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God of Ruin: Chapter 26


“Good one. You’ve somehow managed to trap me.” Mr. Whitby—Frank, as he insisted I call him—nods in approval at my move.

We’re sitting in the empty club, only accompanied by the howling wind outside. Since it’s early afternoon, I’m safe from encountering the other members’ snobbishness.

Let’s say the women became even more dismissive of me after they saw me coming here with Landon. Apparently, I’m the ‘snob’ who doesn’t deserve the ‘exceedingly charming’ Landon’s company.

He’s got them all buying into his act. Hook, line, and sinker.

At any rate, to avoid any inevitable confrontation, I texted Frank and asked if he was free for a quick game. Since he’s the perfect gentleman, he agreed. Pretty sure I hauled him from his very important gardening class, considering the smudge of dirt on the edge of his cuff.

“It’s much safer to give up now. This game has already been decided and it won’t be long before the checkmate,” I type and then show him my phone.

“I wouldn’t be so sure. It’s a mistake to underestimate one’s adversary.”

“Too bad for you that I came here fully intent on destruction.”

He smiles like all polite British people do, when I’m sure, deep inside, he wants to call me crazy. I’ve been in this peculiar mood since Landon made his spectacularly catastrophic appearance at my birthday party a week ago.

Not only did he advertise our relationship to the world, but he also had the audacity to announce that he was courting me.

In front of my family.

To say Nikolai hasn’t been taking it well would be an understatement. His manic state deteriorated from bad to worse in just a couple of days. Usually, he’s able to go back to normal in a week or less, but that’s obviously not the case this time.

Killian shook his head at me and said he was disappointed in me. Those words hit me worse than I could’ve imagined. Gareth and Jeremy didn’t have to say it, but I felt the crushing disapproval through their patronizing gazes and excessive sighing.

Maya naturally found out about the recent talk of the town and has been acting butthurt. Unlike the others, she didn’t judge me, but she was mad that I hid something so monumental from her.

The only support I had was from none other than Bran. He texted to apologize on behalf of his ‘twat of a brother’ and asked if I was okay.

I definitely wasn’t, but I also didn’t want to bother Bran, who was clearly distressed throughout the whole night. On top of nearly being shown the door by Nikolai, he also got punched by him, although accidentally.

Glyn later came back and apologized as well before Killian whisked her away. Bran never returned. He probably kept Landon company so he wouldn’t try something crazy again.

Did that stop the asshole? Absolutely not.

He’s been showing up near my classes, without a disguise, as if he’s begging for his face to be beaten and crushed to minuscule pieces.

Naturally, I’ve avoided him and have even sent my bodyguards over so he couldn’t trespass into my space.

Though I should’ve known better. Landon and giving up apparently don’t see eye to eye, because he’s been in my vicinity every day over the past week, carrying my favorite Frappuccino.

I don’t take it, but that doesn’t deter him from his morning ritual.

Then, in the evening or whenever my classes finish, he offers to give me a ride in his show-off car. He’s always blocked by my bodyguards, who accompany me home instead.

It’s clear he doesn’t like that, and I often expect to be reintroduced to his ugly side, but he surprisingly just leaves. Yet not without telling me he’ll be back or that this push-and-pull only manages to turn him on.

In order to escape his vicinity, I’ve also been avoiding the chess club unless it’s an unplanned game with Frank. The last thing I want is to be alone with or in close proximity to the bastard.

While that might be perceived as cowardly, I don’t care. Landon threatens the very foundation of my being and, more importantly, he’s a danger to my family. Even if a part of me longs for his touch and intensity, I’m well aware that it would only end in peril and destruction.

We started as the epitome of a toxic relationship, and those never end well. So if I have to crush these nuisance emotions and my heart in the process, that’s exactly what I’ll do.

His inability to give up isn’t helping. He’s practically a stalker at this point, and that’s creepy, to say the least. His birthday gift was even more disturbing. In the box he gave me, there was a golden QR code with ‘Happy Birthday’ engraved in the middle. When I visited it, I found an image of a half-blurred statue face that looked so much like me.

On top of it, there were the words, ‘If you want to see the whole thing, all you have to do is come to our haunted house. P.S. The plants seem to miss you.’

His attempts at getting me alone again were clear, and no matter how much I wanted to visit the plants and see the entirety of that statue, I didn’t go.

I’d have to be insane to willingly go to Landon’s den.

The door opens and I go still. Please don’t tell me I accidentally conjured him…?

A chill shoots down my spine and my entire body tightens, ready for the inevitable meeting. I don’t have my bodyguards with me right now, though if I send them a text, they’ll be here in fifteen. Maybe less…

My thoughts scatter when a new face strolls inside, his features closed and his pressed suit suggesting a certain level of control. He looks to be in his thirties and carries the aura of a wise, formidable opponent.

“Welcome, Professor Kayden,” Frank greets, his eyes softening.

“Kayden is just fine, Frank.” He speaks in a distinctly American accent that’s similar to mine. His gaze slides to me and he pauses for an uncomfortable beat. “I didn’t realize you have company this time of the day or I would’ve come another time.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’m sure Mia doesn’t mind.”

I nod, then push my rook forward and grin.

“Looks like you got a checkmate, Frank,” the newcomer, Kayden, says with a slight rise of his brow.

“Oh my.” Frank looks at the board as if he can’t believe his eyes.

It’s useless to try to find fault in my plan—or little tricks, so to speak. I might have picked up some bad habits from the time I spent in psycho Landon’s presence.

As much as I hate the bastard, he’s an absolute genius and a master of chess. He’s the type who believes in playing the player instead of the game, and when I complained that it wasn’t fair, he chuckled and offered to teach me. I have no clue why he disclosed his tricks when he’s not the sharing type, but I’ll definitely use them whenever possible.

What? I don’t like losing.

“I didn’t see that coming,” Frank says. “Nice game.”

“Thank you,” I sign.

“Is the young lady by any chance interested in playing against me?” Kayden asks.

“As long as you’re willing to lose, sure,” I type and show him.

He smiles a little, but it doesn’t reach his eyes. I pause. For some reason, he seems oddly familiar, like I’ve met him.

But when? Where?

He couldn’t have come to one of the Heathens’ parties, right?

“I’ll leave you my place.” Frank slowly stands. “Professor Kayden is one of our newest and rising-star members. He teaches criminal law at your university, Mia.”

Oh. That must be why I find him familiar. I must’ve seen him around campus.

Kayden removes his jacket, revealing a muscular build that doesn’t fit a stereotypical professor. He sits opposite me, wearing an easy but entirely disingenuous expression.

“Nice to meet you,” I type and show him.

“Likewise. It’s rare to find young students who are interested in chess.”

“It’s my favorite hobby and my number one coping mechanism.”

His attention slides from the phone to my face. “Interesting.”

I internally cringe. That was definitely too much information for a person I just met. What is it about this Kayden that seems awfully familiar?

“My sister is in pre-law. I also have a cousin who’s studying law at TKU. Maybe you know him? His name is Gareth Carson.”

Kayden’s eyes skim over the text, pausing for an uncomfortable beat again, then he says, “Could be.”

“He only joined The King’s U this year,” Frank says from beside him as if he’s his designated butler. “He can’t possibly know all the students.”

“You’d be surprised,” Kayden deadpans. “How close are you with this cousin of yours?”

“Very. We were brought up together, so he’s like a brother.”

“I see.” For a fraction of a second, I think I see a smirk, but I must be imagining things since it quickly disappears.

I play white as usual and the start goes well. In no time, I manage to use the tricks Landon taught me, but unlike Frank, Kayden isn’t completely oblivious. He counters each and every one of them and drives me into a corner.

The last stage of the game is basically me fighting a hopeless war against his relentless and highly strategic attack.

“Checkmate,” he finally announces with emotionless coldness.

I purse my lips and study the board to try and figure out where I went wrong.

“You want to know your fault?” he asks, the question obviously rhetorical since he continues, “Instead of playing chess, you’re playing a treacherous war-like game with no codes of honor whatsoever. Instead of focusing on the pieces, you were too busy trying to outsmart me.”

“Chess is all about playing the player, not the game,” I type, then wince. Those are that bastard Landon’s exact words.

“You need to be psychologically stronger than your opponent before you can attempt to play him.”

“I tend to agree.” The low, deep voice catches me completely by surprise.

I was so caught up in my tragic loss that I momentarily let my guard down. None other than Landon ruthlessly used that gap to come into my vicinity.

He strolls inside wearing nonchalance like a second skin and psychopathy as a personality trait. Pressed black ankle-length pants add elegance to his long legs, and the crisp white shirt that’s tucked in them outlines his lean waist and broad shoulders.

His hair is styled and I can smell the expensive cologne that seems to be made exclusively for him.

A chill spreads down my spine as my flight response zings through every fiber of my being.

I need to run.


Landon stops beside my chair and wraps a casual hand around my shoulder as if it’s the most natural motion in the world.

His fingers dig in the bare skin of my upper arm, keeping me completely immobile. My temperature rises and, to my horror, it has nothing to do with rage and more to do with an outrageous sensation.

Like how good his touch feels.

How much my body is starved for the intensity.

The manhandling.

The unknown.

It’s been so long since he’s been this close, and I’m unable to put a halt to the volcano brewing deep inside me.

“And you are?” Kayden asks with a less welcoming tone than the one he used with me.

“Landon King,” he says as if everyone is supposed to know his identity.

The sense of narcissism in this man is absolutely mind-blowing.

“Mia’s boyfriend. Though she might prefer the term lover.”

I stare at him with an open mouth, but I quickly recover and sign, “You’re not my lover, asshole.”

“We can define our relationship in due time, little muse.”

“We can’t be in a relationship since, wait, that actually requires someone who cares.”

“I would’ve shown you my utmost care if you hadn’t shoved me into a nonconsensual relationship with your bodyguards. In case you failed to notice, they’re far from being my type.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I’ll make sure to employ female bodyguards who are your type. Maybe that way, you’ll finally stop the stalking behavior and leave me alone.”

“Unless you’re in the mood to be a bodyguard yourself, that plan is doomed to fail. I’ve been developing a new type that only you can fit.”

My lips part and my hands remain suspended in midair.

Why the hell would he say things that he definitely doesn’t feel or believe in? What does he have to gain from lying at this stage?

“I assume he’s the one you learned those stratagems from. Am I right?” Kayden asks.

Shit. I completely forgot he was right opposite us and listening in on our conversation.

Well, on Landon, since he couldn’t possibly understand what I was saying.

“Indeed.” Landon’s grip tightens on my shoulder. “Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to play. You can go to Frank.”

Kayden doesn’t move, silently refusing to comply. “Why don’t you play against me instead?”

“Not interested.” He drops a kiss on the top of my head and goosebumps erupt all over my skin. “Mia is the only one I’m willing to spend my precious time with.”

Kayden remains still for a beat, but then he unhurriedly stands up. “Very well.”

I expect him to play against Frank, but he merely exchanges a few words with him at the entrance. He throws one last glance at me before he leaves.

My chin is suddenly jerked up so that I’m staring into Landon’s merciless eyes. “I’m over here, muse. You should know by now that I don’t appreciate not being the center of your attention.”

“You should know by now that I couldn’t care less. Aren’t you supposed to have gotten bored already?”

“I am, but I’ve come to the bitter realization that this is different.”

“Different because I keep telling you no and you don’t like that word? Or is it different because for the first time in your life, you won’t get what you want?”

“Different because I’m taking drastic measures I’ve never entertained before.”

“Such as?”

“One, being patient. You’ve been pushing it for a while now. In fact, you’re so past my limits that I don’t see them anymore. Two, playing nice with your brother and cousin despite the countless death threats they dropped in my inbox. Three, not kidnapping you the fuck away so you and the world will finally admit that you belong to me. In conclusion, I’m being such a good sport, and not only is it unlike me, but it’s also a first. Isn’t that absolutely fantastic?”

“Finally being decent isn’t fantastic. It should’ve been a given.”

“It’s not a given for me, Mia.” His tone darkens. “What you think of as normal isn’t in my repertoire of reactions. In fact, I learned social cues so I could emulate normal, but it remains a foreign concept to me. It’s fucking torture to go against my instincts and nature to placate you.”


“Because you’re so fucking difficult, it pisses me off.”

“Why would you take all these drastic measures for me? I’m sure you’d prefer kidnapping and forcing me to do your bidding until you’re done with me. So why didn’t you do that?”

“Because, according to Bran and Glyn’s amateurish empathy classes, that means I have to risk losing you.”

“And you care about that?”

“Apparently, I do.”



“That’s not an answer.”

“It’s the only one I have.”

I see it then. In the depths of his mystic eyes that have a personality of their own. Landon himself doesn’t understand the full extent of his strange obsession with me.

And for some reason, that makes me feel triumphant and absolutely elated.

I like that I’m the first who can provoke this side of him. That, somehow, he’s not the only one of us who has power over the other.

“I still won’t get back with you, Landon,” I sign. “You’re anarchy in fancy clothing and will eventually ruin me and my relationship with the people closest to me.”

“I won’t.”

“You can’t stop your nature.”

“I’ve been doing it just fine for a week.”

“A week is nothing.”

“Considering I used to fuck your tight hole multiple times a day, I would say this period of abstinence is fucking something.”

My cheeks heat and I clear my throat. “I still can’t do this.”

“Why? Is it because you’re scared?”

“I’m not scared.”

“It looked that way the night of your birthday. You weren’t ashamed of me. You were ashamed of your reaction to me. To the fact that you want me despite the galore of red flags. You still do, Mia.”

“Leave me alone.”

“Never.” His words are whispered in my ear before he releases me and sits opposite me. “How about a bet? If you win, I’ll leave you alone. If I do, you’ll do something for me.”

“No, thanks.”

“Is that the coward in you speaking?”

“I’m no coward, asshole.”

“Then you won’t mind this harmless bet.”

There’s nothing harmless about Landon King. I know exactly what he’s doing, but I still sign, “If I lose, you can’t ask for sex.”

“Cruel, but okay.”

I narrow my eyes. “Really?”

“You want me to disagree with your condition?”

“No, but I expected you to demand it.”

“I have no interest in your reluctance, little muse. When I fuck you again, you’ll be begging for it.” A smirk tilts his lips. “Now that we got that out of the way, are we doing this?”

“You’re on.”

His wolfish grin makes an appearance again and I regret agreeing to the bet.

I’m being lured into his den again.

The worst part is, maybe I don’t want to resist it anymore.


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