Cruel Saints: Chapter 24

ELENA

I’m unable to think.

Unable to speak.

My body’s been possessed by Lucian. My insides quiver as I’m overcome with pleasure, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

I gasp, moans the only sound I can make while he touches me like I’ve never been touched before.

I experience a level of intimacy with Lucian I haven’t had before.

“Beautiful,” he murmurs into my mouth. “So goddamn beautiful.”

There’s no shame. There’s no guilt.

I feel beautiful in his arms. Treasured. Loved.

I come down from the heavens he took me to. Lucian pulls his hand away, and then he sucks my release from his finger, making residual tingles of pleasure ripple through me. Framing my face, his mouth adores mine, causing emotion to burst in my chest.

I find my worth in his love.

Lucian senses the emotions crashing over me, and he pulls back to lock his gaze with mine.

I see the woman I am in his eyes.

I now understand how two souls can become one because without me having to say anything, Lucian wipes the tears from my cheeks. “My love for you runs deeper than the bottomless pits of hell because that’s how far I will go to find you if you’re ever taken from me.” He kisses me tenderly. “Do you understand what you mean to me? How precious you are, amore mio?”

I nod, bathing in his words, reveling in his love. “Angelo mio,” I whisper because that’s what Lucian is to me – my angel.

Our mouths meet again, and we kiss for what feels like hours. A breeze from the ocean plays around us. The crashing waves against the rocks below are the only sounds we hear.

Until Aunt Ursula calls, “Where are you? It’s time to eat!”

Lucian releases me with a chuckle. “Coming,” he shouts so she’ll hear him, then he shakes his head at me. “You bewitch me, my wife.”

“I think it’s the other way around,” I laugh as we walk back toward the house. He wraps his arm around my shoulder, drawing me to his side. “Careful of your wound,” I say as I try to pull back.

“I’m fine,” Lucian mutters, tugging me back to him.

“I don’t want to hurt you,” I argue.

“Stubborn woman,” he playfully grumbles as we take the steps up to the veranda.

“You made me this way,” I tease him.

 “Mmh… seems I’m doing a good job.”

“You are.” We glance at each other as we walk into the living room, and then Lucian pulls me closer for one last kiss before he leaves me so he can go to the guest restroom.

I join Aunt Ursula in the kitchen and glance over the feast she’s prepared. Pasta with mussels and cream. Bruschetta. Antipasti chopped salad, the salami making my mouth water.

“Wow, it looks delicious,” I praise her.

“Today, we celebrate life,” she says, seemingly back to her usual high-spirited demeanor.

I help her carry the food to the dining room, and when we’re ready to eat, Lucian comes to take a seat at the head of the table. He holds our hands and says a prayer of thanks, and then I pick up his plate and load it with food.

When I set it down in front of him, he murmurs, “Thank you, Amore mio.” Then he reaches for Aunt Ursula’s hand and gives her hand a squeeze, teasing her, “I should upset you more so you can cook like this every day.”

She gives him a disgruntled look. “Don’t you dare. My heart won’t last.”

We enjoy the meal and watching Lucian savor every bite sets me at ease. At least he has a healthy appetite.

Then it strikes me how calm he looks, like every other day he comes home from work, and it makes me wonder if there have been any bad days he hasn’t shared with us.

The thought doesn’t sit well with me.

Not at all.

He glances at me and smiles as if he wasn’t shot earlier. His eyes begin to narrow on me. “What?”

“You’ll tell us if you have a bad day, right?” I ask, spearing a piece of salami.

He sets down his knife and reaches for my face, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear. “No. I won’t bring my work home. It has nothing to do with you.”

A frown instantly forms on my forehead. “Yet, you expect me to spend the money you bring home?”

“Yes. It’s the way things are, amore mio.”

My temper flares. “I refuse to wear clothes bathed in your blood.”

“Well,” he lifts an eyebrow at me, a look of warning tightening his features, “then you’ll just have to walk around naked.”

“Dio,” Aunt Ursula mumbles under her breath.

Just then, Alexei walks into the dining room. Lucian gets up, mutters an excuse, and then he follows Alexei out of the room.

I slump back in my chair, shaking my head.

“It’s the way things are done, cara,” Aunt Ursula says.

“I’m going to die of worry,” I say. “Every second, I’ll worry whether he’s okay.”

“It’s the price we pay for love.” My eyes dart to Aunt Ursula’s.

It’s the price I’ll pay for falling in love with the head of the Mafia.

I know it won’t help to fight Lucian on this matter, but still, I’m not happy with it. I let out a sigh and pick up my fork again and begin to eat.

Lucian comes back into the dining room, dressed in a fresh suit. He places his hand on the back of my neck, and bending over me, he presses a quick kiss to my mouth.

“I’m going out. I’ll be back later.”

My lips part as he goes to kiss Aunt Ursula on the forehead.

“But you said you’re taking the rest of the day off,” I finally say.

His eyes lock on mine, his expression grim. “Something came up.”

Not knowing if he’s angry with me or something else, I ask, “Is everything okay?”

“Of course, amore mio.”

I watch him walk out and jumping up, I call, “Wait.”

Lucian stops, and as he turns around, I slam into him, wrapping my arms around his waist. “Please be careful.”

His arms engulf me. “I will. Don’t worry.”

I lift my face to his. “Ti amo.”

Instantly a smile forms, and it chases some of the tightness from his features. “Ti amo,” he repeats and gives me another chaste kiss.

He pulls free from me, and I try to memorize the sight of his confident posture as he walks out of the house with Alexei.

Please bring him back to me.

 


 

LUCIAN

 

Sitting in the back of the G Wagon, I put on a bulletproof vest.

Alexei watches me, worry in his eyes, which I’m not used to seeing, then he asks, “You sure about this?”

“Yes,” I mutter, even though I’m not sure at all. “Just make sure I don’t end up dead.”

I’m going to be bait, hoping to draw out whoever took a shot at me into the open. It’s a shit idea, but it’s all we have right now.

It’s only Franco, Demitri, Alexei, and myself. Matteo and the rest of the guards are on standby near my club, so they’re not seen with us.

“Approaching the club,” Franco murmurs into his microphone.

I put my shirt back on over the vest, and after buttoning it up, I shrug on my jacket.

Hopefully, this won’t all be for nothing. I really want to get my hands on the fucker who shot me.

I watch as Alexei checks his rifle, which he’s going to hide under his coat.

Franco parks close to the entrance. As we all get out, my eyes scan the surrounding buildings. The setting sun reflects off the windows, making it hard to see anything.

With the hair raising on the back of my neck, I take a deep breath. Alexei falls in next to me, with Demitri taking the lead and Franco bringing up the rear as we walk toward the doors. The bouncer unhooks the golden rope and stands aside for us to pass.

“Mr. Controni,” he greets me as we walk inside the empty club as it only opens at nine pm. Instead of going to the VIP section like I’d always do when I come to Vizioso, we head up to the roof.

The manager comes toward me, and I wave him away. “I’m just here for a drink.”

“Enjoy, sir.”

“You ready?” Alexei asks as we head up the stairs.

“It has to be done,” I say, and then I walk out into the open. My skin instantly begins to prickle, knowing a bullet can hit me at any moment.

Fuck.

Keep your shit together, Lucian.

“Stand by,” Alexei mutters to Franco. “You do everything I say. Don’t hesitate.”

“Yes, Sir,” Franco answers.

I move around the pool toward the bar, and I have to fight the urge to glance at the buildings around the club. 

“You’re doing good,” Alexei whispers next to me.

“Yeah, still breathing.” My words draw a chuckle from him.

When we reach the bar that’s still being stocked for tonight, I order a bourbon for myself and vodka for Alexei. I don’t bother asking Demitri, knowing he doesn’t drink on the job.

The bartender pours the drinks, and as I pick up the tumbler of bourbon, Demitri grabs hold of me and yanks me away from the counter. The tumbler shatters in my hand, right where my head was a second ago.

“Move, Franco. Hotel roof!” Alexei roars. He crouches, his rifle aimed in the direction the shot came from.

My heart pounds in my fucking ears as I draw my Glock from behind my back.

I watch as Alexei tracks the fucker through the scope on his rifle, and then he fires a shot. Getting up, he mutters, “I took out his knee so he won’t get far.”

Suddenly Demitri fires a shot, and a waiter drops to the floor, a gun scattering to the side. All the staff instantly holds up their hands as Demitri scans over them.

“There’s more,” he murmurs. “I can feel it.”

I don’t come here enough to know who’s an employee and who’s not.

Alexei checks the surrounding buildings through his scope while Demitri guards us, and seeing the two men work together, I understand why they’re the best.

Thank God they’re on my side.

“Matteo has him. Let’s go,” Alexei says. I get up from the crouching position. Alexei draws a Heckler and Koch from behind his back, holding the rifle in his left hand.

Demitri takes the lead, the three of us on high alert as we head to the stairs. My finger flexes on the trigger, every muscle in my body wound tight as we move down the steps.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are,” Demitri whispers as we step into the ground floor section. “I can feel you.”

I raise my arms, my gun ready as my eyes go from one employee to the next. A guy pops up from behind the bar, and as he jumps over the counter, I pull the trigger, along with Demitri.

He drops down between the barstools, a bullet to the head and one to the chest.

I quickly glance around, and when I see the manager staring at us with shock, I train my gun on him. “You fucking search every employee before they’re allowed on the premises,” I bark.

“Yes, Mr. Cotroni. I’m sorry,” he whimpers.

“Clean up this shit, and you better be ready to open at nine, or it’s coming out of your pay.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Let’s go,” Alexei says.

When we walk out of the club, Franco’s already waiting with the G Wagon’s engine running. As soon as I climb into the back, I ask, “Where’s the fucker?”

“Matteo and the men are taking him to the docks.”

“Good.”

“Fucking mercenaries,” Alexei mutters. “He won’t talk.”

“At least I’ll get the satisfaction of killing him.”

When we reach the docks, I shove the door open, and with my Glock still firmly in my grip, I walk to the man Matteo has on his knees.

The man’s eyes lock on me, dead and impassive. There’s not even a sign of pain from the knee Alexei shot out.

He knows what’s coming.

I train the barrel of my gun on his forehead. “You come after me?” I grit the words out through clenched teeth. “Big mistake.”

He just keeps staring at me with zero emotion.

“Who do you work for?”

“Umbria.”

Again with the goddess shit.

“They all keep saying the same thing. It’s not even fun torturing them anymore,” Alexei mutters.

I press the barrel against his head. “I will fucking find out who you are and hunt your family to the ends of the earth. Who the fuck do you work for?”

He shakes his head. “I was hired by a man.”

“Greek?” I ask.

He nods. “I only know him as Zeus.”

These code names aren’t helping shit.

“Any distinct markings. Anything, and I’ll make it quick.”

“Nothing. We never met face to face.”

Fuck.

My eyes lock on the mercenary’s, and then I pull the trigger.

He slumps to the side, blood trickling from the bullet hole.

“Feel better?” Alexei asks.

“No, not at all,” I mutter.

Alexei pats my back. “Go home. Hold your wife. Tomorrow’s a new day.”

I shake my head as I let out a deep breath. “We have to end this. It’s been a month.”

“She’s growing impatient,” Demitri suddenly says. “Three men at the club where you weren’t even supposed to be, tells me she’s desperate to end this just as much as you.”

Alexei stares at Demitri, who seems to be deep in thought. “What are you thinking,” he asks his custodian.

Demitri glances from Alexei to me. “Around-the-clock security on full alert. She’s going to come out of hiding. Soon.”

“Not soon enough,” I mutter as I begin to walk back to the car. Glancing over my shoulder, I ask, “Staying at my place?”

“Yes.”

We all get back into the G Wagon, and as Franco drives us home, my mind keeps replaying what Demitri said.

I just wish I fucking knew who she is. This Umbria shit is working on my nerves.

I shrug out of my jacket and unbutton the shirt so I can remove the vest, not wanting Elena to see it.

“Wear that vest whenever you go out,” Alexei says.

“I will,” I assure him.

He might be an assassin, but he’s one of the most loyal people I’ll ever have the privilege of knowing in our line of business.

When Franco steers the car up the driveway, I adjust my cuffs and straighten my clothes. I shove the looming threat to the back of my mind so Elena won’t see the worry on my face.

God knows, she’s worried enough today.

Tonight I just want to bury myself inside my wife and forget the world outside exists.

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