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Merciless Saints: Chapter 5


I focus on my breaths as rage and hatred create a storm in my chest. My heart slams against my ribs, making me feel confined in the dress instead of beautiful.

Stepping into the banquet hall, I feel naked without my firearms and combat clothes.

My eyes follow Vince Blanco, my hands itching to strangle the life from him. To him and his family, my beloved mother was nothing but an animal they hunted for sport. It was a senseless killing. The threat didn’t make my father hand over the blood diamond business to them.

My mother was kind and caring. She was loved dearly by all our employees. She was angelic, and now she’s immortalized in our hearts.

With Cillian’s help, I will see Vince Blanco die. I’ll see the life drain from his eyes and his blood spill over the ground, just like my mother’s.

“If you keep staring, he’ll know he managed to get to you,” Damien suddenly murmurs next to me. “Never show your enemy they’ve managed to rattle your cage.”

My head snaps up, my gaze colliding with Damien’s deadly brown eyes. Again I feel the punch to my stomach from how attractive he is. It’s bewildering, to say the least. His dark brown hair looks thick and silky, and the slight stubble on his jaw accentuates his manliness. The tuxedo he’s wearing makes him look like a perfect male specimen – nothing short of a god.

If only he wasn’t deadly.

“Giving advice to the enemy? Not clever of you,” I mutter as I let my gaze sweep over the other attendees. Everyone is scattered, watchful of their enemies.

The Bratva comes in, followed by the Cartels, and it makes my eyebrows lift. Gabriella Terrero. Princess of Terror. Like me, she has a nickname seeing as her mother is the Queen of Terror. Only her nickname comes from peddling flesh instead of smuggling blood diamonds.

Another woman comes in, and not recognizing her, I ask Damien, “Who is she?”

“MJ Fang. She’s a custodian in training,” he informs me with a low rumbling voice.

So I won’t be the only woman. Things just got interesting.

My lips curve up at the thought.

“Do you know MJ?” Damien asks, pulling my attention back to him.

“Not personally,” I murmur.

He lets out a chuckle, the corner of his mouth curving into a sexy grin that causes a fluttering in my stomach. “Do any of us really know each other?”

“I guess not,” I murmur, my gaze drinking in his handsome features.

There’s nothing wrong with looking.

Damien gestures to a table. “The custodians will all be seated there.” He walks away from me, and I take a moment to admire him from behind.

Up until now, the only guy I’ve been with was one of the guards, Petro. It was nothing but meaningless sex. I haven’t dated like other girls my age, and I never will. I’ll probably marry whoever my father tells me to marry to secure an alliance.

It doesn’t stop me from admiring an attractive male specimen when I see one, and Damien is definitely attractive… and lethal. Such an intoxicating mixture.

Madame Keller comes into the room, followed by her two personal custodians. For a seventy-three-year-old woman, she looks nothing older than fifty. Her grey hair is swept up in a bun, and her makeup’s applied with an expert hand. I can’t help but admire how successful she’s been in creating St. Monarch’s Academy.

My eyes move to the custodian’s table, and seeing Hugo Lamas seated at it makes my stomach tighten.

God, the competition is brutal.

I walk toward the table where there are three seats open. Not wanting to back down from a threat, I take the chair between Damien and Hugo.

Hugo slowly turns his face to me, and for a split second, our eyes meet before he glances back to Madame Keller. He’s indifferent about my being here, and I’m taking it as a good sign. He still has to learn the valuable lesson to never underestimate the competition. Right now, it gives me an advantage over him.

“Welcome,” Madame Keller says, and it instantly grows quiet in the room. “We have twelve new attendees. It’s the most we’ve ever hosted. There’s only one rule; no killing. You’re allowed to conduct business as always. If a fight breaks out, we will not intervene… unless there’s a death.”

So basically, we can beat each other to a pulp. It’s not a comforting thought.

I feel eyes on me, and then my gaze connects with Vince’s. Lifting his hand to his neck, he drags a finger over the width, indicating he’s planning on killing me.

I’ll have to watch my back. Getting hurt, means I won’t be able to train, and I can’t have that.

I glance over the other attendees. Most aren’t here to learn their trade but to hide behind the secure walls of St. Monarch’s. To them, this place is nothing more than a resort. Others are here to build alliances, and the rest are probably here for the same reason as me – to learn what I can and show I’m a threat.

“The only weapons on the premises are held in the armory. If a weapon is found on you, the penalty will be severe.” Madame Keller’s gaze sweeps over all the tables. “St. Monarch’s Academy is not responsible for what happens outside our gates. We hope you will find your stay with us a pleasant one.”

As soon as Madame Keller takes a seat at the head table upfront, servers flood into the hall.

I look over the instructors. I’m only interested in Miss Dervishi, who’ll be training us in weapons, and Mr. Yeoh, who’s the martial arts Grandmaster. I’ll be spending four hours a day in each class.

Platters of seafood, various meats, and vegetables are placed down in the middle of the table. 

A waiter begins to take our drink orders, and when she turns her attention to me, I say, “Cranberry juice. No ice.”

“Vodka,” Damien murmurs. “Stoli.”

It’s only when he orders the Russian drink that I hear his accent slip through, and it makes a tingle spiral down my spine.

Turning my head toward Damien, our eyes connect, and for the longest moment, we just stare at each other.

Attraction skirts around the edges of the fear he instills in me, but nothing in this world will make me act on it. I keep staring at him because one, I won’t back down, and two, I like admiring masterpieces.





“Wondering if you can take me on?” I ask, keeping my voice low, so the others seated at the table won’t hear.

“No. Just admiring the view,” she throws my words from earlier back at me.

The corner of my mouth lifts in a smirk, and it has her eyes lowering to my lips while interest darkens her eyes.

Lust. It’s the only other emotion that’s as strong as hate.

“Enemies can admire each other,” she whispers.

“True,” I agree. Tilting my head, I ask, “What have I done to become your enemy?”

She lets out a burst of silent laughter, and it makes her cleavage swell for a tantalizing moment. “It’s simple. If you’re not for my family, you’re against us.”

“No neutral ground?”

“Never.” With the word drifting over her lips, she turns her attention to the table where the families who deal in arms are seated.

Winter is preparing for war, and I wonder how her father and brother fit into everything. Why did they task her with the defense of the family?

Winter was right when she told Carson she’s no ordinary princess. She’s the furthest thing from one. A warrior.

To get the dinner over with, I plate a couple of slices of beef and some vegetables for myself. Only then do the rest of the table begin to help themselves to food, and it makes my eyes narrow as I glance at each of my companions.

It used to be just Hugo, Paulie, and myself.

My gaze settles on Megan-Joe Fang, also known as MJ. Her father is a retired custodian, so she might be a match for Hugo and Paulie.

As I take the last bite of my meal, I turn my eyes back to Winter. She’s shown me she can fight Paulie, but I’m not so sure whether she’ll be able to stand her ground against Hugo.

Winter should be sitting with the Smugglers. She’s too tiny, too fragile-looking to train with us.

Feeling rattled by the worry slithering through my veins, I down my drink and get up from the chair. Walking away from the table, I feel eyes burning on my back. Those of my enemies, my competition, and then the sensation changes as Winter’s eyes settle on me.

Right now, there might be a physical attraction between us, but I’m sure it will die a sudden death when we’re forced to fight tomorrow.



Even though training only starts at eight, I’m in the studio to warm up by six every day.

Wearing my usual rashguard shirt and MMA shorts, I strap on the shin guards, hand wrap, and gloves. When I’m ready, I head over to the reflex bag and begin with slow punches, increasing my pace every couple of minutes.

I’ve just started working up a sweat when I feel the air shift. Glancing over my shoulder, a frown settles on my face when I see Winter walking into the sparring studio. She’s tied her hair back in a ponytail, and it makes her look even younger. Then my eyes lower to her body. In the tight black pants and shirt, every curve is on full display.

Once again, I shove the attraction aside, and before continuing to punch the bag, I grumble, “You should join the Smugglers.”

“Morning to you too,” she mutters.

I’m not one to care about others or to issue warnings, but still, I find myself huffing, “You’re going to get hurt.”

“Aww, I didn’t know you cared,” she sasses me.

Shooting her a glare, I see she’s busy putting on her gear.

“I don’t.” The words are clipped. If she doesn’t heed the warning, she’ll just have to roll with the punches. Literally.

I continue with my exercises, doing my best to ignore Winter, where she’s jumping rope on the other side of the room.

When the other trainees and Grandmaster Yeoh enter the studio, I stop punching and walk to where I left my bag. I retrieve a water bottle and down half of it before using a towel to wipe the sweat from my face and neck.

“Morning,” Grandmaster Yeoh says as he bows slightly.

We return his greeting, then wait for his instructions.

Grandmaster Yeoh’s eyes dart between Winter and MJ, then he says, “Let’s see what experience the newcomers have. Miss Fang versus…” His eyes jump over us, then he mutters, “Mr. Lamas.”

The rest of us move to the back of the studio, and Winter ends up standing between Paulie and me.

“Nothing like an ass-whooping first thing in the morning,” Paulie chuckles as MJ and Hugo start to circle each other.

Hugo blows MJ a kiss which makes her attack. She manages to give Hugo an uppercut and a punch to the side of his head before his right fist connects with her left side. It sends her flying to the side and her body sliding over the floor.


I glance down at Winter’s face, but instead of seeing fear, she’s focused on the fight.

MJ climbs back to her feet, shaking her head. It has Hugo attacking, and my muscles clench when he goes airborne, his body twisting before he delivers a kick to the left side of MJ’s head. This time she flies, and when she drops to the floor, she stays down, out cold from the blow.

I expected MJ to be better. Guess I was wrong.

Grandmaster Yeoh slowly shakes his head, then mutters, “Move her to the side so we can continue with the training.”

Hugo grabs hold of MJ’s arm and drags her to the other side of the room.

“Next,” Grandmaster Yeoh snaps. My heartbeat kicks up, hoping Winter will be paired with Paulie. “Miss Hemsley versus…” Grandmaster Yeoh’s eyes flick between Paulie and me, and after a couple of seconds, he settles on me. “Mr. Vetrov.”



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