Ruthless Saints: Chapter 2

CARSON

The sweat trickling down the back of my neck irritates the fuck out of me, but I don’t move a muscle where I’m crouched on top of a roof.

A drop trickles down my temple as I watch Ramos’ club through the scope of my rifle.

I’m going with a long-distance shot. Quick and clean. If it was Terrero, I’d make the exception for an up-close and personal death. The bitch is a flesh peddler where Ramos only deals in drugs.

Even though I’m an assassin, I don’t take any joy in the kills. It’s purely for the money.

Ramos should’ve been on the move already, and I start to wonder if he’s going to show at all.

The past week he’s always left the club between ten pm and twelve am. Changing it up by a couple of minutes.

Patience, Carson. Get this done so you can get out of here.

My thoughts turn to Hailey, not able to forget her smile. People don’t feel comfortable around me, yet she smiled at me as if we were friends.

As if she saw a man and not a monster.

I can’t remember when last someone looked at me like that… if ever.

Movement grabs my attention, and I focus on the side door opening. Because of the distance, I have to get it right, or the shot will be a miss.

Two of Ramos’ men step out and glance around before they gesture for him to come. Within a second, I take in the breeze, the distance – all of it into consideration, and then I pull the trigger.

One.

Two.

Ramos steps into the doorway.

Three.

Four.

His head snaps back, and I watch him drop. Moving the gun from the ledge of the building I was using, I quickly take it apart and place it back in my backpack. I pick up the discharged shell and shove it inside as well, not leaving any trace that I was here. I shrug the bag onto my back and dart to my feet. Breaking out into a full-out sprint across the roof, I head in the direction of my car. Nearing the edge of the roof, I jump over the space between the two buildings. I land and roll to lessen the impact and then dart up again. I keep moving away from where I took the shot until I reach an apartment building.

 I take the fire escape stairs down, and once I’m on the ground, I calmly walk to where I parked the unmarked car.

I shrug off the bag and climb behind the steering wheel. Once I pull away, I dig out my phone and send the message.

Contract: Closed

I drive to the small airfield where my private jet is waiting, and as I bring the car to a stop in a hanger, a message comes through showing I’ve received the payment.

All in a week’s work.

Taking hold of my bag, I get out of the vehicle. I pull an envelope with the agreed amount out of the side pocket and hand it to Petro.

“Safe trip,” he says as he takes his payment for my private jet standing at his airfield and arranging the car for me. All over the world, there are people like Petro, which makes traveling easier for me.

I nod, and within minutes, I’m seated, and we’re taking off.

I message Alexei that I’ll land in seven hours and then check my emails. Not seeing anything worth my attention, I lean my head back and close my eyes.

It’s been two years since I’ve seen my brother. The realization sends a glimmer of emotion through my chest.

Emotions. I’ve lost touch with them, and it makes every day the same. Monotonous. When I’m home, my routine is set in stone. Workouts. Maintaining my collection of weapons. Watching my competitors. Visiting the bar once a week. The contracts.

My life is robotic. Detached and cold.

Hailey.

It’s been a week, but I clearly remember her smile.

I place my elbow on the armrest and rub a finger over my mouth as my thoughts begin to turn around her and that goddamn smile I can’t forget.

What would it be like to step into the light? Would everyone see the monster I am? Would it be worth the risk?

Is it something I really want? To experience the good side of life.

My phone vibrates with a message from Alexei.

Alexei: Fuck, I’m not in LA. Urgent job. Will call when the contract is closed.

Getting up, I walk to the cockpit. “Change direction to Switzerland.”

“Yes, Sir.” He checks something then says. “We should arrive at one pm.”

I head back to my seat and decide to sleep. Or at least to try to get some, seeing as insomnia comes with the job.

I manage to dose on and off until we land in Geneva. I grab my bag, and knowing my regular pilot will take care of the jet, I leave the cabin.

I walk to where my armored SUV is parked, and on the drive back to Saint Luc, I feel a glimmer of excitement.

Within a matter of hours, I’ll see Hailey’s smile again.

That’s if she hasn’t moved on to the next village.

She said she planned on spending a couple of months in every town, so she should still be in Saint Luc.

I hope.

The emotions shudder through me, and I tighten my grip on the steering wheel.

Emotions.

It’s been a long time since my heartbeat sped up. Was it with the auction when I lost Damien to Winter?

Damn, I can’t remember.

It’s roughly a two-and-a-half-hour drive before I park the SUV in front of my house that’s hidden between a pine tree forest and the mountainside. The wood used to build the house blends in with the surrounding nature. I wanted to leave the area as undisturbed as possible.

Walking on a wooden path that crosses over a stream, I head to the front door. I enter my code, and the door swings open. As soon as I step inside, it slides shut behind me. The lights flicker on as I move through the living room, and taking the stairs down to the armory, I remove my rifle from the backpack.

I clean the weapon then place it back in the case with my other rifles. I glance around the room, taking in my personal collection, then take the empty shell from the bag. Moving to the middle of the room where a box stands on a pillar, I flip it open and drop the shell with the others.

Sixty-eight contracts closed to date.

Leaving the armory, I let out a sigh. When I reach my bedroom, I begin to strip out of my clothes, my eyes locked on the scenic view of the Alps.

Silence surrounds me, and for the first time in my life, it grates against my nerves.

My eyes narrow as I walk to the ensuite bathroom, and opening the faucets, I step under the cold spray. Goosebumps spread out over my skin, but it’s soon eased away as the water warms.

I usually only go into the village on Fridays, and deviating from my routine is not something I do easily.

But…

I want to see if Hailey is still here.

You can watch from a distance. There’s no need to go into the bar.

The fact that Hailey’s constantly crowding my thoughts bothers me, but still, I find myself rushing through my shower routine so I can go check if she’s still in the village.

 


 

HAILEY

 

It’s so quiet out here.

I thought I wouldn’t like it, but I’ve fallen in love with the Alpine village. Miles and miles of beautiful nature surround the traditional wooden houses standing on pillars. There are flowers on every windowsill and balcony.

Life here just feels perfect. As if I’ve stepped into a fairytale world.

With it being a Tuesday, it’s my day off, and I’ve just spent the morning visiting Grimentz, which is a smaller village near Saint Luc.

Walking up the road to where my cabin is, a weird feeling skitters down my spine. A slight frown ripples over my forehead, but it’s soon forgotten as I open my front door. I just want to get some water and finish the sandwich I made this morning before getting to work on planting the flowers I got yesterday. The cabin’s a little neglected, and I want to brighten it up while I’m here.

After eating, I go to my room and change into a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. A smile plays around my lips as I head outside again. Kneeling by the flowerbox that’s situated under the windowsill, I take hold of the little spade and shovel the ground until it’s loose.

I mix the colors up as I plant the seedlings, and I pause for a moment when goosebumps spread over my skin. Glancing over my shoulder, I see one of the locals walking down the road.

While staying busy, my thoughts return to the last two weeks I’ve been in Saint Luc. The village is growing on me. I love the people who are all friendly, and working at the bar with Lars is nice.

There was only the one incident with the German tourists a week and a half ago, but luckily I haven’t seen them again. I figured they moved on to greener pastures.

I also haven’t seen Carson and keep wondering where he is and whether he’ll return.

Hopefully, I’ll get to see him soon. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about him, which has made my silly crush grow.

For all I know, he’s a boring slouch with zero ambition.

I let out a chuckle as I flatten the ground around the seedlings.

Yeah, I doubt Carson will be boring. Something tells me he might be too much for me to handle, and I should just stick to having a crush on him. Besides, it’s not like I intend on staying here forever, so dating anyone is a little pointless.

I climb back to my feet, and taking hold of the watering can, I fill it and gently pour the water over the seedlings.

With the chore done, I glance around the area. I don’t like sitting still for too long, and it has me going back inside so I can put on my sneakers. I grab a hat and plopping it on my head, I pull the front door shut and decide to follow the road up the mountain.

I’ve been trying to figure out which house is Carson’s, seeing as he said he lives in the village. So far, I’ve had zero luck.

I should forget about the stupid crush, but the excitement I feel whenever I think of him makes it hard.

Here and there, I stop to pick some wildflowers. The road grows a little steeper, and soon my calves begin to burn. Not knowing where the road leads to, I start thinking I should turn back.

“Let’s just see what’s around the bend, then I’ll head back,” I mutter breathlessly.

Another five hundred yards, I finally reach the bend, and then my lips part. Up ahead, a modern house sits nestled between the mountain and pine trees. It’s unlike any other home I’ve seen, and it looks like it’s been designed to blend in with the surrounding nature.

I walk closer, my eyes taking in the expansive windows and slatted wood. I hear water trickling and soon find the stream coming down from the mountain and disappearing somewhere along the front of the property.

I glance up at the first floor, and then my heartbeat instantly kicks into overdrive.

Carson.

So this is where he lives?

He’s standing with his hands in his pockets, again dressed in black, watching me from one of the wide windows.

Yeah, my memory didn’t do him any justice. I can feel the intensity of his eyes on me all the way from here.

Not wanting to come across as creepy, I lift my hand and wave.

Instead of returning my wave, Carson turns around and walks away from the windows.

Ouch.

Scrunching my nose, I glance over the beautiful house one last time, and then I turn around and start the walk back to my cabin.

I instantly freeze when I hear Carson call, “Hailey.”

I turn back and watch as Carson walks across a wooden path before stopping a safe distance from me. His eyes scan over our surrounding area, and then he glances at the flowers in my hand.

Feeling a sudden need to explain why I’m standing in front of his home, I say, “I’m just exploring the area. I didn’t know there was a house up here.”

He nods, slightly tilting his head as his gaze locks with mine.

“I haven’t seen you around the village,” I say just to make conversation, and before I can stop myself, my feet begin to move in his direction. Slowly, I inch closer until only a couple of steps separate us.

My eyes drift over his features. It’s the first time I get to see him in the daylight, and he’s even more handsome than I remember. The scruff on his jaw is trimmed neatly, just like the short blond strands of his hair. A chain hangs around his neck, holding a blank tag.

“How have you been?” I ask to break the silence.

“Okay,” Carson murmurs, his voice so low it makes my stomach flutter. He tucks his hands into his pockets. “People don’t normally come up here.”

Ouch… again.

“Sorry. I kinda just stumbled across your home.” My eyes dart toward the house. “It’s beautiful.”

Like you.

On impulse, I lift my hand, offering him the wildflowers I picked. “Peace offering for trespassing.”

Carson begins to frown, making his features sharpen until he looks downright predatory.

I swallow hard on the nerves spinning in my stomach. “Or not?”

His movements are unhurried as he reaches his right hand out, and then he takes the flowers from me. Our fingers brush, heating me up and sending an icy chill through my body all at once.

Uhm… Wow.

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