Cruel Saints: Chapter 12

ELENA

The shots ring in my ears.

Alfonso falls beside me, his eyes wide as blood trickles from his head.

My stomach churns at the memory that’s so clear in my mind as if it just happened.

Lucian and Carson just killed those men. Right in the middle of the road.

Oh, God.

I wrap my arms tighter around my waist, trying to put as much space between Lucian and me.

Oh my God.

He killed them.

He just killed them.

I swallow hard on the bile, threatening to push up my throat.

I see Alfonso and Gino’s bodies.

The blood.

The acidic smell of my vomit filling the air.

The taste of Dante.

I gag and quickly cover my mouth with my hand.

“Fuck, she’s going to throw up,” I hear Lucian say, but his voice sounds miles away.

I feel his hand on my back, and that’s all it takes. I bend over, and unable to stop it, I vomit on the floor.

All my demons have been set free, and they close in on me until it feels like I’m going to lose my mind.

“Principessa,” I hear Dante whisper dauntingly from the darkness. “I know you’re awake.”

I have to force myself to keep still, hoping I can convince him I’m asleep. I hear him move, and I squeeze my eyes tightly shut.

“We’re here,” I hear Carson’s muted voice.

“I could fuck you right now,” Dante says, no longer whispering, “and you’ll just have to take every inch of my dick.”

The trembling in my body grows as fear pulses where my heart should be.

“I’ve got her,” Lucian says, and I’m only half aware of his arms slipping under me.

Suddenly Dante pounces, his hand closing around my throat, and it rips a terrified scream from me. He pushes me onto my back, and his rank breath wafts over my face. “Which hole should I fuck?” A cruel chuckle darkens the night. “I’ll let you choose, Principessa.”

I hear voices. All male. I feel Lucian move, his arms strong beneath me, his shoulder solid against my cheek. His aftershave wars with the acidic smell of bile.

I’m laid down on a bed, and then I feel Lucian’s cool palm on my heated cheek. I manage to open my eyes, and for a moment, I connect with his worried gaze, but then I’m yanked away by the demons.

“Choose,” Dante growls, drops of spittle hitting my face.

“Don’t. Please,” I beg, but it only makes him tighten his grip on my neck, making it hard to breathe. My heart hammers at a panicked pace.

I hear as he begins to unbuckle his belt, and it makes waves of terror crash over me.

This is it. This is the moment I’ve feared most.

Dante leans closer to me, and then he licks the tears from my cheek. “Choose, or I’ll choose for you,” he threatens.

I’m so terrified he’ll rape me, my lips part, and it feels as if a piece of my soul is torn out along with the words. “M-m-mouth.”

  He lets out another chuckle, and then he lets go of my neck as he moves back. “You better make this good.” He frees his cock from his pants, then snaps, “Now, Principessa. Before I change my mind.”

Quickly, I sit up, and my body shudders as I scoot to the side of the bed. A sob escapes me, and it has Dante saying, “Puke and I’ll fuck you raw. This time you swallow every last drop of my cum.”

Father… why have you forsaken me?

Another sob builds, but I swallow it down.

Dante grabs hold of my head, and even though it’s the lesser of the two evils, it kills me to open my mouth.

He thrusts brutally into my mouth, letting out a sadistic chuckle. “Fuck, yes.”

No.

It will always be no.

I squeeze my eyes tightly shut and pray it will be quick, but then Dante says, “Open your eyes and look up at me while I fuck your mouth.”

God, he won’t even allow me to escape the sight of him.

Knowing I have no choice, I do as he says, and the sight of him leering down at me makes bile push up my throat.

I swallow hard while he thrusts relentlessly into my mouth, shafting my lips.

And it becomes unbearably real.

It’s revolting.

Inhumane.

Soul-crushing.

A vital piece of me dies as Dante finds his release, coating the back of my tongue and throat. I swallow hard on the last of my dignity… and then I’m left with what feels like an empty shell.

The last of the light dims, and darkness pours into me until it’s all I am.

I shoot up from the bed, and not recognizing my surroundings, I at least spot the bathroom. Darting off the bed, I rush into it. I make it to the toilet just in time, and then my body convulses as I empty my stomach of its contents.

My mind swirls with traumatic flashes from my past.

My heart shrinks.

My soul withers a little more, and I wonder when it will just fade away.

“Elena,” I hear Lucian say, and when he places his hand on my back, I flinch.

He killed those men. Without a second thought. 

It’s only a matter of time before he’ll either kill me or make my life an unbearable hell.

I try to reach for the lever wanting to flush the toilet, but I can’t get to it, and Lucian does it for me.

“Come,” he murmurs, and then he places his hands under my arms and pulls me to my feet. He helps me to a counter, and I bend over the sink. Opening the faucet, I rinse out my mouth with the cool water.

I feel feverish from the panic attack and memories haunting me and splash some water over my face.

Lucian hands me a towel, and as I pat my face dry, I step away from him. Now that I know what he’s capable of, every part of me is on high alert.

“Where am I?” I think to ask.

“A safe house.”

“How long… was I…” I can’t finish the sentence.

“Not long.”

Lucian cautiously takes a step closer to me, and I quickly shake my head. “Please don’t.”

Instead of ignoring my plea like Dante would’ve, Lucian holds his hands up in a surrendering gesture. “You’re safe.”

I’ll never be safe.

I shake my head. “Unless I give you a reason to kill me. Right? That’s what you said.”

Lucian lets out a heavy breath. “What do you expect of me, Elena?”

From the head of the Mafia?

Depraved cruelty. Death. Destruction.

“Nothing,” I whisper.

 


 

LUCIAN

 

I’m tired.

I’m struggling to keep the grief from overwhelming me, and Elena scared the fucking shit out of me with the panic attack she had. Today has pushed me to my limits, and right now, I have nothing left in me.

Walking past her, I mutter, “There’s food if you’re hungry. If not, you can sleep. The bedroom’s yours.”

As I reach the doorway, she pleads, “Let me go.”

I stop and suck in a deep breath. I’m trying to save her life, but still, she sees me as the devil.

Slowly, I turn to face her. Our eyes lock, and I say, “If I let you go, you’ll be dead before midnight. Is that what you want?” When she just stares at me, I ask, “Do you want to go back to Dante?”

This time I get a reaction, a flash of panic tightening her features, and it has me continuing, “You see me as a monster because I killed men who would’ve taken our lives the first chance they got. It was either them or us. Do you understand that?”

Elena nods and wets her lips before she says, “I don’t want any part of this world.”

Shaking my head, I take a step towards her. “You were born into it, little bird. There’s no other way out but death.”

Her features tighten with a desperate expression. “I never wanted this life.”

I let out a sigh. “It’s the only one you have. The sooner you make peace with it, the better.”

Lowering her eyes from mine, she looks down at the towel she’s wringing in her hands. “What do you plan to do with me?”

I don’t know.

When I don’t answer her, she glances up at me again, her eyes filled with the same horror as when I kissed her earlier.

God, was that today? So much has happened, I’ve lost track of time.

Wanting to give her some peace of mind, I say, “I’m not going to let you go. I won’t hurt you, and even though I said differently when we met, I won’t kill you.” I close the distance between us, and lifting my hands, I frame her face. “The safest place for you is by my side.” I lean down and press a kiss to her forehead. “Get some sleep.”

This time when I turn away from her, I walk out of the bathroom, needing some time for myself. I drop down on the couch and let out a sigh as I shrug out of my jacket. I unfasten the bulletproof vest and drop it on the coffee table, and then I lean back and close my eyes.

“Alexei and Demitri landed. They’ll be here in twenty minutes,” Carson murmurs from where he’s sitting on the couch opposite me.

“Thanks.”

Lifting a hand, I rub my fingers over my forehead, where a headache is starting to brew.

My father adjusts the lapels of my jacket even though they were fine. His eyes meet mine, and I take my chance to ask, “Let me stay, Papà. I don’t want to leave you alone.”

A caring smile softens his features. “It’s just for two years, my son. Enjoy it while you can because once you join me, there won’t be rest for your soul again. Not until you meet our maker.”

I’ve been working with my father for the past two years, ever since I took my place next to him.

I’ve killed. Fourteen men and one woman.

The woman was the hardest even though she deserved it. Viola was our housekeeper. We caught her selling information about us to whoever was willing to pay the highest fee.

I let out a sigh, then lean in to hug my father. It’s going to kill me to leave him alone in this big house.

My father’s arms wrap securely around me. “Ti voglio bene.”

“Ti voglio bene, Papà,” I tell him I love him too.

The pain is searing, branding the sorrow onto my soul.

I’m caught in my grief until a knock at the door to the quarters we’re staying in pulls me out of it.

The safe house belongs to a contact of Alexei. When we arrived, I had no time to look around because I was too worried about Elena.

Carson gets up to answer the door, and when he opens it, Alexei and Demitri come in.

I rise to my feet as Alexei hugs his younger brother, murmuring, “You did good.”

Then Alexei looks at me, and his expression turns grim enough to make the fucking devil tremble in fear. He stalks over to me, and his arms wrap around me. The hug is hard and fast as he murmurs, “It was quick. He didn’t suffer.”

I nod as I pull back, his words making the rage in my chest intensify. “Just find out who’s behind this.”

“I will,” he promises.

Our eyes lock for a moment, and when I see the loss in his merciless gaze, it offers me comfort to know I’m not the only one grieving my father.

“Thank you,” I say.

“Stop thanking me, you’re going to pay me,” he chuckles, trying to lighten the mood.

It works. The corner of my mouth lifts.

Demitri comes to give me a brotherly hug which I accept. He’s not the most talkative person, so I’m not surprised when he doesn’t say anything.

As Demitri steps back, his head snaps to the bedroom. He’s already halfway to the room before I think to say, “It’s Elena Lucas. She’s in there.”

Demitri doesn’t stop but glances into the room, and seemingly satisfied that Alexei’s life isn’t in danger, he turns back to us. The man has been trained to protect Alexei at all costs. It’s admirable, to say the least.

“The private jet is ready. We need to go now,” Alexei informs me.

“Home?” I ask to be sure.

Alexei nods. “If you go into hiding, it will show them they’ve won. You need to take over now.”

I nod, agreeing with him. I also have to arrange for my father’s burial.

The thought is sharp and suffocating. Trying to get away from the sorrow, I put on my jacket as I walk to the bedroom. When I enter, I find Elena sitting on the edge of the bed. She instantly gets up, her eyes darting between me and the doorway.

“Time to go,” I say as I hold my hand out to her.

Elena hesitates, but then she comes to me. Her palm is ice cold when it meets mine, and it makes my fingers wrap tightly around hers. I pull her closer until our bodies are almost touching, and lifting my other hand, I brush my fingers over her cheek.

Fuck. She’s freezing.

Letting go of her hand, I wrap my arms around her, trying to offer her some of my warmth, but instead, I find the comfort I’ve needed since I found out I lost my father.

Closing my eyes, I bury my face in her hair, and I take a deep breath, but then Elena tenses in my hold.

“Just for a minute,” I whisper. “I need this.”

She doesn’t fight me and instead wraps her arms around my waist. It’s exactly what I needed.

God, she even has the power to chase my grief away.

My hold on her tightens, and I savor the peace I find in her arms until Alexei’s voice carries from the living room, “We need to leave.”

Reluctantly, I step away from Elena, and taking her hand, I pull her out of the room. I link our fingers, and we follow the Russian men downstairs to where we left our luggage.

Not wanting to dig through Elena’s clothes, I open my bag and pull a sweater from it. Elena’s eyes dart to my face when I help her put it on. I adjust the fabric over the vest, and it makes her look small and fragile as fuck.

My gaze connects with hers, and I know with dead certainty I’m not going to let her go. Never. Just like my father was prepared to do with my mother, I’ll take Elena even if it’s against her will.

You were right, Papà.

“Weapons check,” Alexei orders, yanking my attention away from Elena.

I walk to the table where they’re standing and pull the Baretta and Heckler and Koch from behind my back.

We have enough weapons between the four of us, but I’m not so sure about ammo. Alexei talks to his contact to bring us what we’ll need to make it to the private jet should we be ambushed.

We load fresh clips into all the guns and shove extra ones into our pockets.

Tucking the Baretta away behind my back, I again keep the Heckler and Koch in my right hand. Taking hold of my luggage, I glance at Elena. “Time to go.”

She seems much calmer than when we left St. Monarch’s and doesn’t argue as she comes to me.

Demitri takes the lead with Alexei right behind him, and Carson brings up the rear as we’re taken through a maze of hallways until we reach the back of the safe house.

“The car’s bulletproof,” Alexei’s contact advises us, and he’s the first to step outside into the night that’s fallen while we were waiting. The man makes sure it’s safe for us to exit, then gestures for us to come.

This is it.

I take a deep breath knowing the moment we step out of this safe house, my life as the head of the Mafia begins.

I’ll never hide again.

I’ll face my enemies head-on.

I’ll kill anyone who opposes me.

I’ll follow in my father’s footsteps and bring honor to the Cotroni name just as he has.

And one day, I’ll die just as he has, but before then, I will leave a legacy of my own.

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