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Tears Of Betrayal: Chapter 18


“No,” Ariana snaps, glaring at me.

Alexei crosses his arms over his chest, a huge-ass smile on his face as he watches us.

“You only have to wear it until we get on the plane,” I explain.

She points at the blindfold in my hand. “I swear if you try to put that on me, we’re probably going to have a repeat of the first day we met.”

“Think of it as foreplay with Demitri,” Alexei suddenly says.

Both Ariana and I stare at Alexei.

“Seriously, shut up,” I warn him. I turn my attention back to Ariana. “You can’t know where the island is.”

Ariana narrows her eyes on me, and then she takes a threatening step toward me. “Just so there’s no misunderstanding between us, you want me to trust you with my life, but I can’t know where this freaking island is?”

Fuck. Valid point.

“Slam. Dunk,” Alexei mutters.

Alexei is getting way too much pleasure from this. Shooting him a glare, I throw the blindfold at him. “This is your island. You want her blindfolded, do it yourself.”

He lowers his arms and walks to Ariana. She immediately stiffens, her body tensing. Instead of blindfolding her, Alexei tilts his head and locks eyes with her. “If you tell anyone where this island is –”

“Yeah-yeah,” Ariana interrupts him. “You’ll slice and dice me like yesterday’s salad and drown me in the lake.” She turns away from Alexei and shoots me an angry glare, and then walks to the front door, grumbling, “I’m so over this shit. I swear to God I’m going to end up killing one of them before this is all over. Blindfold me. Ha. Little too late for that, jerks. I know I’m somewhere on Lake Superior.”

Her grumbling fades away as she leaves the house, and then Alexei shakes his head at me. He places his hand on my shoulder. “I fucking love her. If you don’t marry her, I will.”

Taking a deep breath, I glance up at the ceiling and pray for strength, so I don’t punch my best friend. “Why the fuck do you keep pushing this?” Locking eyes with Alexei, I shake my head.

“In three days, we’ll kill her brother, probably in front of her. We’ll meet with the Bratva, and we’ll have to have a solid plan in place.” Alexei takes a step closer to me, his expression dead serious. “Ariana will never be able to return to her old life. They’ll keep coming after her.”

“You think I haven’t thought of that?” I ask, letting out a burst of incredulous laughter. “She’ll have enough money to get a custodian of her own.”

Alexei takes a step back and, wiping his thumb over his bottom lip, he stares at me. “Is that really what you want, Demitri?” He shakes his head. “No one knows you better than I do. I see the way you look at her. You’re a fucking hard man, yet you hover around her, ready to rip my head off for just looking at her.” Concern settles on his face. “You call her Malyshka.”

“So what? You call every woman you meet ‘little one’.”

A chuckle escapes him. “Yeah, but I don’t call them ‘baby’.” He steps right up to me. “You’ve never given a single fuck for a woman. You’ve fallen fucking hard and fast for Ariana. Why are you fighting it?”

“I’m not,” I bite the words out. Alexei just stares at me until I admit, “This isn’t about me. Over the past ten days, Ariana was kidnapped, lost her father, and learned her brother wants her dead. She’s barely holding on as is. Yes, I can take her and force her to marry me.” I shake my head. “I won’t do that to Ariana, so don’t even mention it to her.”

“So you’re just going to get her a custodian and wash your hands of her?” Alexei still keeps fucking pushing.

“I’m going to give her time until she comes to me out of her own free will.” I lean closer to Alexei, and my voice rumbles low, “We don’t force women, remember?”

He holds my gaze and then finally nods. “I just want the best for you, brother.”

“I know,” I say, and I let out a tired breath. I place my hand on Alexei’s shoulder. “I appreciate you wanting to make this happen for me, but like you said yesterday, the control is in Ariana’s hands. I won’t take her freedom. It’s all she has left. Once the dust has settled, I’ll tell her how I feel.”

This time there’s no amusement on Alexei’s face when he asks, “How do you feel?”

I take a deep breath. “Everything about her drives me insane. I just… want her. It’s fucking exhilarating chasing her.”

Just then, there’s movement by the front door, and Ariana slowly comes back into the house. Her eyes dart between Alexei and me. The awkward expression on her face tells me she overheard some if not all of the conversation.

“How much did you hear?” I ask.

She shrugs and begins to fidget. “Ahhh… not much.” She gives me an apologetic smile, but then it fades, and a blush creeps up her neck. “Okay fine, I heard from where Alexei asked if that’s what you really want.”

So basically everything.

Ariana moves closer to us, and then she locks eyes with me. I can see she’s struggling not to look away as she tries to joke, “At least I now have one thing less to wonder about.”

“But it’s made you uncomfortable,” I state, which has the blush on her cheeks deepening.

She quickly shakes her head then looks at Alexei. “Can I have a moment alone with Demitri?”

He gives her a wide smile. “Of course, gorgeous.”

“Fucker,” I grumble at him as he heads in the direction of the security room.

When we’re alone, I turn my gaze to Ariana, and I have to wait a couple of seconds before she looks up at me.

Her tongue darts out, wetting her lips, and it’s sexy as fuck.

“None of it was news to you,” I say when she stays quiet for too long.

A nervous smile tugs around Ariana’s mouth. “Yeah, but hearing you say all of that kind of put it in a different perspective.” She lowers her eyes to her feet. “Look, it’s been really rough, and I’ll admit I’m attracted to you.” She takes a deep breath and then looks up at me again.

“You don’t have to say anything,” I give her an out.

She shakes her head. “It’s not that I’m not falling for you, it’s just…” her shoulders slump, and the fear returns to her eyes, “I need to get to know you better. I need to see who you really are. You’re the best at what you do, but I don’t know what that entails. I also want to know what makes you smile and what makes you angry.”

“Makes sense,” I murmur. Lifting my hand to Ariana’s face, I let the pads of my fingers trail from her temple to her jaw, and then I take hold of her chin. “You can ask me anything at any time.”

She nods. “Okay.”

I lean down, and with my lips brushing against hers, I say, “But in the meantime, I’m still going to chase you.”

She chuckles, and I feel the sound come from her. “Wouldn’t want to rob you of all that exhilaration.”

I press my mouth to hers, and then I take a deep breath as I wrap my other arm around her lower back, pulling her against my body.

Ariana’s hands frame my jaw, and unlike the times before, the kiss is slow and deep.

“I fucking missed my calling,” Alexei suddenly says. “Master fucking matchmaker.”

Pulling back from Ariana, I mutter, “Fine, you’re the best. Let’s drop the subject now.”

“Get your asses on the boat,” Alexei says as he grabs one of the bags I left by the front door earlier. “We’re behind schedule.”





The flight back to Seattle is a whole different experience than when Demitri kidnapped me.

No blindfold. No being tied up. No drugs.

The private jet is more luxurious than anything I’ve ever been in. The hottest part? Demitri is the pilot.

The man can fly planes. I’m not going to lie, that made my stomach flutter.

I also have time to think because Alexei’s busy on his phone.

My grief took a back seat to the betrayal. I suppose it hurts so much because it came from the last person I expected it would be. It’s still hard to believe Yuri wants me dead.

All of this is hard to believe.

And then there’s Demitri. We went from abductor and captive to having sex to being in some kind of relationship at warp speed.

I feel like I should question my sanity. Who has scorching hot sex with her kidnapper and then begins to fall for him?

Me. That’s who.

Also, why am I so damn calm while we’re heading back to Seattle so the guys can kill an assassin?

Yep, I’ve lost my mind. Pretty sure of it.

“What’s bothering you?” Alexei suddenly asks.

I shake my head quickly, but after a couple of seconds, I let out a sigh and admit, “I feel like I should be panicking, or at the very least be upset that you’re going to kill someone.”

“You’re not?” he asks, lifting an eyebrow at me.

“No. That’s weird, right?”

Alexei lets out a chuckle. “There might be hope for you yet, little one.” He shifts in his chair, and leaning his elbow on the armrest, he swipes over his bottom lip with his thumb.

It would really be hot if Demitri did that.

“There’s no reason for you to feel bad about killing someone who wants to kill you. It’s called self-defense.”

Oh… true.

My teeth tug at my bottom lip, then I ask, “You’re an assassin, right?”

“Amongst other things,” he replies.

“Have you killed a lot of people?”

“I’ve lost count.”

Like I wasn’t scared of him enough.

I’m surprised that he’s actually answering my questions, so I keep going before my luck runs out. “But never an innocent person?”

Alexei nods. “I’m not a cold-hearted murderer, Ariana. Those I’ve killed deserved worse than death.” 

I nod because I can understand and even accept that.

“How many people has Demitri killed?”

Alexei stares at me for a moment before he answers, “A hell of a lot more than me.”


“All bad?”

Alexei nods again.

Swallowing hard, I ask a question I’m not sure I want the answer to, “If I tried to hurt you… Not that I would, but if I tried… Demitri would kill me, right?”

This time Alexei thinks long and hard, then he murmurs, “I’m not sure.” He takes a deep breath then pins me with a look of warning that immediately makes my heartbeat speed up and my muscles tense. “Listen very carefully to me, Ariana.”

I swallow hard and then nod.

“I would burn this fucking world down for Demitri. He’s more than just my brother. Every day that man puts his life on the line to protect me, and trust me, that’s no easy job. There’s no one I love more. If you hurt him, I’ll make an exception to the only rule I live by.”

My mouth is dry as I ask, “What rule?”

“Not killing women.”

My breathing speeds up, and my voice quivers as I ask, “So I have no choice, I just have to keep him happy? Is that what you’re saying?”

“No, that would piss off Demitri,” Alexei chuckles as if he didn’t just threaten me. “If you agree to a relationship with him, it’s for life. There’s no leaving him.”

“Oh… ahh… that’s good to know,” I mutter. Now I’ll think twice before getting into a relationship with Demitri.

“But as long as you’re loyal to Demitri, you’ll have my protection.”

I nod, then glance out of the window. After a while, I say, “He feels the same way about you.”

“I know.”

Not much later, Demitri’s voice sounds up over a speaker. “We’re landing soon.”

“Buckle up,” Alexei orders while strapping his seatbelt over his lap.

I do the same, and a couple of minutes later, Demitri lands the plane smoothly. When he comes into the cabin, I get up from the seat and watch as he opens a cabinet, and then he pulls three guns from it.

My eyebrows shoot up, and I can only stare as he hands Alexei a rifle and one of the guns.

Demitri tucks a gun behind his back, and keeping the other one in his hand, he opens the door and glances outside. “Nikhil’s waiting. Let’s make this quick.” His eyes land on me, and when he sees the shock on my face, he slowly looks down at the gun in his hand then back at me. “You okay?”

“Ahh… yeah.”

“Stay close to Alexei,” he says.

“Why not you?” I ask as I glance between them.

“It’s easier for me to protect you both if you’re close to each other,” Demitri explains.

Alexei grabs one of the bags they brought from the island and grins at me. “You’re with me, little one.”

Taking a deep breath, I let it out, and then I move closer to Alexei.

This isn’t weird at all.

Demitri leaves the plane first, and then he calls out, “Clear.”

When Alexei starts to walk, I move, and as we come down the stairs, Demitri’s glancing around the area, looking like a badass bodyguard.

I have to move faster to keep up with Alexei as we walk toward a black SUV.

I feel Demitri behind us, and glancing over my shoulder, my mouth dries for a second time today when I see the deadly expression on his face. His demeanor is tense, ready to explode into action at the first sign of danger.

Holy freaking hotness.

The man, who I assume is Nikhil, nods at Alexei and Demitri, not even glancing my way.

Alexei opens the back door and gestures for me to get in. Once I’m inside the cab, Nikhil gets in next to me, where Alexei slides behind the steering wheel, and Demitri takes the passenger seat.

I give Nikhil an unsure smile. “Hi.”

He just nods at me.

As Alexei starts the engine, he asks, “Is Tao still at the motel?”

“Yes. He’s been laying low, probably trying to find the girl.”

“Ariana, how do you feel about being bait?” Alexei asks casually.

Do I even have to answer that? “I don’t like the idea at all.”

“Thought as much,” Alexei chuckles. “We’ll spend the night at Ariana’s place. Nikhil, you’ll guard her while Demitri and I take care of Tao.”

“Yes, boss,” Nikhil answers without hesitation.

God, it just feels like I’m being pulled deeper down the rabbit hole.


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