Merciless Saints: Chapter 23

WINTER

“Blyad’,” Damien hisses when he catches sight of something I can’t see yet. He freezes, then says, “Stay here, Winter.”

Like hell I am!

Damien moves forward, his gun trained on someone, while shaking his head.

Refusing to miss my one chance at killing Antonio, I move forward, and then the air is ripped from my lungs.

“Cillian,” I gasp.

Antonio holds him as a shield, a gun trained against Cillian’s head.

My breathing speeds up at seeing the man I’ve mourned, still alive, albeit barely. It’s clear they’ve tortured him, his left eye swollen shut and his hands covered in blood.

He’s in bad shape, and without giving it another thought, I lift my gun.

“I will kill him,” Antonio threatens, and then I pull the trigger just as Cillian yanks free, falling to his hands and knees. My bullet hits Antonio between the eyes, and I keep firing as I move closer, in a hurry to get Cillian.

Antonio stumbles backward before he slumps to the ground. I rush to Cillian, where he’s trying to push himself up. Every breath he takes sends a wave of pain over his face as I kneel before him. Then he whispers, “Poppet.” Cillian collapses against me.

“My God,” I sob as I wrap my arms around him. “My God.” Absolute joy floods me, making my head spin as I try to process it. “Cillian.”

“All the training paid off,” he chuckles, a whistling sound escaping him.

“I thought you died,” I cry as I hug him tighter. “We couldn’t find your body.”

“I woke up here,” he gasps through pain, and I ease my hold on him.

“We need to move.” Damien crouches on Cillian’s side and pulls Cillian’s arm around his neck as he takes hold of him. I do the same, and then we help Cillian stand.

Still in shock, I try to take as much of Cillian’s weight as I can.

“Who’s this?” Alexei asks as he comes down the stairs.

“God, Poppet,” Cillian breathes at the sight of Alexei Koslov.

“He’s my family,” I say, tightening my hold around Cillian’s back.

Alexei moves closer. “You’re too small, little Winter. Move.”

I let Alexei take my place, and then we can move faster as we make our way out of the basement. I keep my body positioned in front of Cillian, my gun raised and ready to fire.

I won’t lose him a second time.

“Sergei, bring the car around the front,” Damien instructs.

We make our way through the bodies of the guards Alexei and his group took down, and then I see Vince lying face down, his back riddled with bullets.

Burn in hell with your family, bastard.

Leaving the mansion, we move quickly to get to the cars. It’s a struggle getting Cillian over the wall, and his pain-filled breaths rip at my heart.

When we finally reach the first SUV, I climb in the back with Cillian. Damien gets in next to me while Alexei takes the driver’s side and Demitri the passenger side.

The other men pile into the other SUV, and then we leave for the private airfield.

I keep staring at Cillian, still not able to believe he’s alive. My eyes scan over his body and seeing his bruises, I wish I could kill the Blancos again. I shudder as I begin to see more wounds. He’s missing an earlobe. Broken nose. Old and new bruises coloring his face and neck.

“We’ll take care of you as soon as we’re home,” I say, my voice hoarse. “Can you hold out a couple of hours?”

“Walk in the park after the past four days,” he mumbles.

I watch as he fights to remain conscious, his eyes glued to mine. “My Poppet.”

My lips tremble as I try to smile at him. “My Cillian.”

Alexei parks by the private jet, and then he helps Damien get Cillian into the plane. I take the seat next to Cillian and strap him in. His head lolls to the side, his eyes locking on me again.

“We’re going home,” I murmur as I put on my own seat belt.

Damien takes a seat across from me, his eyes darting between Cillian and me.

When we take off, Cillian whispers, “Home.”

I watch as his eyes drift shut, then Demitri says, “That’s good. Let him sleep.” As soon as we reach altitude, Demitri goes to get a first aid kit then tells me, “Move to another chair.”

I get up and take the seat next to Damien and across from Cillian. Demitri opens the box and takes out an injection which has me asking, “What’s that?”

“It will help keep him sedated while we check how badly he got hurt.”

As soon as he administers the injection, Demitri begins to unbutton Cillian’s shirt. There’s a bandage around him, but blood has already seeped through and dried to black.

“Help me, Winter,” Demitri instructs, and I move off the seat. “Hold him so I can take this bandage off.

I pull Cillian to me and let his head rest against my stomach while Demitri goes to work. After a minute or so, Demitri mutters, “Looks like he has an infection. We’ll need to get antibiotics in him.”

“We have supplies at home,” I answer. “We made sure to have everything needed to treat a gunshot after I got shot.”

“Good,” Damien murmurs.

“You can lean him back,” Demitri says, and as I carefully position Cillian’s head against the seat, I glance down at the gunshot wound he took to the chest. It’s swollen and red around the bullet hole, and there’s a dark bruise spreading over the side of his chest.

Demitri covers the wound with a clean dressing. “As soon as we get home, get me the antibiotics.”

“Okay,” I murmur, my eyes scanning over Cillian in disbelief.

Damien takes hold of my hand and pulls me to the restroom. Just like the time when I thought Cillian was dead, Damien washes the blood off my hands and gently dries them.

“Thank you,” I murmur, and then it sinks in, knocking the breath from my lungs. “Cillian’s alive,” I gasp as the first tear of absolute joy falls.

 


 

DAMIEN

 

I pull Winter into my arms and press a kiss to her hair. “I’m happy for you, Princess.”

I hold her while she struggles to regain control over her emotions, and when she finally looks up at me, I press a kiss to her lips.

“Let’s take our seats. We’ll land soon.”

Getting back to the seats, Winter checks Cillian’s seat belt before she sits down. I strap her in and then take hold of her hand, linking my fingers with hers.

Demitri puts the first aid kit away. After he washes his hands, he sits down next to Alexei and straps himself in.

Our eyes meet, and the corner of my mouth lifts as pride fills my chest.

As soon as the plane touches down, we get up, and Demitri helps me carry Cillian off the plane.

Winter runs ahead to the house, and then I hear her call out, “Dana! Dana!” The front door opens, and as Dana appears, Winter yells, “We have Cillian. He’s alive.”

Dana’s hand goes to her mouth when her eyes land on us, and then she rushes back inside the house with Winter right behind her.

When we carry Cillian inside, Dana urgently says, “His room is across from Miss Winter’s. She’s gone to unlock it.” She follows after us as we take Cillian upstairs.

Winter comes rushing out of his room, and when she sees us, she darts back inside. She pulls the bedding back before we carefully lay Cillian down.

“Dana,” Demitri calls. “Help me get the clothes off so we can check all his wounds.”

I walk to Winter and take hold of her arm. “Leave them to tend to him. I’m sure he wouldn’t want you to see him naked.”

Winter nods, and sparing Cillian a last glance, she follows me out of the room. As soon as we step into the hallway, Winter wraps her arms around my waist.

“God, Damien, he’s alive. We left him behind for them to torture.”

Holding her to me, I say, “We didn’t know. It looked like he died.”

“I should’ve checked,” she blames herself.

Placing a finger under her chin, I nudge her face up, and when our eyes lock, I say, “No, you had no choice. I pulled you away, and there was no way I was endangering your life a second longer. I’d do it again.”

Winter pulls out of my hold. “Would you have left him there if you had known he was alive?”

“Of course not,” I mutter.

“Where’s Demitri?” Alexei asks.

I gesture at the closed door. “In there with Cillian.”

Alexei turns his gaze to Winter. “Where are the antibiotics?”

“Oh, in the kitchen.” Winter rushes away to go get it.

“She did well today,” Alexei mutters.

“She did.”

“Will you let her go on runs with you?”

I stare down the hallway before bringing my gaze to Alexei’s. “Not if I can help it.”

“She’ll fight you.”

“I know,” I mutter. Winter proved herself today. She was caught off guard by Cillian being there, but still, she kept her calm and killed Antonio Blanco. Not once did she hesitate.

“Maybe if Cillian recovers, you’ll allow it,” Alexei mentions.

I narrow my gaze on him. “Why are you pushing this?”

“She’ll resent you if you try to keep her out of the business.”

I let out a breath of air. “We’ll see what happens.”

Winter comes back, carrying a first aid kit which she hands to Alexei. “Everything’s in here.”

Alexei takes it into the room, and then I say, “Let’s go gather the weapons and put them away.”

Together we leave the house and reaching the plane, the other men have already off-loaded everything. We inspect the weapons before carrying them to the barn. There’s a trap door, and opening it, we descend into the Hemsley’s armory.

We stack all the machine guns and extra handguns before I close the trap door and lock it.

Keeping our personal weapons with us, we head back to the house.

The extra men Alexei organized go to the kitchen to help themselves to food while Winter and I head up the stairs to Cillian’s room.

“Let me check,” I murmur as I push the door open. Seeing Cillian’s covered from the waist down, I pull Winter into the room.

“How’s he doing?” she asks.

“He’ll be out of it for a few days. He needs to rest and heal from the infection. That’s my biggest worry,” Demitri says. “Dana will be able to care for him.”

My eyes lock with my brother’s. “You’re leaving?”

He nods. “The job’s done here. We need to get back to LA.”

“When are you heading back?” I ask.

“Tomorrow morning.”

“Thank you for all the help,” Winter murmurs as she walks to Cillian’s side. She takes the cloth from Demitri’s hand. “I’ll continue to wash him.”

Demitri and I step out into the hallway while the women clean Cillian.

“You’ll be okay?” Demitri asks.

“I will,” I assure him. Seeing the concern in his eyes, I say, “I have to do this. The sooner, the better.”

“Alexei expects his fifty percent paid on time. Don’t mess it up.”

“I won’t.”

Demitri gives my shoulder a squeeze before he leaves. I lean my shoulder against the doorjamb and watch as Winter carefully washes Cillian’s neck.

My gaze locks on Cillian. I have no idea how he’ll react when he finds out I took Winter as my wife and Alexei took half the business.

He’ll probably lose his shit.

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