Cruel Saints: Chapter 22

ELENA

I take over from Aunt Ursula, and lifting the cloth away from the wound, I check it.

“I’m okay, amore mio,” Lucian says.

Seeing blood seeping from his side chills my bones.

Stay calm, Elena. Stay calm.

I press the cloth hard to his side, then lift my eyes to his.

God, let us get out of here alive.

Lifting my free hand, I place it against his jaw, and just in case things go horribly wrong, I lean into him and press a kiss to his mouth. “Ti amo.”

Sitting between shards of glass with only a table as cover, I say the words ‘I love you’ for the first time in my life.

Lucian’s eyes darken to midnight. He grabs hold of the back of my head, and he yanks me back to him, giving me a hard kiss. Then just as fast, he lets go of me and moves into a crouching position. He throws the bloody cloth to the side and barks an order at Franco. “Get men to search every fucking building from where the shot could’ve been taken. I don’t plan on sitting here the whole fucking day.”

Then he turns his intense gaze to Leo, Aunt Ursula, and me. “Crawl to the back of the restaurant. I want the women away from the window,” he instructs Leo.

When I look at Aunt Ursula and see she’s visibly shaken, I nudge her to move. “Come. You go first. I’m right behind you.”

“Dio. Dio. Dio,” Aunt Ursula chants as she crawls ahead of me while Leo secures our backs.

“We’re going to be okay,” I try to reassure her. We take cover behind a counter where two waiters are hiding, and I pull Aunt Ursula into my arms. “Lucian will get us out of here.”

Holding Aunt Ursula tightly, I glance around the corner of the counter, my insides twisted with worry for Lucian.

“Move back, Mrs. Cotroni,” Leo orders, and then he guards us as we wait.

Soon I hear sirens in the distance and send a prayer of thanks up.

Seconds later, there’s police everywhere. The surrounding area is secured, but we keep sitting behind the counter until Lucian comes to us.

“It’s safe to leave,” he says, but still, his eyes keep scanning the front of the restaurant, on high alert.

I help Aunt Ursula up, and then she signs the cross, whispering a prayer of thanks.

Lucian ushers us out of the restaurant to where Franco has parked the car right in front of the entrance. Only once we’re safely inside the armored vehicle do I manage to take a full breath.

My hands begin to tremble, and to keep my mind from wandering to the worst that could’ve happened, I focus my attention on checking Lucian’s wound.

My heart shrinks at the sight, and I’m instantly drowned in worry. “We need to get you to a hospital,” I say when I see how his button-up shirt has been stained with blood.

“I’m fine, amore mio,” Lucian says, his voice deceptively calm. My eyes snap up to his, and I see the anger brewing in his dark brown irises.

I could’ve lost Lucian today.

If that bullet had hit higher.

If Franco didn’t pull him back.

Lucian takes hold of my left hand, and his thumb brushes over the ring on my finger. “I’m here. I’m fine. Don’t worry.”

I slump back against the seat and close my eyes against the unbearable pain the mere thought of losing Lucian brings.

I’ve been wrapped up in a happy bubble, enjoying my life for the first time.

I forgot.

I forgot Lucian’s the head of the Mafia.

I forgot there are people out there who want him dead.

Every day Aunt Ursula taught me how to cook. While we went shopping. While we relaxed in the garden, learning to get to know each other.

Every day I lived in blissful peace – Lucian put his life on the line.

And I forgot.

When he held me at night. When he kissed me. Even when he told me he loved me this morning.

I forgot it could be the last time I see him. The last time I feel his arms around me. The last time I have his strength keeping me safe.

Tears flood my eyes, but I swallow them down.

Never again.

I’ll treasure every second I have with him from this day forward.

When we get home, we’re all quiet, processing the shock of the attack. Leo goes to check every room while Lucian walks to the side table and pours himself a drink. I watch as he downs it, and then he fills the glass again.

“Let me look at the wound,” I say. Taking hold of his arm, I tug him to the couch and push him down on it.

Lucian rests the tumbler on his knee, slowly twirling it with his right hand while I push his shirt up. Needing the fabric out of the way, I say, “Take off your jacket.”

He sets the glass down on the table and shrugs out of the jacket. I unbutton the shirt and push it over his shoulders, helping him out of the ruined fabric.

Aunt Ursula brings a first aid kit and sets it down on the coffee table.

Opening the kit, I remove what I’ll need, and while I clean the wound, Lucian doesn’t make a sound. He just stares ahead of him, murder in his eyes.

Franco comes to stand by us. “Is the bullet still in? Do you need stitches?”

My head snaps up to him. “Do you know how?”

Franco nods and gestures for me to move aside. I take a seat on Lucian’s right and grab hold of his hand.

I watch as Franco takes tweezers from the kit along with what he’ll need for the stitches, then I say, “Wait. He needs something for the pain.”

“I’m fine, just stitch me up,” Lucian growls.

Aunt Ursula turns away and walks to the kitchen. Franco makes sure the bullet isn’t stuck inside, and when he pushes a needle through Lucian’s skin, the sight makes my stomach churn.

Lucian’s grip tightens on my hand, then he grinds out, “Give me the drink.”

I quickly reach for it and hand him the tumbler. He downs the amber liquid, then throws the glass. It shatters against the wall, and my breaths instantly speed up.

With a racing heart, I sit frozen as Lucian takes his phone from his pocket. He dials a number, and a moment later, he growls, “She just tried to fucking kill me.” Lucian grimaces as Franco pushes the needle in again.

Oh, God.

It all becomes real. It sinks in hard. It robs me of my breath.

“We need to find her and end this,” Lucian snaps.

Not wanting to upset Lucian any more than he already is, I get up and walk away, knowing Franco will take care of the wound.

I rush up the stairs and into our room, and then I place my hand over my heart that feels like it’s been torn in two.

I love him.

I love Lucian Cotroni, and the thought that he can die rips through me. Maybe not today, but one day I could lose Lucian in the blink of an eye.

Tears spill down my cheeks, and for the first time, I cry not because I’ve been hurt but because I fear losing the man that’s shown me what it is to be loved.

 


 

LUCIAN

 

When Franco’s done stitching me up, our eyes meet. “Thanks.”

He nods, then says, “I’m going to go see if I can find any footage of the shooter.”

“Take men with you. Be careful.” I can’t afford to lose my best man. He proved himself to me today.

Rising to my feet, I walk to where my aunt is cleaning the mess I made. “Sorry,” I apologize.

She shakes her head, and when she climbs to her feet, I take hold of her arm. “Zia Ursula.” Her eyes lift to mine, and then they flood with tears. I pull her against my chest. “I’m fine.”

“This life… it will take you from me too,” she sobs.

“Not soon,” I try to offer her comfort. “Shh…”

She pulls away, then says, “I’ll prepare something to eat.”

That’s how my aunt deals, she starts making enough food for an army. Leaving her, I go look for Elena.

When I get to our bedroom, I nod at Leo, where he’s taken position right outside the door. “Take a break.”

“Yes, Sir.”

Walking into our room, I come to a sudden halt. Elena’s busy pulling leggings on, and for a second, I get a good look at her perfect ass, covered in only lace.

Christ.

My eyes sweep up her back, and when I shut the door, she glances over her shoulder as she reaches into the closet for an oversized shirt.

Up until now, she’s avoided getting dressed in front of me, and instead of pulling the shirt on as quickly as she can, she drops the fabric and rushes to me.

She throws her arms around my neck, and I almost let out a growl from only feeling her lace bra between us, her breasts pressing against my chest.

I’m tempted to within an inch of my sanity to throw her on the bed and fuck the anger and stress away. Instead, I wrap my arms tightly around her and savor the feel of her bare skin.

She lifts her head, and when our eyes lock, everything fades.

The attempt on my life.

The enemies at my door.

All I see is the love shining from her eyes. The fear for my life. The feverish heartbreak of almost losing me.

Lifting my hands, I frame her face. “Amore mio,” I whisper, happy she’s learned to love me but angry as fuck she had to witness a hit on my life. I wanted to spare her from that part of our lives.

“I was so scared,” she whispers. “I can’t lose you.”

My eyes caress hers. “You won’t lose me.”

When she pulls back, she lowers her hand to the bandage on my side, the sight of it seeming to cause her pain. Probably more than I’m feeling.

“I’m okay,” I say once again.

She shakes her head. “Sei la miglior cosa che mi sia capitata,” she whispers. “Sei il mio tutto.”

You’re the best thing that happened to me. You’re my everything.

The words settle deep in my heart. They burrow into my soul.

Taking hold of her chin, I lift her face to mine, and then I fuse my mouth with hers.

I kiss her with all the pent-up hunger that’s been building since I laid eyes on her. My tongue thrusts against Elena’s, showing her what I plan on doing to her tonight.

I’m done waiting.

She loves me.

I love her.

I’m not waiting a day longer to claim all of her.

If I could have my way, I’d fuck her right now, but I can’t leave my aunt alone while she’s in such a state.

I break the kiss and let go of Elena before I change my mind. “I’m taking the rest of the day off. Let’s go relax in the living room.” Because if we stay up here, I’m going to lose the little control I have.

 I walk to the closet and pull a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt out. As Elena picks up her shirt, I unbuckle my belt and step out of my shoes. Her eyes dart to me, and then she pulls the fabric over her head as I push the pants down my legs.

My eyes stay glued to her, and as soon as her head pops through the neck of the shirt, she glances at me.

There’s no awkwardness on her face when she sees me standing, clothed only in a pair of boxers. She looks comfortable, and it puts me at ease.

I step into the sweatpants and pull on my t-shirt. The second I’m done, Elena takes my hand and links our fingers. She pushes up on her tiptoes and presses a kiss to my jaw.

The moment feels intimate between us, as if we’ve finally moved to the next phase of our relationship.

I tug her closer to me, and lifting my right hand to her cheek, I lean down and capture her mouth. The kiss is tender and slow, filled with our newfound love.

When I begin to pull away, Elena follows, and then she deepens the kiss. I let go of her hand, and clasping the back of her head, I tilt her to give me better access to her mouth.

She lets out a moan, and I instantly harden, the kiss going from loving to filthy in a split second.

My control slips, and grabbing hold of her ass, I lift her against my body. Elena wraps her legs around me, and I push her against the closet door. There’s a stab of pain in my side, but I ignore it the moment I feel Elena’s heat warming my cock. My tongue lashes at hers, and I thrust hard, my cock wanting to tear through the clothes between us.

Time fades. My stress eases off my shoulders. My anger retreats.

There’s only Elena. Us kissing, exploring, and devouring each other’s mouths.

My hips keep moving, searching for any friction I can find, and the temptation of the heat between her legs drives me wild.

I slip my hand under her shirt, and then my fingers feast on her soft skin. I explore the curve of her waist, her ribs, and then the lace covering her breast.

Wanting to see her face, I break the kiss. Breathless and with swollen lips, our eyes lock. I move the lace out of my way, and my palm takes the weight of her breast. My thumb brushes over her nipple, hunger ripping a growl from me as her lips part on a gasp from my touch.

“Christ, Elena.”

I’ve never wanted anything so badly. I need to be buried deep inside her heat. I have to claim her.

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