Merciless Saints: Chapter 8

WINTER

I get glimpses of Damien’s face with every flash of light. He looks like a demon ready to rip my soul from my body.

A hot demon. I wouldn’t mind if he defiled my soul right here.

His hard body presses against mine, keeping me pinned to the wall. I feel his fingers move as he flexes them around my neck.

One of the guys bumps into Damien again, and this time I feel his breath burst over my face.

The music. The lights. The adrenaline and smoke in the air. It all screws with my mind as I stare at Damien, our faces only an inch apart.

It feels as if the minutes crawl by while the fighting around us slows down to a distant blur. Damien’s aftershave engulfs me, the scent mouth-wateringly good. I become highly aware of every solid inch of him, and it makes desire burst through me, more intense than anything I’ve felt before.

He lowers his hand from my neck, and I feel his fingers brush over my collar bone before they skim the side of my breast and down my side. He leans in, and just as his lips caress my jaw, he grabs hold of my gun and yanks it out of my hand.

For the first time in my life, I couldn’t care less about losing. Not with Damien so close to me. My skin tingles for his touch, and I begin to turn my head, ready to offer my lips to him.

It’s only for a split second, and then he takes a step back, severing the contact between us. Air bursts from my lungs as I realize what happened and what I almost did.

I knew Damien was dangerous, but damn, he practically had me hypnotized with lust.

Stupid, Winter!

Angry at myself, I sidestep Hugo and Adrian, who are still fighting, and rush down the stairs. When I finally step out of the building, I strip the vest from my torso and toss it aside.

Shit. I have some serious damage control to do. I can’t have Damien thinking I’m attracted to him even if it’s the truth.

Needing to regain control over my emotions, I head back to my personal quarters. I avoid phoning Cillian and draw myself a bath so I can relax and get my focus back on the training before going downstairs for dinner.

I strip out of my clothes, my thoughts consumed by what happened with Damien.

Damn, it was so close. How could I lose control like that?

If we were out in the real world, it would’ve been the perfect opportunity for him to kill me.

I step into the tub and sink down in the balmy water. Leaning my head back, I close my eyes, and then the disastrous scene begins to replay in my mind.

I clench my teeth as I remember his strong fingers wrapped around my throat. His touch burned through my skin, setting me ablaze as if a wildfire was pouring through my veins. He was so close. Too close. I felt every rippling muscle beneath his clothes.

My body flushes with heat, and it has nothing to do with the warm water I’m lying in. I could feel his hardness pressing against my abdomen. A tremble ripples through me, and I clench my thighs together, rubbing them slightly for friction.

God, I’ve never been so turned on in my life, and it scares me to death.

I let out a miserable sigh when my phone begins to ring, popping the lust-filled bubble I’m in.

“So much for getting my feelings under control,” I mutter to myself as I climb out of the water. I wrap a towel around my body and walk to where my phone is lying on the bedside table. Seeing Cillian’s name flashing on the screen draws another sight from me.

I answer the call, grumbling, “I was in the bath.”

Cillian ignores my comment and asks, “How was training?”

“I got myself and my assassin killed in a game of laser tag. Today sucks. I just want to eat and sleep.”

“Why did you get yourself killed?”

Because I was turned on by Damien Vetrov, and I wanted him to take me right there against the wall.

“A fight broke out, and it distracted me,” I lie, but then I add, “I did shoot Carson, though.”

“Good.”

“I’m heading down for dinner, and then I’m calling it a night.”

“Get some rest, poppet. I’ll talk to you tomorrow,” Cillian says before ending the call.

I drop the phone back on the bedside table then walk to my closet. Not caring about my appearance, I get dressed in a pair of gray sweatpants and a white t-shirt. I slip on my sneakers and pull a brush through my hair before I leave my room.

When I enter the dining room, Adrian rises to his feet from where he was seated at a table and begins to clap his hands. He’s covered in bruises, and when he grins, it draws my attention to his busted lip.

“Winter Hemsley, the one who shot Carson Koslov. Badass,” he calls out for all to hear, and it makes everyone turn their focus on me.

My face instantly flushes with heat from all the unwanted attention, and it has me snapping, “Stop. It’s not like we won. You still got yourself shot.”

“Have dinner with me,” he says as he takes a seat again.

When I hesitate, he tilts his head and grins. “Come on. It’s the least you can do after I got into a fight with Hugo to protect you.”

I let out a disgruntled noise through my nose, but I sit down anyway. At least Adrian is safe, seeing as I’m not attracted to him.

“This doesn’t mean we’re friends,” I mutter so he won’t get any ideas. After all, he is an assassin in training.

Adrian’s black eyes sparkle with mischief as he stares at me, then he murmurs, “Why be friends if there are so many other things we can be.”

“Don’t make me lose my appetite,” I say as I signal a waiter closer. “I was hoping to enjoy my meal.”

While I place my order, opting for a steak and baked potato with a side of vegetables, I can feel everyone’s eyes still on me. I shift in my chair, and when I glance to my right, my gaze collides with Damien’s. His eyes are narrowed on me, a slight frown marring his forehead.

Just having his gaze on me is enough to make my heartbeat speed up, and I quickly turn my attention back to Adrian, not wanting Damien to see how he affects me.

“I must say, you’re a nice change in the boring routine,” Adrian murmurs, dropping his voice low. When I just stare at him, he continues, “It’s been a long two years. Hopefully, I’ll be done with this place soon.”

“Who will you bid on?” I ask, even though I know he won’t tell me. It would be stupid of him.

He shakes his head and then surprises me by saying, “No one. I prefer to work alone. I’m sticking around for my own contract and to see who’s pairing up.”

I nod, and the conversation stops as a waiter brings my cranberry juice. I take a sip and set the glass down to the side, so I don’t accidentally knock it over.

Feeling eyes on me again, I glance at Damien, and instantly his intense gaze clashes with mine. It sends a lightning streak through my body.

“What’s the deal with you and Vetrov?” Adrian asks, drawing my attention back to him.

I shrug and lean back in my chair, trying to look relaxed. “Nothing. He finds me annoying, and I think he’s arrogant.”

Adrian lets out a chuckle as if he doesn’t believe me. “Damien doesn’t waste his time with anyone unless there’s something to gain. I saw the two of you snuggling up while I was kicking Hugo’s ass.”

My eyes narrow on Adrian as I reach for my glass, taking a slow sip of my juice. Once I set it down again, I mutter, “He was disarming me. That’s all it was.”

Another chuckle bursts over Adrian’s lips. “If you say so.”

We stare at each other, and then his eyes drop to the scar on my neck. “Why are you training as a custodian?”

“Why not?” I counter his question.

His lips curve up. “I love a woman with secrets.” Just as I’m about to get uncomfortable, Adrian snaps his fingers in the air. “We should get a drink and toast the fact that you shot Koslov.” He orders two glasses of champagne, then reverts to looking at me. “No one’s been able to do that before.”

“Lucky me,” I mumble. I’m proud of myself, but I’m not about to be arrogant about it.

A server brings the champagne, and Adrian takes a glass. He waits for me to pick mine up, and then he lifts his glass to mine. “Here’s to you getting past Vetrov’s defenses.”

It sounds like his words carry a double meaning, and not ready to think about what it might mean, I down half my champagne.

 


 

DAMIEN

 

Watching Adrian and Winter toast their so-called win, my jaw clenches.

“You keep looking at her,” Carson calls me out. “Has she gotten under your skin, and that’s why I got shot?”

My eyes snap to his. “The game was over.”

Carson glances at Winter. “Is it really over?”

A frown forms on my forehead, and not wanting Carson to doubt me, I mutter, “My loyalty lies with you.”

He pours us each a shot of vodka, and after we’ve downed it, he says, “You should fuck her and get her out of your system.”

Before today, I would’ve been able to tell Carson to go to hell, but after seeing the desire in Winter’s eyes…

I shake my head at Carson, and needing to change the subject, I ask, “Have you heard anything about the auction?”

“Nothing.” He rubs a hand over his day-old stubble. “Everyone’s growing impatient.”

I nod as my eyes find Winter again, and I watch as she takes a bite of her steak.

At first, the fear in her eyes was a turn-on. But after seeing the lust burning in her gaze, it triggered something else in me. Something primal. For the first time in my life, I want to claim a woman. Not for one night. Not for a quick release. I want to own her in every way and bend her to my will. I want to make the Blood Princess kneel before me.  

“That’s better,” Carson says, ripping my attention away from Winter. “Now it looks like you want to kill her.”

I suck in a breath of air and pour myself another drink, feeling jarred by the strong desire I feel toward Winter.

This is not good. I need to put an end to it. Maybe I should fuck her and get it over with, so my focus can be on keeping Carson alive.

Movement catches my eye, and I watch as Vince Blanco gets up from his table. When Hugo also gets up, and they leave the dining room together, a frown forms on my face. “See what I see?”

“Yeah. Blanco will probably bid on Lamas,” Carson gives voice to my thoughts.

“They’ll get each other killed. They’re both hotheaded,” I mutter.

I enjoy another two drinks with Carson, and when I get up, I notice Winter leaving the room. Glancing back at the table she shared with Adrian, I see she hasn’t finished her meal, and I wonder if Adrian pissed her off.

Probably. He pisses me off just by breathing.

“See you tomorrow,” I murmur to Carson, and then I leave.

Before I reach the doors, Lucian Cotroni calls out, “Vetrov, a moment.” I stop by his table and raise an eyebrow at him, which has him asking, “Is Carson open for business?”

Lucian Cotroni will take over from his father, who’s the head of the Mafia. You don’t ignore them when they speak. I shrug, “You’ll have to ask him yourself.”

Lucian holds my gaze as he nods. “I’ll do just that.”

Nodding at him, I head toward the door, ready to call it a night. I take the stairs up and walk to my door. As I push it open, a muffled cry grabs my attention. Frowning, I slowly walk down the hallway. I’m just about to pass by Winter’s room when something slams against her door.

Fuck.

For a moment, I hesitate, but then I grab hold of the doorknob and shove the door open. I’m met with Hugo pinning Winter’s arms down on the floor while Vince straddles her.

Anger floods me at the sight, and it has me growling, “Am I late for the party?” 

Both men look in my direction, and then Hugo lets go of Winter. Rising to his feet, he says, “This doesn’t concern you, Vetrov. Fuck off.”

Stepping into the room, I shut the door behind me. “Two men against one woman? I think I’ll stay and even the odds.”

My family lives by a code. We don’t kill for pleasure. We don’t rape. We don’t prey on the weak. Anything else is fair game.

“Suit yourself,” Hugo growls, and then he storms me. I move to my left and deliver a kick right into his gut. It sends him staggering backward, and it has Vince climbing to his feet. Hugo regains his balance and storms me again. This time I take the impact of his body. Using his shoulders to brace myself, I bring my knee repeatedly up, delivering blow after blow to his chin and nose until he drops backward.

My eyes snap to Vince. It looks like he’s about to piss himself. Like I said, he’s no fighter.

“You’re choosing the wrong side of this war,” Vince snarls at me.

I just stare at him until he steps over Hugo, trying to get to the door.

Winter struggles to sit up, and she looks out of it.

“What did you do to her?” I growl.

Vince gives Winter a deadly glare. “I just had her drugged. Unfortunately, I can’t kill her. Yet.”

Before I can reign in my temper, my arm shoots out, and I deliver a crushing blow to Vince’s nose. Blood spurts from him like a fountain as he staggers back.

Shock registers on his face, and then he growls, “You’re a dead man walking, Vetrov.” Like the coward he is, he runs from the room, leaving Hugo behind.

I walk to Winter, where she’s still trying to sit up while wiping blood from her lip.

Crouching by her, I say, “Next time, lock your door.”

“I can’t feel… anything,” she mumbles.

I take hold of her chin and lift her face to mine. The first thing I notice is the glassy look in her eyes. Whatever drug Blanco gave her must be taking effect.

She begins to tip sideways, and I catch her by her shoulders. “You okay?”

Winter shakes her head, then mumbles, “Dizzy and numb… weird.”

“Blyad’,” I mutter. I can’t just leave her alone tonight. She’ll be vulnerable to attacks. God only knows what Vince and Hugo were planning on doing to her.

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