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Tears Of Betrayal: Chapter 23


After dinner, Winter made me empty clip after clip on the targets and showed me how to knee a man. We trained until after midnight, and as we head back into the house, we hear the men talking in the living room.

I actually feel comfortable handling a gun, but I know it’s not the same as shooting at a living person.

When we walk into the living room, Demitri climbs to his feet, then says, “Let’s get some sleep. We have a busy couple of days ahead of us.”

He walks to me and, taking my hand, pulls me back out of the living room. I follow him up the stairs and into a guest bedroom where our bags are already waiting near the bed.

“We’re sharing a room?” I ask.

“Of course,” Demitri mutters as he lets go of my hand and shuts the door behind us. “Come, let’s shower.” He walks to the bathroom, tugging his shirt over his head.

Ah… what?

“You sure?” I call after him, standing rooted to the spot by the door.

Demitri glances back at me. “You’re tired. I’m tired. We’re just going to shower.”

There’s a stab of disappointment as I walk to the bathroom, not missing the chance to see Demitri naked again.

My eyes are glued to him as he undoes his belt, his fingers strong. Watching him strip out of his clothes is hot as hell, and I almost forget to get undressed. When we’re both butt-naked, there’s no urge to cover myself, which is kind of weird. I’m not self-conscious, but I’m usually not comfortable being naked in front of someone.

It’s probably because I’m too busy staring at Demitri’s abs.

Sigh, what a sight.

My eyes drift lower to the muscles curving down his hips like an arrow straight to his cock. I tilt my head as I take in his length as it rests against his thigh.

We’re just showering. We’re just showering. We’re just showering.

Demitri turns on the faucets, and when the water starts warming up, he steps under the spray, leaving enough space for me. I join him under the water, my eyes roving over every spectacular inch of him as I blindly reach for the body wash. I have no idea what I’m doing, but somehow I manage to wash my body as I watch Demitri’s hands glide over his gleaming skin.


Move your hand lower.

Demitri’s fingers skim the stretch of skin above his cock, and I hold my breath.


Incredible heat spreads through my body, and my abdomen clenches hard as his fingers wrap around his cock. A breath explodes over my lips, and then they start to come faster as he strokes himself.

“Are you done washing yourself?” Demitri asks in a low grumble, ripping my eyes to his face. “Or should I go on with the show?”

A flush spreads up my chest and neck, setting my face on fire. “Ahh… I’m done… washing,” I ramble and dart out of the shower. Grabbing a towel, I wrap it around my body and make a run for the bedroom. I quickly dig panties, a shirt, and a pair of leggings out of my bag and pull the clothes on.

Moving to the side of the bed, I yank the covers back and climb beneath them. Taking a deep breath, I try to act as if I’m not turned on.

Demitri comes out of the bathroom wearing a smug smirk and nothing else but the gun in his right hand. I quickly glance away and listen as he moves around the room.

He sets his gun down on the bedside table next to me and then leans over me and picks me up. Moving me to the other side of the bed, he says, “I always lie closest to the door.”

“Okay,” I breathe as I fix the covers that got rumpled from the movement.

I glance at Demitri as he switches off the light, and then he comes to climb into bed next to me.

Crap, I’m not going to close a damn eye tonight.

Slowly my sight adjusts to the darkness, and I dare a glance at Demitri. He’s lying on his back with his hands tucked behind his head, looking like he doesn’t have a care in the world.

Taking an audible breath, he moves one arm from beneath his head and holds it open. “Come here.”

Turning onto my side, I scoot closer until I’m right against him. He wraps his arms around my shoulders, then presses a kiss on my hair. “Sleep, Malyshka. We only have three hours before we leave for Russia.”

Letting out a sigh, I snuggle against him, resting my hand on his chest. Too soon, my fears creep back into my mind. I feel safer having a group of trained people willing to fight for me.


My heart shrinks into a small lump at the thought that I lost my dad, and my brother wants me dead.

I feel Demitri’s breaths skim over the top of my head, then he murmurs, “Want to talk about it?”

I wrap my arm around his waist and press myself against him. “What Yuri did hurts so much more than losing my dad. It’s hard to believe.”

“It’s because you trusted him. Betrayal can only come from someone close to you.”

“What am I going to do, Demitri?” I tilt my head back and stare up at him. “I know you said you’ll take care of everything, but how will I ever return to my normal life?”

He shifts onto his side, so we’re lying face to face, and then his hand gently brushes over my hair. “When everything is over, you can either stay with me, or if you need more time, I’ll arrange a custodian to protect you.”

“Where do you live?” I ask because it never crossed my mind that Demitri would go home.


I want to just close my eyes and jump into Demitri’s arms, but owing it to myself, I say, “I’d appreciate it if you can arrange a custodian for me. I need time on my own to make sure what I feel for you is real and not just because of everything that’s happening.”

Demitri doesn’t say anything and just tightens his hold on me.

I don’t fall asleep, my mind too busy racing from one problem to the next.





After landing the plane at a private airfield, we take the armored cars Alexei arranged and head to my family’s compound.

I haven’t been back here since I left for my training after I turned twenty-one.

Christ, has it been that long?

My Uncle Michail, who’s also our accountant in LA, arranged for a caretaker to live on the property after Damien left for his training.

Alexei brings the SUV to a stop in the courtyard, and then we all get out. We came in three cars because we emptied Damien’s armory of all the weapons we’ll need.

Winter and Ariana gravitate toward each other while the men offload everything from the SUVs.

When Alexei makes a call for a meeting to be held with all the members of the Bratva, I turn to Ariana and Winter. “Winter, can you give us a moment?”


Ariana moves closer to me, giving me a questioning look.

Placing my hand on her shoulder, I say, “Before we meet with Yuri and the Bratva, I thought you’d like to visit your father’s grave.”

Her eyes widen, and then sorrow ripples over her face. Her voice is somber when she answers, “Yeah, I’d like that.”

I pull her against my chest and hug her while Alexei finishes on the phone. When he tucks the device in his pocket, I let go of Ariana and say, “It will just be the three of us.” Locking eyes with her, I add, “Alexei will stay by your side. I’m afraid we can’t give you privacy when you say goodbye.”

Ariana nods. “I understand.”

As we leave the house, I tell Damien we’re heading out. The drive to the cemetery is quiet, and my attention is focused on our surroundings. I won’t be surprised if Yuri has someone watching Sergei’s grave.

It’s still early morning when Alexei steers the SUV through the entrance to the cemetery, and everything’s quiet. We stop as close as possible to the gravesite, and then Alexei says, “Let’s do this.”

I climb out of the SUV and scan the area as I pull my gun from behind my back. My finger rests on the trigger, ready at the first sign of danger.

Alexei places his hand on Ariana’s lower back and leads her to her father’s grave.

My breathing slows as I look for anything that seems out of place. My senses sharpen until I feel the cold morning air prickle over my body. I know exactly where Alexei and Ariana are standing without having to look and move toward them while my eyes comb over the gravestones and trees.

Something glints in the sharp sunlight, and I shout, “Down!” My right arm shoots up, and I pull the trigger. A second later, a bullet flies past my shoulder in the direction where Alexei and Ariana were standing. I hear it slam into a gravestone, and then I wait, my eyes locked on the spot where the shot came from.

“More will come,” Alexei mutters.

“Stay down,” I order. Just then, there’s movement, and I get ready. It only takes a split-second, but the moment the guy peeks from behind his hiding place, I fire off three shots. One hits his left eye and the other two an inch higher. I hold my left fist up for Alexei to see, checking the area before I open my hand.

“Run, Ariana!” Alexei snaps, and then I hear them move.

Walking backward, I keep an eye out in case the scout wasn’t alone, and only when I’m close to the SUV do I turn around and hurry to the passenger side. I climb inside, then bark, “Quickly.”

“Yeah-yeah,” Alexei taunts me. “I know the drill.”

As Alexei makes a U-turn, I glance over my shoulder at Ariana. “You okay, Malyshka?”

Her face is pale, but she nods quickly.

I turn my attention back to the narrow road, and as we approach the exit, I say, “Lean forward.” Alexei does as I ask, and I pull his gun from behind his back. He settles against the seat again and doesn’t slow the SUV down as he takes the turn onto the road running parallel to the cemetery.

We’re met with bullets spraying the right side of the SUV, and then Alexei floors the gas.

Resting the one gun on my lap, I take out my phone and dial Damien’s number.

When he answers, I say, “We’re going to come in hot. Get ready. Twenty minutes out.”

“Ten,” Alexei mutters. “I’ll make it in ten.”

“You heard that?” I ask Damien.

“Got it. We’ll be ready.”


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