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Cruel Saints: Chapter 6


After I enjoy my dinner, I draw myself a bubble bath. I soak in the balmy water for an hour without prying eyes roving over every inch of my exposed skin. It also helps my nerves settle from the altercation with Lucian Cotroni.

The man is as intense as a thousand suns, blinding and dangerous. I’m not going to lie, he is easily the most attractive man I’ve ever laid eyes on, but that means nothing to me. Lucian Cotroni will rule the very world I’m trying to escape from.

I actually contemplate leaving St. Monarch’s, but not having any identification documents or money to buy fake ones, the idea vanishes quickly.

I’ll just have to do my best to avoid Lucian.

I get dressed in a soft pair of jeans and a black cashmere sweater. Pulling on my sneakers, I’m hoping the dark clothes will make me blend in with the night when I’m outside.

Opening the door, I peek up and down the hallway before I sneak out. I quickly lock the door behind me and then rush down toward the stairs, hoping I won’t run into anyone.

The guards only spare me a glance as I pass by them, and when I walk through the side doors, a smile begins to tug at my lips. Lightfooted, I take the stairs down to the path, and I glance up at the starry sky as I enjoy the silence of the night wrapping around me.

I’ll just keep to myself. Hopefully, that will be enough to show Lucian Cotroni I’m not here for him, nor am I a threat.

When I reach the secret garden, my smile widens in wonder.

It’s so beautiful.

Soft lights frame the fountain, making the water sparkle as it falls over the statue. I take a deep breath as my eyes savor the sight before me.

Staring at the woman whose longing gaze is locked on the cherubs, I wonder if my life would’ve been different if my mother hadn’t left or died.

Again I ponder why she didn’t take me with her if she is alive. There are so many unanswered questions surrounding her, it draws a sigh from me.

My thoughts turn to the impossible – escaping this life. I might not know much, but I know you don’t just run away from the Mafia. There’s only one way out. Death.

Awareness creeps up my spine, and my gaze quickly darts around the garden. It feels like someone is watching me, and my stomach tightens.

As I take a step back, Lucian’s voice comes from the shadows to the left of me, “Stop.” My body freezes, and then he makes himself visible as he steps out of the darkness by a nearby tree.

When he begins to walk toward me, I slowly inch around the right side of the fountain until we’re both bathed in the lights.

Lucian stops, and thankfully he keeps his distance. He tilts his head, and his gaze drifts over my face.

I see the questions form in his eyes, and then he says, “You’ve piqued my interested.”

I fist my hands at my sides to keep still while everything in me screams for me to run away from the danger this man represents.

My tongue darts out to wet my lips before I reply, “That was not my intention.”

“You’re unlike any woman I’ve met before,” he states. He takes a step closer, and it makes my whole body tense up, which he notices. “You fear me?”

“I’d be stupid not to,” I answer honestly. “You can kill me, and there’s nothing anyone will do to stop you.”

Like Dante, you can do what you want to me, and I just have to allow it because you’re stronger than me.

Lucian takes a deep breath, and then he surprises me by saying, “I won’t. Not unless you give me a reason.” His gaze drifts away from me to the fountain. “You shouldn’t be out here alone. It’s not safe.”

Before I can stop myself, the words spill from my lips, “That’s a risk I’m willing to take.”

Lucian’s eyes snap back to me. “Every word that leaves your mouth intrigues me.”

A frown forms on my face. “Again, that’s not my intention.”

 I just want to be left alone.

The corner of Lucian’s mouth lifts, and the sight makes my heart beat faster.

It’s all an illusion, though. Lucian Cotroni is death and pain wrapped up in a strikingly attractive face and a body most women would probably drool over. He’s more dangerous than Dante, with whom what you see is what you get. Lucian lures you in with a sexy smirk and his low voice – like a spider spinning a web.

Not wanting to be in his presence a second longer, I begin to walk toward the path leading back to the castle.

When Lucian suddenly takes hold of my wrist, my breath catches in my throat, and I instantly yank out of the light grip he has on me. The fleeting touch leaves heat branded on my skin.

My feet move fast to place my body out of his reach, and it has Lucian holding up his hands in a surrendering stance. I’d believe it if it weren’t for the grim expression tightening his features.

“I have no intention of hurting you,” he says, his voice low and cautious.

I don’t believe you. Men like you only know how to destroy.

“I’ve learned something about you, but I don’t know how much of it is the truth,” he continues to talk. When I just stare at him, he asks, “Were you held captive?”

The question rips through the fantasy of freedom I’ve managed to weave around myself since I set foot on St. Monarch’s grounds.

My heart begins to thunder in my chest as the memories of my ‘captivity’ creep through the cracks in my mind. They’re always there, lurking in the shadows, ready to claw at my soul… or what’s left of it.

“I just want to be left alone,” I squeeze the words out through a tight throat.

A dark frown settles on Lucian’s face, and then he nods his head. “I’ll send a guard to watch over you.”

To my absolute surprise, I watch as he walks away without another word.

I let out a heavy sigh of relief, and lifting my hand, I place it over the panicked organ slamming against my ribs, while I watch Lucian’s confident frame fade into the darkness.

He actually listened?

I didn’t expect him to.

Seconds later, a guard walks toward me, and with a nod of his head, he stops near a tree.

Feeling a little safer, I glance back to the fountain.

Finally, I’m alone.

I do my best to shove down the horrific memories brought to the surface by Lucian’s question. Taking a seat on a bench, I pull my legs up. I wrap my arms around my shins and rest my chin on my knees. Then I just listen to the water, and the sound feels cleansing.

Dante isn’t here. It’s just me, the night, and the beautiful garden.

My eyes lift to the statue’s face.

Who do I pray to when God himself has forsaken me?

Her somber look is answer enough. No one.

What am I going to do? I can’t return to the villa. I can’t marry Dante. Just the thought of being bonded to Dante for life is enough to make my throat close up with panic and fear.

My body begins to tremble as hopelessness overwhelms me.

You have to learn to protect yourself, Elena. Learn how to shoot a gun. Learn how to fight.

The trembling subsides at the thoughts. St. Monarch’s is the perfect place to learn the skills I’ll need to kill Dante… before he kills me.





Walking into the armory, I nod at Miss Dervishi. She’s been at St. Monarch’s for over a decade, giving training in weapons. She’s helping Kim Yung, a smuggler, choose a gun.

Shots are fired in the shooting range and picking up a Glock, I check the clip. “Who else is here?”

“Miss Lucas,” Miss Dervishi answers.

My gaze snaps to Miss Dervishi, surprised to hear Elena is here. Especially seeing as it’s six in the morning.


It’s the last place I expected to run into Elena. Especially after not seeing her for the past three days, yet she’s been constantly on my mind.

The other night, I learned a lot from my conversation with her. I have no doubt she was a prisoner in her father’s villa. When I took hold of her hand, her reaction spoke volumes. I could feel the fear and panic vibrate off her.

There are still hundreds of unanswered questions, and the fact that I’m even thinking about them should make me worry. I’ve never had a personal interest in a woman, and not able to stop thinking about Elena should be warning enough for me.

Still, it’s a warning I clearly intend to ignore.

With the Glock firmly in my grip, I walk to the shooting range. There are ten stalls to choose from, but I keep passing the empty ones until I reach the stall next to Elena. She doesn’t notice me as she closes one eye while aiming at the target. Her tongue peeks out from between her lips, and then she pulls the trigger. Her whole body jerks, and she misses the target completely.

As cute as she looks at the moment, a frown forms on my forehead as I ask, “Have you ever handled a gun before today?”

I instantly regret speaking up when she lets out a squeak as she spins to me. The firearm falls from her hand, but then she scrambles to pick it up.

She must’ve been totally focused on the dismal job she was doing to have someone sneak up on her.

“I’ll take that as a no,” I mutter. “Why isn’t Miss Dervishi in here showing you how to fire a gun?”

Elena places the weapon on the counter her stall provides before she answers, “I have a training session with her at seven. I just wanted to get some practice in.”

“You’ll end up killing yourself,” I say, not happy about the fact Elena’s allowed to handle a weapon when she knows nothing about it. I step closer while shoving my own Glock behind my back. When I reach for Elena’s gun, a Heckler and Koch, I notice how she tenses. “Come stand in front of me,” I order.

“I don’t want your help.”

My eyes snap to Elena’s. “I won’t offer a second time.”

She lets out an annoyed huff but comes to stand in front of me. When I wrap my arms around her and my chest presses to her back, Elena takes a sharp breath, and she instantly starts to tremble. “Relax, I’m just going to show you how to shoot so you won’t kill me while I’m here.”

I take hold of her right hand and shove the gun against her palm. Then I bring up her left hand, forcing her fingers to wrap tightly around the handle. “Always have a firm grip on the weapon. Straighten your arms and lock your elbows, so the recoil won’t make you jerk.”

Elena nods, and leaning my head a little forward, my cheek presses against hers. “Keep both eyes open. Squinting won’t help shit.”

She nods again, her soft skin brushing against the bristles on my jaw as I line up the barrel with the target. Standing body to body with her is overwhelming, making every inch of me come alive with the undeniable attraction I feel toward her. Dropping my voice low, I murmur, “Pull the trigger.”

Elena doesn’t hesitate, and the next second, the shot rings through the shooting range. The bullet hits the target in the left shoulder, and the recoil makes Elena’s smaller frame push back against my solid one.

“Not bad,” I mutter.

Elena lets out a happy shriek, and turning her face to mine, there’s a stunning smile around her lips.

Christ Almighty.

“Can you show me again?” she asks.

Her change of mood and bright smile catches me off guard, and all I can do is nod. She quickly positions her back against my chest, and then her grip on the handle tightens beneath my hands. The attraction deepens, and when I take a breath, my lungs are filled with her soft scent.

Fuck, I’ve never felt such a strong pull toward a woman before.

Struggling to keep my focus on the task at hand, I line up the barrel with the target, then I whisper close to her ear, “Pull the trigger.”

Elena listens, and then the shot rings out around us, and the bullet hits the target in the right side of the chest.

“Oh my God!” Elena shrieks happily again. “That shot could kill someone, right?”

“It all depends. If you want to kill, you need to aim for the heart or head. Preferably the head,” I say as I pull back from her because I’m a second away from getting hard, and I don’t think she’ll appreciate my cock rubbing against her lower back.

Shots begin to sound up from the other side of the shooting range where Miss Dervishi is giving Kim Yung a lesson.

“Try again,” I instruct Elena.

She nods and lines up the barrel with the target. When the tip of her tongue peeks through her lips as she focuses on taking the shot, the corner of my mouth curves up.

Standing close to her, I get to look at her while her attention is on shooting. There’s a faint scar on her cheek, and I wonder how she got it.

Elena pulls the trigger, and her body jerks. My left hand darts out, and settling on her lower back, I help her keep her footing. The bullet misses the target making the smile vanish from her face.

“You make it look so easy,” she mutters.

“Years of practice. You’ll get a feel for it.” I move to the stall next to Elena’s, and pulling the Glock from behind me, I take aim and fire a couple of rounds.

When I pause, and I don’t hear her firing any shots, I glance to my right and find her watching me through the bulletproof glass partitioning. “You need to practice.”

Elena nods, and I only watch her take one shot that clips the shoulder of the target before turning my attention back to my own gun.

While I empty my clip, I think about how Elena has once again surprised me. She wants to learn how to protect herself, and it makes a protective feeling spread through my chest.

She might’ve been held captive, but she has fight in her.

After I’ve shot the last bullet in my clip, I glance at Elena’s target. The corner of my mouth lifts when I see she’s managed to hit it twice. Not kill shots, but it’s a start.

I turn my head more, and then I’m met with a smile from her. “Thank you for helping me.”

I nod as I turn away from her, leaving the shooting range. My eyes narrow as I try to make sense of the unexpected emotions the woman evokes in me.

I try to play it off as nothing more than compassion for finding out she was held captive… but deep down, I know it’s not the only reason she’s caught my attention.

Elena is like a wounded little bird trying to learn how to fly while she’s surrounded by predators.

God help me, but it brings out a protective side of me I didn’t even know I had.

The most confusing part is why I even care about a woman I only met four days ago.


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