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Tears Of Betrayal: Chapter 27


My ears ring. The sound is deafening.

My eyes are locked on Demitri, the blood darkening his shirt.

I can’t register it.

I’m surrounded by death, my brother lying dead nearby, blood forming pools on the cold floor.

I can’t…


An arm wraps around me, and I’m forced to move, my burning gaze following Alexei and Damien, supporting Demitri, as they run out of the warehouse.

Like a magnet, I’m pulled forward, hurrying to catch up with them. Someone yanks me away, and I struggle against the hold.

I hear my voice, but it sounds distant as if I’m no longer a part of my own body. “I’m going with Demitri!” When the person forces me further away, I scream, “Alexei!”

“Let her come to me,” Alexei shouts, and I’m freed from the strong hold. I dart forward, running toward Alexei, where he’s placing Demitri in the back seat of the SUV. When I reach them, Alexei looks at me. “Get in.” I do as he says, moving onto my knees next to Demitri. Alexei leans past me, and taking my hands, he presses them to Demitri’s chest and stomach. “Keep pressure on the wounds.”

I nod frantically as I use whatever strength I can dig up to stop the bleeding.

Alexei climbs behind the steering wheel while Damien takes the passenger side, already making a call to wherever we’re taking Demitri.

The tires screech as Alexei reverses, and then the SUV darts forward, and I fight to keep my hands pressed to Demitri’s wounds. His head rolls to the side, falling against my bicep.

Turning my head, I press my mouth to his hair.


My body begins to shake as flashes rip through me. Ilia aiming at Alexei and me. I just reacted, knowing how important Alexei is to Demitri. I don’t know who took the first shot.

Alexei shoved me down to his feet, and then… then… the blasts echoed loudly.

I looked for Demitri and saw him shoot at Yuri.

I watched as this man, who I only met three weeks ago, killed my brother. I felt nothing. There was no relief. No satisfaction.

Alexei yanked me up and behind him, and then the gunfight died down as quickly as it started.

I gasp as I remember Demitri turning around and seeing the blood. His face was already too pale.

My body shudders, and closing my eyes, it feels like my soul is being ripped from my body.

“Please,” I whimper. “Don’t leave me.”

I begin to pepper kisses to Demitri’s clammy forehead, my lungs desperately trying to function when all I want to do is shut down.

I survived my mom getting Alzheimer’s and forgetting me.

I survived my dad dying.

I survived my brother wanting me dead.

I won’t survive losing Demitri.


Not you. I can lose everything but you.

Alexei brings the SUV to a jarring stop outside a dilapidated house, and I have to move quickly to get out of the way so he and Damien can pull Demitri from the car.

I hear another vehicle and see Carson and Winter stop next to us, and then I run after Alexei and Damien as they carry Demitri into the house.

A middle-aged man who looks more like a butcher than a doctor shows them to a room where an elderly woman and man wait. Alexei and Damien place Demitri on a slab of steel, and then Damien pushes me away from the doorway.

My mind is crystal clear, and I even notice the dustmotes hanging in the air.

Alexei comes out of the room and pulls the door shut behind him, and then he stares at the blood on his hands.

“They’ll… they’ll save him, right?” I ask, not recognizing my voice.

Slowly Alexei lifts his eyes to mine, and there’s no sign of the deadly assassin. He can only nod at me, but the fear on his face gives me a different answer.

Unlike the times before when I got terrible news, I’m unable to break down. It’s as if I’m suspended in time, and the only way I can move forward is with Demitri by my side.

“How the fuck did he get shot?” Damien snaps angrily. “It’s fucking impossible!”

Alexei turns, and as he walks down the narrow hallway, he mutters, “Demitri was distracted.”

Like a moth following a flame, hoping it will lead her to the sun, I follow after Alexei.

‘Demitri was distracted.’

We walk into a bathroom, and I hover near Alexei as he washes the blood off his hands. Then he turns to me, and taking hold of my wrist, he pulls me to the sink and cleans my hands, as well.

The water turns bright red, then pink, and then clear.

‘Demitri was distracted.’

Because I fought with Alexei earlier?

Because I was there?

Because he was worried for my safety?

Guilt eats a hole in my soul, and it begins to spread like cancer.

Demitri was distracted because of me.



Hours have passed where I sit like a frozen statue next to Alexei.

Damien’s pacing a hole in the floor while Winter and Carson keep watch.

When Alexei gets up, my body mimics his, and I rise to my feet. Pins and needles spread through my legs, but they move, following Alexei down the hallway until we stop outside the room where Demitri is being operated on.

Alexei turns to me, and when our eyes meet, the raw agony between us becomes explosive, and then he grabs hold of my shoulder and yanks me against him. His arms clamp around me.

I hug Alexei back, knowing he’s the other half of Demitri’s heart.

There’s no comfort, though. Only Demitri can give me that. But there is compassion because if it feels like my world just ended, it must be so much harder for Alexei.

When the door opens, Alexei yanks back and turns his attention to the doctor.

They speak in Russian, and then Alexei takes my hand, and we get to go into the room.

The moment my eyes land on Demitri, where he’s hooked up to machines, silent tears begin to spiral over my cheeks.

Alexei moves to Demitri’s side and presses a kiss to his forehead. “You better pull through, brother. I can’t do any of this without you.”

My tears flow faster as I take in the two bandages on Demitri’s torso. The blood on the floor. The used materials.

“What did the doctor say?” I somehow manage to ask.

“We have to wait and see,” Alexei answers, his eyes not leaving Demitri.

I step closer and tentatively reach for Demitri’s hand. His skin is surprisingly warm as I wrap my fingers around his palm.

The doctor and elderly couple come back with fans, and they position them around Demitri. They say something to Alexei, then the old woman begins to rub Demitri down with a sponge.

“They need to bring down his temperature,” Alexei explains.

Damien moves to the old woman and saying something, he takes the sponge from her and continues to wipe his brother down. I stare at the younger version of Demitri, and seeing him healthy makes the cancer eat away faster at my soul.

My eyes lower back to Demitri’s face, his complexion drained of color. I don’t know for how long I stand and stare at him. I’m not sure if I’m still silently crying or not.

It’s as if my will to live is gone.

Alexei places his hands on my shoulders, and I’m forced down into a chair next to the steel slab Demitri’s lying on. Then Alexei takes a seat next to me, and pressing a hand to the side of my head, he forces me to lean on his shoulder.

My eyes don’t leave Demitri, who’s become unspeakably important to me in such a short amount of time.

Not because he kept me safe, but because I fell harder than he did. I just managed to hide it.

When I saw him at the Starbucks, there was an instant attraction. Even though we fought like cats and dogs the first couple of days we were on the island, my attraction for him became affection.

Every time he was gentle with me, placing his hand on my neck, kissing my hair or forehead, checking if I was okay – I fell harder.

Demitri was right when he said we shouldn’t label what’s between us. There’s no name for it, and every day the feelings just grow deeper. So deep it’s impossible to just call it love.

You can love someone and not trust them.

You can love someone and not feel like you’ll die if they don’t touch you.

You can love and survive if you lose them.

Closing my burning eyes, I lean more into Alexei. He places an arm around my shoulders and then presses a kiss to the top of my head, and I can almost imagine it’s Demitri, but then I open my eyes again and see him lying so still it looks unnatural.

Panic flares through me, shining a bright light on the fact that Demitri might not make it. It slams the air out my lungs, and I gasp as the most unbearable emotion I’ve ever felt flays me to the bone.

The realization that Demitri isn’t a god but a mortal and that he might die kills the last of my innocence. Coming face to face with death leaves me feeling powerless.

Please. Not Demitri.

I’ll do anything.

This man walked into my life, and he changed me forever. I can’t live without him.

God, I’ll give anything to swap places with him.

Take me instead.


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