Ruthless Saints: Chapter 1


The meeting.


Carson; 25. Hailey; 22.

Walking down the narrow street, people unconsciously step out of my way. It’s as if their sixth sense tells them to move; danger’s approaching.

Death follows men like me. We do the dirty work, the hunting, the torturing, the killing, while the reaper just claims the soul.

I was born into this life, so it’s second nature to me. What’s hard is fitting in with the rest of humanity. Acting like I’m one of them. Mundane. Helpless. Harmless.

There’s nothing safe about me, though. Just like my older brother, Alexei, and my late father, I’m an assassin by trade. It’s what the Koslov’s do best – kill. I’ve been trained by the best, able to end a life in a couple of seconds.

I’ve made Saint Luc my home because it’s a small village in the Swiss Alps. Quiet and peaceful. My place is further up in the mountains but not completely cut off from civilization.

 Secluded enough to see an enemy coming and to not have to interact with any neighbors.

Walking into one of the local bars, I take a seat at the end of the bar. It gives me a perfect view of the entire room. I spare the other patrons a glance then take out my phone to look over my latest contract.

“Hi,” I hear a feminine voice, and my head snaps up. A girl I haven’t seen here before smiles at me from the other side of the counter. For a moment, I can only stare.

I guess her to be in her early twenties, with light brown hair, gray eyes, and breathtakingly stunning features. I’ve seen some beautiful women in my life, but there’s something about this girl that actually grabs my attention.

Discreetly, I turn my phone over so she won’t see the screen.

She tilts her head, and her smile grows, and the brightness of it chases away the darkness skirting around me.

“What would you like to order?” she asks as a dimple peeks from her right cheek, making her look like the definition of cheerfulness.

A slight frown forms on my forehead. “You’re new here.”

She nods. “Started yesterday.” She looks happy about the fact and even does a little wiggle, which I have to admit is cute.

“Vodka… Stoli… Please.”

“Coming right up.” She begins to turn, then pauses, “Oh shoot, I almost forgot. I’m Hailey.”

I nod then watch as she gets to work.


The tracker in me starts to wonder where she’s from, what she’s doing here, and how long she’ll be staying.

Her accent’s American. Probably backpacking through Europe.

I tear my eyes away from her, and turning my attention back to my phone, I clear my mind and focus on my upcoming job. I’ve been contracted by the Terrero Cartel to take out Allessandro Ramos. He tried to move in on Terrero’s turf, which was a stupid mistake.

 After the job, I plan on visiting my brother, who’s situated in Los Angeles.

I hear bubbling laughter, and lifting my gaze to Hailey, I watch as she smiles at a regular on the other side of the bar. Then she says, “I’ve always wanted to see Switzerland. I plan on spending a couple of months in every town.”

So, she is traveling like I thought.

My eyes drift down her body. She’s taller than most women, and with curves in all the right places, Hailey could easily pass for a supermodel.

“Your parents okay with it?” The regular asks.

Hailey nods. “They’re super supportive. I’m lucky to have wonderful parents.”

“Where you from?” he asks with broken English.

Christ, people are nosy as fuck.

“Bollingbrook. It’s in Illinois.” The regular shakes his head, so Hailey adds, “Chicago.”

I lower my gaze again, my attention returning to the job. I hate Columbia. It’s fucking hot and overcrowded there. With Ramos living in Medellín, I’ll have to scope the area and check his routine before I decide on how I’ll take the hit. It’s worth the five million dollars I’ll be paid.

I feel movement and glance at Hailey as she walks toward me with the drink. She gives me another blinding smile as she sets the tumbler down on a napkin. “Will there be anything else?”

I shake my head, and instead of her getting back to work, she says, “Lars says you come here often.”

I hate giving any information about myself. One slip up, and it can cost my life.

After careful consideration, I answer, “Yes.”

Hailey’s eyebrows lift. “Do you live here?”

Being a Russian in a small Swiss village, I don’t exactly blend in, and that’s obviously caught her attention.

Again, I keep the reply short. “Yes.”

She begins to nod. “So, I’ll see you again?”

I just nod.

Sooo,” she stretches the word out this time, “you know my name, but I don’t know yours.”

Knowing I’ll probably run into her again, seeing as the town is small, I mutter, “Carson.”

“Enjoy your drink, Carson,” Hailey says, giving me a smile that makes the dimple appear before she walks away.

Picking up the tumbler, I tell myself to relax. Hailey was asking typical questions.

This is the human part of life I struggle with, simply interacting with someone. I’ve been so desensitized by my work it’s hard to feel emotion and have normal conversations. God only knows how my brother does it. Unlike me, Alexei doesn’t have any problems communicating with people.

My phone begins to ring, and taking it out of my pocket, the corner of my mouth lifts when I see Damien’s name flashing on the screen. He’s the closest thing I have to a friend. My circle is small, consisting only of my brother, Demitri, and Damien, so it’s always good to hear from one of them.

“It’s been a while,” I answer, my eyes gliding over the other patrons before they return to Hailey. Her movements as she pours drinks are hypnotizing and relaxing.

“I thought I’d check if you’re still alive,” he jokes.

Damien was supposed to be my custodian like his older brother is for Alexei, but that went to shit when Damien was auctioned off to protect Winter. In the end, it was for the best. He’s happy with Winter, and I prefer working alone.

“Still breathing,” I say before taking a sip of my drink.

“Where are you?” he asks.

“Switzerland.” Only my brother knows where my house is even though he’s never been here. It’s a safety precaution should shit go sideways for me.

Hailey laughs again, and I watch with weird fascination how her full lips curve up and her eyes sparkle.

Fucking beautiful doesn’t begin to describe her.

“Any new contracts?” Damien asks.

This is how our conversations always go. To the point.

“Yes. Afterward, I’ll check in on Alexei and Demitri.”

“Watch your back.” I can hear the worry, and it gives me a glimmer of emotion, but it quickly fades.

“I always do.”

We end the call, and I tuck the device back in my pocket, then I try to relax while enjoying the vodka.

Even though I’m surrounded by a peaceful village, I can’t fully relax. Every sudden sound makes my muscles tense. Every movement draws my eyes.

It’s the price you pay for being an assassin. At any point, I can become the hunted, so letting my guard down is not an option.





Five months ago, I gave up my dead-end job, packed my stuff, and left Bolingbrook to explore the world. I tried saving up so I could travel, but my living expenses kept eating away at my savings. I spoke to my parents about my problem, and they told me to work my way through Europe, and if I needed money, they’d send it to me.

Honestly, I have the best parents. My dad’s in construction, and my mom’s a first-grade teacher. I know they’re saving for their thirtieth anniversary to have a second honeymoon, so I don’t want to ask them for financial help. I want to do this on my own.

Leading a normal life was never for me. I get bored quickly and crave excitement and experiencing new things. I have a passion for different cultures. I want to explore every country and indulge in local cuisines. I plan to travel off the beaten path, wanting to find the little gems tourists always miss. Who knows, I might just become a nomad for life. It would be perfect.

Glancing over the tables and the bar area, I notice Carson’s done with his drink, and I head in his direction. Just like earlier, his eyes snap to me before I’m even halfway to him.

He caught my attention the moment he walked into the bar. He’s hot, and the mysterious vibe hanging around him only makes me more interested.

His tanned complexion and dark bristles on his jaw are in total contrast with his blond hair. It’s obviously dyed and not natural, but it makes him look badass.

There’s something else, though… something I can’t quite put my finger on.

I heard him speaking Russian when he took a call. At least, I think it was Russian. All in all, I get a vibe from him.

Maybe he’s an introvert?

Or maybe he’s just trouble?

I don’t like judging people by their first appearances.

“Hey,” I smile when I reach him. “Another one?”

His eyes lock on my face, and it’s freaking intense as if he’s trying to figure out what my darkest secrets are. I don’t have any, so it doesn’t bother me but instead makes me feel super aware of him as a man.

Wait, that’s a lie. I did deflate Tommy’s tires our senior year because he slapped my butt.

Slowly Carson nudges the tumbler closer to me, and then he nods. “Please.”

A man of few words, that’s for sure. Maybe he’s just not a people person?

Curious, I say, “I overheard you talking on the phone. Are you Russian?”

His eyes begin to narrow on me, and it makes a weird sensation skitter down my spine, but then he nods again.

“Cool. You’re the first one I’ve met,” I grin. I pick up the empty glass. “Be right back.” Walking away from him, I take a deep breath.

Holy moly, now I understand the meaning of the strong, silent type.

I grab a clean tumbler and fill it with the vodka of his choice. Then, picking up the drink and a napkin, I head back to Carson. Smiling is second nature to me, so my mouth easily curves up as I set it down in front of him.

He’s piqued my curiosity, and it makes me stall. “How do you like living in Saint Luc?”

Carson tilts his head, his eyes intensifying on me. The weird sensation running down my spine returns, then he answers, “It’s fine.”

“Another beer,” a patron calls from the other side of the bar. I widen my smile at Carson. “Enjoy your drink.”

Pouring the beer, I wonder what it is about Carson that’s piqued my interest. I love being single and for a guy to catch my attention is rare. Like super rare. I’ve dated here and there, but it’s never turned into a relationship.

Honestly, the longest relationship I’ve had was with Dean Winchester from Supernatural.

The thought draws a chuckle from me.

I need to binge-watch Supernatural again. 

When there’s a lull between orders, I lean my forearms on the counter and tap my fingers lightly on the worn wood. Slowly my eyes turn to where Carson’s sitting.

I take in his sharp features. His sure shoulders. The all-black outfit he’s wearing. The rings on his right hand. Then my eyes zero in on the tattoo peeking from under his jacket’s cuff. It looks like a small teardrop.


My gaze drifts over him again, and then our eyes connect, and it feels as if a bomb detonates between us. My insides flutter as his dark brown irises focus sharply on me.

Carson’s good-looking as hell, but that’s not what got my attention. It’s the intensity coming off him in waves. It’s unlike anything I’ve felt before.

Soon the bar starts to fill with more of the locals stopping by for a drink, and it keeps me busy. I alternate between helping behind the bar and serving the tables. Throughout my shift, I keep glancing at Carson. He doesn’t talk to anyone. Half the time, he seems deep in thought, but as soon as someone gets close to him, his eyes snap up.

I pour two beers, and placing them on a tray, I carry the drinks to a table where two guys are sitting.

As I set the first beer down on the table, the one guy says, “You like to party?”

Smiling, I serve the other beer. “As much as the next person.”

The guys look like they’re in their late twenties and harmless enough.

“Come with us to Sierre. Good clubs there,” the guy says, his accent thick.

Yeah, not in a million years.

My smile turns uncomfortable. “Maybe one day.”

Hopefully, they’ll forget, but I’ve learned some of these guys don’t understand the word no. I hope this isn’t the case.

“Tonight,” the guy demands. There’s nothing threatening about him, but still, I feel uneasy.

I shake my head. “I’m tired. Thanks, though.”

I walk back to the bar and let out a sigh. Glancing at Carson, my lips curve up. I have no idea what it is about him, but I’m not even going to lie anymore – I’m definitely attracted to him.

Okay, it’s more like a crush.

Girl sees guy. Girl likes guy. Girl keeps staring at guy.

Stop it, Hailey. You’re making it obvious.

I glance over all the patrons only to find the two guys leering at me. It makes a yucky feeling twist in my stomach.

I try to focus on my work, but I’m overly conscious of the two guys. When their glasses are empty, I take a deep breath and go to collect them.

“You’re sexy,” the stockier one of the two says.

It’s weird how some people can make a compliment sound like a threat or an insult.

“Refills?” I ask.

The other guy actually leans to the side and eyes my ass. “American girls like to party.”

Keeping my cool, I ask again, “Refills?”

“Yes, bring more,” the stocky one laughs.

I head back to the bar, and while I get clean glasses and fill them, the two guys laugh loudly.

As I set their beers on a tray, I glance at my watch and let out a sigh of relief when I see my shift will be over in sixteen minutes.

“Sexy American,” the stocky one says, and the lust in his eyes makes my guard go up.

I quickly place the glasses in front of them, and as I lift the tray, he grabs hold of my arm. “German men are good in bed.”


I pull my arm free. “I’m not interested. I have a boyfriend.”

Fourteen minutes and counting, then I can go back to the cabin I’m renting and soak in a nice hot bath.





Drunken laughter sounds up, and slowly I glance at the two men who are downing one beer after the other. I made a point of knowing who lives in Saint Luc, and having never seen them before, I figure they’re tourists.

Saint Luc only has a population of around four hundred people, so it’s easy to spot a new face.

Hailey walks in my direction. Her bright smile has lost its sparkle during the course of the night.

I miss it. It’s like the sun set too soon before I was done looking at it.

“Are you still okay with your drink?” she asks.

I tilt my head, and wanting to see her smile again, the corner of my mouth curves up. “Yes, I’m leaving after this one.”

I get my smile as she checks the time on her watch.

“Sexy American,” one of the drunken tourists shouts. “More beer and a lap dance.”

For a moment, her eyes drift shut, and her features tighten, then she forces a smile and calls to Lars, who’s working the other side of the bar, “Can you get their order, please?”

Lars nods, and then Hailey focuses her attention on me. “Sorry, should I bring your tab?”

I nod.

She walks away, and then my eyes go back to the two men who are being loud.

Being a predator by nature, I can spot one quickly. Though they look harmless, the amounts of beer they’ve consumed might make them more daring than usual.

They keep looking at Hailey, their eyes roving over her as if she’s a piece of meat.

It’s rare to come across someone like Hailey in my world. Her smile brightens the darkness. Her innocence and good nature are the total opposite of my blood-stained hands and ruthlessness.

Usually, I wouldn’t give a fuck about another human being, but I’d hate to see someone like her lose her sparkle.

Hailey comes back to me and sets the tab down on the counter.

Taking out my wallet, I remove some cash, then lifting my eyes to hers, I ask, “Do you live nearby?”

“I’m renting a place on Sentier Des Grants,” she answers.

It’s not too far. Five minutes at most. But it’s twelve am, and she’s a woman alone.

“Sexy American,” the drunkards call again, “come here.”

I place enough cash to include a tip for Hailey on the table, then rise to my feet.

“Thanks,” she smiles, and gathering the cash, she returns to work.

As I pass by the tourists’ table, I hear the one say in German, “I’m first. I’m not sticking my dick into a hole yours has been in.”

“Do you think she’ll be okay with a threesome?” the friend asks.

The stockier one chuckles, but it sounds more like a threat. “Doesn’t matter.”

I roll my shoulders and fist my hands so I don’t yank the fucker over the table and kill him right on the spot.

I might be a killer, but like my brother, I live by a code. We don’t hurt the innocent, especially not women, and hearing what they’re planning pushes all the wrong buttons with me.

Walking out of the establishment and into the cold night, I take a deep breath of the fresh air.

My quota for mingling with people has been filled for the week. Enough to set the town’s people at ease, so they see me as one of them, but not too much to stand out.

I glance around at the mostly dark streets.

Hailey probably won’t even make it around the corner with what those fuckers have planned.

The thought keeps me from going home.

Soon people begin to trickle out of the bar, and I move to the side. I lean back against the wall and cross my arms over my chest.

What are you doing, Carson?

Rowdy laughter from the doorway tells me the drunk tourists are leaving, and I glance at them.

“Let’s wait down there for her, then we follow her to her place,” the bigger one of the two says.

“She’s fucking hot,” his friend chuckles, rubbing his hands together with premature excitement as they walk down the street.

I push away from the wall and follow after them. They keep talking shit, being crass about what they want to do to Hailey.


“Have a good night, Lars. See you tomorrow,” I hear Hailey call behind me, and glancing over my shoulder, I watch as she steps out of the bar.

Turning my attention back to the Germans, it’s just in time to see them dart into a dark alley. Picking up my pace, I head in after them.

The bigger one startles when I suddenly appear in front of them. When I stop two steps from them, they begin to frown.

“What do you want?” the bigger one asks in German, his posture turning threatening.

I don’t even think about what I’m doing as my arm darts out, slamming my fist into his throat. His hands fly to his neck as he gags and staggers backward, shock widening his eyes.

My gaze connects with his friend’s, and his hands fly up. “I don’t want trouble. Sorry.”

My body’s tense, ready to react at any given second. I hear Hailey pass by the alley, and then I tilt my head at the two guys and smile.

Let’s do this.

The big guy storms me, and I steel myself for the impact. As his shoulder plows into my chest to take me down, I use him to lift my body and bring my right knee up into his jaw.

As he crumbles to the ground, I land on my feet. I watch him for a second to see if he’s getting back up, but he’s out cold.

Tsk. Weak sack of shit.

My eyes snap to his friend, who seems to be the one with the brains between them because he’s taking a couple of steps away from me.

“I-I don’t want to fight,” he stammers with fear.

“Get the fuck out of my town,” I say, my words coated with the promise of death.

The guy nods and begins to pull his friend down the alley. I watch them for a couple of seconds, then turn around and leave.

Hurrying up the street, Hailey’s figure soon becomes visible in the darkness ahead, and I slow my pace, so she won’t notice me.

With my upcoming job, I won’t be around for one to two weeks, depending on how quickly I get it done, but I’ll make sure those bastards leave so Hailey will be safe.

She glances up at the stars as she saunters down the road. “God, it’s beautiful here,” I hear her say.

So, fucking innocent. She still sees all the beauty in the world.

“It is,” I whisper so she won’t hear me while my eyes remain glued to her.

I follow her to a cabin and watch as she walks to the door. She unlocks it, and stepping inside, she turns on a light. The curtains aren’t drawn, and I can see her move to the kitchen.

Moments later, she heads up the stairs, and then the light in another room goes on.

Knowing she’s safely home, I spend another couple of seconds just staring at her before I begin to walk again.

The silence of the night swallows me, and my thoughts return to my job. That’s all the past three years of my life have consisted of. Contracts.

Tracking. Watching. Killing.

Tonight was the first time a little light shone into my life… all because of Hailey.


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