJ Graves series and then started reading The Grave diggers series. Her imagination and sense of storytelling never ceases to amaze me and keep me thoroughly entertained! !!! Please keep them coming.
    Cheryl-S More than 1 year ago
    This fabulous book is second in the Gravediggers series and it features Miller Darling and Elias Cole.  WHAT A CRAZY ADVENTURE! With one hot and heavy make-out session between them and then he walked away, she thought he didn't want her.  He wants her but his priorities are backwards and revenge is front and center in his mind.  Miller is awesome! Her personality is hilarious! That poor UPS man. It's difficult to write about this story without giving too much away but I love the Gravediggers!  Bravo Liliana Hart for another fantastic 5-star read! I can't wait for the next one.
    reececo331 More than 1 year ago
    Gone to Dust (Gravediggers #2) by Liliana Hart Liliana Hart has made a captivating sequel to her Gravediggers series, taking the secondary characters from her original book. She adds to the dimensions of the characters adding a back story as appealing as the original legend she bases the adventure off. Miller is stuck in a book deadline, not knowing how or when she would raise her head from the pages of her book due in a week. The assault of her peace by the carrier who needs a signature. She is encapsulated into the mystery of her past and the burden of her inheritance. The story is based on idea of accepting love, and responsibility of the nature of the people we love. The longing and desire of Miller and Elias is palpable, and leaves you remembering the loves that have consumed you and left you wanting. The final pages giving the reader resolution to that ache and desire.
    Book_Sniffers_Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This is the second book in the Gravediggers series and it focuses on Miller, a romance author, and Elias, who is not too thrilled with his gravedigger life. He’s convinced that the organization who “saved his life” by faking his death so that he could join their elite team are actually the ones who put his life in jeopardy in the first place. Then there’s the eccentric Miller who shuts herself away for weeks at a time working on deadlines for her latest romance novels. However, her quiet life of writing just got a whole lot more interesting when her brother’s finger gets mailed to her by a drug lord/treasure hunter who wants her to find King Solomon’s table which he claims her brother knows the location of. With the help of Elias, these two take off on a crazy adventure to try to save her brother. This book is full of adventure and danger as they trudge through the jungle in search of her brother. The previous book really set up who and what the Gravediggers are and what their day-to-day life is like. This one however has a lot more danger and suspense to it since not only do they have the cartel hunting them, but the land itself isn’t helping their journey any either. There was always something going on in this book. Which may be why I never really felt the connection between Elias and Miller. One minute they’re fighting danger and the next they’re kissing. They spend a week dodging bullets in the jungle and all of a sudden they love each other. I just didn’t feel the romance I guess. :/ Gone to Dust will have you on the edge of your seat the whole time. The jungle is not a safe place and when you add the fact that the cartel is hunting them as well, you’ve got one action-packed story. I just wish the romance portion was worked up a bit more. Up next is a character that we don’t see or hear from all that often. He’s always quiet and seems to go off on their down-time to who knows where. So, I’m interested to see what his story is.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    7/2017 jsb I enjoyed. Looking forward to reading the next in the series. This Author has some really good characters, I never once in reading this book thought I would strangle the leading characters. They are smart, and I like smart.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I loved the JJ Graves series and couldn't wait for this series...but this book is a little too unbelievable and far fetched for me. I still like the author and will try her next series.
    ReadYourWrites More than 1 year ago
    Gone to Dust is the second book in Liliana Hart’s Gravediggers series. Just like the first one, The Darkest Corner, it was hard to put down. The characters are fun and witty. The action is intense but takes a back seat to all of the sexual tension between the main characters of Elias Cole and Miller Darling. They literally burn up the pages from start to finish. Gravedigger Elias Cole is a former Navy Seal. Miller Darling is a successful romance novelist who rarely leaves her house unless it’s to meet up with her best friend Tess who is now married to Gravedigger Deacon. In order to really understand all of the relationships and the origin of the Gravediggers, you really have to read the first book. Miller is totally clueless in regards to the existence of the covert organization that is operating out of the only funeral home in Last Stop, Texas. Lots of things come to light the moment Miller receives a disturbing package from her brother, Justin. In that package, she learns that her brother has been kidnapped and is missing a finger. His kidnapping has to do with some ancient artifacts that their parents apparently died looking for. To add insult to injury, some armed men come after Miller. That’s when everything that Miller thought she knew to be true changes. In order to save Miller, the Gravediggers have to reveal themselves and what they are capable of. Being the writer that she is, Miller’s imagination collides with reality in a very funny way. The banter between Miller and Elias is interesting as she tries to understand what’s going on with them and their dilemma. You can’t help but root for them as they embark on a rescue mission for her brother. I loved Gone to Dust and could go on and on but I have to give you an opportunity to find out for yourself how great this story is. It has an Indiana Jones feel to it at some points and at others it’s Mission Impossible. Either way, if you like some adventure mixed in with your romance, this is the series for you. I look forward to Say No More. **Received a copy of the book from the publisher and voluntarily reviewed.**
    ReadingOverTV More than 1 year ago
    2nd book in the series. Miller and Elias. She doesn't believe in love even though she is a romance writer. He has no future he can make plans for. Yet they are drawn to each other. Enter the drug cartel and adventure, daring and heroics ensues.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I liked this second book in the series even more than the first, probably because I love Miller Darling! She is such a great character, and her humor and ability to laugh at herself, while being so strong as a person was so good! I laughed aloud many times while cheering her and Elias on. Looking forward to Dantes story, but will keep hoping the the Grave diggers and especially Elias gets even with Eve!
    PatB47 More than 1 year ago
    If you haven't read Liliana Hart's books, you are truly missing out on being drawn in, being unable to put the book down, and forget to sleep because you want to know what happens next. LOVED Gone to Dust. The characters are so real and so human. Once you've read this series, you'll want to pick up her other series as well.
    LilleyLoohLah More than 1 year ago
    I loved book 1 in the Gravediggers series and book 2 surpassed my expectations by being, if possible, even better even. The story was very much an Indiana Jones meets Jewel in the Nile meets Navy Seals, action romance. Apologies for the movie analogy, but if you read the book you'll see it's quite in-keeping with the story. Romance novelist and best friend of Tess Sherman, Miller Darling is sucked into the world of the drug cartels when she receives a package from her brother. Elis Cole, former disgraced Navy SEAL, now a Gravedigger, working under the radar saving the world from terrorists has only one thing on his mind, revenge, revenge on the one person that took away his life, Eve Winter. Oh make that two things, revenge, and trying to avoid a highly addictive, beautiful sassy romance novelist (he has no room in his life for romance). When Miller takes it upon herself to go and find her brother, Elias decides he's going to use all his resources to help her. A beautifully written, highly entertaining, fast paced, action packed rom com. I loved it. The characters are flawless, I loved both Miller and Elias, both had their own brand of crazy, Miller in particular, she was a hoot, oh and Elias had that whole, smouldering, alpha male going for him. Although this can be read as a standalone I highly recommend reading book 1 first. This is fast becoming one of my favourite series and I can't wait to see what Liliana has planned for book 3. I was provided with an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
    ZR1000 More than 1 year ago
    An exciting, sexually tense and dangerous adventure… This is the second book in the Gravediggers series. You wouldn’t think a romance author would be a pessimist but Miller Darling is, she writes love stories but doesn’t believe in the happy endings in real life. Her parents were archaeologists obsessed with the story of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba to the extent they neglected their children leaving Miller to be raised by her older brother who eventually succumbed to the same obsession. Writing the tale of the two aforementioned ill-fated lovers Miller is interrupted by the delivery of an unexpected package. The horror she finds inside sends her running to her best friend, the recent wife of a Gravedigger. She’s shocked at the secrets she learns yet glad of the assistance in finding her brother, nothing will stop her from tracking him down, she’s the only one who can decipher the clues in his letters. That Elias is the one chosen to assist/protect her doesn’t sit well, she hasn’t forgiven him for his previous behavior. Former Navy SEAL Elias Cole is a Gravedigger who was purposefully disgraced before his fake death was implemented and he awoke to his new life. He’s a man with seething anger out for revenge against the coldest woman he’s ever met, the team’s boss. He knew Miller’s brother in the service, the chemistry he has with Miller is scorching but he can’t let any woman interfere with his plans for retribution. Being the Navy SEAL of the team he’s undeniably the best suited to track down another SEAL. He doesn’t want to do so because it means being with Miller but he can’t let her go alone. They set out against the explicit orders of his superior who may or may not allow them to continue. Take two people with explosive chemistry who want nothing to do with each other for differing reasons forced together to search for a missing SEAL, a boss that could turn against them at any given moment, add in a valuable historical treasure that many want to find and you have an exciting, sexually tense and dangerous adventure, the Gravediggers meet Romancing the Stone. I loved this addition to the series. The characters were intriguing, the dialogue was entertaining, the plot was engaging and suspenseful, complex with twists and turns that grabbed my attention and didn’t let it go. The dual points of view gave us insight into the characters tumultuous states of mind. This was a great read, this reader is already looking forward to the next book. An advanced reading copy was obtained from the publisher via NetGalley.
    etoile1996 More than 1 year ago
    the gravediggers series continues with gone to dust, and picks up the thread of chemistry we got in the darkest corner between elias cole and miller darling. this time the world isn't at stake, but miller's brother and elias's old seal brother, justin is in danger. a drug cartel interested in the same bit of treasure that miller's family has been searching for throughout history makes for a bad combination. when miller is sent her brother's finger and a message demanding she show up in ecuador, she has no choice. and elias has no choice but to join her. weeks ago he left her high and dry in order to protect her. his life is made for revenge. he's been declared dead and he has a contract of service being held over his head. he might have come to like his teammates, but he hates the woman who got him mixed up in this mess and who continues to play the puppeteer. he believes that there is no room in his life for love or passion. instinctively knowing that if he were to pursue things with miller there's no way he could maintain his quest for revenge. but he's drawn to her. it's as if there was an electrical current running between them. connecting them more deeply than they could have imagined. once they are alone together there is no way they aren't going to be together. this mission a testament to how they fit together. how easily they can be a team. in no time at all it's all too clear. what they feel for each other is love. something miller never thought would come her way. but elias worries that there isn't a future that ends with a happily ever after for them. he's dead after all. dead men don't get married and have babies and gorgeous wives who fulfill every dream. is there any possibility of having it all? or perhaps, more simply, is there any way he can live without her? because his heart belongs to her and hers to him. he can't stand to make her miserable. being apart from her makes him miserable. so there has to be a way forward. and if taking out a drug cartel and rescuing her brother while they sort it all out is what needs to happen, then happen it will. honestly the balance between suspense and romance in this series works perfectly for me. there's still enough mystery about eve and her ultimate plan for the gravediggers that future books are a certainty. and i for one can't wait. **gone to dust will publish on june 20, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/gallery, threshold, pocket books (pocket books) in exchange for my honest review.
    Barb-TRC More than 1 year ago
    Gone to Dust by Liliana Hart is the 2nd book in her Gravediggers series. Gone To Dust is a romance suspense, with a humorous touch, that takes place in a small town, Last Stop, Texas. The Gravediggers are elite former military men that work at a funeral home as a cover, and are in actuality working for a secret government agency that takes on impossible missions. We met Elias Cole in the previous book, as he is one of the Gravediggers. Elias does what he has to do, but deep down he wants revenge against Eve Winter, the person who controls the organization that rules the Gravediggers. Miller Darling, our heroine, is a successful romance author, whose own life is void of any kind of romance, until she meets Elias. However, Miller is still very much angry with Elias, since the day he left her without a word, just when their sexual lust for each other was at its highest level. Neither of them has spoken to each other since. One day Miller receives a package, and to her horror, it contains a finger. Miller will confirm that it belongs to her brother, whom she has not seen in many years. Miller will go to Tess, and the rest of the Gravediggers for help to find her missing brother, and hope to save his life. Elias and the Gravediggers will discover that the man behind the threat is a powerful drug lord, who wants Miller to help find her brother. Why you ask? It seems that Miller’s family (mother & father are deceased) has always been obsessed on finding the treasure of King Solomon. Justin, Miller’s brother, spent his life also looking for the treasure, which the drug lord is also obsessed with attaining, at any cost. Elias, despite his desire to stay away from Miller, will change his mind when he sees she is planning on going to the Galapagos Islands to save her brother. What follows is an exciting adventure, which has so many humorous moments between Elias and Miller, mainly due to their banter. Of course, along the journey, their sizzling chemistry will heat up, allowing them to finish what they started long ago. Their romance was fun, as they made a fabulous couple, and it did not take long for them to find themselves falling in love. Gone to Dust was action packed, with much excitement as the danger escalates. Elias was a terrific hero, as he was a former Seal, which helped keep them alive. What I loved the most about him was despite his rough exterior, he was so sweet and loving to Miller. She was also a wonderful heroine, who had us laughing quite often along the way. This was an enjoyable and exciting story, which kept us turning the pages to the end. Liliana Hart once again gives us a fun filled, action packed, and fast paced story. I suggest you start this series by reading the first book, The Darkest Corner, and then read Gone to Dust.
    moohnshine More than 1 year ago
    Book 2 of the Gravediggers Series was freggin’ amazing. I think it was better than the first book. I loved it! This one tells the story of Miller the writer and Elias. Elias is out for revenge and doesn’t have time to love. Miller is on the hunt for her brother. Since Miller is Tess’s bestie, Deacon won’t let her go alone on the hunt. With the help of the team she and Elias go in search for her brother. As they are in a dangerous place Elias opens up more and the relationship unfolds. I enjoyed the snarky banter between these two characters. This book was action packed from the beginning. And the sex scenes, let’s just say oh la la! That Elias is one sexy man! In this book you learn a little more about the background of the Gravedigger operation. The characters in this book are very unique. I love reading their story as it unfolds and develops. Ms. Hart has out done herself with this series. It is a roller coaster of thrill, fun, danger and excitement. I can’t wait to see what happens with the other team members. This is going to be a great journey. This series could definitely make a great movie. I highly recommend this for any one like’s action packed sexy adventures. #happyreader *ARC provided by SIMON & SCHUSTER|POCKET BOOKS
    Hershey07 More than 1 year ago
    OMG! Gone to Dust by Liliana Hart was an outstanding addition to the Gravediggers Series! It was another great combination of romance, adventure, and if you can believe it, humor! Miller is a romance writer, and if you read the first book in the series, Tess’s best friend. Elias is a member of the Gravediggers team, and in his former life, a Navy SEAL. Miller is working on a deadline to finish her newest novel when she gets a disturbing letter indicating her brother is in BIG TROUBLE, and his and her lives are in danger. Miller thinks nothing of dropping everything to find him. Elias knows she won’t last long against a powerful drug cartel, so he decides to go with her. He’s got vacation time, but it will be a complicated mission, especially considering he and Miller have a complicated past. He rejected her not so long ago, and Miller certainly hasn’t forgotten it. I love a good story with unforgettable characters, and this one has both! Miller and Elias are both EXTREMELY strong-willed and stubborn. That makes for a lot of fireworks, and you add in their chemistry and you have a situation that threatens to be explosive. You never know if they want to ravage or kill each other. You wouldn’t think a romantic thriller would be humorous, but Miller made me laugh so much! I have so many quotes highlighted that illustrate that. She and Elias really pushed each other’s buttons and certainly kept one another on their toes. However, underneath that, is a vulnerability in both of them. Each had a past that determined their future relationships. They don’t trust others easily and have never given 100 percent of themselves to anyone. I won’t go into that. It’s their story to tell readers, but I could completely understand why they didn’t trust easily. Elias’s story did nothing to thaw my feelings for his boss, Eve. The storyline was heart-pounding and full of adventure. Hart did a phenomenal job of describing the places that Miller and Elias ended up. I could clearly see, smell, and feel everything. It was awesome. I felt like I was there with them. Her talent for descriptive writing kept the pages turning for me. I never knew what twist what be in store in the next chapter…add in the story of King Solomon…and you have one heck of an adventure. I loved seeing the characters from the previous novel, and I love how she builds characters for her next novel. She leaves room not only for other characters but for her current and past characters. I wonder what their lives will be like when their allotted time will be up with Eve. And speaking of Eve, I hope Hart will give us her story. I’m so curious about what made her into the person she has become. You talk about a complicated and complex character, that’s Eve. Waiting for the next one in the series and hoping we won’t have to wait for too long. ***Read and reviewed on behalf of Once Upon An Alpha*** ***Copy provided in exchange for an honest and unbiased review***
    Linda__ More than 1 year ago
    LOVED! This is book two in the series, and, while I wouldn't have thought it was possible, is even better than the first! This novel opens with Miller on a deadline with just a week to finish her current work in progress. That should have been enough time, but the UPS man interrupted her with a package that stuns her and drops her to her knees. Before long, her favorite gravedigger has assigned himself to help her....too bad she can't stand to be in the same room with him after he very painfully rejected her. This is a fast moving book that kept me turning pages just as quickly as possible. I love the premise of the gravediggers and loved learning more about one of them while also learning Miller's story. Fans of the genre will love this book and you'll want to put it at the very top of your TBR. It's a stand alone novel, however you'll enjoy it so much more if you've read the first book in the series. The author is on my must read authors' list.