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#1 Essence bestselling author K’Wan returns with The Diamond Empire, the explosive, hard-hitting follow-up novel to the street love story Diamonds and Pearl.
It’s about to be an all-out war. While an ambitious rival has taken over Diamonds’s crew, Diamonds lies in wait in exile, carefully planning his next move to comeback and reclaim his position as king of the streets of New York for good. But when an unexpected enemy from the past one-ups Diamonds and beats him at his own game, Diamonds needs to dig deep into his bag of tricksand make an unlikely alliancein order to climb back to the top.
After opening her heart to Diamonds and then having him disappear, Pearl lives her days in a very dark place. But when her father’s empire is toppled and a gaping power vacuum needs to be filled, Pearl is drawn into the very life her father so desperately wanted to shield her from. Pearl needs to fight tooth and nail to become queen of her father’s kingdom, as Diamonds claws his way back to Pearl.
About the Author
K'WAN is a multiple literary award winner and bestselling author of over a twenty titles which include: Gangsta, Road Dawgz, Street Dreams, Hoodlum, Eve, Hood Rat, Blow, Still Hood, Gutter, Section 8, From Harlem with Love, The Leak, Welfare Wifeys, Eviction Notice, Love & Gunplay, Animal, The Life & Times of Slim Goodie, Purple Reign, Little Nikki Grind, Animal II, The Fix, Black Lotus, First & Fifteenth, Ghetto Bastard, Animal 3, The Fix 2, The Fix 3 and Animal 4.
Read an Excerpt
"I don't know about this, kid. Maybe we should wait until the sun goes down," Hank said from his position behind the wheel. He was an older, brown-skinned man with hard eyes and a generally sour disposition. At one time, he had been the voice of reason and wisdom of the crew, but lately his advice had fallen on deaf ears. It was a new day and they were under a new regime.
"Ordinarily I'd agree with you, old head, but timing is key on this one. We wanna make sure everybody gets the memo around the same time." This was Goldie. He was a lanky youth, with a thick goatee and hair that he wore braided into long plaits. As usual, his signature black bandanna was tied snugly around his neck. At just shy of twenty, Goldie had the combat seasoning of a man who had lived twice as long, and he was calling the shots.
"Fuck all this debate shit. I'm ready to jump out and dump on a nigga!" Snake fumed from his position in the backseat of the vehicle. He was pole thin with dark eyes and spoke with a lisp. Some thought he got his nickname because of his speech impediment, but in reality, it was because he couldn't be trusted. Snake was only loyal to whoever was holding the biggest bag, which is why Goldie couldn't understand why Buda had been so insistent on Snake going along on the mission. Lately Buda had been making quite a few suspect decisions, but he was chief of their crew now and Goldie, like the others who had taken the pirate oath, were bound by honor to follow their chief ... at least until he gave them a reason not to.
Goldie turned in his seat and gave Snake an irritated look. "You'll get your taste of blood, killer. But only when the time is right and not a minute sooner. So cool the fuck out."
"There he is." Hank's voice broke the tension between the other two men. His eyes were fixed on a man who was coming out of the building across the street. His name was Pat Williams. Pat didn't look like much, wearing a pair of blue jeans, a New York Giants sweatshirt, and carrying a beat-up knapsack, but in the game they played looks could often be deceiving. The man was a runner for a big-time dealer named Big Stone, and strapped to his back were five kilos of uncut cocaine.
"Make a U-turn and pull up on this nigga," Goldie ordered Hank, while checking the clip of his gun.
"That's what the fuck I'm talking about," Snake said excitedly. He had only been in New York for a few days and had been itching to spill some northern blood.
Goldie ignored him, keeping his eyes locked on Pat. The runner made hurried steps toward a minivan that was idling at the curb, waiting for him. He looked around nervously, but his eyes never turned in the direction of the car that was coasting toward him. Goldie tightened his grip on his hammer, anticipating closing the curtain on Pat's life. He was just positioning himself to deliver the kill shot from the window, when a second person emerging from the building Pat had just left gave him pause.
"Wait a minute, Daddy!" A little girl of about ten or eleven came running down the walkway toward Pat. She was a pretty little thing with chocolate skin and thick black hair she wore in two Afro-puffs. In her hand, she held a piece of construction paper that flapped in the breeze. "You forgot the picture I made you!"
"Thank you, Rose." Pat hugged her. Rose wasn't his biological child, but he had been raising her with her mother since she was four years old. Her father had walked out of their lives shortly after she was born, and only made random guest appearances.
"Fuck!" Goldie cursed and slunk back in his seat. He'd almost made a horrible mistake.
"What you doing, man? You had him in your sights!" Snake pointed out. He was clearly upset about Goldie not taking the shot.
"He's got his kid with him. We gotta do this another time," Goldie told him.
"Fuck that! Buda said he gotta die today, so he gonna die!" Snake barked. Before anyone could stop him, he had gotten out of the slow-moving car and was making his way toward Pat and Rose.
"What is this idiot doing?" Hank asked. He looked around nervously to see if anyone was hip to them and their intentions yet.
"I got him," Goldie said and got out to chase down Snake.
Pat was giving Rose a hug and telling her again how beautiful the picture was when he felt a presence behind him. He turned, a man he had never seen a day in his life walking up on him. He didn't know the man, but the gun in his hand told him what he wanted. Before the man could reach him, Pat took the knapsack off and dropped it at his feet. "I already know the routine, just take the bag and go. I don't want any trouble." He raised his hands in surrender and positioned himself between Snake and Rose.
Snake snatched the bag up and slung it over his shoulder. "Thanks," he told Pat, before shooting him in the head.
The sound of a gunshot and Rose's screams drew the attention of the driver of the minivan. He looked up in time to see Pat's body hitting the ground. He was supposed to be protecting the runner, but had been so preoccupied with his phone that he never saw the gunman creeping up. He jumped out of the van and tried to bring his Glock into play, but Goldie shut him down when he shot him twice in the chest.
When Goldie was sure that the driver was dead he turned his attention to the mess Snake had created. Rose was leaning over Pat's dead body, screaming for her daddy to wake up while Snake laughed menacingly. Goldie had always known Snake to be a piece of shit, but shooting a man in front of his child was a new low. Just when he thought he couldn't be any more disgusted, Snake raised his gun and pointed it at the child.
"What the fuck are you doing?" Goldie grabbed Snake by the arm.
"This little bitch has seen us. That mean she gotta go too," Snake said and jerked free of Goldie. He was determined to make sure there were no witnesses to what he had done. Snake was about to blast the child, when he felt the press of steel to the back of his head.
"On everything I love, if you hurt this child you'll be joining her in the afterlife." He cocked the hammer back with this thumb to punctuate his statement.
Snake weighed his chances and decided against it. "You got it, boss man." He lowered his gun and stuck it back into his waistband. Slowly he began to back away.
Goldie kept his gun pointed at Snake until he was away from the girl and back in the car. When he looked down at Pat's corpse and his grieving daughter, his heart sank. He was supposed to be in charge of the hit squad, but had let the situation get out of control. Goldie was a killer and had committed some gruesome acts, which he made no apologies for, but gunning a man down in front of his kid was a line that even he wouldn't cross. What troubled him more was the way Rose was glaring at him. Her eyes were no longer those of a frightened little girl, but those of the monster Snake had unwittingly given birth to.
"I can't believe you left that lil bitch alive to identify us," Snake fumed. He had been ranting since they left the crime scene.
Goldie remained silent, staring out the window and trying his best to ignore him.
"Why don't you give it a rest," Hank suggested. Unlike Snake, he was familiar with Goldie's moods. The quiet was the calm before the storm.
"Fuck that shit, Hank. You know that ain't how we do things!" Snake continued. "No witnesses, no prison time. That's been understood since we was shorties running around the wards. I don't know, maybe y'all been away from New Orleans too long and all this big-city living has dulled your edges —"
"Snake," Hank said in a stern tone, but the young man kept talking.
"— or maybe this little nigga only tough when his big brother around."
Without warning Goldie turned and shot Snake in his big mouth.
"Goddamn it, Goldie!" Hank almost lost control of the car when the gun boomed in such closed quarters. With his free hand, he wiped away the blood and brain bits that had splashed on his face. He spared a glance at what was left of Snake's face in the rearview and shook his head. "Buda ain't gonna take too kindly to the fact that you killed one of his people."
Goldie sucked his teeth. "Fuck that dishonorable-ass nigga in the back and fuck Buda too. If Buda wanna buck behind this, he knows where to find me and I know where to find him."
"Babe, about how much longer do you think we're gonna be?" Trudy asked for the fifth time in nearly as many minutes. She was a pretty slim girl with big tits, a pretty face, but barely a speed bump's worth of ass and a shitty attitude.
Shadowing her were two husky bodyguards, who looked like they could think of a million other places they'd rather be.
"We'd have been done if you would help me pick something instead of complaining," Oscar snapped, continuing to sift through the rack of expensive dresses inside Nordstrom. He was an older man with a hard face and kind eyes. As usual he wore one of his custom suits, this one purple with green polka dots. Oscar considered himself a fashion icon and boasted an impressive wardrobe of custom-made pieces, but no matter how much bread he spent on the clothes he always ended looking crazy. That had become kind of his calling card. Despite his appearance Oscar was a certified whiz with numbers. He laundered money for criminals and businessmen alike, but his biggest client was a man whom they called Big Stone. He ran Harlem.
Trudy sucked her teeth. "What the fuck do I look like, helping you pick something out for the next bitch and I ain't got no bags in my hands?"
"Cut it out, Trudy. I keep telling you that the gift is for my friend's kid. It's her birthday," Oscar reminded her.
"A likely story," Trudy said with a roll of her eyes. "If that's the case, why don't you just get her an H&M gift card? All teenage girls seem to dig that store," she said sarcastically.
Oscar looked at her as if the suggestion was laughable. "You don't insult the most powerful man in the city by simply getting his daughter a gift card. Now get your ass over here and help me, or jump in a cab so I can call a more useful bitch to do what you can't," he barked.
Fifteen minutes later, Oscar and Trudy were leaving the store and the two bodyguards were weighted down with bags. Trudy helped Oscar pick out a couple of nice dresses, some shoes that he thought were atrocious, and a handbag that had a price tag equal to a mortgage payment. Oscar felt robbed with no gun, but Trudy assured him that Pearl would love the gifts. Considering that Trudy and Pearl were nearly the same age, he took her at her word. Of course, Trudy made sure he dropped a few racks getting her some things too, but for what he would make her do in the bedroom later, Oscar could stand the hit. One of the bodyguards went to fetch the car, leaving the other to guard over Oscar and Trudy, who were standing in front of the store.
Trudy was bumping her gums about something Oscar didn't catch because he was too busy looking over his cache of purchases. He had blown way more than he had planned to when he walked in the store, but he looked at it as an insurance policy. Things had gotten tense on the streets of New York over the last few months. There was a mysterious group of wild-ass outlaws overthrowing organizations and gobbling up city blocks like locusts in a wheat field. No one knew too much about them other than they were good at creating headaches. More than a few of Oscar's old clients had closed up shop, leaving the few who were still operational as Oscar's only lifelines. It was in his best interest to keep his big spenders happy, which is why he reluctantly went all out for Big Stone's daughter in hopes that the crime boss would recognize it and keep Oscar in his favor.
Oscar whipped out his phone and was about to text his barber to see if he could get a walk-in appointment, when a familiar melody gave him pause. He strained his ears to make sure they weren't deceiving him, and grasped on to a single horn playing "Goin' up Yonder." His mother would always sing it to him as a child. The song was one of the few positive memories he had from that period in his life. His eyes swept the block for the source of the music and he found it a few feet away from the store entrance. A young girl sat perched on a milk crate, pouring her soul through a dinged-up brass horn while a generous few tossed coins or the occasional dollar into the shoe box at her feet. With her hair in two French braids and doe-like eyes she didn't appear to be older than her teens, but she played the horn like someone who had been around far longer. There was a pain in her music that was so deep Oscar felt obligated to drop a hundred-dollar bill into the shoe box.
The girl stopped when she noticed the denomination of the bill, snatched it up, and stuffed it into the pocket of her tight jeans. "Bless your heart, mister." She looked at him with thankful eyes. "Me and my six little brothers and sisters will be able to eat for at least two weeks off this!" she said in a deep southern accent.
"You keep playing that horn the way you do and one day you're gonna be somebody great, kid," Oscar told her sincerely. Just then the bodyguard pulled to the curb in a big black SUV. The second bodyguard popped the back door open and held it for Oscar and Trudy. Oscar was leading Trudy to the vehicle when the girl stopped him.
"Boss man, you been so kind to me, I'd like to repay you if I can. Allow me to see you off with a song," the girl offered.
Trudy sucked her teeth. "You already gave this little tramp a hundred dollars and she still trying to squeeze you for more?" "Oh no, this one is on me, ma'am. It's a pretty little tune that I think you especially will enjoy." The girl pursed the horn to her lips and began to play "Farewell, My Friend."
Oscar was so enthralled by the girl and her beautiful horn playing that he never noticed the beat-up white station wagon inching up and blocking their SUV. The bodyguard behind the wheel honked the horn in frustration, barking at the station wagon to move. In reply the back window rolled down and someone poked the barrel of a shotgun out of it.
All eyes turned to the sound of the shotgun being fired. Lead pellets smashed through the windshield and peppered the face of the bodyguard who had been behind the wheel. Time seemed to slow, as Oscar watched the bodyguard spill from the SUV, clutching his ruined face. From the wagon hopped two men wearing ski masks. The lead man was tall and slender, and moved with the grace and speed of a cat. He leapt atop the car and hit the first bodyguard twice more in the back, finishing him. The second was squat with shoulders as wide as a small sedan. Though a mask covered his face, it couldn't contain the thick beard poking out through the mouth hole. Still armed with the smoking shotgun, he lumbered toward Oscar.
"The devil come to collect his due." The bearded masked man sneered, cocking the slide of the shotgun.
The second bodyguard wouldn't be taken down so easily. He drew a big .357 and let it rock with abandon. One of the powerful shells hit the slender masked man, knocking him off the car and evening the odds. With him out of the way the bodyguard turned his attention to the one with the shotgun. He'd just got him in his sights when the girl who had been playing for them stepped into his line of fire. The bodyguard hesitated, which would cost him. With a twist, she yanked the mouthpiece of her brass horn free, and drove the stiletto hidden inside into the bodyguard's throat.
At the sight of the two dead men Trudy let out a high, shrill cry; until then Oscar had forgotten she was even there. She was clearly terrified, and seemed rooted to the spot with fear. Oscar had no such hang-ups. Leaving Trudy to whatever fate had in store for her, he bolted. He figured if he could make it back inside the crowded department store the killers would be less likely to gun him down.
As Oscar was trying to make his way back into the department store, someone was coming out. Oscar was moving so fast that he ran smack into the young man. When Oscar felt the Kevlar vest beneath his hoodie a chill ran down his spine. The lower half of the young man's face was covered by a red bandanna, but Oscar could see his eyes. They weren't the eyes of a killer; in fact they seemed almost remorseful over the tragedy that was about to befall Oscar. That didn't change what had to happen and they both knew it. With an empathetic nod, he ended it quickly for Oscar by putting a bullet in his heart. Oscar's body had barely hit the ground before his killer was out the department store doors.
It took everything Domo had to keep up his brisk pace and not break into a run. At least two dozen people had seen him shoot Oscar in the doorway. Though the bandanna covered his face, he couldn't help but feel like all the witnesses knew exactly who he was. It wasn't supposed to have gone like this. He was simply there as backup while Buda and Willie did the wet work, but once again he found himself thrust into the role of executioner. Since he had started running with the pirates it seemed to happen to him more often, and he was starting to care less. Just as Vita had promised, delivering death had started to feel like a part of the job and it troubled him.
Excerpted from "The Diamond Empire"
Copyright © 2017 K'wan.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part I: Born on the Bayou,
Part II: The House of the Rising Sun,
Part III: Saints & Sinners,
Part IV: Red Rain,
Also by K'wan,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Can't wait for the next on.
Couldn’t stop reading , sad it ended but ready for the next one!
I couldn't put this book down. I just love it And can't wait for more
This book was sooooo good, i hate that it was short but I understand it was a tease to what is coming NEXT!
Another banger! Man just when all the action started is when the book ended. It’s gonna be a long year waiting for the next book, but I know it will be worth the wait. I’m anxious to see what has happened to Buda, why Domo was at a different place from the others? I have so many questions. Patiently awaiting the next installment. K’wan never disappoints.
CANT WAIT TILL THE NEXT ONE!