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Ruthless Saints: Chapter 21


Two weeks have passed, and I’m still not getting through to Hailey.

She stays in the room and only comes out when it’s to go for a walk. She’s healing fast now.

Alexei and Demitri have been scouring the whole of Europe for anyone with ties to Rudaj.

Soon Hailey will be able to leave, and even though I want to keep her here, I know it will only end up destroying what we had in the beginning, and I need those memories more than ever. It’s starting to sink in that I’ve lost her, the hole in my chest growing with every day we get closer to her leaving.

I’m walking toward the armory when Hailey comes down the stairs. Her eyes land on me, and she stops. For a moment, she hesitates, then she asks, “What’s down there?”

“Come look.”

She’s not scared of me anymore, but that might change when she sees all the weapons. I’m done hiding things from her. If, one day, by some miracle, Hailey comes back to me, it will be knowing exactly who I am.

 Coming to a stop near me, she glances at me then at the stairs before she cautiously follows me down. As we step into the armory, I watch her face closely, and her eyes widen as they dart over my private collection.

“Holy. Shit,” she breathes. Lifting her hands, she covers her mouth. “Oh my God.” Slowly she turns, taking in all the monitors. She walks closer to them, her eyes darting over every screen. Pointing at the one monitor, she asks, “What’s this?”

“Underground chatter.” I move closer. “It’s where you can buy information.”

She gestures at another, and I say, “CCTV cameras for if I need to find someone.”

She looks at the screens showing the surrounding area around the house and then turns and walks to the weapons. She takes a moment to look at everything, then asks, “Have you fired all these guns?”


Slowly she shakes her head, and when she turns around, her eyes land on the stand in the middle of the room. My heart squeezes with worry as she moves closer to it. “What’s this?”

I take a deep breath and walk to her. Lifting the lid of the box, I let her look inside. “Discharged shells.”

Her lips part, and her face pales as she stares at them, and then horror makes her eyes dark. “You keep trophies?” She shakes her head with disbelief. “Oh my God.” Slowly she steps backward, her hands covering her mouth again. “You’re a killer.”

She keeps staring at the box as if it can actually hurt her, and then she turns away. Wrapping an arm around her waist, her breaths begin to speed up. It’s too fast, and soon she makes a strangled sound, her other hand flying to her throat.

Fuck, she’s having a panic attack.

I dart forward, and as I take hold of her shoulders, she grabs onto my arms. She tries to take another breath, but her throat’s closed up, and it makes panic bleed over her face.

“Look at me, baby.” Her eyes snap to mine. “You’re safe. No one’s going to hurt you.”

She makes another strangled sound, and then her legs give way. I catch her and lifting her to my chest, I say, “I’ve got you. You’re safe. I love you. No one will ever hurt you again.” I keep throwing random sentences at her hoping one will calm her down. “I would never hurt you. I love you more than anything.”

I carry her out of the armory and sit down on a couch with her on my lap. It takes long seconds before she finally manages to take a breath, and then she begins to cry heartbrokenly.

I’ve been waiting for this moment, knowing the trauma she suffered through would hit her at some point.

Sobs shudder over her lips as she slams a fist against my chest. “Why?” she cries. “Why do you have to be a killer?”

“I’m sorry.”

Hailey wraps her arms around my neck, and holding me tightly, she buries her face against my neck. Her voice is muffled and broken as she says, “I loved you so much. You were perfect. I was so happy.”

I tighten my hold on her, pressing kisses to her hair. “I’m so sorry.”

“Stop. You can just stop. You don’t have to hurt people,” she pleads.

My eyes begin to burn, and closing them, I say, “I can’t. If I stop, I’m good as dead. People like me don’t retire. It will put a target on my back. I have to stay active. The more I’m feared, the safer you will be. Now more than ever, I can’t stop.”

Hailey doesn’t say anything for a long while. I have no idea how much time passes as I cradle her in my arms.

Probably for the last time.

I bury my face in her hair as the thought makes the hole in my chest explode into emptiness. My body shudders as my heart turns to nothing, and for the first time in my life, a tear falls.

Hailey pulls back, and straddling my legs, she places her hands on my jaw. Our eyes lock, two broken souls torn apart by the darkness between us.

Shaking my head, another tear falls. My voice is hoarse as I whisper, “I’ll never love anyone but you.”

A lost sob drifts over her lips.

“Can you do me a favor?” I ask, trying to memorize the feel of Hailey’s hands on me.

She swallows, and taking a quivering breath, she nods.

“I know you’re going to –” my voice breaks, and I close my eyes against the unrelenting emptiness swallowing my life whole.

I take a deep breath, and looking at her again, I say, “I know you’re going to leave once Alexei returns and it’s safe for you to travel.”

How am I supposed to go through life blindly after seeing the brilliance of her smile?

I can’t keep the tears from falling as I ask, “Can you look at me like I’m not a monster… just one last time? Can you remember the happy times we shared? Can you remember how it felt when I made love to you? That I’m not all bad?”

Hailey pulls a little back and wipes the tears from her cheeks. She closes her eyes and takes a couple of deep breaths.

“Can you smile at me one last time?” My body shudders, and I blink the tears away so I can see her clearly.

She lets out a sputter and shakes her head. “I need a moment. I’m a mess.” Still, she looks at me with half a smile tugging at her lips, and it’s so beautiful, it makes my breath shudder from me.





This pain… it feels as if my heart is dying.

Seeing how much Carson is hurting is unbearable. I wanted him to show emotion, and now that he is, it’s killing me.

He looks at me like I’m all that matters. Like I’m all that will ever matter.

I close my eyes again and give in to the good memories I have of him. I remember how awkward he was when we first met. How hard I had to work to get him to talk to me.

God, he was so quiet.

My lips begin to curve up at the thought of our first kiss. The emotions he made me feel.

The first time we slept together.

When he told me he loved me.

His arm around my shoulders.

His silent strength.

His intensity.

His smile.

Opening my eyes, I look at the man I choose to remember. I smile at the one I fell in love with.

Carson’s lips part and a peacefulness washes over his features, then he whispers, “And for a moment, it’s not so dark anymore.”

Emotion wells in my throat, and knowing this will be our last time together like this, I lean forward, and framing his jaw with my hands, I press a tender kiss to his mouth. I hold still, trying to memorize the feel of him one last time.

It takes everything I have to pull back. “I will never forget the good side of you, Carson. I’m going to remember you as my recluse up in the Swiss Alps.”

He closes his eyes, and tilting his head back, he swallows a couple of times as he struggles with his own emotions.

A tear spirals down my cheek as I climb off his lap.

Carson’s eyes snap open, and he darts to his feet. He begins to reach for me but stops himself. Fisting his hand, he pulls back and nods, then he says, “Thank you.”

I walk away from him, and as the distance between us grows, I lift a hand to smother the sob escaping from me.

Today I tied the two parts of Carson together, and I’ll always love the good in him. But the ruthless killer, I can’t love.

Maybe one day, when it doesn’t hurt as much, I’ll think back on my time in Saint Luc and the ruthless saint who was my first love.


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