Tears Of Betrayal: Chapter 20

DEMITRI

Alexei and I scope the motel and surrounding area, and then we sit in the car and wait for things to quiet down.

My thoughts are inundated with what happened between Ariana and me. While we were on the island, I didn’t have to worry about losing her. I was relaxed.

But now things have changed. Being back in work mode, it’s impossible to hold myself back, and I’m fucking over-possessive of her. Now that it’s all in the open between Ariana and me, I don’t regret it.

She’s mine.

I know this for sure now.

And she fucking loves it.

It’s time for Ariana to see who I really am and not the watered-down version she got to know on the island.

And I have a feeling it’s going to drive her fucking wild.

“What are you thinking?” Alexei asks while he stares at the motel through a pair of night-vision binoculars.

“I claimed Ariana,” I admit to him, finally ready to talk about it now that I’ve sorted through my own emotions.

He lets out a chuckle. “How did she take it?”

“She’s doing her best to resist it,” I say, my mouth lifting into a smirk.

“Why the change? This morning you wanted to rip my head off for bringing it up,” Alexei asks, glancing at me.

I meet his eyes. “I didn’t have to worry on the island. It was like a safety bubble where I could actually relax. Out here, we both know it’s a cut-throat game. It’s time for me to get back into work mode.”

Alexei places a hand on my shoulder. “Thank fuck. For a while, I was worried you’re so fucking pussy whipped you’d never be able to function normally again.”

I let out a burst of laughter. “Fuck off.” I glance around the area, and seeing it’s quiet, I say, “Let’s get this done.”

We both check our Heckler & Kochs and screw on the silencers, then opening the doors, we get out, and I fall into step beside Alexei. My eyes keep scanning over our surroundings, and when we reach the room where Tao is, I kick the door in, and holding my arms in a locked position in front of me, I move into the room.

Tao lunges to the side while taking a shot at us. I avoid his line of fire, and then Alexei fires off a shot, hitting Tao in the leg.

There’s a trickle of excitement in my chest from being back at work.

“Fuck,” Tao snaps as he limps toward the restroom.

“Dude, come on,” Alexei calls out. “Don’t make us run after you.”

“You declined the contract,” Tao calls out.

“Yeah, and you should’ve checked that the girl is an innocent,” Alexei says as I go after Tao. I kick in the bathroom door and then fire two shots, both hitting Tao in the chest.

“No hard feelings, though,” Alexei calls out, his tone filled with amusement.

I walk closer to Tao, where he’s gasping for air, and then plant a bullet in his head. “It’s done,” I let Alexei know while I stare at the body with great satisfaction.

One threat less to my woman.

Alexei comes to take a photo of Tao then grins at me. “A gift for Yuri.”

“Let’s get out of here.”

When we get back to the SUV, Alexei sends off a text to Yuri, and then he starts the engine.

I take Alexei’s phone and watch as Yuri opens the message, and then I press dial on his number.

“Just remember you started this war, Koslov,” Yuri bites out as he answers.

“No,” I growl. “You should’ve canceled the contract while you still had a chance.”

“Vetrov,” Yuri hisses.

“Ariana’s not just under my protection. She is mine in every fucking way. I’m coming for you, and I’m bringing my brothers.”

There’s a moment’s pause as the news hits Yuri. 

“Dem –”

I cut the call, and then Alexei mutters, “Brothers? Have you told Carson and Damien?”

“I’m phoning them now.”

A wide smile spreads over Alexei’s face. “Fuck, this is going to be so much fun.”

I let out a burst of laughter. It’s good seeing the excitement back on his face.

I call Alexei’s brother first.

“Everything okay?” Carson answers because it’s the middle of the night by him.

“Yeah, it’s Demitri. I need a favor.”

“Sure, what’s up?” I hear Carson move, probably to leave the bedroom, so he doesn’t disturb his girlfriend, Hailey.

“I’m going to war with Yuri Ivanov.”

“Where do you want to meet?”

“Damien’s place. We’ll be there tomorrow.”

“I’ll be there,” Carson replies without hesitation.

“Thank you.”

When I end the call, I immediately phone Damien.

“Hey, you okay?” Damien answers.

“Yes. I’m coming to you. Carson will meet us at your place tomorrow. I’m going after Yuri Ivanov, and I need your help.”

“Okay, but why?”

“I’ll explain tomorrow.”

We end the call, and then Alexei says, “Ahh, the thrill of the hunt. There’s nothing like it.”

“Yeah? Wait until you meet the woman that’s meant for you.”

 


 

ARIANA

 

When the front door opens and Demitri and Alexei come in, my eyes flit over Demitri to check if he’s okay. I’ve been standing in the kitchen for most of the night, unable to think of sleep while they were out there.

Alexei claps his hands together. “All done.”

All done. The assassin is dead.

I expect to feel guilt and horror, but instead, the tension in my chest lessens a bit.

I glance between Demitri and Alexei, then say, “Thank you.” And I mean it from the bottom of my heart.

Demitri’s eyes drift over me, and then the predatory expression I really love way too much tightens his features. “Fuck, you look beautiful,” he murmurs as he moves toward me.

I glance down at my outfit. “Thought I’d wear something more appropriate for war.”

When his hands frame my face, I smell a burnt and metallic scent. Demitri leans down, pressing a soft kiss to my lips, and then he whispers, “You’re welcome.”

When he pulls back, our eyes lock, and my stomach flutters while my abdomen clenches.

This man just killed someone for me.

The thought is overwhelming, and it sends my heart racing.

The realization that I have someone as powerful as Demitri on my side finally sinks in, and for the first time, I start to believe I can actually get through this. I can face Yuri.

I can survive whatever lies ahead.

“Christ, Malyshka,” Demitri growls. “The way you look at me will be my end.”

“How do I look at you?” I whisper, my voice breathless.

“Like I’m your whole fucking world.”

My heart hammers hard in my chest.

Is he?

It’s too soon.

Pulling free from his hands, I nervously wet my lips and go to my room. I slip on my black leather jacket, and then pulling up my luggage’s handle, I press my other hand to my fluttering stomach and take a deep breath.

One thing at a time, Ariana. Once you get through this alive, you can figure out what you feel for Demitri.

Pulling my luggage behind me, I walk back into the living room just in time to see Demitri checking the clip of his gun. He shoves it back in and then tucks the weapon away behind his back. Lifting his eyes to me, he asks, “Ready?”

“Uh-huh,” I mumble.

“A couple of things,” Demitri says. “Whenever we’re moving around, stay close to Alexei. You never leave his side no matter what happens.”

“Okay,” I breathe.

“If all hell breaks loose, don’t call for me.”

What the hell?

Frowning, I ask, “Why?”

“It will break my attention.”

“And then we’re all a little fucked,” Alexei adds. “Basically, Ariana, while Demitri is working, don’t distract him.”

Understanding, I nod. “Got it. Stick to Alexei’s side and keep quiet while all hell breaks loose. Anything else?”

Demitri turns his attention to Nikhil. “Give me your tag. When you get back to LA, get a new one for yourself.”

Nikhil removes a chain from his neck and hands it to Demitri, who comes to put it over my head. I glance down at the unmarked silver tag.

Demitri flips it over. “See this button?”

“Yes.”

“It’s a panic button. If you press it, all of us will get the alarm. It also has a tracker in it so we can find you.”

Glancing up at Demitri, I frown. “You don’t wear one?”

He holds up his left arm and gestures at his wristwatch. “Mine’s in here.”

“Cool.”

I look down at the tag and then tuck it beneath my shirt’s collar. “Is that all?”

“For now,” Demitri says and then walks toward the front door. “Let’s go.”

Once we step out of my apartment, I lock the door and then move to Alexei’s side. Demitri takes the lead with Nikhil behind us, and I have to admit, right now, I feel a little badass.

 

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