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God of Ruin: Chapter 36

KYLE

Having lived my life amongst wolves, I recognize one when I see it.

And this Landon, who claims to be my baby girl’s boyfriend, is undeniably one. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the leader of the pack.

His face is fucked up with a rainbow of colors, but he’s wearing a spotless dress shirt, pressed black trousers, and premium Italian shoes.

Despite the disadvantage of his bruises and the bandage that peeks from the cuff of his shirt and slithers to the back of his hand, he smiles like a respectable gentleman.

Or more like someone who was either taught or learned the specific ways to act like the perfect socially-accepted man.

He stares behind me and my wife and his grin widens as he mouths, “Surprise.”

Mia, who’s accompanied by a frowning Maya, walks carefully toward him, eyes bemused but cheeks tinted in red.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the first time I’ve ever seen my youngest daughter blush.

“What are you doing here?” she signs.

“I figured since you were going home, I’d join you and introduce myself. I’m a bit late since my grandfather’s private jet took longer than expected to arrive at the island. Please accept my sincerest apologies for my sudden appearance at your door, Mr. Hunter and Mrs. Sokolov. I wanted to surprise Mia.”

“Not sure if it’s a welcome surprise,” Maya mutters under her breath, then when Mia elbows her, she groans. “Fine, fine, maybe it’s like a tiny bit welcome.”

“Thanks, Maya.” He smiles with no humor whatsoever. “I’m glad you could welcome me.”

Rai ushers him inside. “Don’t just stand there. Come in.”

“You mentioned a grandfather,” I say, trying not to strangle the fucker and throw him to coyotes. “Judging by your last name, could that by any chance be Jonathan King?”

“The one and only.” He walks inside my fucking house between Rai and Mia as if he’s been here countless times. “I know Grandpa has a reputation that stretches around the globe, but I didn’t realize it would reach you as well. Have you dealt with him in business matters?”

“You could say that.”

Now, it makes sense why I found his face, brutalized as it is, exceptionally familiar. Of course Jonathan’s grandchild shares his absolutely domineering and highly irritating personality.

“What happened there?” I motion at the bruises.

“A little incident caused by your son, but we’ve put that disagreement behind us. At least, I did. Not sure about Nikolai.”

I raised my son right. He was born for destruction and has no limits regarding his sisters.

Note to self: Call him later to announce how severely proud I am of the methods he uses to resolve conflicts.

My wife leads Landon to the living area. “Make yourself comfortable while I go prepare some refreshments. It must’ve been a long flight.”

“Nothing is too long if I can find Mia on the other side.”

My daughter’s face turns a deep shade of red. Maya rolls her eyes and Rai mutters an ‘Aww.’

Me? I’m ready to bury the motherfucker in my father’s new construction site. It’ll be brutal but discreet, and no one will hear of the name Landon King ever again.

I’m doing humanity a huge favor, if you ask me.

Maya chooses to go help Rai while I sit opposite Mia and Landon. He interlocks his fingers with hers and places them on his thigh.

I narrow my eyes at the gesture, but he completely ignores the attention and smiles at my daughter, who rewards him with one of her rare smiles.

My lips part.

It’s no secret that Mia’s smiles have been few and far between ever since the day I failed her as a parent and we almost lost her for good.

My wife and I never say this out loud, but we know, deep down, that we actually lost a huge chunk of our daughter after the kidnapping. She was never the same carefree, bright, and remarkable attention-magnet little girl she once was.

Mia lost a part of her soul and the worst part is that she refused to talk about it. Not to us or the million specialists we employed to help her find her voice again. All of them came up with the same infuriating result.

It’s psychological.

She’s shackling herself.

Unless she takes the initiative, she won’t be able to find her voice again.

So to see her act this way around Landon leaves me with a serious feeling of failure. It took us a lot of time and effort to provide Mia with a healthy, safe environment, and yet this little twat has managed to win both her trust and affection in such a small time frame.

“How long have you known my daughter?” I ask.

Still keeping his snake-like grip on her hand, he graces me with his lewd attention. “A few months, give or take.”

“And you already think you’re at a place to introduce yourself to her parents?”

“I don’t see why not.”

The audacity of this twat. He’s shameless and wears it like a badge of honor.

“Do you know who we are, son?” I say in my serious tone.

Mia catches the change in my demeanor and her face bleaches, chasing away any remnants of the earlier blushing.

Landon, however, seems perfectly content with his ride on the expressway to hell, because he says. “Naturally.”

“So you realize we’re the Russian mafia and you still aren’t scared for your life?”

“Why would I be when I haven’t done anything? Besides, you just called me son, so I take that as you welcoming me into the family.”

“You wish.”

“I don’t do wishes, Mr. Hunter. I make things happen.”

I narrow my eyes on him and he stares me dead in the face, unblinking, openly challenging me in my own fucking house.

“Dad,” my daughter signs, dread written all over her soft face. “Please.”

“It’s all right, Mia,” Landon says. “I was fully prepared for this level of hostility and would’ve been disappointed if there was anything less, to be honest. But how about we get past this stage? Since you’re acquainted with Grandpa, I’m sure we can come to an agreement.”

“And if we can’t?”

He lifts a shoulder. “I’ll keep trying until we do.”

“Even if it takes years?”

“Or decades. I can be both persistent and persuasive.”

“Neither of those traits works on me.”

“I’ll find something that will.”

“Highly doubtful.”

Mia stands up, remains silent for an awkward pause, then signs, “I’m going to see if Mom and Maya need help.”

She shares a look with Landon that only the two of them seem to be able to decipher the meaning of before she reluctantly leaves.

Good. Now would be a good time to abduct the bastard and execute my construction site plan.

“Where were we?” Landon asks. “Right, me trying to win you over. I’m confident we can figure something out. At least you’re not as animalistically violent as your son.”

“Who do you think is his father? And drop the act now that it’s the both of us.”

“Act?” He searches his surroundings as if looking for a third presence before focusing back on me. “What act?”

“The doting boyfriend act. That doesn’t fly with me.”

“I’m not acting, since I am, in fact, attempting to be a doting boyfriend.”

“How is that working out for you?”

“Judging by your murderous expression, I’d guess not so good.”

“You guessed correctly.” I lean forward in my chair. “I know your type, Landon, or rather, I’ve crushed your type countless times before.”

“My type?”

“Suave, dishonest predators who only care about their narcissistic selves.”

“I don’t deny the characteristics. In fact, I take pride in them since they’ll allow me to identify similar monsters and protect your daughter from their claws. I’m open to earning your trust in any way you deem necessary as long as it doesn’t include breaking up with Mia. Nikolai and his edgy cousin Killian tried, but I assure you they didn’t and won’t succeed. I promise I’m not a threat. At least, not to Mia and the people she loves.”

“Your promise holds little to no importance for me.”

“How about information, then?”

I narrow my eyes. “What type of information?”

“Further details about what happened to Mia eleven years ago.”

I straighten and grow taller in my chair. “How the bloody hell do you know about that?”

“Mia told me herself because, as I mentioned earlier and you refused to believe, I do happen to be a doting boyfriend and worked hard to earn her trust. Which included suppressing my own nature, but I’m sure you’re not interested in those details.”

“What the fuck do you know about what happened?”

“Enough to formulate a dangerous theory.”

One moment I’m sitting there, the next, I grab him by the collar of his shirt and lift him up. “What the fuck do you know?”

“Whoa. Here I was complimenting your coolheadedness compared to Nikolai, but the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Am I right?”

“I know a hundred and one ways to kill people, so unless you’re ready to experience the most brutal one, I suggest you talk.”

He grabs onto my arm, but he doesn’t push me away. “I will if we have mutual trust. I must say, your reaction doesn’t encourage any future collaborations.”

The sound of Maya’s talking reaches me and I release the little fucker. He falls against the sofa and readjusts his collar as if nothing happened.

By the time my wife and the girls join us, I’m already in my seat and thinking of a thousand ways to kill the bastard in his sleep. Forget about the construction site; that’s too mild for him.

But first, I need to figure out what exactly he knows and why the hell Mia trusts the sleazy fucker enough to tell him about that part of her past.

“What were you guys talking about?” Rai asks while placing the tray of tea and biscuits in front of him.

“Mr. Hunter was just telling me you make great tea and I must admit, I’m curious to find out.”

I narrow my eyes on him, but he continues to smile at my wife, who tells him that’s a major exaggeration on my part.

We sit down for tea again, but despite my deep-rooted Britishness, that’s not my focus at all. I keep watching for telltales to expose the twat and reveal his true face.

That mission proves to be increasingly hard when he keeps saying all the right words and gives Rai the perfect answers to all her questions.

He’s as skilled at lying as trained spies, but then again, maybe he isn’t, in fact, lying but rather good at mixing the truth with the right words, depending on the audience.

But what actually takes me aback is Mia’s talkativeness. She signs a lot and tells the epic story of the survivors Claudia, Stephan, and Emilia, the flowers who are living their best lives due to her and Landon’s care.

“Wait.” She turns to him. “Who’s taking care of them if you and I are here?”

“I gave Bran the keys and specifically told him that I might revoke brotherly rights if something happens to your precious flowers.”

She hits his shoulder. “You’re so mean to him. You better appreciate him more.”

“Yes, Mom.” He salutes.

Mia tries and fails miserably in hiding her smile.

“Who’s Bran?” Mom asks.

“My twin brother.” Landon scrolls through his phone and then shows it to my wife. “We’re identical, as you can see from the picture. I’m, however, fifteen minutes older and definitely claimed the elder brother position.”

“Oh my. You and Mia are both part of identical twins.”

“I know, right? I never believed in fate, but this small detail might very well change my mind.”

Maya stops herself before she rolls her eyes. Her gaze meets mine and she mouths, “He’s so full of shit.”

I know, baby girl. I know so well.

After some time of being stuck in the happy-go-lucky conversation and witnessing a different side of Mia that I thought was long dead, I excuse myself.

I retreat to my home office on the other side of the house and close the door behind me.

The lake extends in the distance as I stand by the tall window and scroll through my contacts.

I find the name I’m looking for and tap it.

He picks up after a few rings. “Jonathan King speaking. Who is this?”

“Kyle Hunter. Remember me, Jonathan?”

A pause stretches between us, then he says in the same tone, “Yes. I was wondering when you were going to cash in on your favor.”

“Now.”

“What do you have in mind? Stock? Discounted investment in my empire? A certain property you have your eyes on?”

“None of the above. I told you at the time you used my services that I have no interest in money whatsoever.”

“What do you want, then?”

“Your grandson a few continents away from my daughter.”

Another pause. “Which grandson?”

“Which one is the worst headache?”

“It’s a tough competition between my two eldest Eli and Landon.”

“It’s the latter.”

“Ah.”

“That’s all you have to say? Your unruly grandson has his eyes on my daughter and I need you to keep him away.”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

“You’re his grandfather. You can force him.”

“Unless I’m God, I can’t force him to do anything.”

“We agreed on a favor, Jonathan.”

“And I’m keeping my part of the deal. Asking for the sun is more doable than demanding I keep Lan on a leash. He doesn’t react well to any form of authority, so take my advice and let him sort it out with your daughter instead. Any interference on your part will only backfire and make your case a lot worse.”

The door of my office opens and I track my wife’s movements as she stops by the entrance.

“Thanks for nothing,” I tell Jonathan. “I’ll be in touch.”

“Hopefully not as in-laws,” he says and hangs up.

Was that amusement in his tone?

He’s as much of a bastard as his grandson.

My wife walks up to me, looking more beautiful every day. It’s been over twenty-seven years since I met her, but she still looks as breathtaking as when I first laid eyes on her.

Elegant, majestic, and brutally demanding of my attention.

This woman hasn’t only changed my perspective about life from feeling unwanted to accomplished, but she’s also been by my side through everything.

The good, the bad, and the disgustingly ugly.

We don’t only love each other, we literally complete one another in ways I find hard to describe.

“Am I interrupting?” she asks.

I wrap an arm around the small of her back and pull her flush against me, then kiss the top of her head. “You’re never interrupting, princess.”

She strokes the lapel of my jacket. “Are you okay? You didn’t seem yourself back there.”

Of course my woman would pick up on my change of attitude, no matter how successful I am at hiding it.

“I don’t trust him and I don’t like how close Mia allowed him to get to her.”

“I know. I’m wary about him as well, especially since I’m seeing firsthand how similar he is to Kill.”

“Why do I feel a but coming on?”

“Mia truly loves him, Kyle. From my initial assessment of the situation, I can see that he genuinely cares about her and is not just putting on a show. Have you seen her around him?”

“I have. That’s why I’m disturbed.”

“You should be happy for her, not disturbed. Besides, we’ll keep an eye on him the next couple of days and if something doesn’t seem right, we’ll take care of it. What do you say?”

“I say we take care of him now.”

“We can’t. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Mia so wildly happy. We can only judge him on his actions.”

“Then let’s hope one of his actions is to slip and crack his neck open.”

She laughs. “You’re so bad.”

“You know you love it.”

“I do.” She gets on her tiptoes and brushes her lips against mine. “But I love you more.”

“Fuck, princess. You‘re the only one who knows how to cheer me up.”

“Always.” She interlinks her fingers with mine and I let her guide me out of the office.

I’ll find a way to make fucker Landon disappear.

But I’m more concerned about my beautiful wife’s company now.

My one and only.

My forever.


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