Tears Of Betrayal: Chapter 10

DEMITRI

We’ve been on the island for a week, and last I spoke with Alexei, he was no closer to finding out who the assassin is that’s coming after Ariana.

Lucian’s in Russia, but he has to keep up pretenses and meet with Yuri and the other members of the Bratva before he can visit Sergei.

Hopefully, we’ll learn something of value soon because things have been growing tenser between Ariana and me. Every time we’re in the same room, the atmosphere becomes explosive, and it doesn’t help that she looks fucking sexy in my shirts.

Ariana’s been keeping herself busy by watching one show after the other and obsessively cleaning the house. When I told her she doesn’t need to clean, she just gave me a glare and said it’s either that or she’ll go crazy from boredom.

My phone vibrates, and I quickly pick it up.

Alexei: Found the assassin. Jet Tao. He’s still in Seattle. I’m going after him.

A wave of worry crashes over me, and I shoot to my feet.

Demitri: Fuck no. Not without me.

Alexei: I’ll be fine.

Demitri: You know what it will mean if you get hurt or worse.

It will bring dishonor to the Vetrov name.

Alexei: Chill. Nikhil and Sacha will be with me.

A sense of helplessness I’ve never felt before bleeds through me.

Demitri: Don’t go. Wait until I can be there to watch your back.

A couple of seconds later, Alexei’s name flashes on the screen, and I answer the call, snapping, “You do not go after Tao until I’m back with you.”

Alexei takes a deep breath. “I know this is frustrating for you, and it’s your job to watch my back, but we both knew this time would come. Nikhil and Sacha are good. You trained them.”

“We both knew this time would come? What the fuck are you talking about?”

“You can’t guard me every day for the rest of our lives.”

My free hand fists at my side. “I swore my loyalty to you.”

“And I’ll always be grateful for that, but at some point, you need to think of yourself, Demitri. You mean more to me than my own brother, and I’d never keep you from living your own life. This separation with you watching the girl made me realize how much of your time I’ve been taking up.”

My heartbeat increases with every word he says, and feeling frustrated as fuck, I shove a hand through my hair. “I’m only going to say this once. My loyalty belongs to you, Alexei. That’s the end of this discussion. You will stand down until I can join you, or I’m leaving Ariana alone on the island to meet you in Seattle.”

Alexei’s quiet for a moment, then he finally relents, “Fine. I’ll have Nikhil track Tao until you can join me.”

I take a deep breath of relief. “Don’t you ever fucking say shit like that again.”

“I’m sorry, brother. I just don’t want you to look back one day and realize you had no life at all because of me.”

“I have a life. One I’m perfectly happy with.” Sitting back down in the chair by the monitors, I say, “Let’s do a panic test.”

Alexei, our brothers, and their wives wear tags around our necks that I can activate to track them in case one of them needs help.

A moment later, the alarm comes through on my phone, and it shows me Alexei’s at Koslov & Hayes, which is the business he runs with his friend Tristan.

“Got it.”

“Yeah, yeah. You just wanted to make sure I’m not already in Seattle,” Alexei calls me out.

“Do you fucking blame me? Guarding you is like trying to protect a kid that’s on a sugar rush.”

My words draw a chuckle from my friend. “How are things there?”

“We haven’t killed each other… yet,” I mutter.

Alexei chuckles again. “Is she so much of a handful?”

“You have no idea. Never before has a woman gotten me this worked up before. Everything she does and says hits a fucking nerve.”

“Hmm…”

A scowl forms on my face. “Don’t even go there.” Alexei has a habit of playing matchmaker for everyone. He was the one who arranged the marriage between my brother, Damien and Winter. “This is just a job.”

“If you say so.” I hear the teasing tone in Alexei’s voice, and it makes my scowl deepen. “I have another call coming through. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Later,” I mutter, and then I set the phone down on the desk. 

 Still upset that Alexei even considered going on a job without me there to watch his back, I get up from the chair and stalk out of the security room.

When I walk into the living room, Ariana glances at me, looks back at the TV, and then her gaze snaps back to my face. Her eyes widen, apprehension tightening her features.

“W-what’s that look for?” she stammers.

Frowning at her, I ask, “Did I miss something?”

Confusion flutters over her face. “Ah… you… for a second there, it looked like you were going to kill me.”

Letting out a sigh, I head to the kitchen and grab a bottle of water from the fridge. I drink half of it before I turn around to face Ariana again.

She’s still watching me, her body tense and ready to run should I try anything.

“Relax.” For what feels like the hundredth time, I add, “I’m not going to kill you.”

“Kinda hard to believe. You know…” she waves a hand between us, “with you being my kidnapper and all.”

Taking a deep breath, I decide to change the subject. “What are you watching?”

“Vampire Diaries,” she answers, her eyes still locked on me.

I walk to a couch, and only when I sit down does she begin to relax a little.

 


 

ARIANA

 

I’m watching Demitri like a hawk and not letting my guard down.

When he came up from the security room, he looked like hell and brimstone, ready to rip my heart out with his bare hands. The poor organ in my chest is still beating a mile a minute.

A moment later, my curiosity gets the better of me. “Why do you look so upset?”

Demitri slants his eyes in my direction. “None of your business.”

At his brisk answer, my eyebrows pop up, and I keep staring at him until he relents with a sigh. “Because I’m stuck babysitting your ass instead of doing my actual job.”

I shouldn’t care if he’s unhappy about it, but still, I go on the defense. “Don’t take it out on me. It’s not my fault.”

Demitri narrows his eyes at me, and it sends my heart speeding again. “Now is not the time to look for shit with me.”

“Like there’s ever a good time,” I mutter. I turn my attention back to the TV, but I can’t focus on the show to save my life.

My gaze snaps back to Demitri, and then I let him have a piece of my mind. “You kidnapped me. My social media accounts are going to hell, and all my hard work is down the drain. I’ve missed the appointments I had, which means zero income for me. You ruined my life. I was happy, and you just barged in and snatched me from it. Let’s not forget I know absolutely nothing about you, and you’ll probably end up killing me. This is no vacation for me. Every freaking minute I’m wondering when it will be my last. So I honestly don’t give a shit whether you’re unhappy babysitting my ass.” With a huff, I turn my eyes back to the TV.

There’s a moment’s silence following my rant, and even though I’m fearing for my life, I can’t keep the other emotions under control. Everything from apprehension to anger to attraction for the damn man keeps whirling in my chest.

Demitri takes a deep breath, then he demands, “Look at me.”

A frown forms on my forehead, and with an annoyed huff, I meet his eyes.

He leans forward, resting his forearms on his thighs, and it sends another wave of awareness through me because he looks sinfully hot right now.

“Have I done anything to intentionally hurt you?”

A glare forms on my face. “You choked me, and you tied me up and left me on that damn bed.”

“I’ve already explained why that happened,” he snaps at me, his features tightening. The dark look on his face makes my body tense up, and I’m ready to make a run for it the second he moves.

“We’ve been stuck here a week, and I haven’t slapped you around. I haven’t kept you tied to that bed, and trust me, there were a couple of times I wanted nothing more. You get to move around freely. Let’s not forget all of this is to keep you alive. In my opinion, that’s not the definition of captivity.”

Our eyes are locked, and with every passing second, the atmosphere grows tenser between us.

“Says the kidnapper.”

“Jet Tao,” Demitri bites the words out.

I shake my head with a shrug of my shoulder. “Is that supposed to mean something to me?”

“It’s the name of your assassin. Jet Tao.”

Goosebumps spread over my skin, and my lips part as the news sinks in.

Ignoring my reaction, Demitri continues, “He’s not the best, but he’s good. The contract on your life is for fifteen million dollars.”

Oh. My. God.

A tremble begins to spread through my body, and my mouth grows dry.

I have no reason to believe a word Demitri says, but for some reason, I know he’s telling me the truth.

There’s really a hit on my life. Someone wants me dead.

For the first time, it sinks in, and the realization makes my entire world wobble off balance.

My eyes are glued to Demitri’s, and my voice is hoarse with fear as I ask, “What stops you from killing me and taking the millions for yourself?”

Time stretches between us, and it only makes my body tremble harder.

“Honor,” Demitri finally answers. “The Vetrovs live by a code of honor. We don’t hurt the innocent.”

I want to believe him, but how can I?

Since Demitri took me, I’ve been one hundred percent certain he’s the enemy.

But… what if I’m wrong?

What if he really saved me?

What if Demitri’s all that stands between me and the man who wants to kill me?

Demitri watches my reaction closely, then he says, “I’m not your enemy.”

Having no idea who I can trust, helplessness washes over me again. With shaky legs, I get up from the couch and walk to the stairs. 

I need time to process everything. I need to figure out what’s the truth and what’s a lie.

I go to my room and, crawling into bed, I pull the covers over my head.

I’ve never been this confused before. There are too many emotions, unanswered questions, and doubts, and it all leaves me feeling lost and impossibly alone.

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