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Ruthless Saints: Chapter 24


Even though I get along well with MJ, and we’ve become good friends, an aching loneliness has settled in my heart.

It doesn’t feel like Carson is watching me anymore. It’s been that way for a week now.

He left. I just know it.

Sitting next to MJ while we eat our dinner by the waterfront, my eyes stare blankly at the ocean.

“What’s wrong?” MJ asks.

I shake my head. “Nothing.”

“Why aren’t you eating?”

I take a bite of kebab, not really tasting it.

“Hailey.” MJ nudges against my arm. “Talk to me. You’ve been like this the whole day.”

“Do you know where Carson is?” I ask.

“No. Why don’t you message him?”

“I’m supposed to forget about him,” I mutter, dropping the rest of the kebab in the container.

“Why? What happened between the two of you?” she asks for the first time.

She knows about that horrible night, so I figured she knew why I broke up with Carson.

“I found out he’s an assassin.” The words don’t carry the sting they always did.

“One of the best,” MJ says with admiration in her voice.

Frowning, I turn my gaze to hers. “What do you know about him?”

She shrugs. “Just what everyone else knows. The Koslov’s are unbeatable. Carson holds all the records at St. Monarch’s. They have honor which is rare in our world.”

“What do you mean they have honor?”

“They don’t kill without good reason. I’ve heard if there’s a contract on an innocent, they’ll help the person and stop the kill order by taking out the one who requested it. Kind of like doing charity work.”

Charity work?

My frown deepens. “Still, they kill people for money.”

MJ’s eyes meet mine, and then she shakes her head. “Not people, Hailey. Monsters. My family has always protected people like the Koslov’s.”

“Instead, you got me,” I say while processing what I’ve just learned.

MJ smiles happily at me. “Yes, the woman Carson Koslov loves.” She takes the last bite of her kebab, then asks, “Is that the only reason you’re not with Carson? Because he’s an assassin?”

“Yes,” I let the word out on a hopeless breath.

“You know he’s practically the same as a soldier or government agent. Would you hold it against one of them if they killed a bad guy?”

My eyes snap back to MJ, her words shuddering through me.

My mind freezes for a moment, and then the doubt begins to creep in.

Is she right?

MJ continues as if she didn’t just turn my world upside down, “The soldiers and agents also get paid for it.” She lets out a chuckle. “They get a freaking bonus if they take out one of those guys on the most wanted list.” Her eyes widen with excitement. “Did you know Alexei killed Lleshi Prifti? He was on the most wanted list for a couple of years.”

Pins and needles spread out over my body. “No, I didn’t,” I mumble, shocked by everything she’s telling me.

Why didn’t Carson tell me that? Or Alexei?

My eyes drift shut when I remember they did. While we were at St. Monarch’s, Alexei told me they only kill bad people.

Oh, God.

Lifting my hands, I cover my mouth, another wave of shock rippling over me.

Oh. My. God.

“Hailey?” MJ places her hand on my shoulder. “What’s wrong?”

I treated Carson like a serial killer.

I would never have treated any soldier like that. I’ve always thought highly of them out there protecting our country.

Is that who Carson really is? Just his own version of a good person fighting against all the bad in the world. A vigilante?

“I want to go home,” I say as I climb to my feet, the emotions crashing over me, too much to handle out here in the open. I need to be alone.

I need time to think, to process everything.

“Okay.” MJ’s eyes are filled with concern. “Was it something I said?”

I shake my head as we begin to walk toward the apartment building. “I’m glad you told me all of that.” When we get to the main street, I ask, “So Alexei and Carson are more like paid vigilantes?”

MJ pulls a horrified face. “God, no. They’re high-level assassins.”

We’re quiet the rest of the way, and when MJ is done checking my apartment, she says, “Call if you need anything.”

“Thanks.” I force a smile to my lips. “Have a good night.” I watch as she walks to her own apartment that’s just up the hallway from mine, and then I shut the door and lock it.

Pulling my phone out, I bring up Carson’s number as I walk to my bed. Sitting down, I contemplate whether I should call or text him.

I have so many new questions.

I need to know if what MJ said is the truth.

Maybe he’s busy. Rather send a text.

Hailey: Can we talk? Is it okay if I call you?

It only takes a couple of seconds then I see that he’s read the message. My phone begins to ring, his name flashing on my screen.


“Is everything okay?” Carson asks, worry lacing his words.

“Uhm… yeah. I just want to ask you something,” I explain.

“Look, mister,” I hear an excited girl’s voice, “a plane!”

“Hailey, give me a second,” Carson says, then I hear him say, “Come here, Dimpo. Stand behind me.” He returns to the call. “Is it urgent? I have something to take care of.”

“No, it can wait. We can talk when you have time.”

We end the call, and I just sit on the bed, frowning.

Who’s Dimpo?





Dimpo almost strangles me when she hugs me goodbye.

“Thank you, mister,” she whispers.

“You’re welcome.” I pull her arms away from my neck, and rising to my feet, I look at Lekgari. “Keep an eye on her.”

“I will. Tell your brother he still owes me a drink.”

I nod, the corner of my mouth lifting, then I say, “I want a video of her with her mother, then I’ll make the payment.”

Lekgari nods as he turns his attention to Dimpo. “Come. Let’s go home.”

Dimpo hugs my legs again, and then she walks with Lekgari to the plane. I watch them board, and before she disappears into the cabin, she turns and waves at me, her smile wide.

Another ray of sunshine in this fucked up world.

I watch the plane taxi down the runway then walk to where Omar is standing by my private jet. As I climb the stairs, he says, “Safe travels.”

I give him half a wave, and stepping into the cabin, I secure the door. “Let’s go,” I tell the pilot who’s been on standby.

I drop down in a seat, and pulling my phone from my pocket, I bring up Hailey’s number. I was surprised when she texted me and wonder what she wants to talk about.

I press dial, and she answers after a couple of rings. “Hey.”

“Sorry, it took so long. What did you want to talk about?”

I place my elbow on the armrest and lean my forehead against my hand. Fuck, I have so much work to do when I get home. I need to make sure Dimpo is safe. I also have to erase any CCTV footage of Dimpo and me. Luckily Africa doesn’t have as many security cameras as the rest of the world.

“Ah… so I have questions. If it’s okay?” Hailey sounds unsure, and it makes me worry she’s going to ask me to remove MJ.

“Of course, it’s okay.”

“I know you’ve told me before, but can you explain again what you do?”

My hand falls away from my face, and a frown forms on my forehead. “I’m an assassin.”

“Yeah, but what do you actually do?”

It only strikes me then that she doesn’t sound closed off. It’s as if she’s nervous about something. 

“I kill people.” My frown deepens as I ask, “What’s going on?”

“I spoke with MJ, and she explained things differently to me.”


I take a deep breath and let it out slowly. “What did she say?”

I’m going to kill MJ if she fucked things up even more.

“That you’re basically the same as a soldier or government agent. You take out the bad and help the innocent.”

“I don’t work for any country, Hailey.” Is she looking for something good in what I do? “I’m a criminal.”

“Carson,” I hear her take a breath, “can we meet?”

She wants to see me? It’s been two months. What’s changed? What did MJ say to her?

“Tell me everything MJ said,” I demand, wanting to know what I can expect from a meeting with Hailey. Every time I see her, it gets harder to walk away. One of these days, I won’t be able to do it. I’ll give in and take her against her will.

“She said you kill bad people, and if there’s a contact on an innocent person, you help them and take out the person who ordered the kill. Is that true?”


“I… I… please can we meet?”

I have to make sure Dimpo is safe first. “I have to take care of something. It will take two days. I can be in Croatia on Thursday.”

She lets out a sigh of relief. “Thank you.”

“Hailey,” I close my eyes, “Has something changed? Do you just want to talk, or is there hope?”

Because it’s starting to sound a lot like there’s hope, and if there isn’t, it will kill me.

“I can get past the lie, and I understand why you didn’t show emotion when…” her voice trails away, and she clears her throat. “If what you do is basically the same as a soldier, then I think… I don’t know. I’m so damned confused. I need to talk face to face.”

There’s hope.

It washes over me like a cleansing rain.

My heart begins to beat faster, and I can’t stop myself from saying, “I miss you, baby. So goddamn much.”

There’s a tremble in Hailey’s voice as she finally admits, “I miss you too.”

“I’ll finish my work as quickly as possible and come to you.”

“Oh,” the word suddenly pops from her. “Who’s Dimpo?”

“Just a girl,” I answer vaguely.

Then Hailey asks, “A girl you helped?”

“I just made sure she got home safely.”

There’s a moment’s silence, then Hailey says, “See you soon.”

“Not soon enough.”

We end the call, and I immediately dial MJ’s number.

“Carson?” she answers.

“Tell me exactly what you said to Hailey about me,” I order.

“That you have honor and don’t kill without good reason. I mentioned you’ll help an innocent person. I might’ve compared it to charity work. I explained how you’re not that different from a soldier taking out a bad guy, and they get paid for it as well.”

All the truth. I can’t fault MJ for that.

“What was Hailey’s reaction?” I ask, my knee starting to jump with pent-up energy.

“She looked shocked but seemed okay when we got to her apartment.”

“I’ll be there in two days.”


“Take care of my woman.”

“With my life.”

We end the call, and I can’t stop the hope from blooming like a fragile seedling out of the dried cracks in my chest.

Christ. Please.

Let me get Hailey back. I can’t go on like this for much longer. I need her.



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