Merciless Saints: Chapter 7

WINTER

“How’s your first day going?” Cillian asks during a call.

“Okay,” I mutter as I take a clean training outfit from the closet. “I had three fights.”

“And?”

I lay the outfit out on my bed and walk to the bathroom. Opening the faucets so my bathwater can run, I continue, “I beat MJ Fang. The fight with Hugo Lamas was stopped, but I was winning. He’s strong but slow.”

Cillian chuckles, then asks, “And the third?”

“Vetrov chocked me out,” I mumble.

I hear a sigh come over the line. “What did you learn from the fight against him?”

“That he’s arrogant and won’t fight me.”

There’s a moment’s silence, then Cillian mutters, “Careful of Vetrov, poppet. I know I taught you to never back down, but the Vetrovs are the best.”

A frown forms on my forehead. “I won’t back down.”

“Because you’re stubborn,” Cillian chastises me. “It’s a weakness you need to work on.”

Letting out a sigh, I mumble, “I know.”

“When do you start with weapons training?”

I glance at the time. “Thirty minutes. I need to get ready, and I want to grab something to eat.”

“Call me later.”

“I will.”

After ending the call, I close the faucets and rush through my bath routine. I can soak my muscles tonight. Once I’m dressed in a clean pair of black pants and a t-shirt, I slip on my boots. Standing up from where I was sitting on the side of the bed, I feel more confident now that I’m wearing my combat uniform. I go back into the bathroom and take a butterfly band-aid from my first aid kit. I stick it over the split above my eyebrow, and then I dab some ointment onto the cut on my lip. Having taken care of my injuries which aren’t too bad, I tie my hair back in a ponytail and leave my room.

The hallway is empty as I make my way to the stairs, and I figure everyone is either busy with training or eating. I walk into the dining room and notice only three tables are occupied. Damien’s sitting at the one in the far corner. I choose one close to the door, which is on the opposite side of the room.

I take a seat with my back facing the wall, so I have a clear view of the other tables. When a waiter stops by my table, I order a gourmet beef sandwich and a salad, along with a berry smoothie and a bottle of water.

I settle back in my chair, and lifting my chin, my eyes find Damien’s. He’s done eating and just stares at me.

He might be better than me when it comes to hand-to-hand combat, but I hope I can give him a run for his money in weaponry.

Cillian taught me to be competitive. But when it comes to Damien, something else drives me to prove to him I can stand my ground.

I’m constantly aware of the attraction I feel toward him. His piercing eyes, chiseled jaw, muscled body… and damn, the way he keeps pushing all my buttons.

An arrogant Russian God.

Only, I have zero intention of bowing to him. Ever.

As if he can read my thoughts, the corner of his mouth lifts in a dangerously sexy smirk. Not that I care. I’m sure Damien’s well aware of the effect he has on women.

I watch as he rises to his feet, and then he slowly begins to stalk in my direction. When he’s close, I lift my chin, my eyes locking with his.

Instead of making a remark about how I’m not good enough, his eyes keep mine prisoner until they snap away from me as he leaves the room. The moment has my heartbeat speeding up and the spit drying in my mouth. Not out of fear but something else… something far more dangerous.

Damien’s the kind of man women kill for.

Shaking my head, I take a deep breath. My food arrives in time to keep me occupied, so I won’t get lost in my thoughts of Damien. Or so I hope.

I think it’s his intensity that has me rattled. I’m forced to notice him whenever we’re in the same room, unlike the other men who can’t even get a second glance from me.

As I’m finishing my meal, I hear hard footsteps, and then Carson walks into the room. His eyes skim over me before he walks to the table Damien was sitting at.

“Winter Hemsley,” a voice gets my attention. I glance at the speaker, and not recognizing him, I narrow my eyes. “Adrian Vincent,” he introduces himself as he takes a seat across from me.

His name registers, and I murmur, “Assassin.”

He gives me a cocky smile. “At your service.”

I let my gaze drift over him, taking in his black hair, his almost black eyes, and sharp features. Apprehension skitters down my spine.

Be careful of this one.

Setting my napkin down, I rise to my feet, and with one last glance at Adrian, I leave the room.

When I walk into the weapons room, I hear gunshots. Following the sound, I find the range, and for a couple of minutes, I watch Damien and Hugo firing shots at paper targets. They’re both good, their bullets never missing the head and heart.

I hear movement behind me, and glancing over my shoulder, I see Paulie and MJ walking into the room with Miss Dervishi. She walks to a wide wall and presses a button, which has the wall sliding back, displaying a comprehensive selection of weapons.

Slowly, I step closer, stopping behind MJ. Hearing footsteps behind me, I have to force myself to not glance back, knowing it’s Damien and Hugo. Instead, I move to the side, and crossing my arms over my chest, I take in a position that has no one standing behind me.

It’s one of the first lessons Cillian taught me. Always be on guard.

Miss Dervishi glances between MJ and me. “Do you know anything about weapons?”

“A little,” MJ answers, which surprises me. Her father is one of the best custodians, yet she seems grossly unprepared.

When Miss Dervishi’s eyes land on me, I gesture to the selection of weapons. “Heckler & Koch P30L, my personal favorite. Glock 19, second generation. Browning Hi-power Mark 3, Heckler & Koch MP5K submachine gun, but I prefer removing the forward handguard instead of keeping the extended barrel on. It’s easier to handle then. KA-BAR serrated Tanto –”

Before I can continue, Miss Dervishi nods. “At least one of you came prepared. Choose your weapon and line up by the shooting range so I can see if you know how to fire a weapon.”

Without hesitating, I pick the Heckler & Koch P30L and check the clip to make sure it’s loaded. An arm reaches past me to select the same weapon, and I know it’s Damien without having to look. Turning away from him, I head to the shooting range, and I take the last stall, so there’s no reason for someone to be behind me.

I put on ear protection, and widening my stance, I lift my arms and line the barrel up with my sight. Taking a deep breath, I slowly let it out, and then I pull the trigger. My bullet tears through the paper target’s head.

Once I’ve emptied the clip, Miss Dervishi comes toward me. “Who trained you?”

“Cillian Byrne. My personal guard.”

Her eyebrows lift, and she actually looks impressed. “You were trained by one of the best. Why are you here?”

To show my enemies, I’m someone they should fear.

“One can never be good enough,” I answer instead.

With a nod, she moves onto MJ, and I reload my clip.

 


 

DAMIEN

 

It’s been a week since classes started, and besides Winter impressing me on a daily basis, nothing has changed in my routine. There has also been no word of when the auction will take place.

When I walk into the weapons room, I’m surprised to find the assassins still here. Paulie is the last of the custodians to arrive, and then Miss. Dervishi says, “Today, you’ll be paired for a game of laser tag. The last assassin standing wins. It doesn’t matter if the custodian is taken out, as long as your assassin survives.” Her gaze drifts over us before she continues, “Riccardo Nero and Hugo Lamas. Jet Tao and Paul Connors. Adrian Vincent and Winter Hemsley. Carson Koslov and Damien Vetrov. Miss Fang will sit this one out. Get geared up. You have five minutes.”

This should be an easy win.

I walk to Carson and grin at him as we pull on our vests before grabbing our laser guns. Carson glances over the other assassins, then murmurs, “Let’s show them how it’s done.”

When Carson begins to walk toward the door which leads outside where the abandoned building is, I flank his left side, my steps matching each of his.

Stopping by the entrance of the building, we wait for the other teams, and then Miss Dervishi says, “The music and smoke are to sharpen your instincts. There’s no time limit. You don’t get to leave until the last team… or man is standing. You have sixty seconds before your guns are activated. Good Luck.”

Nodding, Carson disappears inside, and I follow right behind him while counting to sixty. We’re instantly engulfed in darkness, unable to see anything but shadows and smoke. An intense beat fills the air, making it next to impossible to hear any movements.

We move deeper into the building, and finding stairs, I follow Carson up to a higher level where it’s even darker, except for a random flash of blue light every couple of seconds.

“Three… two…” Carson counts down, and then he goes silent on one.

“Move deeper,” I instruct him. “We need to go up. Let them finish each other off.”

Carson nods, and turning my back to him, we stick close together. He leads me while I keep guard, making sure no one creeps up on us.

“Aww… fuck,” I hear Paulie curse from somewhere in the building. “Sorry, mate.”

“Idiot,” Jet shouts.

“Two down,” Carson mutters.

“Less for us.”

We head up another flight of stairs, and this time the flashes of lights alternate between blue and red. It’s a little disorientating, and I’m sure that’s the goal.

We reach a couple of crates, and I gesture for Carson to take cover behind them while I take out the threats. I crouch down next to the crates, which gives me a clear view of the stairs. This way, I can pick them off as they appear.

Minutes pass in which the music fills my ears, almost matching my heartbeat.

A shadow moving grabs my attention, and I focus my sight on the spot. From the build of the person, it looks like Hugo. Before I can aim, he steps back and keeps his body hidden out of sight so I can’t get a shot while he peeks around the corner.

The next minute he darts forward with Riccardo right behind him, and seconds later, all hell breaks loose as Winter and Adrian come up behind them.

Keeping my cool, I slowly rise to my feet and move to the left to get a clear shot at Riccardo.

Before I can take a shot, Riccardo’s vest vibrates and lights up. It looks like Winter took the shot.

“Fuck. Thanks for nothing, Lamas,” Riccardo snaps, and then he heads toward the stairs.

I duck down, but then Hugo drops his gun, and like an enraged bull, he storms Winter. He shoves his shoulder into her stomach and lifts her off the floor, slamming her into a wall.

Sore loser.

Keeping low, I move forward, knowing Hugo won’t stop unless one of us intervenes. Before I reach them, Adrian slams the butt of his gun against Hugo’s head, dislodging him from Winter. It gives me the perfect opportunity to shoot Adrian. I don’t hesitate, and a second later, his vest lights up.

It’s only then Adrian notices me. He shoves at Hugo and throws his arms wide open. “Asshole.”

Hugo tackles Adrian before he can say anything else, and they begin to fight. Reaching for Winter, I grab hold of her arm and yank her away from the brawling men.

The flashing lights give us glimpses of Hugo and Adrian throwing punches. I have no intention of breaking up the fight. They can kill each other for all I care.

Winter yanks away from me, and then I hear Carson curse, “Blyad’.” My eyes widen as I watch his vest light up.

I grab hold of Winter by the neck and shove her up against the wall. Our eyes lock as I growl right in her face, “What the fuck? The game’s over.”

Either Hugo or Adrian slams into my back, and it makes my body press hard against Winter’s. A tempting grin spreads over her face as she says, “It’s never over.”

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