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God of Ruin: Chapter 14

MIA

I tiptoe to where a familiar figure is standing by the corner of the kitchen, the only sound is the swishing of my boot chains.

Maya is completely oblivious to my presence, despite having the advantage of our twin instinct.

Her fingers clutch the wall as she hides her body and peeks around the corner, spying on God knows who.

We came over to the Heathens’ mansion for dinner and I just finished catching up with Niko and Kill, but that ended when my brother threw us out of his room so he could sleep.

On the balcony.

With his body on the chair and his feet on the railing.

Half naked.

He’s my brother, but he’s weird as fuck. I don’t remember the last time I saw him sleeping properly in a bed.

But then again, he does have trouble sleeping and can only do it in odd places and in odd positions.

I came down to tell Maya we shouldn’t wake him up for dinner if he actually falls asleep, but I found her spying in what’s considered our second home on the island.

At first, I contemplate scaring her, but I think better of it and lean sideways to see who got her attention.

Jeremy and his new senior guard, Ilya, stand by the kitchen counter. Jeremy is a few years older than us, is Nikolai’s best friend, and is possibly the only person who can stop him from launching into a full-on suicide mission.

He’s huge, handsome, grumpy, and serious to a fault. His father is a big deal in the Bratva, and Jeremy is the heir to that legacy like Nikolai is expected to take over my parents’ duties.

Mom said Maya and I can definitely have our place at the table if we want to. Maya said, “No, thanks. I have better things to do with my life.” I also prefer to be a businesswoman with my own company.

Back to the present and Maya, who’s spying on Jeremy, the Heathens’ leader and the one she’s had her claws out for. Since we were children, she’s always thought she’d make him her husband. One, she likes to vie for the strongest man in the room. Two, considering his father’s influence and wealth, he’s, in my sister’s words, a catch.

The fact that he has a girlfriend has never deterred her. When we heard about that, Maya just flipped her hair and announced—smugly, I might add—that he’ll realize his mistake and come begging at her pedicured feet.

But there are two points that contradict the fact that she’s spying on him.

One, Maya never hides. A few weeks ago, she put on her favorite perfume, walked to Jeremy with a sway in her hips, and asked him when he was going to stop making a mistake and pick her.

She tried to run her red nails down his jaw and flirt with him, to which Jeremy respectfully pushed her away. Not only is he painfully not interested, but he also knows that if Niko catches her hitting on his best friend, there’ll be carnage.

Two, she’s not even looking at Jeremy and actually seems more interested in following the movements of the guard, Ilya. A tall, silent blond guy whose voice I’ve only heard a couple of times.

I know because Jeremy is leaning against the wall, but Ilya is the one who’s moving around, getting some ingredients from the cupboard and adding them to the pan on the stove.

They’re talking in Russian—something about the Serpents and the Elites and retaliation. Maya doesn’t give a fuck about any of that.

But I do.

Especially when I catch a name in Jeremy’s dialogue.

“…Landon needs to be put in his place.”

My heart rate skyrockets and I hide myself, mimicking Maya’s criminal-like behavior.

I glare at my chest as if I can see my heart floundering and getting on a metaphorical high.

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with me? Just the mention of his name and I’m immediately in this state.

My cheeks flame at the reminder of last night. Punishing darkness, a sinister voice, and unapologetic lust.

I was more confused about the strength of my reaction than his psycho self. Landon is who he is, but I’m not him.

How could I be attracted to an unfeeling narcissistic psychopath who’d eradicate me and everyone I care about in a heartbeat?

“What did you have in mind?” Ilya asks while still focused on the pan.

“We’ll discuss it with the others later, but one thing’s for certain. Once I get my hands on that motherfucker, I’ll break his hand and destroy his little sculpting hobby.”

It’s not a hobby, though.

I’ve read articles about his first exhibition a few years back, and I’ve seen the disturbingly beautiful statues he won multiple awards for. He’s a global talent, and while it’s annoying that he knows it and even gloats about it, that doesn’t take away the fact that he’s an actual genius.

A psycho genius, but oh well.

“I need someone to follow him at all times without drawing suspicion,” Jeremy continues.

“I will do it,” Ilya says.

“No. You’re too obvious, and he’s too smart for his own good.”

I walk out from my hiding place, catching the two of them—three if we’re counting Maya—by surprise.

She has no choice but to clear her throat and follow me out as if we were just walking past here by chance.

“I happened to overhear your conversation,” I sign to Jeremy since he understands. “I’ll follow Landon around.”

He straightens. “Out of the question.”

“I’m going to do it anyway, so either you back me up and get whatever information I’ll gather, or you don’t.”

“Nikolai will kill me if he finds out about this.”

“Which is why he won’t.” I smile at Maya. “Right?”

Her face is red as she fiddles with the strap of her Chanel bag. Maya never fiddles. Seeming to sober up, she releases it and shakes her head. “No way in hell. You’re not getting in the middle of this.”

“I already am.”

“Mia.” She grabs my shoulders. “The whole pig blood thing was reckless enough as it is. You don’t need that guy’s attention.”

I already have it anyway, so might as well use it for the greater good. Including, but not limited to, bringing the asshole down.

Besides, I need to find an explanation for my strange attraction to the bastard. I’m sure the more I find out how amoral he is, the less attractive I’ll find him and then I’ll be happy to throw him to the wolves—aka the Heathens.

“I’ll be fine,” I sign to my sister, then disengage from her hold to face Jeremy. “Do we have a deal?”

“No, Mia. I’m not pushing you into his lethal orbit.”

“I’m already there.” I lift my chin. “He thinks I’m his muse or something like that, so I’ll use that to my advantage.”

Jeremy’s eyebrows shoot too close to his hairline. “Since when?”

“Since I’m getting revenge for what he did to Nikolai.”

“We’re planning that. Seriously, stay out of it.”

“Too late. Remember the blood bath he got at his own club’s party?” I point a thumb at myself. “That was me.”

“Jesus fucking Christ,” he says with more bewilderment and pride than anything.

“No god can stop the psycho but I can.” But let’s ignore the fact that I’m hiding in my brother’s mansion because this is the only place where he won’t be able to pull any shit.

I brought Maya along, too, so he won’t be able to threaten me with her either.

“Be careful and retreat the moment you sense any danger,” Jeremy says.

“You can’t possibly be serious?” Maya directs her attention to him.

“You and I both know we can’t stop her once she puts her mind to something.”

I grin like a Cheshire cat and nod approvingly.

Maya points at Ilya, who turned off the stove and is about to leave. “You, talk some sense into him.”

Ilya looks at her as if she’s nothing but the dirt beneath his shoes. That’s the first time I’ve seen anyone disregard my sister’s bigger-than-the-world presence.

“He’s not a you,” Jeremy says calmly. “His name is Ilya.”

“He’s not important enough for me to recall his name, but he has a job of advising you not to make stupid mistakes, like throwing Mia in the middle of a war.”

“Hey.” I push her. “I decided this. Don’t overstep, Maya. Neither you, Jeremy, nor Nikolai get to tell me what to do.”

“But…I’m worried about you.” Maya’s brow furrows.

She’s always been overprotective of me since that incident, even more than our parents and Niko, and that says something since those three could’ve been mistaken for my wardens the first few years following what happened.

Still, Maya needs to learn that I’m capable of making my own choices—mistakes included.

“I can take care of myself.” I shake hands with Jeremy. “Apologize to Ilya on Maya’s behalf.”

He nods silently, but Maya releases an exasperated sound. “I have nothing to apologize for.”

I grab her by the shoulder and push her into one of the guest rooms. She wiggles free from my hold and faces me with an epic frown. “You had no right to do that. And what’s with apologizing on my behalf lately? You’re making me look like a bitch.”

“You can manage that on your own without my interference.” I cock my head to the side. “Besides, you were just being overly defensive to hide your actual reaction. Why were you spying on Ilya and why were your cheeks red?”

Her lips part and she goes a deep shade of red before she stomps her Hermès heel on the ground with the impatience of a toddler. “As if I would pay that loser any attention. I was just keeping an eye on Jeremy because he’s going to be my future husband.”

I give an “Uh-huh” look and she goes berserk, trying to convince me—and probably herself—that there’s nothing to the earlier episode.

She doesn’t realize that the more she defends her metaphorical position, the less plausible she sounds.

When I continue to stare at her, she pretends that she’s gotten an important call and runs out of the room as if her ass is on fire.

Maybe it’s because we’re twins, but Maya is more readable than computer chess. While it’s fun to mess with her sometimes, she’s really flustered beyond saving this time, so I leave her be.

I go to check if dinner is ready. I’m starving and need my calorie fix.

Sure enough, Nikolai didn’t manage to sleep. He’s lounging in the living room, still half naked, and listening to Gareth.

Jeremy, Ilya, and Kill head to the table and call everyone along.

My brother flicks Gareth on the forehead so he’ll shut it, then he headlocks him and drags him to the dining area.

There’s no trace of Maya.

I pull out my phone to call her, but she’s already hurrying in from the patio, cheeks kissed by the cold.

She avoids my gaze and breezes past me to the dining room. I narrow my eyes on her back. There’s something wrong with her and I need to figure out what.

I’m about to join them when my phone vibrates in my hand. I would ignore it, but then I catch a glimpse of the name of the man who refuses to be ignored under any circumstances.

It doesn’t help that I’ve kept myself busy the entire day, just so I wouldn’t think about the next thing his defective mind might come up with.

Devil Lord: I’m outside.

I read the text and tilt my head. That’s it? He spent the whole day doing fuck knows what just to say he’s outside?

Devil Lord: That was an invitation to come and see me if you didn’t notice.

Mia: I’m not at the dorm.

Devil Lord: I know. You’ve developed this annoying habit of hiding in the Heathens’ mansion. Didn’t take you for the type who needs other people’s protection.

The damn—

Wait a minute.

Mia: Please tell me that by outside, you mean you’re outside the dorm.

Devil Lord: Why would I be there if you aren’t?

He sends me a selfie of him cocking his head to the side and grinning like a little suicidal idiot. Behind him, I can see the gate of the mansion and the lights from where we all are. A dash of panic explodes at the base of my stomach and I inhale deeply.

Mia: Have you lost your damn mind? Everyone is here. Niko, Kill, and Jeremy included.

Devil Lord: Why, yes, the holy trinity that’s out for my head due to dreadfully childish reasons.

Mia: Kidnapping and assault are childish reasons?

Devil Lord: They’re not dead, now, are they? Matter of fact, they’re enjoying your company while I’m being hugged by the cold, merciless wind.

A doctor needs to dissect this monster’s head and see if he has anything normal in there.

Mia: Just leave before they find out.

Devil Lord: Not without you.

Mia: Are you serious?

Devil Lord: A million percent. You can either come out and spare everyone the drama or you can let them find out, or tell them yourself if you’re in the mood for some mayhem, then watch as they come out and maim me. Of course, you’ll have to live with the fact that Glyn will break up with Kill and Cecily will leave Jeremy, because I will definitely make it look as if I were kidnapped and lured here. I’ll convince them that their men don’t love them enough to spare me for their sake. So what do you say, little muse? Peace or havoc?

My hand shakes around the phone. I have no doubt that he’ll do exactly what he said. Someone like Landon isn’t afraid of getting physically hurt for the sake of chaos.

I’m starting to suspect that it runs in his veins instead of blood.

“Who’s that?”

I freeze when Nikolai stops in front of me, eyes narrowed. Shit. I was so focused on Landon’s antics that I didn’t notice my brother approaching me.

With a smile, I tuck my phone into my dress’s pocket. “No one. I just got a reminder that I have a school project I forgot about.”

“Is Brandon a school project now?” he asks.

My brow furrows. “What? What does Bran have to do with this?”

“You’re still friends with him despite my clear order not to be.”

“Well, he’s a great guy.”

“He’s one of them.”

“Not all of them are bad. Kill, Jeremy, and Annika are dating people from there and you seem to be okay with that.” I pat his shoulder. “Anyway, I have to go.”

“Have dinner first.”

“I’m not hungry.” I don’t wait for his or the others’ comments as I slip out the front entrance and jog for about five minutes to reach beyond the gate.

I’m out of breath, but I search on the sides, where I assume he could be hiding.

Maybe he thought better of it and left. Though I doubt it. His go-getter personality resembles a hunting dog. It’s highly unlikely that he’d leave without securing prey.

I veer farther into the bushes, then stop when it gets too dark and retrieve my phone.

Hot breath swarms my ear as a hard body glues itself against my back and a strong hand wraps around my throat. “You made the right choice, but I’m afraid it’s too late. We’re going to play a little game, muse.”


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