Tears Of Betrayal: Chapter 3

DEMITRI

I’ve been watching Ariana Robinson the past two days while Alexei’s finding out who’s coming after her.

I knew the girl was beautiful, but she’s breathtaking up close. With white-blond hair, hazel eyes that draw you in, and a body that can make any man hard in a split second, the girl is nothing short of a vision.

But she’s oblivious to her surroundings. Twice I’ve been close enough to snap her neck, and she didn’t notice. She’s an easy target.

I’m bored as fuck sitting in an unmarked car across the street from Ariana’s apartment building.

My phone starts to ring, and seeing Alexei’s name flashing on the screen, I answer, “Give me some good news.”

“Yuri ordered the contract,” Alexei mutters, anger darkening his words. My friend might be the best assassin in the world, but he lives by a code – he’ll never kill an innocent person, especially not a woman.

Surprise flickers through me. “Are you sure?”

“I heard it directly from him. I’m still trying to find out who’ll be coming after Ariana. With Sergei on his deathbed, Yuri wants Ariana out of the way so she can’t claim any of the inheritance.”

That fucking sucks.

“What do you want to do?” I ask him.

“Sergei’s still the head of the Bratva. Protect his daughter. Lucian with be in Russia soon, and then we’ll take it from there.”

“Yeah, Yuri won’t be suspicious if the head of the Italian Mafia pays his respects to the head of the Bratva.” As I process everything I just learned, I say, “You’re aware if I take out Yuri’s hitman, it will start a war.”

“Our loyalty belongs to Sergei. I’ll deal with Yuri if it comes to that,” Alexei mutters.

My eyes scan up and down the street. “She’s an easy target in Seattle. It’s next to impossible keeping her safe while making sure she doesn’t see me.”

“Hmm…” Alexei is quiet as he thinks, then he says, “Take her to the island.”

I let out a burst of laughter. “Do you seriously think the girl’s just going to let me take her to an island?”

Alexei purchased an island on the Canadian side of Lake Superior. He had it rigged out with everything we might need if we ever needed to disappear.

“Of course not,” he chuckles.

“You want me to kidnap and babysit Sergei’s daughter?” I ask, not liking the idea one bit.

“Hey, think of it as a vacation,” Alexei taunts me.

“Fuck no.” 

“It will be a week at the most. I’ll owe you a favor,” Alexei tries to sweeten the deal.

“You know I’m not a people person. One screech from the girl, and I’m fucking gagging her,” I warn him.

“Do what you have to, just keep her alive. Oh, and make sure she doesn’t know where the island is.”

I shake my head, not happy with how things are turning out. “What about you? Who’s going to watch your back?”

“I have Tristan, Nikhil, and Sacha. Besides, I won’t be leaving LA for a while,” Alexei reassures me. Tristan is his other business partner, and I trained Nikhil and Sacha myself, so it does offer me some peace of mind.

“Do you really want to do this?” I ask.

“It’s the only way. Just keep the girl safe until we hear what Sergei wants.”

“Okay.”

“And send me updates of what’s happening on your side. If you go silent, I’m going to come looking for you,” Alexei warns.

“Will do.” I glance up at the building again. “I’m taking her tonight. I’ll be in touch.”

“Good luck.”

“Have a drink for me,” I joke.

“Already having one,” Alexei chuckles.

We end the call, and I take a deep breath while shaking my head.

Fuck.

My mind starts to work, putting a plan in place. I have nothing on me to drug the girl with. No sane human will willingly go with a man they don’t know, so I’m expecting her to put up one hell of a fight.

Once I have her unconscious, I’ll have a couple of seconds to restrain her and get her into the car. Without any of her neighbors seeing. Fucking fun.

Shoving the car door open, a scowl darkens my features as I climb out.

Just get it over with, Demitri.

I slam the door shut and stalk across the road toward the apartment building’s entrance. My guard is up, knowing Yuri’s hitman can strike at any moment. The person will probably scout the neighborhood before planning how to take the hit. Most assassins prefer a long-distance shot, so they have a head start in getting away from the crime scene.  

And they’ll all recognize me.

Walking into the foyer, I check for security cameras and take it as a win when there are none. I avoid the elevator and head up the stairs to the second floor.

It’s almost two am so pretending to be a new neighbor sure as shit won’t work. When I reach Ariana’s door, I pull two pins from my wallet and quickly pick the lock.

It’s one of the many skills I’ve learned over the years, and within a couple of seconds, the lock clicks open. I let out a breath of relief when there’s no security chain to struggle with and softly push the door open. I step inside the dark apartment and gently shut the door. My eyes scan over the small living room and kitchen and then settle on the partially open door, which I assume leads to the bedroom.

I notice the curtains are closed, so at least I don’t have to worry about a hitman taking a shot while I’m kidnapping the fucking girl.

Never in my life did I think I’d be doing something like this.

My steps are silent as I move to the bedroom, and placing my hand on the door, I push it open. It creaks, and I pause to listen for any movement. When there’s none, I slip inside the bedroom, and my eyes instantly find Ariana where she’s lying on her stomach, her arms and legs sprawled over the mattress. Her breaths are soft, and I move fast. Placing a knee next to her hip, I straddle her lower back in a second. My left hand slaps over her mouth as she jerks awake, and wrapping my right arm around her neck, I use just enough force to cut off her air supply.

Ariana’s body bucks against my hold, and she lets out muffled screams. She grabs hold of my right arm, her nails biting into the sleeve of my shirt.

The girl has a healthy set of lungs on her, and it takes longer than I’d like before she finally loses consciousness.

I keep my hold on her for ten seconds longer to make sure she’s not faking it and then let go of her. Knowing I only have a minute at the most, I rush to the wall and switch on the light, and then I go to her closet to look for anything I can use to restrain her.

I grab a scarf from the closet and gag Ariana before using a belt to tie her ankles and another for her wrists. She’s only wearing a t-shirt and leggings, but I don’t have time to dress her in something warmer.

Picking her up off the bed, I carry her to the living room and set her down on the couch. I move the coffee table to the side and then roll her up in the rug.

Hoisting the rug over my shoulder, I head out of the apartment, and shutting the door behind me, I rush to the stairway. For the first time in a long time, I actually break out a sweat from a job as I carry Ariana down the stairs. I only have seconds left before she’ll regain consciousness.

Luckily it’s quiet, leaving the apartment building, and I don’t have to worry about any witnesses. When I get to the unmarked car and open the trunk, I feel movement coming from Ariana.

Fuck, that’s cutting it close.

Setting the rug down on the road, I open it just as Ariana lets out a groan. Her lashes begin to flutter as I pick her up and place her in the trunk, and then her eyes lock on me for a moment before I slam the trunk shut.

Grabbing the rug, I shove it onto the back seat. Ariana’s muffled cries and feet kicking at the car’s interior metal are audible in the silent night, and I hurry to slide behind the steering wheel.

I shoot Alexei a quick text that I have the girl, then starting the engine, I steer the car toward the airfield where our private jet is waiting.

 


 

ARIANA

 

Before I can make sense of what’s happening, my eyes lock on the man I saw at Starbucks, and then he slams the trunk shut on me.

It takes a couple of seconds for my mind to catch up, and then horror and panic rocket through me. My heart goes from a drowsy beat to hammering against my ribs like a caged bird. My mouth instantly turns dry as prickles of fear rush over my skin.

And then I scream. The sound is sharp and petrified even though he gagged me.

Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.

My mind races, unable to stop for a second to gather my bearings. I begin to kick against the inside of the trunk, and when I try to move my hands, I realize they’re tied behind my back.

No.

Crap, this is bad.

I hear the engine start, and when the car pulls away from the curb, I let out more terrified screams.

When my throat is raw, I manage to stop screaming, and my body instantly resorts to crying.

It takes a while for me to get control over the shock and to calm myself down so I can process what’s happening.

I remember waking up to someone jumping on me, and then I was choked.

I thought I was being killed. The fear was surreal and traumatizing, and just remembering it sends a wave of shivers through my body.

But I’m not dead.

Oh, God.

I’m being kidnapped.

My mind freezes again, unable to accept something like this is happening to me.

Why?

Who?

What does he want with me?

I can only think this is because of who my father is. That’s the only reason someone would take me.

Right?

Right. That has to be it.

Because nothing else will make sense.

Crap.

I suck in a deep breath of air, trying to remain as calm as I can.

I’ve already lost track of where I am, but still, I try to focus on every turn the car makes.

I have no idea how long we drive for, and the moment the car stops, my heart speeds up so fast I’m afraid I’ll pass out from the instant rush of adrenaline flooding my body.

I listen, but all I can hear are my frantic breaths and pounding heart.

Then the trunk opens, and I begin to thrash. My voice is muffled as I cry, “Let me go!”

The man reaches for me, and without any effort, he grabs hold of my waist and yanks me out of the car. I’m tossed over his shoulder, but I manage to struggle enough to free myself from his hold.

I fall to the ground with a painful thud, the gravel from whatever road we’re on scrapping at my left elbow and hip.

Blyad,” he mutters.

That’s Russian for fuck. It’s one of the few words I know.

Oh, God. He’s Russian.

I let out a panicked sound as I try to sit up, but with my hands tied behind my back, I’m unable to.

The man grabs hold of my shoulders and tugs me into a sitting position, and then I come face to face with my kidnapper.

Two things hit me square in the gut – he’s still the most attractive man I’ve ever laid eyes on, and he looks like he’s ready to snap my neck in half.

“Please don’t kill me,” I beg, my words clear enough for him to understand. I begin to shake my head, my desperation to get out of this horrific situation making it hard to think.

The man lets out a sigh as if he’s irritated by me. “I’m not going to kill you.” And then his hold on me tightens, and I’m jerked into the air and thrown over his shoulder again.

I let out a scream hoping someone will hear me and come to my rescue.

The man starts to walk, this time keeping a tight hold of my hips. My eyes dart feverishly around us, and when I notice the hangers and planes, I begin to wiggle in earnest. I slam my knees against his chest, but it’s rock hard and doesn’t seem to faze him at all.

“No. Stop. Wait,” I try to get the words out around the fabric. “Let’s talk. Wait!”

He takes the steps up to a plane’s entrance, and I let out a panicked scream.

“Stop. Please, stop,” I beg, my emotions and senses a chaotic mess of absolute terror.

I’m placed in a seat and then strapped in. My eyes lock on the man’s, and all I can do is tremble in fear.

He reaches for my face, and I flinch, but the seat keeps me from moving back. Then he pulls the gag out of my mouth and says, “I’m not going to hurt you, Ariana. I’m saving your life. A hit’s been taken out on you. Until we can talk to your father, I’m taking you to a safe place. So stop fighting me and relax.”

What the actual hell?

My dry lips part, and for a moment, I stare at the man as if he’s grown horns and a tail.

Finally, I manage to gasp, “What?” Then, I start to blink like I’m malfunctioning. “You’re lying. I’m not a part of that world.”

This guy has another thing coming if he thinks I’ll believe a single word he says.

“Who are you?” I demand, wanting to know his name. When Dad sends Yuri to save me, I want to be able to tell my brother who kidnapped me.

The man checks my seat belt, tightening it a little more, then as he lifts his head and our eyes meet again, he says, “Demitri.”

His irises are dark brown and intense as hell, sending another wave of fear rippling through me.

“Demitri who?” I ask, my voice quivering.

I only know of one man named Demitri, and this guy can’t be him.

Please, don’t let it be him.

I hold my breath until he adds, “Vetrov.”

My entire world comes to a screeching halt.

Unspeakable fear and a sense of hopelessness drown the light from my existence as I stare at the most dangerous man in the world.

God.

Demitri Vetrov. Personal protector of the best assassin.

Assassin.

I’m as good as dead.

God.

Demitri crouches in front of me, his eyes narrowing on my face. “Breathe, Ariana,” he orders with steel in his voice.

I suck in a painful breath and then begin to shake my head. “I have nothing to do with my father and brother. I’m just a normal twenty-three-year-old girl. I was raised by my mother,” I ramble, hoping I can somehow convince this killer he has the wrong person. I gasp for another breath of air, my body trembling so hard it’s starting to ache.

Some kind of realization dawns on his face, then he asks, “You know who I am?”

Oh crap.

I shake my head hard. “No. No. Definitely not.” He’ll probably kill me right now if he finds out I know exactly who he is.

Demitri gets up and walks to the door. With dwindling hope, I watch as he closes the door and then heads to a cabinet. He pulls out a first aid bag, but when he removes a syringe from it, I start to struggle with all my strength.

As Demitri comes toward me with the syringe, I begin to plead again, “Please, don’t do this. Just let me go. I won’t tell anyone what happened.”

His hand darts out, and his fingers wrap tightly around the left side of my neck to keep me in place. “This will make you sleep. I’m doing you a favor.”

The prick is sharp, and I let out a cry, tears escaping my eyes.

Crap.

No.

Shit.

“Shh…” Instead of the sound being comforting, it’s threatening and dark. I feel his thumb brush over my jaw. “You’re going to be okay.”

Everything dims, and no matter how hard I fight against whatever he injected me with, I can’t keep from drifting off.

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