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Tears Of Betrayal: Chapter 11


I’ve felt more regret and compassion during the past week than in my entire life combined.

All because of Ariana Robinson.

Staring at the monitor that shows her room, I watch as she sleeps.

If I’m honest with myself, I’ll admit the woman’s gotten under my skin. Everything about her makes me feel something. Attraction. Compassion… Protectiveness.


That’s something I’ve never felt toward a woman before.

My eyes drift over Ariana’s sleeping form as my thoughts turn to this evening’s conversation. She didn’t take the news of Tao coming after her well. Then again, I have to remind myself she’s not from my world.

It’s going to destroy her when she finds out her own brother ordered the hit.

The thought has my hands fisting, and it only increases the protectiveness I feel toward her.

Ariana makes a restless sound and kicks the covers off her. Her breathing speeds up, and then she begins to toss and turn.

She’s probably having a nightmare.

About me killing her.

Getting up from the chair, I leave the security room and head to Ariana’s bedroom.

Just as I open the door, she mumbles fearfully, “No.No.No!”

I walk to the side of the bed, and leaning over Ariana, I shake her shoulder. “Ariana. Wake up.”

One of her hands flies out, connecting with my chest. I take in the terror etched into her face while strands of her hair stick to her clammy skin.

“Ariana, wake up,” I try again, shaking her a little harder.

A breath explodes over her lips as she shoots up, and I move back just in time, so she doesn’t slam into me. Her eyes open wide, and they only focus on me for a second before she scrambles away from me.

“You had a nightmare,” I say.

Ariana’s off the bed, and she doesn’t stop until her back slams into the wall.

The expression on her face grinds at me, and where it only annoyed me when I kidnapped her, it now upsets the fuck out of me.

I don’t want her looking at me with fear.

Before I can think things through, I move around the bed. Ariana makes a strangled noise when I get close to her, pushing her body hard against the wall as if she’s trying to escape through it.

Lifting my hands, I frame her face and say, “It was just a nightmare. You’re safe.”

Her eyes are feverish as they flit over my face. I watch as everything from terror to hopelessness flashes over her features.

“Shh… it’s okay,” I say, hoping to calm her down. Leaning into her, I lock eyes with her. “It was just a nightmare.”

She takes a couple of deep breaths, her expression wary, and then she whispers, “You-you stabbed me.”

I shake my head and gently brush the wild strands of her hair out of her face. “It was just a nightmare. You’re safe.”

For a moment, she just stares at me, and slowly the atmosphere begins to change from her terror tainting the air to something intimate growing between us.

Suddenly the trembling in her body begins to increase, and then she gives me a desperate look.

And my iron-clad self-control slips.

I tug her against my chest and engulf her in a tight hug. “I’d never hurt you. You’re safe with me.”

To my surprise, Ariana wraps her arms around my waist. Her breaths warm my shirt as she gasps, “I want to believe you so badly.”

“We’ll hear from your father soon,” I try to offer her some reassurance.

“What if you don’t hear from him?” she asks, her hold on me tightening.

For the first time, I make a promise, not out of loyalty but because I want to. “I’ll still keep you safe until the problem’s been dealt with.”

Lowering my head, my mouth skims over her temple. Slowly Ariana lifts her head, and when our eyes lock, the most intense attraction I’ve ever felt tightens every muscle in my body.

“I’ll do everything in my power to keep you safe.”

I watch as her doubt and desperation change into something akin to hope, and for once, Ariana doesn’t look at me like I’m her enemy.

Hope softens her eyes until I’m a second away from slamming my mouth against hers, but luckily my self-control wins, and I quickly pull back. The last thing I want to do is fuck up the meager ground I’ve managed to gain with her.

I walk to the door when all I want to do is rip off her clothes and make her forget about the nightmare.

“Come downstairs. I’ll make coffee,” I mutter before I step out of the bedroom.

Heading to the kitchen, I shake my head at myself. I always wondered how my brother fell so quickly for Winter. Now I’m starting to understand. I’ve watched Ariana for a week, and I’m already becoming possessive of her.

Another week like this, and I’ll be fucked.

I begin to prepare two cups of coffee while I try to figure out if this is just normal attraction I’m feeling for Ariana or more.

I’m pouring creamer into the cups when I hear her come down the stairs. When I carry the cups to the living room, she sits down on the couch she’s claimed for herself.





Demitri hands me a cup of steaming coffee, and then instead of going to sit on the other couch, he drops down beside me.

With my emotions intensified by the remnants of the nightmare, I can’t focus on anything long enough to make sense of things.

It was the weirdest dream I’ve ever had. It started out with the insanely intense attraction between Demitri and me. Things got steamy, then he pulled out a knife, and with an evil grin, he started to stab me.

Shivers rush over my skin, making my body tremble hard.

Suddenly Demitri gets up, and I instinctively flinch away from him. He heads back up the stairs and, a minute later, returns with a blanket.

I keep my eyes lowered as he places the blanket over my lower half. The sudden kindness only messes more with my emotions.

Demitri switches on the TV and then presses play on where I last left off with Vampire Diaries. His demeanor is relaxed as he sips on his coffee, which reminds me of my own beverage. I take a sip and swallow hard on the liquid.

The nightmare keeps flitting through my mind, and I end up staring at the coffee table, trying to process the chaotic mess it left in my chest.

“Want to talk about it?” Demitri asks, his tone soft instead of the usual briskness.

I shake my head, and unable to force the coffee down, I place the cup on the table.

Residual panic still tightens my chest, and I pull the blanket up to beneath my chin, then curl up against the armrest.

It was just a nightmare.

But for how long? It can become my reality at any moment.

I was starting to forget who Demitri is. A killer.

And someone wants me dead because of my father.

Is this what my life will be like if I manage to survive Demitri? Will it be one hit after the other until I can’t escape and end up dead?

A wretched sob builds in my chest, and I focus hard to keep it down.

Was I living a lie thinking I could live a separate life from my father’s?

I never asked questions. I never had any interest in what my father did for a living. I was just happy whenever I got to talk to him or see him. To me, he was just Dad.

My voice sounds empty when I ask, “Has anyone ever escaped the Bratva?”

Taking a deep breath, Demitri sets his cup down next to mine, and then he pauses the episode that’s been playing on the TV.

Leaning back against the couch, he answers, “The Bratva isn’t coming after you.”

“Who is it? Who ordered the hit on me?”

When Demitri keeps quiet, I turn my head to look at him. Our eyes lock, and then he shakes his head.

“You don’t know, or you’re not going to tell me?” I ask.

His eyes search mine for something, then he says, “I’m not going to tell you. Not yet.”


As Demitri looks at me, I realize this is the most human he’s looked since we met. There’s no warning shining from his eyes. There’s no annoyance or anger.

Instead, there’s compassion and something else… something that actually has a calming effect on me.

“You’re dealing with enough shit. One thing at a time.”

The longer I stare into Demitri’s eyes, the more it feels like a cocoon is wrapping around me. One where my old life and my daunting reality can’t find me. Softly, I murmur, “I thought you didn’t care.”

“I’m not the monster you think I am.”

Needing to get to know Demitri better, I say, “Then tell me something about you other than that you’re a killer.”

Demitri breaks eye contact with me, turning his face toward the sliding doors and the dark night beyond the glass.

Silence stretches between us until I’m left thinking he’s not going to give me anything, then only does he finally answer me, “I was born in Russia. I spent my entire life training to become a custodian. I swore to protect Alexei with my last breath, and it’s a vow I’ll never break.”

He’s loyal.

“So all you do is work?”

“You could say that,” he answers, then taking a deep breath, he turns his gaze back to me.

With this being the first normal conversation we’re having, I slowly begin to relax a little. “Don’t you want more from life?”

Demitri shakes his head. “Like?”

“You know…” I shrug, “normal stuff. A family of your own?”

“I have a family,” he mutters.

“I mean… a wife and kids,” I explain myself better.

Demitri lets out a soft chuckle. “Unless it’s arranged to solidify an alliance, I won’t get married.”

“Because of the promise you made to Alexei?”

Demitri just nods.

For the first time, I feel a flicker of compassion for my captor. “Doesn’t it get lonely?”

He shakes his head. “There’s no time in my world for loneliness.”

I lower my eyes to the open space of couch between us. “Can you tell me about the Bratva?” When Demitri says nothing, I lift my gaze back to his. “I want to know what the world is like that I’ve been dragged into.”

“It’s no place for someone like you,” he says, his jaw clenching slightly.

“I don’t have much of a choice,” I mutter.

“You do,” he says, then his voice drops low as he adds, “I’ll make sure of it.”

Still not able to trust Demitri, the words don’t offer me much hope or comfort.

The only sure thing in my life right now is that I’m in danger, and it’s starting to grind my spirit to dust.


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