Merciless Saints: Chapter 24

WINTER

Once Cillian’s clean, the bruises are prominent, and it tells a stark tale of how much he must’ve suffered.

I sit down on a chair while Dana sits down on the side of the bed. She brushes her fingers through Cillian’s hair, tears silently spiraling over her cheeks.

“My love,” she whispers. “I should’ve known they wouldn’t be able to kill you.” Leaning over him, she presses a soft kiss to his lips. “Thank you for coming back to us.”

It’s the first time I see Dana interact in such a loving way toward Cillian.

“Why did you hide your relationship?”

Dana swallows hard then gives me a trembling smile. “Your father would’ve worried. Cillian’s attention needed to be focused on you.”

It was. He never left my side at the expense of his own happiness.

Now that I’ve experienced my own love with Damien, I can only imagine how hard it must’ve been for Cillian and Dana.

“I’m sorry,” I murmur.

Instantly Dana shakes her head. “We love you like our own, Miss Winter. It was our choice.”

My gaze turns to Cillian, and a burst of happiness explodes inside me.

He’s home.

I didn’t lose everyone.

Emotion wells in my chest, but I swallow it down and clear my throat.

The time for crying has passed. Now it’s time to celebrate the wins we’ve had.

My lips curve up at the thought of the Blancos being wiped out. I’m disappointed at how fast it happened. There was no time to savor the kills.

But they are dead. They’ve paid with their own lives for the family they’ve taken from me.

My enemies now know what I’m capable of. Word will spread of my marriage to Damien. People will know of my alliance with Alexei and Demitri.

I stare at Cillian and Dana. The couple who have sacrificed so much for me.

It’s my turn to keep them safe.

“You and Cillian can now enjoy your relationship,” I murmur. Dana’s eyes dart to mine. “I’ll take care of you. I don’t want you to worry about me any longer. Damien will take over as the head of the family, and together we will keep you safe.”

Dana reaches her hand to me, and I don’t hesitate to take hold of it.

“Thank you, Miss Winter.” Dana gets up and gives Cillian a last glance before she says, “I’ll prepare something to eat. The men must be hungry.”

As the sun begins to rise, I move from the chair to the bed and sitting down, I carefully take Cillian’s hand in my own.

My eyes drink in his features. “Rest and get better. Your time of protecting me is over.” I lean forward and press a kiss to his forehead. “It’s my turn to look after you.”

Emotion wells in my chest, and I allow a tear to fall.

“Thank you for being my father, my mother, my mentor, my best friend. Thank you for fighting so hard to get back to me.”

Cillian lets out a sharp breath, and then his eyes drift open. I smile as he focuses on my face.

“Poppet,” he breathes.

“Hi,” I grin happily at him. “How do you feel?”

“A little worse for wear,” he mumbles.

“Demitri gave you some antibiotics and cleaned your wounds. We’ll have you back on your feet in no time.”

A lopsided grin forms around his lips, and I struggle not to cry from the joy of seeing it again. “I missed that smile so much,” I admit.

His eyes rest on me with endless love. “I didn’t tell them, poppet.”

“Didn’t tell them what?”

“Where you were. Where the island is,” he says, already short of breath from the strain it’s taking to talk.

Cillian suffered to keep me safe.

“I love you so much, Cillian,” is all I can think to say as I press another kiss to his forehead. “Rest. I’ll take care of you from now on.”

“My poppet,” he breathes before his eyes drift closed.

I sit with Cillian until Dana comes back. “He woke for a moment,” I tell her. “He was lucid.”

“I’ll stay with him. Go eat, Miss Winter.”

I nod my head, and getting up from the bed, I softly leave the room as Dana takes my place to keep vigil over Cillian.

I find the men in the dining room, filling their stomachs with the breakfast Dana prepared. I sit down on Damien’s right.

“Cillian woke,” I inform them as I help myself to some pancakes and eggs.

“Good,” Alexei mutters. “I’m glad you got your friend back.”

I can’t stop smiling as I enjoy breakfast with my new family.

“Alexei and Demitri are leaving today,” Damien says as I take a bite of the pancakes.

My eyes dart to the two men as I chew and swallow, then I ask, “So soon? You can’t stay a little longer?”

Alexei shakes his head. “Business waits for no one.”

My shoulders sag a bit. “Thank you for helping me.”

“That’s what family is for,” Demitri murmurs.

I meet my brother-in-law’s eyes for a long moment. We didn’t have any time to get to know each other. “You’ll come to visit when you can?”

Demitri nods. “Not often, though.” His gaze moves to Damien’s. “You could always travel to LA.”

“We have to sell the diamonds,” Alexei interrupts. “The buyer is in New York. We could meet you there.”

Damien and I both nod at the news.


“That way, you’ll take your rightful place as diamond smugglers in the Ruin,” Alexei adds.

As Mr. and Mrs. Vetrov, our enemies will know we’re unkillable and merciless. Hopefully, our name alone will be enough to prevent another blood bath.

 


 

DAMIEN

 

With Winter next to me, we see Alexei and Demitri off.

I hug Alexei before embracing my brother.

“Keep safe,” Demitri murmurs.

“You too.”

He pulls back, and with his hands on my shoulders, our gazes lock. “You’ve done well. I’m proud of you.”

The corner of my mouth curves up at hearing my brother’s praise.

As they board the plane, Winter takes hold of my hand, snuggling against my side.

“We’ll be okay without them, right?” she asks.

I pull my hand free from hers and wrap my arm around her shoulders. Pressing a kiss to her temple, my voice is low and filled with strength as I say, “We’ll be okay.”

Winter lifts her face to mine, her mouth curving into a smile. “I love you, my husband.”

Lifting an eyebrow, I steer her toward the house. “We have to tell Cillian we’re married.” A grimace forms on her face, and I let out a chuckle. “Let me handle it.”

“Good, when I’m done nursing Cillian back to health, I can nurse you when he’s done beating you up,” she teases me.

“I’d like to see him try.” I let out a chuckle as we step into the house – our home.

“I’m going to check on Cillian,” Winter says. “What are you going to do?”

“Take care of business.”

Winter turns her face up to me, and I press a kiss to her mouth.

“I’ll help with the business once Cillian has recovered.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll take care of everything.”

I watch her walk up the stairs then leave the house to check on the guards stationed around the island. I need to get to know every single one of them. It takes me a couple of hours as I walk around the grounds, familiarizing myself with where everything is.

When I reach the men guarding the piers, I ask, “Names and how long have you worked here?”

“Phil. Eleven years,” the first and oldest of the three answers.

My gaze snaps to the second man. “Jasper. Seven years.”

When my eyes lock on the last man, he gives me a condescending look. “Petro. Five years.”

“Petro,” I grumble, taking a threatening step toward him. “Do we have a problem?”

“Not at all,” he mutters while smirking as if he knows something I’m not aware of.

I take another step closer to him and stare him down until he glances away. “You’re welcome to leave,” I murmur darkly. “In a body bag.” His eyes snap back to mine, and I see a glimmer of fear. “I’m not Patrick Hemsley or Cillian. Don’t fuck with me.”

Petro nods and wisely backs a step away from me. “Yes, Sir.”

I make my way back to the house, and reaching Cillian’s room, I murmur, “Winter, come here.”

She lets go of Cillian’s hand, and when she steps out into the hallway, I shut the door, so Dana won’t hear us talk.

Winter gives me a questioning look, then asks, “What’s wrong?”

“I went to check on the guards, and one gave me attitude.” The more I think about the incident, the more I wish I had just killed him. I won’t tolerate insubordination. “How well do you know them?”

“Well enough. Which one do you have a problem with?”

“Petro. He’s stationed by the piers.”

I watch as Winter’s eyes widen, then she quickly says, “I’ll take care of him. Don’t worry about it.”

Tilting my head, my heartbeat begins to speed up. My voice is a low warning as I ask, “Is there something I should know?” Winter steps closer to me and places her hand on my arm as if she’s trying to placate me. My expression hardens. “Don’t dare lie to me. Have you fucked him?”

“It was before you –”

I walk away before she can finish the sentence and rush out of the house in the direction of the piers. Anger burns through my veins. Every time I start to think about that fucker with my wife, even if it was before she married me, unreasonable rage engulfs me.

“Damien!” I hear Winter call behind me.

Halfway there, I pull my gun from behind my back, and my finger hovers over the trigger. With every step I take, the rage burns hotter, like an inferno incinerating all logic, until my vision tunnels on the three men ahead of me.

“Damien, wait!” Winter catches up to me and grabs hold of my arm.

I shrug her off, and one dark glare from me is enough for her to stop walking.

Jasper notices me first and quickly says something to the other two. As Petro’s head snaps in my direction, I raise the gun, and I don’t stop walking until the barrel is pressed against his skull.

“You fucked my wife?”

He just stares at me as fear pales his face.

Without a second thought, I pull the trigger, then I turn my gaze to Phil. “Has anyone else on this island fucked her?”

“No, Sir,” he answers immediately.

“Dispose of the body,” I growl the order.

“Yes, Sir.”

I walk back to where Winter’s standing, her eyes wide on me. Stopping right in front of her, my voice is low with anger, “I better be the only man alive who’s fucked you.”

“You are,” she breathes.

It’s only then the rage begins to lose its potency, and I breathe through the rest of the anger until I’m in control of my emotions.

“You’re the only one I love. I haven’t loved before you,” Winter says, a pleading look on her face.

The words help calm me, and I reach for her neck, wrapping my fingers around her throat. I pull her to me, and Winter tilts her head back to keep eye contact with me.

Her hands find my sides, and she grips hold of my shirt. “There’s only you, Damien.”

Leaning down, I claim her mouth, kissing her until she’s gasping against my lips and my lungs burn for air.

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