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Ruthless Saints: Chapter 18


With burning eyes, I stare at Hailey. Even bruised and broken, she’s still beautiful.

Alexei and I don’t speak, not wanting to disturb her because she’s finally fallen asleep.

I have no hope that Hailey will forgive me. I know she’s going to leave, and Alexei will keep his word. He’ll protect her, even from me.

Especially from me.

Carefully taking hold of her hand, I hold it between both of mine. Feeling how cold she is, I let go of her, and getting up, I grab the spare blanket from the foot of the bed and spread it over her.

I sit down again, and resting my elbows on the side of the bed, I just stare at her.

How am I going to let you go?

I can’t.

Christ, baby, I can’t.

Hours pass, and I’m unable to move, not wanting to miss any of the precious seconds I have with her.

Two months at the most. That’s how much time I have to convince Hailey to stay with me. Maybe I can make her see I’m still the same man she fell in love with.

I don’t have much hope, though.

Demitri comes into the room with food, and I shake my head at him. I can’t stomach anything.

When I turn my gaze back to Hailey, her eyelashes flutter. It takes a moment for her to fully wake up. Her eyes settle on my face, and there’s recognition. For a couple of seconds, there’s light, and then it dims as she begins to remember everything.

She doesn’t close her eyes or look away from me like she’s been doing. Instead, fear creeps into the gray, and gingerly swallowing, she hoarsely asks, “Why?”

I reach for her hair and brush my fingers over the strands. She flinches at my touch, but I don’t stop, wanting to remind her of what we had.

“Why did it happen?” I ask to make sure that’s what she wants to know.

Sluggishly she shakes her head. Her voice is raw from the waterboarding. “Why did you… do it? Why did… you lie?”

“Because I knew you’d be horrified once you found out who I really am,” I admit, knowing there’s no place for lies anymore.

“You… you kill people,” she sputters, and I see the disbelief and fear clouding her eyes. “I-I… saw it.”

“It’s who I am,” I reply. “It’s all I’ve ever been until you.”

She swallows hard, and it looks painful. I reach for the water next to the bed and hold the straw to her lips. She takes a sip, and her tongue darts out to gingerly wet her bruised lips.

Christ, it kills me to see her like this.

Resting my forearm above her head, I lean closer. “Your smile brightened my life. Everything we shared was real. None of that was a lie.”

Her eyes begin to shine. “I-I don’t even… know who you are.” The heartache tightening her features echoes through me.

There’s an urgency in my voice as I say, “I’m the same man you fell in love with.” When she begins to shake her head, I move to sit on the side of the bed and gently framing her face, I plead, “You know the real me, baby. You’re one of the few people who do.”

“You kill people for a living,” she cries, the sound raw and unforgiving. She turns her face away from me, and seeing Alexei, she says, “Tell him to leave.”

Alexei immediately rises to his feet. “Brother.”

Knowing he will use force, I pull back, and getting up, I step away from the bed. I don’t want to leave, but right now, I have no choice.

“Give her some space,” Alexei says.

“I love you, Hailey,” I murmur, wanting her to know my feelings for her haven’t changed. They never will.

Walking out of the room, I hear Alexei sit down again. “Are you hungry?” he asks her, and then the door shuts behind me, blocking out the sounds.

I sag down to the floor and cover my mouth with my hands.

What am I going to do?

Christ, what am I going to do?

She’s scared to death of me.

Panic bleeds through me, the emotion foreign. I have no control over what Hailey decides, not with Alexei standing behind her.

I understand why he’s protecting her, and I’m thankful for it. I fucked up, and he’s cleaning up the mess. Alexei knows I love Hailey, and that means he’ll watch over her for the rest of her life. I would do the same for the woman he loves.

I close my eyes as the heartache grows, engulfing my soul.


Would it have changed things if I had told her the truth, or would I have lost her sooner?

Is the pain she’s suffering through worth the time I got to spend with her?

I cross my arms over my knees and lower my head feeling ashamed when I don’t have an answer. I’d do anything to stop her from getting hurt, but giving up the love we shared? I can’t.

After a couple of minutes, I climb to my feet. I open the door, and Alexei’s eyes instantly dart to mine. Slowly, he shakes his head.

“Just letting you know I’m going to Saint Luc to pack a bag for Hailey and myself.”

“Take Demitri with you,” he says. “We need to make sure everything’s taken care of before you can move freely.”

I nod, and my eyes go to Hailey. Her face is turned away from me. “Is there anything you want me to bring, Hailey?”

“Check if Lars made it. They shot him,” she says without looking at me.


“I’ll see what I can find out,” I reply, and pulling the door shut, I go look for Demitri. I don’t have to go far, finding him around the corner where he’s leaning against the wall.

“Alexei says you have to come with me. I need to go to Saint Luc to get clothes for Hailey and myself.”

Demitri nods, knowing Alexei will be safe at St. Monarch’s.





Wanting to know where I am, I ask, “What is this place?”

“Neutral ground,” Alexei answers. “The phone number Carson programmed into your phone is for here. No killing is permitted on the grounds.”

I almost let out a bark of incredulous laughter. “Is it a safe house?” I feel stupid for asking the question like I’m in some movie.

“Of sorts.” Alexei lifts his legs and rests his feet on the side of the bed. He looks relaxed as he tilts his head at me. “Do you really want to know? Information isn’t always a good thing.”

“Tell me everything.” I need to know.

“St. Monarch’s offers every service we might need. Training. Safety. Auctioning goods and services to the highest bidder. Medical care. Arranging contracts anonymously.”

“By ‘we,’ you mean?”

“Syndicates,” he answers.


Oh, God.

Fear shudders through me, knowing I’m surrounded by the worst of this world.

“I’m in a criminal nest?” I already know the answer, but still, I ask, “Are you an assassin as well?”

Alexei just stares at me for a moment, then he nods. “The best.” There’s no arrogance. It’s just a statement. “Which means you’ll be safe with me.”

I shake my head and flinch when the movement causes the pain to roar back. “I-I highly… doubt that.” Alexei gets up and walks around the bed to my IV. When he picks up an injection, I quickly say, “I don’t want more drugs.”

His eyes snap to me. “The pain will only get worse.”

“I can handle it.” For all I know, they’ll make me addicted to the stuff, so I don’t try to fight back once I’m better.

Alexei shakes his head. “Just until you’re stronger. Right now, it would do more damage if you tense up with every movement.”

“Don’t,” I plead, but he still injects the fluid into the IV then comes to sit down again.

I feel the drug move through my bloodstream, and it silences the aches one after the other, and then it hits hard, making me feel sluggish.

“Does he even really love me?” I ask drowsily.

“More than he’s ever loved anything. You’re the first woman he’s had a relationship with.”

My chin begins to tremble as my eyes grow heavy. “I really… loved him.” My quiet recluse.

Alexei reaches for my hair and begins to brush his palm over the strands, and it makes fear tremble through me. When a tear sneaks from my eye, he brushes it away.

“This shouldn’t have happened. I wish there was a way you could be together, but you’re from different worlds.” Alexei wipes another tear away. “It’s your turn to lie, little one. You have to tell him you don’t love him.”

A sob drifts over my lips, and it sounds lost.

With his other hand, Alexei takes hold of mine and gives it a squeeze. “When you’re better, I’ll arrange everything in Croatia for you so you can continue your travels.”

“Will you really let me go?” I ask, even though I don’t believe a word any of them say. I’d be stupid to.

“Yes. We might be killers, but we don’t hurt women.”

The words don’t set me at ease, and I fall into a restless sleep.



When I wake up, the lights are dimmed in the room. I don’t know for how long I’ve been asleep. I’ve lost track of time since this nightmare started.

Alexei’s sitting with his eyes closed, and I’m not sure if he’s awake. Turning my head to my right, my gaze connects with Carson’s. My heartbeat instantly speeds up, not from being happy to see him but because I’m terrified of him.

God, what did I get myself into?

I try to take a deep breath, testing the pain in my chest, and when the sharp ache stops my lungs from expanding any further, I slowly let the air out.

I have to start moving. I have to get out of here. I need to get to a phone, so I can call my parents.

“Lars is in the hospital. He’ll be okay,” Carson suddenly says, and it makes me feel better knowing Lars wasn’t killed.

The police! They’ll look for me.

“I left my bag at the bar. It has my passport in it. My parents know about you. If I disappear, they’ll look for me,” I say, the desperation shimmering through in my words.

Suddenly Alexei mutters as if he’s bored, “No one’s looking for you. We’ve taken care of the police, and your bag is here. You’ll get your things when you leave.”

I close my eyes as my hope goes up in smoke.

My parents won’t start to worry until two weeks have passed. I could be dead by then.

Carson sits down on the side of the bed, and it makes my eyes fly open. He leans over me, worry etched into his features. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

I turn my face away and fight the fear down, not wanting him to see it.

Carson frames my face and nudges me back until our eyes meet. “I don’t want to lose you, but I won’t keep you against your will.”

“I don’t believe a word any of you say,” I spit the words out. I yank my face out of his hold. “Don’t touch me.”

“Carson, back off,” Alexei warns him.

Carson lifts his hands in a surrendering motion as he gets up. 

I test my right arm, and when the pain is bearable, I slowly push myself up into a sitting position. The stabbing ache in my chest makes it impossible to breathe for a moment.

You need to get out of here.

Gingerly, I swing my legs from the bed, and holding onto the IV stand, I get up.

God, it hurts like hell.

You can do this, Hailey.

“You need to rest,” Carson says.

“Don’t touch her,” Alexei barks when Carson moves toward me.

At a snail’s pace, I inch my way around the bed, using the stand for support. When I’m halfway to the door, Alexei gets up and comes to open it for me. He holds his hand out to me. “Need some help?”

I shake my head, slowly inching my way out of the room, and it has Alexei asking, “Where to?”

“Away from here,” I grind the words out through clenched teeth. Pure determination drives me to take step after step, my legs trembling and my chest on fire. I can feel Carson right behind me.

I only make it down the hallway when my legs lose all feeling.

Carson catches me from behind. “I’ve got you.” Without any effort, he lifts me to his chest and begins to carry me back to the room, with Alexei bringing the IV stand.

Carson’s voice is strained with emotion as he says, “You’re free to leave when you can walk to the main gates. I won’t stop you. I just need to be sure you’ll be okay once you leave here.”

My eyes lift to his face. The face I love.

No, Hailey. He’s bad.

You have to practice every day but come hell or high water, you’ll make it to those main gates.


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