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Ruthless Saints: Chapter 22


I’ve been in Croatia for almost a month and have settled in Rovinj, a town that’s much busier than Saint Luc was.

It’s beautiful in a different way, the air filled with the smell of the ocean. I found a studio apartment that I pay for with the money I make from waitressing. I work the afternoon shifts now, not ready to move around at night by myself. That’s a step I’ll take one day… when I’m ready.

I’m struggling to find the joy I always felt while traveling. I’m still processing everything that happened. It’s getting easier to interact with people again, but I don’t get as excited when I visit a new place.

I still think of Carson all the time, and the fact that I know he’s watching me doesn’t help. It’s not creepy, but it’s not giving me the space I need to get over him.

Not that I’m sure I’ll ever get over him. It’s been two months since the incident, and I still love him.

I miss him so much.

When I walk around the town, I catch myself looking for him. Not once have I seen him, though.  

Every day I have to remind myself I’m doing the right thing. But I feel lost, like a massive chunk of my soul has been ripped out.

We’ve texted a couple of times. Whenever I had a question I needed the answer to about what happened during our time together, he would always reply immediately.

But I’m running out of questions to ask.

Alexei’s keeping in contact with me. He sends me random places to visit. He’s become my tour guide.  

Today I’m visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park, and as I slowly walk across a wooden bridge, I drink in the sight of the breathtaking waterfalls I wanted to see so badly.

I stop in the middle of the bridge and look at the turquoise water before settling my eyes on the waterfalls. A faint spray hits my skin, and I’m hypnotized by the sound of the rushing water.

My phone vibrates, and pulling it out, I see a text from Alexei.

Alexei: Peaceful, isn’t it?

Hailey: Yes.

I take a photo and send it to him.

Alexei: Enjoy it for both of us.

Hailey: Are you ever going to deactivate the tracking device?

Alexei: Never. Don’t take it off either.

Hailey: I won’t.

With the enemies they have, I keep wearing the chain and tag Carson gave me… just in case something goes wrong. At least they’ll be able to find me.

Images of that horrible night shudder through me, unexpected like it always does. It taints the moment that was supposed to be beautiful.

The fear, the panic, the pain.

Carson just sitting there.

The impassive expression on his face.

Hearing it was all happening because he killed someone.

The shock.

Letting out a sigh, I close my eyes, just listening to the water for a couple of minutes.

The shock of Carson being an assassin doesn’t hit as hard anymore. My world is no longer black and white. It’s slowly changing to gray because even though Carson could’ve stopped me from leaving, he didn’t. He drove me to the airfield. He arranged his private jet to bring me to Croatia. He paid for the hotel while I searched for an apartment.

And he’s still here.

Opening my eyes, I glance around me, searching for him, but I only catch a glimpse of a guy with dark hair.

Stop, Hailey.

Slowly, I continue to explore the area for the rest of the afternoon before heading back to the bus stop. On the ride to Rovinj, I stare at the passing scenery, and my thoughts once again turn to Carson.

The intense vibe I got from him turned out to be because he can kill someone in seconds.

My thoughts keep skipping from one memory to the next.

I remember the night I saw him after he said goodbye the first time. How happy I was and how good it felt when I got to throw my arms around him.

‘I tried to stay away,’ his words echo through me.

‘We come from different worlds.’

My fingers lift to my lips as I remember our first kiss.

I freeze when I remember the sad look he had after the kiss. I thought he was having second thoughts, but instead, he was worried about me learning the truth.

His silent tears when I said goodbye.

I let out a deep breath, shaking my head in the hopes of clearing my thoughts. I can’t go on like this.

When the bus stops in my town, I get off and walk down the cobbled stone roads toward my apartment. I glance at the buildings with their red roofs. Rovinj was originally an island before it was joined to the mainland. The sea is calm with the same turquoise color the waterfalls have.

Reaching my building, I go inside and head up the three flights of stairs to my door. When I reach it, my lips part. On the floor lies a small bundle of dried wildflowers. I glance around me but don’t see Carson. Crouching down, I carefully pick them up.

He was here.

I close my eyes as my heart squeezes painfully. Carson said the flowers were the greatest gift anyone has ever given him. Now we each have a bundle, and it makes me feel connected to him.

I miss you too.





It’s been the longest month of my life, and the only comfort I get is from watching Hailey at a distance.

She knows I’m following her, and the fact that she hasn’t told me to stop gives me renewed hope.

I left some of the dried flowers by her door to remind her I’m still here. I know it’s selfish of me, but I can’t stand the thought of her moving on without me.

I just can’t.

My phone vibrates and pulling it out of my pocket, there’s intense relief when I see a text from Hailey. I open it as fast as I can.

Hailey: Thank you.

Carson: Are you okay?

She looked lost standing on the bridge all by herself. It was hard to just stand and watch.

Hailey: Yes. Don’t worry about me.

Carson: That’s not something I can do.

She doesn’t send another message, and I tuck my phone back in my pocket. Knowing Hailey won’t leave her apartment until tomorrow morning, I head out of the building and walk to the hotel I’m staying at.

I’m busy looking at a property to buy, so I don’t have to stay in the hotel. It will take me a while to get settled, though.

I walk into the lobby and stop in front of the elevator. Pressing the button, I stand and wait for the doors to open.

My phone vibrates and taking it out of my pocket, I check the message that just came through.

Contract: Ariana Robinson

Business: Illegitimate heir – Ivanov

Time: 2 Weeks

Location: Seattle, USA

Fee: $15 000 000.00

The elevator doors open, and I step inside, a frown forming on my forehead. I’ve never heard of Ariana Robinson. I search her name and find social media accounts. A blonde girl smiles at the camera, doing things ordinary people do.

She’s an innocent.

I type out my reply.

Contract: Declined

I also send the information to Alexei.

Carson: She looks like an innocent. Check it out.

Alexei: On it.

Stepping out of the elevator, I walk to my door and scan the keycard to enter. After shutting it behind me, I shrug out of the leather jacket and pour myself a drink. While sipping on it, I stare out of the window.

I’m taking off another month just to make sure Hailey is safe. At some point, a contract will come through that I can’t decline. I’ll have to arrange protection for her.

I log onto St. Monarch’s website and go to the selection of custodians they have in training. Checking their profiles, I frown when I see the name MJ Fang. Damn, she started her training the year I completed mine. She’s still there? I check her stats.

She struggled the first two years and then suddenly started gaining momentum. The corner of my mouth tugs up when I see her reaction time – five seconds. She’s close to beating Damien’s record, and he was the best. Hailey will be more comfortable with a woman, as well.

I type out a message to Madame Keller.

Koslov, Carson: MJ Fang – Auction Date?

The reply comes before I swallow the sip I just took.

St. Monarch’s: She’s not up for auction – Name your price

They know there won’t be interest because of how long MJ’s training took.

Koslov, Carson: Price N/N: 500 000.00 – Trial period of 3 months

St. Monarch’s: Will consider the offer

I finish my drink, and after setting the tumbler down, I walk to the bathroom so I can take a shower.

As I pull my shirt over my head, my phone vibrates.

St. Monarch’s: Accept – Payment expected

Hopefully, she’s good. I make the payment then send through my last request.

Koslov, Carson: Meeting – Surprise attack test

MJ Fang will have to find me on her own. If she passes the test, I’ll consider prolonging the contract.

I drop my phone on the bed and walk into the bathroom, I turn on the faucets. After stripping out of the rest of my clothes, I step under the spray, and then my thoughts turn to Hailey.

I haven’t seen her smile the way she used to, and I miss it. I thought the dried flowers might bring out her smile, but they only made her look sad.

Maybe it’s because I’m here?

Maybe I just make her unhappy?

I close my eyes and turn my face up to the water.



It’s been two days since I made the payment for MJ Fang, and there’s no sign of her.

If she doesn’t find me in the next twenty-four hours, there’s no way I’m contracting her to protect Hailey.

Standing across the road from the restaurant Hailey works at, I watch as she gives half a smile to a patron while taking their order.

I feel the air shift, and it makes the corner of my mouth lift.


Pushing away from the wall, I walk down the road toward the waterfront. Sailboats come into view, lazily bobbing in the calm water.

I don’t hear MJ move but sense the instant she’s behind me. Swinging around, I throw a punch. She smacks my arm away, and crouching, tries to sweep my legs from under me with a low kick. Without any effort, I avoid being taken down.

MJ darts to her feet, her features tight.

She’s nervous.

Lifting a hand, I show for her to come at me, and she instantly reacts. Her movements are fast and precise as she takes a series of hits at me. I stop them, and with a hard blow to her chest with the palm of my hand, I send her staggering backward.

“Stop,” I order.

MJ straightens and slightly bows her head. I know she comes from a long line of Custodians. Her father was one of the best.

“Not bad,” I mutter.

Her eyes snap to mine, her Asian features round and unassuming. There’s fight in her gaze, though.

“You’ll be a custodian to Hailey Welsh. You’ll befriend her and keep her safe.”

“Who is she?”

“The woman I love.”

MJ’s eyes widen slightly. “I’ll guard her with my life.”

“If anything happens to her, I’ll terminate the contract,” I warn her.

MJ knows it means I’ll kill her.

She nods, and I glance over her dark clothes. “You’ll need to blend in with Hailey’s world. She’s not like us. Wear something… less threatening.”

MJ nods again.

“Come.” I begin to walk back toward the restaurant. “You have a month to learn everything about Hailey. What she likes and hates. The way she moves. Her routine.”

“It’s more than enough time,” MJ answers.

Stopping across the road from the restaurant, my eyes instantly find Hailey where she’s loading two coffees onto her tray.

“Light brown hair. By the counter.”

“I see her.” MJ crosses her arms over her chest, her eyes locked on Hailey.

“Relax your stance,” I mutter. “Hailey’s on guard. She’ll spot you a mile away. I still need to tell her you’ll be guarding her.”

MJ relaxes.

“There was an altercation with Albanians. Hailey got hurt. She’s still recovering from the trauma, so you’ll have to be… normal. Become a friend to her, someone she can lean on and talk to.”

And so the training begins. With a little bit of luck and a shit-ton of patience, this will work out.

Now to tell Hailey. I hope she doesn’t say no because then I’m fucked.


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