Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Blog Tour: The Honeycomb Diamond


Crime Thriller

Date Published: Oct 11, 2022

Publisher: Elite Online Publishing

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Perfect for fans of Nine Perfect Strangers and The Club.


Beautiful socialite Margarita is held captive in her London townhouse by a brutal gang in search of her rare pink diamond. Yet, it's after her daring escape that she encounters an even greater threat - a secret organization called Honeycomb. Slowly she realizes that the price for her freedom might be far more than she can afford.




Twenty past four. It was a dark November night. The rain kept beating against the window with a steady rhythm. Margarita opened her eyes, and the shadows from the outside trees came into focus against the white ceiling. She peered at the electronic clock on her nightstand. Sleep. Sleep. I need to go back to sleep.

Margarita adjusted her pillow, and as she did, she felt a dampness. The pillow was wet with tears. Whimpering like a lost puppy, she chewed on her blanket and continued to cry. She hadn’t cried that much since her daughter Lily died. Not even after the disappearance of her beloved husband. Was it the physical pain that conjured the tears to continually run down her cheeks, turning her pillow into a puddle? Was it a cry for help, despite knowing that help would never come? She wiped her eyes with her hands.

What will happen to me now? Death?

The thought of death made her wince. Something that she had been yearning for since her little girl died suddenly frightened her. Was the instinct for survival that had been hiding somewhere deep inside her for the last three years finally resurfacing? Her mind was exhausted. Her eyes ran out of tears. Her entire body felt numb. She had absolutely nothing left and eventually fell asleep.

Margarita awoke with the sunrise. The curtains were not closed all the way, so she could glimpse the rainy morning through the window. Yet another cold and bleak day. She held her bandaged head and grimaced in pain, then slowly lifted herself up. The blood on the side of her left ear had seeped out and had created a crimson pool on the pillow. Margarita tried to get up, but she felt too weak and shaky. She collected all the strength left in her frail body and made a desperate effort to stand up. A small camera across from her bed detected her movements and began recording. She stood by the bed for a moment, then wobbled slowly across the room to the bathroom.

She locked the door from the inside and looked at her reflection in the mirror. A monster stared back at her. Her eyes filled with horror, and she couldn’t even blink. As a natural beauty, she had never lacked attention and compliments, but now, seeing herself disheveled with a black eye, a swollen lip, and a blood-soaked head bandage absolutely terrified her. She was a former model, a hot London socialite, but suddenly, she looked like a character in a horror movie. How could she not be appalled? No one had ever laid a hand on her—in fact, men worshiped her—yet there she was, battered and bruised with excruciating, lingering pain.

Margarita had moved to London with Viktor, her billionaire husband, twelve years prior. At first, it was an adjustment for them to find acceptance among the snobbish Brits. But they quickly made their way into the crème de la crème by making generous donations and paying exorbitant amounts for all kinds of charity gala events and private club memberships. Although there were plenty of Russians in London, Margarita and her husband had never really gotten along with them.

Viktor’s extravagant multimillion-dollar purchases created too much buzz. Margarita herself would also splurge millions on couture clothes, handbags, jewelry and dainty accessories. She picked her clothes on her own, never hiring an assistant or a stylist. She possessed a unique sense of fashion and put together outfits that always ended up with a million likes on social media. It was no wonder that she soon became a new fashion icon. All the major magazines put her on their covers, and all the famous designers invited her to attend their runway shows.

Viktor was notorious for buying the most exquisite and the most expensive diamonds in the world for his lovely wife. Margarita’s fondness for precious stones had developed in early childhood. Her father was a jeweler, and he sold all the extraordinary gemstones in Eastern Europe to the most affluent people.

She had quite the collection of little gem-studded animals of every kind imaginable: a bunny, a kitten, a bear, and many exotic birds and animals. As a birthday tradition, her father gave her one each year, until one fateful day when she was twelve. Suddenly, he passed away from a heart attack.

His partner took over the business, including all the money and gemstones, leaving Margarita and her mother without a dime. Her mother worked as a pediatrician with a modest salary, but she tried her best to give Margarita a happy childhood, raising her with love and care. Yet empty bottles of vodka kept accumulating, and there was nothing Margarita could do to make her mother stop. Margarita still dreamt of her dad often and cherished every gift that he had given her. After he passed, she never saw another diamond until she met Viktor.

As a successful businessman and international real estate developer, Viktor could afford to spend millions on beautiful and rare things. He and Margarita both loved the finer things in life. He was amazed by the knowledge that Margarita possessed about every precious stone and how she could so easily tell the difference between high-quality diamonds and those of poor grade with simply a glance. Their joint adoration of exquisite jewelry made them frequent visitors at Graff, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and many other high-end brands. And of course, Viktor was one of the best clients of Sotheby’s and Christie’s.

The sound of water running down the sink slowly pulled Margarita out of her memories and brought her back to the present. A sudden rush of intense heat enveloped her body. Margarita dabbed her face carefully with cold water, letting blood from the bandage run into the sink’s drain. With shaking hands, she pressed a damp towel to her forehead. She sat down on the floor and started opening drawer after drawer, looking for pain medication. She pulled out every pill bottle before trying to read the text on the prescription labels, but her eyes refused to process the words.

What are all these pills for?

She couldn’t recognize any of the names until she found Tylenol. She attempted to unscrew the lid, but she was too weak and could hardly hold the bottle. Finally, she managed to open it and shook it to get the pills out.

A dozen light pink and white diamonds fell into her palm.

What? Diamonds? In a pill bottle?

She peered at the stones as she traced her index finger over them to make sure that they were real, and she wasn’t hallucinating.

Then, a knock on the door startled her.

“Are you alright in there?” the deep voice behind the door asked.

“Yes! I’m just washing my face,” Margarita replied quickly.

“Open the door!” The man banged on the door repeatedly.

“Hold on!”

Margarita turned the water back on and anxiously opened the other pill bottles to search for more diamonds. She emptied them onto the floor. No more diamonds. She looked at the stones in her hand, unsure what to do with them.

The man kept slamming his fist against the door. “If you don’t open up right now, I’m gonna break this fucking door! You hear me?”

Margarita gripped the diamonds in her hand, frantically looking around for a place to hide them, before ultimately slipping them into her underwear. She adjusted her pajamas and opened the door.

There, she faced Mohamed. That was the name she had heard the others call him. He looked at her with his fierce deep-brown eyes. He had thick bushy eyebrows and a full head of wavy dark hair with a long beard. That was all she could see, as his mouth and nose were covered by a face mask. He was slightly taller than her, thick-boned, and stood with a hunched posture.

“What the fuck were you trying to do?” he yelled at her.

“Nothing, I was trying to wash the blood off my face,” Margarita said in a trembling voice.

Behind him, she noticed the boss sitting on the edge of the bed. Just like Mohamed, he had brown eyes, but that was where the similarity ended. He didn’t have a foreign accent and spoke very well with a Northern English tone. He was slim, a bit taller than Mohamed, with short hair and thin groomed eyebrows. The rest was hidden under his face mask. He approached Margarita, took her hand gently, and walked her back to the bed.

“Is everything alright?” the boss asked her softly.

“I’m in pain, and I think I have an infection,” she mumbled.

Mohamed stormed out of the bathroom with the empty pill bottles in hand. “Look! She tried to kill herself! She tried to take all these pills!”

“No, I didn’t! I was looking for pain medication!” Margarita wailed.

“Did you find it?” the boss asked, his voice remaining level.

“No. Nothing strong enough. I don’t even know the names of some of those pills.”

“Did you take anything?” he pressed.

“No.” Margarita shook her head.

“Let’s go back to the bathroom,” the boss commanded.

He pulled her toward the door. Mohamed leaped in front of them and kicked away all the empty pill bottles.

The boss sat on the edge of the bathtub and looked at Margarita. “You need to throw up all the pills you took,” he said, raising his voice.

“I didn’t take anything. I swear. I’m telling you the truth.” Margarita looked imploringly at him.

The boss made a gesture to Mohamed. Margarita knew that nothing would come out of her. She had endured so much physical pain over the past five hours. She was completely exhausted and didn’t know how much more torture she could take. Margarita had never broken a bone as a child, never had any accidents. Only once, some time ago, had she sprained an ankle. She had delivered her daughter via C-section, so she had nothing to truly compare with the pain she felt.

Mohamed held her head up as he poured water into her mouth from a glass. Margarita puked it up immediately. She coughed and choked while the boss sat on the edge of the bathtub and watched as Mohamed forced her to throw up. Each time Mohamed poured a full glass of water into her mouth, he would grab her hand and force her fingers down her throat. Her nails, even though they were short, managed to scratch her gums.

She raised her hand to indicate that she could purge on her own, so Mohamed stepped away. He seemed to enjoy watching her puke, unlike the boss. Margarita continued drinking more and more water as she kneeled on the cold floor with tears streaming down her face.

“Come on, fingers down the throat! Or do you want me to stick mine?” Mohamed laughed.

The boss fidgeted and turned his head away when Margarita started to retch again, and he left the bathroom just moments later. Margarita was terrified of being left alone with Mohamed. She saw his eyes crinkling, giving away the sadistic smile hidden underneath his face mask.

Margarita crouched with her head hovering above the toilet. She couldn’t drink any more water.

“Don’t stop!” Mohamed warned her.

Margarita leaned on the toilet seat, revealing a slight view of her breasts through her loose pajamas. Mohamed lowered his head to try to catch a glimpse.

She felt his creepy stare, and the notion of that filthy beast ogling her made her throw up again. After she finished, she took a sip of water, swished it around in her mouth, then spat it out. Her throat was sore and burning. Her shivering was accompanied by a throbbing pain in her head. Margarita clenched her jaw to stop her teeth from chattering. Her body couldn’t take it anymore, and she collapsed on the floor in a dead faint.

She couldn’t remember Mohamed carrying her to bed. She couldn’t remember the boss checking her pulse. And she couldn’t remember the doctor injecting her.

When Margarita opened her eyes next, she didn’t know what time it was. Again, she was in bed with the curtains open. It was still raining outside. Margarita turned and looked dolefully at the window.

She started praying to God. She asked for help, feeling embarrassed and ashamed because three years ago, she’d blamed Him for taking her daughter away. Now, she quietly asked God for mercy. For anything that could set her free: arrival of police officers, her house being set on fire, the boss feeling sorry for her and leaving. Her silent prayer was interrupted by footsteps approaching the bedroom. Margarita kept her eyes closed when the door opened. She didn’t know who it was, but they must have only looked around before leaving.

Margarita wanted to run away, but she couldn’t come up with a plan for how to do it. How would she escape from these gangsters who’d taken over her home? She was drowsy and dehydrated. Her mouth was dry, and her head felt heavy, although the pain seemed to be fading away. They must’ve injected her with Butorphanol, or something similar that made her numb.

She knew a lot about medicine, and only a few people were aware that she had been studying to become a doctor before she’d been approached by a modeling scout agent. That was when her life took a different turn: high-paying photoshoots all over the world, glamorous runways, fancy afterparties, and many new rich and famous friends.

That was how she met Viktor. They met at a fashion event after she had just broken up with her boyfriend, having no intention of starting a new relationship anytime soon. But meeting Viktor was something special. He was handsome, successful, and a true gallant gentleman. The full package. And she was taken by his confidence and magnetism. They fell for each other immediately.

Viktor would rent out an entire place just for the two of them to enjoy a romantic dinner. She loved all those splendid dinners in all the top restaurants around the globe. Often with rose petals covering the whole floor.

That was how he had proposed to her at a mountaintop restaurant in Tuscany, the new playground of billionaires. It was the most mesmerizing sunset with hues of light pink and orange. Clouds covered the sky, creating intricate shapes and shadows. Those colors would always be imprinted into her memory. The dinner was so outstanding that she could remember every dish, every flavor, the aroma of the meal, and the delicious dessert with white chocolate and cherries.

The memory fueled her hunger, or maybe she was hungry because she could smell something cooking in the kitchen. Her bedroom was filled with the aroma of Middle Eastern spices.

She glanced around the bedroom. It was still a mess. The torn books on the floor, overturned chairs, and the cut-up couch. They didn’t clean up anything.

Those bastards.

Once again, Margarita gazed out the window. Oh, she was so high, and she felt so light, practically weightless. She wished she could just float. Float in the air like a cloud and disappear through the window. Fly away like a ghost. Like a ghost.  

A ghost. Is that what I’m going to become? They’re going to kill me.


About the Author

Sara Stamford is a fast-rising creative author who is full of great, purpose-inspired stories. Her commitment to crafting novels that center on often overlooked societal themes and characters with a keen focus on female empowerment, inclusion, reversing stereotypes, and promoting deeper understanding, sets Sara apart from other new authors.


She currently spends her time between the United States and Europe.


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