Cruel Saints: Chapter 28


(Ten minutes earlier…)

Nearing Valentino’s villa, I order into the mic, “Blow the gates.”

Seconds later, there’s an explosion up ahead as the rocket hits the target.

Thank God for rocket launchers.

“Franco, you stay with me.”

“Always,” he bites the words out, and then he steers the G Wagon through smoke and debris.

Instantly we take fire, and halfway to the house, the tires are blown out, bringing us to a halt.

“Go!” Alexei orders, and we move.

As I throw the door open, my heart slows to hard beats. I only have one goal – getting to Elena.

The second I’m out of the vehicle, Franco falls in behind me, and we start to return fire as we make our way to the back so we can get the grenades.

Alexei and Demitri come from the left side of the car as my men pour onto the villa’s grounds. They provide us with cover while Franco and I pull the pins and throw grenades at the fuckers shooting at us.

It’s hell, fire, and death as we begin to move forward.

A bullet slams into my back, making me stagger, but I catch my balance, despite the pain spreading through my upper body from the impact to the armored vest.

My arms don’t lower, and I don’t stop firing, taking down one man after the other.

I’m vengeance.

I’m rage.

I’m fucking death.

I load another clip, slamming it into the Glock.

Then my eyes land on the Greek coming out of the front door.

The fucker.

He opens fire, and I return the fucking favor, hitting him in the side of his neck and lower abdomen. He ducks behind a pillar.

Letting out a growl, I run for him, letting one bullet after the other hit the pillar. I reload the clip in my Glock while Franco targets the Greek, and not having enough time to aim, I take a bullet to the chest, and then I slam the hilt of my gun into his face. Pain vibrates through my chest, the bulletproof vest having taken the bullet, but I ignore it as I begin to beat the shit out of the fucker.

I see the last time my father smiled at me. His body on that cold slab of steel. His funeral.

I keep crushing the hilt of my gun against his face, his head, any fucking piece of flesh I can find. Merciless and seeking only one thing – death.

My breaths are roars. My blood demanding revenge.

A gunshot rings from inside the house, grabbing my attention, and it gives the Greek a split second to punch me in the side of my neck. The blow jars me for a moment and needing to get to Elena, I bring my gun to his head. He grabs hold of my forearm, and our strengths clash – his will to survive and my will to end him.

A deep growl rips from me as I use everything I have, forcing the barrel of the Glock closer to his head, and then I take the shot.

The Greek slumps back against the ground, his eyes lifeless. I’m filled with immense satisfaction, but not having time to savor the kill, I dart up and run into the house.

“No!” I hear Elena scream, her voice filled with the same anger pulsing through me. It propels me up the stairs, and when I storm into the study, all sanity drains from my mind.

My heart stops.

My breathing falters.

My whole fucking world comes to a standstill.

Umbria has an arm around Elena’s neck and a gun pressed to her head. A Ka-bar has been plunged into Elena’s left shoulder.

Raising my arm, I train the barrel of my Glock on the woman. My eyes snap between Umbria and Elena, and the uncanny similarities I see make my lips part with shock. They’re identical, Umbria’s just older.

Christ Almighty.

I can feel Franco behind me, and it offers me some comfort knowing if I fail, he will be able to take revenge for me.

Umbria begins to chuckle, the sound filled with madness. “Finally, you’re a hard man to kill.”

“Umbria? Who the fuck are you?” I spit the question out, even though I already know the answer.

“Eva Lucas, your father’s trash.”

Her words make me frown. “My father? What does he have to do with you?” 

“I’m the one he threw aside for your mother. I was fed to Valentino.”

My finger flexes around the trigger, but I can’t take the shot without risking Elena.

“All Cotroni men are the same. All liars. I’m doing Elena a favor by killing you, just like I killed your father.”

My eyes lock on my wife’s, and then Elena grabs the knife from her shoulder, and pulling it out with an infuriated cry, she buries it in her mother’s side.

Elena rips out of Eva’s hold, and without hesitating, I take the shot. Eva stumbles back from the bullet hitting her chest, and as I stalk toward her, I bury another one in her throat.

Eva falls to the floor, gurgling through the blood building in her throat. As I come to stand next to her, I lock eyes with her. “This is for my father.” Training the barrel on her head, I pull the trigger.

I watch as she stops breathing, her eyes dulling as death creeps in.

I savor this moment, wanting to never forget it.

Satisfaction fills me, and the sorrow of losing my father loosens its grip on my heart.

I’ve avenged you, Papà. Now you can rest in peace with Mamma.

Elena takes hold of my arm. “I’m so sorry,” she says as she presses her body to mine, looking for refuge from the death surrounding us.

It was a fucking bloodbath.

I lift my right arm, still gripping my Glock, and wrap it around her.

She raises her face to mine, her mouth slowly curving up with relief. “Angelo mio.”

“I told you I’d go to the depths of hell for you,” I say, still fucking processing everything that’s happened today but wanting my wife to know I will always come for her.

I push Elena away from me, my eyes roving over her to make sure she didn’t get shot. Not finding any other wounds besides the cut on her arm and the stab wound to her shoulder eases the merciless grip panic had on my heart.

It takes a moment for me to realize Elena’s okay, then I press my mouth to her forehead and take a deep breath of her scent. My sanity returns, and slipping my arms beneath her body, I lift her to my chest and bark an order at Franco, “Let’s get out of here.”

My eyes scan over the room. Valentino’s mutilated, dead body is strapped to a chair.

Eva Lucas. Umbria. Finally fucking dead.

With Franco in front of us, we head out of the study and down the hallway. Random gunshots still ring in the air, and then it grows quiet.

All my men gather our wounded and dead, and then we head back toward the remaining vehicles, knowing we have to haul ass. It’s going to cost me a fuck-ton of money to silence law enforcement, but I’ll pay whatever I have to.

Alexei and Demitri get into an SUV with us. As Franco floors the gas and we speed away from Tino’s destroyed kingdom, we all glance at each other.

These men. They went to war for me. For Elena.

Alexei’s eyes lower to the blood staining Elena’s shirt. “Demitri will take care of the wounds.”

“Thank you,” Elena whispers, and then she burrows against my chest.

I press my lips to her forehead, just needing to feel her warmth.

Knowing my wife is safely in my arms where she belongs, my mind turns to Eva. How does Nick Cabello fit into it, and where the fuck is he?

Remembering Valentino’s mutilated body, I feel nothing. He deserved the death he got. You live hard, you die hard. It’s just the way it is.

But he’s dead. Dante’s dead. Umbria, aka Eva Lucas, is dead.

My eyes caress Elena’s face.

Amore mio, I’ve defeated your demons.





After Demitri is done stitching up my wounds, I lift my gaze to Lucian’s. He hasn’t left my side for a second, gripping my hand tightly where he’s sitting next to me on the couch.

I lower my eyes and whisper, “I’m sorry. I was so stupid.”

He shakes his head. “You’re okay. It’s all that matters.”

“I put your life in danger,” the words shudder from me.

If Lucian had died today, it would’ve been my fault. I’ll never forgive myself.

“Tell me what happened,” he demands, residual anger tightening his features.

“My mother called and said she had you,” I admit the biggest mistake I’ve ever made. “I didn’t think and just wanted to get to you.”

His face softens with love, but then he says, “You never do that again. Even if they have me, you don’t come. They’ll make me watch you die and then kill me. There is no way you can save me.”

“I had to try,” I squeeze the words out, all the emotions from the day flooding me.

Lucian shakes his head hard. “Never again, Elena.”

Hearing my name from his lips, I know this is not negotiable. “Who will save you then?”

His mouth curves up again. “I will. No matter the circumstances, I’ll always find a way to come back to you.”

Lifting my right arm, I place my palm against his jaw. “Promise?”

“I swear this, amore mio,” he says, and then he presses a tender kiss to my lips. Pulling back, he asks, “How do you feel?”

I move a little, and even though there’s a sharp ache in my left shoulder, I reply, “I’m okay.” I can’t feel the cut on my arm, so at least there’s that.

Lucian didn’t show pain when he got shot, so I won’t. I have to become stronger. For him. For our love.

“It was a clean wound,” Demitri says. “It should heal quickly.”

“Thank you,” I reply to Demitri.

Then Lucian’s face turns to stone again. “What was Eva talking about? What did my father have to do with all of this?”

My eyes close for a moment at the sharp ache it causes to know my mother was the cause of Lucian’s grief.

I begin to tell him everything I know. About her love for his father and how she felt betrayed when he chose Lucian’s mother over mine. How she suffered at my father’s hands and swore revenge on the Mafia.

Lucian processes the information, nodding here and there, and then he asks, “Did she say anything about Nick Cabello?”

“Just that she killed him.”

Lucian nods again. “Anything about who else she might’ve worked with?” he asks.

I shake my head. “Just Zeus. I don’t know what happened to him.”

“The Greek guy?” Lucian asks. When I nod, he says, “He’s dead.”

“Is it over?” I ask, hopeful we can find some peace in our lives.

Lucian gives me a tender smile, and then he leans into me and presses a kiss on my forehead. “It’s over, amore mio.”

When he pulls back, our eyes meet, and for a moment, we just stare, soaking in the fact that we both survived the attack.

All because of Lucian’s strength.

“You need to rest,” Lucian says.

I shake my head. “I’m fine.” I’ve had worse, and never wanting to be in that position again, I ask, “Will you teach me how to fight and fire a gun?”

Lucian nods. “As soon as your shoulder has healed.”

I lean against Lucian’s chest. “Thank you.”

For changing my life. For loving me. For saving me.

Lifting my head, I press my mouth to his, and I pour everything I feel into the kiss. I don’t care that Alexei, Demitri, and the guards are moving around us. I just need to feel my husband’s lips on mine.

Eventually, Lucian pulls back and asks, “What was that for?”

“For saving me from suffering the same fate as my mother.”

Her death brings me only relief. She’s finally free from the demons that haunted her. It’s weird. I can’t completely hate her, knowing the hell she must’ve gone through.

Some monsters are made, and she was one of them.

Lucian’s fingers brush over my cheek. “I would’ve saved you sooner had I known you existed.”

God, this man.

Can I love him any more than I already do?

“I would’ve run to you,” I admit.

“Instead of running from me like I was some monster?” he teases me.

I nod. “I was right though, it takes a bigger monster to keep the others at bay. But you’re my monster.” 

He’s a killer. A bad man to the bone. But that’s what it took to survive the hell that followed me.

My avenging angel.

“Ti amo,” I whisper, fusing our mouths together again.

I thank the heavens for hearing my prayers and sending Lucian to me.  


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