Cruel Saints: Chapter 8

ELENA

After shooting a gun for hours, my finger aches, and the rest of my hand is numb. Lucian has been relentless and cold, with impassive expressions etched on his face throughout the training sessions the past couple of days.

I’m not sure if it’s from him feeling burdened by helping me or whether something else is bothering him.

Walking toward the dining hall, I glance up at Lucian, and unable to bite the question back any longer, I ask, “Is something wrong?”

Lucian shakes his head, his thoughts seemingly miles away.

Just as we’re about to enter the dining room, a guard calls out, “Miss Lucas, you have a visitor.”

My head turns, and then the blood runs cold in my veins at the sight of Dante walking toward me. I instantly freeze, unable to form a thought while my heart starts beating out of control. Fear wraps its claws around me at the sight of the monster I thought I was safe from. I feel Lucian’s presence next to me, and it makes my mouth go dry.

Oh God, why doesn’t he go into the dining room? This is going to make everything so much worse for me.

When Dante gets close, Lucian suddenly steps in front of me, tilting his head at Dante.

“What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be working on finding out who the threat is?”

Dante’s eyes flare with anger as they sweep from me to Lucian.

He warned me to stay away from Lucian, and now he’s caught us together.

My thoughts instantly turn to the fateful day Alfonso was killed, and it multiplies my fear. My muscles tighten with the need to run, but my feet are frozen to the floor.

Unable to make a sound, I watch as Dante clenches his jaw. I can see it’s taking more self-control than he has to answer Lucian with an abrupt tone. “We’re doing everything we can. I’m here to talk to my fiancé.” Dante’s eyes narrow on Lucian, and it makes my heart hammer against my ribs. “Do I need your permission?”

Oh, Lord. Why did Dante have to come here?

Instead of answering, Lucian steps aside, and then he says the worst possible thing, “You know where to find me when you’re done with your visitor, Elena.”

This is going to be so bad. The only thing counting in my favor is that Dante’s not allowed to kill me on St. Monarch’s grounds.

My lips part, dread spinning a dizzying web around me. As Lucian starts to enter the dining hall, Dante grabs hold of my arm in an unforgiving grip, and I’m dragged through the foyer and up the stairs. When Dante shoves me down the hallway, and I realize we’re headed toward my suite, I rear back against his hold. “We can talk in the foyer.”

“Shut up,” Dante snaps, and he yanks me so hard a sharp pain shoots through my shoulder. A gasp explodes over my lips, and then I’m shoved against my door. “Open it.”

I shake my head, knowing if I do that, Dante will be able to do anything to me. He might not be able to kill me on St. Monarch’s grounds, but there are much worse things than death.

“Bitch,” he growls, and losing the little patience he had with me, he backhands me across the face. My cheek goes up in flames, and before I can recover, Dante spots the key I keep on the chain around my neck and yanks it off, making the links bite into my skin before they break.

Within a second, Dante has the door open, and I’m shoved harshly inside.

Years of fear overwhelm me, and I’m unable to think straight. My breaths explode over my lips, and my heart is nothing more than a whisper, too scared to face the monster in front of me.

It’s too late to hide, though. The monster is here, and there’s nothing I can do because he’s so much stronger than me.

The past two and a half weeks, I’ve let down my guard. I thought I was safe at St. Monarch’s. It makes what’s about to happen so much worse. The other times I was mentally prepared, but not today.

The thoughts are fleeting because Dante pounces on me, his right hand clamping around my throat. “You thought you’d be safe from me here? Wrong, Principessa.” His knuckles slam into my jaw, and the blow has my ear rinning, and a dizzying wave of pain makes it hard to focus on anything.

Dante’s grip on my throat tightens, cutting off my air supply. “I told you to stay away from Cotroni!”

His fingers keep digging into my skin, and it feels like he’s trying to squeeze whatever air I have from my body. I begin to slap and claw at his hand while I strain to gasp for air. 

“Have you let him touch you?” Dante asks, his gaze enraged with madness. “Have you let him fuck you?”

I try to shake my head as my vision grows dark around the edges.

“You’re mine, Principessa. I’ve convinced your father to let us marry in two weeks.” Through my fading vision, all I can see is the cruel gleam in Dante’s eyes as his words rain down on me like acid. “I’ll fuck you so hard at night you won’t be able to walk by day.”

My lashes begin to lower, as the meager strength I have leaves my body, and my legs give way beneath me.

He’s going to kill me. The realization drowns me in horror, and then everything goes black as I slump to the floor.

 


 

LUCIAN

 

This is none of your fucking business.

Yet, I can’t stop myself from going to Elena’s suite. My mind tells me to ignore what I saw – Dante dragging Elena harshly away. My heart, however, refuses to turn a blind eye as I take the stairs two at a time.

Nearing Elena’s suite, I hear Dante growl, “Have you let him touch you? Have you let him fuck you?”

For a moment, the corner of my mouth lifts, thinking Dante sees me as a threat. Rightly so. I’m half his age and more powerful than he can ever hope to be.

“You’re mine, Principessa. I’ve convinced your father to let us marry in two weeks.”

The news makes a frown form on my forehead.

“I’ll fuck you so hard at night you won’t be able to walk by day.”

The door isn’t closed all the way, and I slam my palm against the wood, making it swing open. What I see makes all rationality leave me – Elena’s eyes flutter closed, and then she collapses to the floor.

Motherfucker.

Dante pulls his foot back to kick her, but I move forward, and grabbing hold of his shoulders, I yank him away from where he’s towering over her.

I should do the whole world a favor and kill him.

Dante staggers back with a shocked expression widening his eyes when they focus on me.

Anger rushes through my veins, and it’s more potent than anything I’ve felt before. I can’t form words, so I instead resort to action. My fist connects with Dante’s jaw, forcing his head back.

He shakes his head and then takes a threatening step toward me, but when I lift my chin, holding my arms wide to the sides, he pauses.

“I’ll give you one hit, and then I’ll fucking kill you,” I bite the words out. “I dare you, Capone. Take a swing at me.”

Dante clenches his jaw, but knowing he doesn’t stand a chance against me, he backs down.

“Fucking, pussy,” I spit at him. “You’re nothing but a fucking runt.” Knowing I don’t have much self-control left, I order, “Leave.”

Dante’s gaze snaps to Elena, and it has me stepping in front of her, so he has to look at me.

The man has a death wish. I’ll gladly introduce him to his maker.

“She’s mine,” he says as if it should matter to me.

Before thinking it through, I chuckle, “Was.” I shake my head at him. “Does Tino know how you handle his daughter?”

It’s Dante’s turn to laugh.

What the fuck?

Definitely not the reaction I was expecting.

“Tino doesn’t give a shit about her. Careful, Lucian. I’m the one who will take over from Tino.”

The information makes the frown on my forehead deepen. “You can’t take over if you’re dead.”

A confident sneer forms on Dante’s face. “You don’t have the authority to kill me. You’re not the head of la famiglia.”

“Yet,” I mutter. My muscles tense as I close the distance between us until we’re face to face. “You might have Valentino eating out of your hand, but don’t forget I’m Luca Cotroni’s son.”

 The reminder has Dante stepping back with a frustrated growl, and sparing me a glare, he reluctantly leaves Elena’s suite.

When I turn around, I see Elena pushing herself up into a sitting position. Wildly her eyes glance around for Dante before they stop on me, and then her lips part as she sucks in a breath of air.

Anger burns through my chest as I move forward and hold my hand out to her. Elena places her trembling palm in mine, and I pull her to her feet.

Her tongue darts out to wet her lips, and it draws my eyes to the bruises forming on the right side of her jaw and around her neck.

“Did he leave?” she asks hoarsely. She keeps looking between the door and the floor. Anywhere but at me.

“Yes.” My anger increases when pure relief washes over her face. Her chin begins to tremble, but she fights to rein in the emotions tightening her features.

I shouldn’t care about this woman. She’s nothing to me. Yet, I find myself gravitating to her, and for the first time, the thought enters my mind – I could marry her. That way, it will be a fuck you to Dante, and it will bring the two families together, showing us as a united front to our enemy.

Keep lying to yourself, Lucian. You fucking want her. The sooner you admit it to yourself, the sooner you can decide what the fuck you’re going to do about it.

Elena begins to look very uncomfortable. Her eyes flit to mine before they lower back to the floor. “Thank you.”

What a fucked up world we live in when a woman has to thank a man for saving her from an asshole?

I let out a sigh and walk to the suite’s phone. Dialing room service, I order crushed ice for Elena’s bruises. When I place the earpiece back, I turn to her and ask, “Are you hurt anywhere else but your face and neck?”

She lifts her hand self-consciously to her jaw then shakes her head.

I know it’s a stupid question to ask, but I can’t stop myself. “Are you okay?”

Of course, she’s not okay. I can feel her distress radiating from her, and she’s deathly pale, but still, she nods.

I only got a glimpse of how Dante treats Elena, and it’s left me with a burning desire to kill the fucker.

How much has she already endured at his depraved hands?

I’ve always prided myself on being in control of everything. It’s the way my father raised me. But since Elena walked into my life, I seem to have very little control over my actions. Once again, I find myself doing something totally out of character as I close the distance between us and wrap my arms around her trembling body.

She tenses for a moment, and then the trembling increases as she wraps her arms around my waist. Her hands grip hold of my jacket, her breath hitching. The sound rips through me, wreaking havoc with my own emotions.

I tighten my hold on her, and when I lower my mouth to her hair, I have to close my eyes from the overwhelming protectiveness and attraction this woman makes me feel.

Christ, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever felt.

It’s disarming.

I want her.

I want this wounded little bird with her big eyes and body made for sinful nights.

The dominance in me thirsts for her submissiveness. It calls to me, demanding me to make her mine.

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