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Merciless Saints: Chapter 11


All training has been canceled for the day, and I thought I’d be able to sleep in late, but I’m woken by the incessant ringing of my phone.

Squinting at the screen, I see Cillian’s name flashing and grumble, “What? I’m sleeping.”

“Get up and dressed. Your father and brother are here, and I’m bringing them to the academy in thirty minutes.”

“What?” I gasp as I shoot upright in the bed. “They’re here? Why?”

“The auction.”

Oh, right.

“Still, they should be on the island,” I argue.

“They get to see you for a day, poppet. Get ready.” Cillian ends the call, and I drop the phone back on the bedside table.

Honestly, I’ve missed them, and I can do with some family time.

I get up and walk to the bathroom. Looking in the mirror, my eyes drift over the bruises.

I’ll tell them it was training. They don’t need to know Vince attacked me.

I rush through my morning routine, and even though there’s no training, I still put on a combat outfit. I’ve just pulled a brush through my hair when there’s a knock at my door.

Instantly excitement bursts in my chest, and I run for the door. I yank it open, and then I let out a happy shriek as I throw my arms around Dad’s neck. “I missed you.”

Dad chuckles as he hugs me back, and when he lets go of me, I reach for Sean.

I hug Cillian as well and let them into the room. Shutting the door, I turn to smile at my family. “This is a nice surprise, but you should’ve stayed on the island.”

“And miss the chance of seeing you?” Dad clicks his tongue. “Never.” His eyes drift over my face, and then he shakes his head. “Look at you.”

I shrug his concern away. “It’s nothing. You should see what the other guy looks like.”

My comment draws a grin from Cillian, then he brags, “She shot Carson Koslov in a game of laser tag.”

Dad’s eyebrows rise as pride settles on his face. “I always knew you had it in you. A born fighter.”

We take a seat in the living room, and I turn my attention to my brother. “Have you been keeping out of trouble?”

“I walked in on him shagging Anja,” Dad grumbles, sounding disgruntled. Anja’s one of the guards’ daughters who comes to visit twice a year.

My eyes widen on my brother, and I gasp at him, “Sean!”

Sean rolls his eyes and shakes his head. “Can we not talk about it.”

“He’s young and horny,” Cillian stands up for Sean. “Let the boy have some fun.”

“I just don’t want to know about it or see it,” Dad mutters, then he turns his attention back to me. “Tell me about training. Have you learned anything new?”

I bring my family up to date with everything that’s happened since I last saw them, sans anything Damien related and the incident with Vince and Hugo.

“Order breakfast and feed your old man,” Dad says, pride shining from his eyes.

I call the kitchen and place our orders.

Dad clears his throat then says, “I spoke with Madame Keller about you learning some African languages.”

I nod. “That’s a good idea. I’ll be able to communicate and understand the tribes whenever we’re there to take receipt of a shipment.”

“She said she’ll email you the new schedule,” Dad says.

After our breakfast arrives, I spend the rest of the morning and afternoon visiting with my family before they have to leave.

As I show them to the door, Dad asks, “Will you wear the silver dress tonight?”

I shake my head. “It will be a waste. As an attendee of the academy, I can only watch from a balcony.”

Dad nods. “It’s a pity. I would’ve liked to see you in it.”

A frown forms on my face. “You’re coming?”

“Yes, I want to see what’s on the table tonight.”

“Be careful,” I whisper as I lean in to hug him.

As Dad and Sean step out of the room, Cillian gives my arms a squeeze. “Don’t worry, poppet. I’ll keep them safe.”

My eyes meet his. “Please.”

I watch them walk down the hallway and wave a last time before they disappear down the stairs.

I shut the door again and then walk to my closet to change into a fresh pair of cargo pants and a t-shirt for the night. Wanting to watch as everyone arrives, I quickly tie my hair back before I leave the room. Stopping at the top of the stairs, I rest my forearms on the banister. I have a clear view of the front doors, and my attention is glued to the people as they step inside St. Monarch’s.

Lucian Cotroni catches my eye as he walks toward the front doors, and then I see why. His father, Luca, comes in, and they hug before they stand to the side so crates can be carried in. They’re probably auctioning weapons tonight.

One after the other families arrive, each with whatever they’re putting up for sale.

When Sonia Terrero, the Queen of Terror, comes in with two girls covered in coats with hoodies, I pull a disgusted face.

Delicious aftershave grabs my attention, and then Damien comes to stand next to me. “Selling diamonds tonight?” he asks.

I straighten up and let my eyes drift over the black three-piece suit he’s wearing. It fits his body like a glove.

Damn, he looks hot.

When I take too long to answer because I’m practically drooling over him, he says, “I saw your family earlier.”

“Oh.” Shaking my head, I have to tear my eyes away from him. “No, we don’t have anything on auction.”

We watch as more people arrive, and then Damien turns his head, and his eyes lock on mine with an intense stare. A long moment pass and then he leans into me, and with his mouth brushing over my jaw, he murmurs, “It was nice meeting you, Princess. Try not to get yourself killed.”

The brief contact and words stun me while making me tremble, and too late, I realize Damien’s saying goodbye. I stare after him as he takes the stairs down, and unable to stop myself, I call out, “What about the debt?”

In response to my question, he only smirks at me before he disappears under the landing I’m standing on.

Then it hits. Damien won’t be here tomorrow, and a sudden pang of loss makes my heart constrict.





The night feels endlessly long, but at least all the goods have been auctioned off.

Madame Keller stands behind a podium, taking bids. When the two sex slaves are escorted onto the stage, I get up to leave the hall. Unable to stop myself, I glance up to the balcony where Winter is seated with her personal guard. My gaze locks on her as I walk to the door and when she glances down at me, the corner of my mouth lifts.

I head to the backstage entrance where I’ll be able to watch the bidding for the assassins, and then it will be the custodians’ turn.

Finding Carson as he watches the auction from the side of the stage, I ask, “Nervous?”

“Not at all,” he murmurs. “I just hope it’s a good contract.”

“Yeah, I’m excited to start working.”

“Next up for bidding are the assassins,” Madame Keller announces. “Adrian Vincent. Son of the late Bruno Vincent. Achievements; one-point-five-kilometer shot, forty-seven kills during a training session.”

She waits for Adrian to take his place on stage, then continues, “Jet Tao. First assassin in his family. Achievements; nine-hundred-meter shot, eighteen kills during a training session.”

After Jet goes to stand next to Adrian, Madame Keller introduces the next assassin, “Riccardo Nero. Second generation assassin and son of Sergio Nero. Achievements; One-point-six-kilometer shot, thirty-eight kills during a training session.”

I pat Carson on the back when he moves forward just as Madame Keller says, “Carson Koslov. Third generation assassin. Son of the late Marko Koslov and younger brother of Alexei Koslov. Achievements; two-point-one-kilometer shot, breaking Alexei Koslov’s record of two kilometers. One hundred and three kills during a training session breaking Alexei Koslov’s record of ninety-three kills.”

I hear murmurs from the crowd as Carson steps out onto the stage. My eyes are locked on him as Madame Keller says, “Please enter your bids.”

I find myself holding my breath as everyone enters their chosen amounts.

When Madame Keller clears her throat, I lift my chin, and my focus shifts to her.

“Adrian Vincent is contracted for nine million euros.”

She won’t say who won the bid. Not when it comes to the assassins, but Adrian definitely got a high-value target for that amount.

“Jet Tao is contracted for five hundred euros.”

I grimace at the low amount.

“Riccardo Nero is contracted for four million euros.”

I suck in a deep breath of air and hold it.

“Carson Koslov is contracted for twelve million euros.”

Instantly a smile splits over my face. As Carson comes off the stage, I pull him into a brotherly hug. “Congratulations.”

He pulls free from me. “I better get down there before I miss bidding on you.”

With a grin, I watch him jog away, and then I turn my attention back to the stage.

“Next up for bidding are the custodians,” Madame Keller announces. “Hugo Lamas. Second generation custodian. Son of Nico Lamas. Achievements; eight seconds reaction time. Nine-second knockout of Paul Connors. Five-second knockout of MJ Fang. One thousand, six hundred and seventeen targets out of two thousand.”

Hugo walks out onto the stage, his face still covered in bruises from the beating I gave him.

Madame Keller continues, “Paul Conners. Third generation custodian. Son of Charlie Conners. Achievements; ten seconds reaction time. Thirteen-second knock-out of Hugo Lamas. One thousand, six hundred and eighty-nine targets out of two thousand.”

Paulie gives me a grin as he walks out onto the stage, and then it’s my turn as Madame Keller introduces me, “Damien Vetrov. Third generation custodian. Son of the late Sacha Vetrov. Younger brother of Demitri Vetrov. Achievements; broken all pre-existing records set by Demitri Vetrov. Three seconds reaction time. Two seconds knock-out of Paul Conners. Four seconds knock-out of Hugo Lamas. One thousand, nine hundred and seventy-seven targets out of two thousand.”

I follow after Hugo and Paulie and take my place on the stage. My eyes instantly find Carson as he drops down in a chair.

“Please enter your bids,” Madame Keller instructs.

I watch as Carson types in an amount. It better be double what Alexei paid for my brother.

The thought almost makes me smile, but I catch myself in time.

Again Madame Keller clears her throat, and slowly I take a deep breath.

“Hugo Lamas is contracted to Sonia Terrero for three million euros.”

Probably to guard her daughter, which means he’ll be stuck at the academy until she graduates.

“Paul Connors is contracted to Riccardo Nero for three million euros.”

Good for you, Paulie.

“Damien Vetrov is contracted to Patrick Hemsley for twenty-five million euros.”

Pins and needles spread over my whole body. “What?” I snap as my gaze darts between Carson and Madame Keller. A chorus of surprised murmurs floods the hall.

“The contracts are effective for twelve months,” Madame Keller bites the words out, clearly angered at my reaction.


My eyes snap back to Carson, and I watch as he rises to his feet, the same shock I feel etched deep on his face.

Pissed off, I stalk off the stage, and when I burst through the backstage door, Carson comes jogging toward me. “It’s just twelve months. It’s a good contract. I’ll buy you out afterward.”

“What the fuck just happened?” I spit.

“Hemsley outbid me. I put in fifteen million. No one has ever bid higher than eleven million. It was a safe bet.”

Holy fuck. This was not the plan.

Lifting a hand, I rub a palm over my jaw while shaking my head. “Blyad’,” I curse again. “This was not the plan.” My eyes lock with Carson’s. “You have no one to protect you.”

“I’ll join Alexei,” he tries to reassure me of his safety.

Then it really sinks in, and anger explodes behind my eyes. When I push past him so I can face off with Patrick Hemsley, Carson grabs hold of my arm. “The contract is binding, Damien. Don’t do something stupid. The payment has already been made, and you have to honor it.”

I rip my arm free from Carson’s hold and stalk to the hall. When I step inside, my eyes scan over the bidders, and then they lock on Patrick, where the other bidders are taking turns to shake his hand.

Then his body jerks, and a thin stream of blood runs down his temple before he drops to his knees. It happens so fast, it takes a moment to register that Patrick Hemsley was just assassinated. On St. Monarch’s grounds.

Training takes over, and I run for Sean Hemsley, who’s staring in horror at his dead father. I jump over a chair, and I don’t even make it halfway before the son’s body flies forward and screams erupt from the attendees.

Five seconds and I lost two charges.

I’ve failed within seconds of being contracted.


My eyes dart over the attendees’ section, but it’s chaos as everyone either ducks or tries to make a run for it. Not seeing Winter, I can only hope she’s not in the hall.

I run for the side door, and a bullet narrowly misses me, sending icy chills down my spine.

Fuck, I’m a target as well.

It has to be Adrian. Now I understand why he was contracted for such a high amount.

The instant I rush out of the door, I catch a glimpse of red hair disappearing out the front door. I dart forward and shove people out of my way.

Finally, I lay eyes on her, where she’s practically being carried away from the academy by her personal guard, who’s struggling to keep ahold of her. Relief pours through me at the sight of her.

“Stop, Winter!” her guard snaps, his voice tense.

I take the stairs down and run toward them. Catching up to them as they reach an armored jeep, I shout, “Give me the keys.”

The personal guard only spares me a glance before he tosses them to me, and then he bundles Winter into the backseat where he joins her.

My first night on the fucking job, and I don’t even have a weapon.

The thought makes another burst of anger explode in me, and a string of Russian curses escape me as I slide behind the steering wheel. “Where are the weapons?” I bark as I start the engine.

“Under the seat,” the guard growls at me as he begins to pull weapons out from under the back seat. He throws two on the passenger seat as I floor the peddle, making the wheels squeal as we pull away.

A bullet slams into the back window but bounces off, and it has Winter letting out a cry. It’s the first sound she’s made.

I keep my eyes on the driveway as I speed toward the gates, and they open just in time for me to steer the jeep off the campus.

Slamming my palm against the steering wheel, I shout, “Blyad’!”

In one night, all my carefully laid plans have gone up in smoke, and I lost two charges.

Winter lost her father and brother.


“Phone,” I snap at the guard.

He tosses his cellphone onto my lap, and I dial my brother’s number while keeping one eye on the road ahead.

“Vertov,” Demitri barks over the line.

“It’s Damien,” I mutter.

I hear him sigh with relief. “What the fuck is going on at the academy?”

“Patrick Hemsley contracted me. He and the son were assassinated within minutes. I think it’s Adrian Vincent. I don’t know where Carson is. It was a mess.”

“Carson got out. He called Alexei. Where’s the third Hemsley?”

“I have her,” I breathe, and then relief bleeds into my veins.

I have Winter.

“What do you need?” my brother asks.

“Everything,” I grind the word out. “I need everything. Passports. A plane. A fucking safe house. Weapons.”

“Damien!” Demitri snaps. “Take a breath. You need to be calm, or you’ll get her killed. If that happens…”

He doesn’t have to finish the sentence. If Winter dies on my watch, it will be the end of my career as a custodian.


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