Tears Of Betrayal: Chapter 4

DEMITRI

After placing Ariana on the seat of the speed boat, I wrap a blanket around her. I spare the unconscious girl a glance, then start the engine and steer us toward the island. 

The sun is beginning to rise as the boat glides through the dark blue water.

Unlike Alexei, I’m usually not affected by a woman’s tears. He’s the one with the soft spot for the female species.

But Ariana’s fear and tears stirred something in me I haven’t felt before.

Annoyance?

No.

Pity?

Definitely not.

I shake my head to clear my mind of the unwelcome thoughts, my eyes scanning over the water for any signs of the border patrol. I think of everything I’ll have to do once we reach the island.

I’ll check in with Alexei, and I have to call my younger brother, Damien, so he’ll know I’ll be out of reach for a while.

With the setup we had installed on the island, I’ll be able to help Alexei keep track of the underground chatter.

It takes a couple of hours before I steer us into the natural harbor, where I dock the boat.

We’ll be able to lie low for as long as it takes. The island has a windmill, providing water from a pond, and an underwater electric cable supplies all the power we’ll need.

I look over to the mansion Alexei had built. My friend has a fondness for luxury. The double-story house has five bedrooms on the upper level, and the ground floor consists of the living room, kitchen, gym, entertainment room, and dining room. The basement has been converted into an armory and security room. A deck surrounds the house with a hot tub out back. Half of the island’s surface consists of rocks and a helipad, and the other half is covered with pine trees.

Even though you can see the mainland, we’re secluded enough.

Slipping my arms beneath Ariana, I lift her body to my chest and step off the boat. Reaching the front door, I key in the code, and then it swings open. As I walk into the entrance, lights begin to flicker on from the movement.

I take Ariana to one of the guest rooms, and after laying her down on the bed, I remove the blanket and untie her wrists and ankles.

My eyes drift over her, and reaching for her neck, I brush the blond strands of hair away and frown at the red marks I left on her pale skin. Again it strikes me that she looks nothing like Sergei and Yuri.

I take in her feminine features, the bow of her eyebrows, the straight line of her nose, and her full lips. High cheekbones add to her stunning beauty.

She’s easily half my size, and as my gaze drifts over her slender arms and torso, red abrasions on her arm remind me of the fall.

Walking out of the bedroom, I head to the room that’s rigged with our medical supplies. I grab some antiseptic wipes and balm, then go back to Ariana. Sitting down on the side of the bed, I take hold of her arm and gently wipe the dirt from the wound. I dab on the balm then lower her arm back to the bed. Checking the rest of her body, I find more abrasions peeking from beneath the waistband of her leggings. Tugging the fabric slightly down her hip, I quickly clean the scrapes.

My eyes drift over her body again, and I can’t ignore the swells of her breasts that are clearly visible under the thin fabric of her shirt.

She’s just another woman.

I use the other half of the bedding to cover her, then leave the room. I pull the door shut behind me as I take my phone from my pocket. All our devices are encrypted, even though it would be stupid for someone to try and hack or trace us. Rather safe than having to deal with an unwelcome problem.

I dial Alexei’s number.

“Talk to me,” he answers.

“We’re safe.”

“How did it go?” he asks.

I let out a huff. “That favor you owe me? It’s going to be fucking big,” I mutter as I walk to the security room.

Alexei lets out a burst of laughter, clearly entertained by me. “Come on. One little woman. How hard can it be?”

“That little woman has a healthy set of lungs on her.” I turn on the systems. “Did you found out anything new?”

“No. Not yet.”

“It’s not too late for me to take the girl back to her apartment. Are you sure you want to go up against Yuri?”

Alexei lets out a chuckle. “What? And deprive you of your vacation. What kind of friend would I be then?”

“Fuck you,” I mutter. Still, the corner of my mouth lifts because it’s impossible to get angry with Alexei.

“You know I love you, but you’re not my type,” he jokes.

“Thank God,” I chuckle.

Getting back to the problem, Alexei says, “We’ll hear what Sergei wants.”

“And if he wants her dead?” I ask.

“We’ll deal with that when it happens. Relax and enjoy the break.”

“What fucking break? I’m stuck with a girl who’s freaking out.”

“She’ll calm down. Give her time to adjust,” Alexei says.

I let out a dissatisfied huff. “One day, I’ll cash in the favor, and it won’t be something you like, and you better do it.”

Alexei begins to laugh. “I look forward to the challenge.”

“I’m going to leave my phone in the security room so she can’t call for help. I’ll check it three times a day.”

“Okay. Try to relax while you’re there.”

“Not gonna happen,” I chuckle. “Watch your back.”

“I will.”

After we end the call, I dial Damien’s number. My brother got married a couple of years ago and lives on a private island near Finland. I don’t see him as much as I’d like to, but we keep in touch.

“Hey, how are you?” he answers.

“Good. Just wanted to let you know I’m disappearing for a while. If you need something, call Alexei.”

“Why won’t you be with Alexei?” Damien asks, concern instantly creeping into his voice. He knows I’m always by Alexei’s side.

“I’m guarding an innocent. If anyone, and I mean anyone, calls you to ask where I am, just say you haven’t heard from me in a while. Watch your back.”

“Okay, but let me know if you need back up.”

Hearing how worried my brother is, I say, “I’ll be fine. I’m laying low in a safe house. Only Alexei knows where it is.”

“Good. Call me as soon as you can.”

“I will.”

Ending the conversation, I set the phone down on the desk and glance over all the monitors before heading to the bedroom I’ll be using. After taking a quick shower, I dress in a black pair of cargo pants and a white t-shirt.

I stop by Ariana’s room to check on her, and seeing she’s still unconscious, I go downstairs to the kitchen.

I start a pot of coffee before I look through the cupboards to take stock of what food we have. I’ll have to go to the mainland for the necessities and make a mental list of everything we’ll need.

When the pot is full, I pour myself a cup, and while sipping on the hot liquid, my thoughts turn to Ariana.

Christ, she’s going to be a handful. Not that I can blame her. The chances of her believing anything I say are next to nothing.

I shake my head, not looking forward to when she wakes up.

She’s probably going to scream.

And try to run.

I wasn’t joking when I said I’ll gag her if she screams. I’m only here to make sure she stays alive and couldn’t give a fuck whether she’s comfortable.

I let out a sigh, and finishing my coffee, I rinse the cup out and set it down on the rack to dry.

Christ, Alexei owes me for this.

 


 

ARIANA

 

Coming to, my mind’s a foggy mess. I pry my eyes open, and once they adjust to the light streaming in from the windows, I glance around at the foreign furniture.

Where the hell am I?

Memories of the kidnapping flood back, and my body begins to tremble as fear grips my insides.

I push myself into a sitting position, taking in the elegant dressing table, the closets, the high back chair in the corner, and the big bed I’m on.

Demitri untied me, and I glance over my t-shirt and leggings before looking at my left arm. Noticing the scrapes from the fall have been cleaned, a frown forms on my forehead.

Climbing to my feet, I walk to the window and look out over the pine trees, and in the distance, there’s only water. A lake?

Turning around, I slowly move to the door, and when I try the knob, I’m surprised when it opens.

I peek out into the hallway, and not seeing anyone, I cautiously leave the room. Reaching the stairs, my heart is hammering in my chest. I inch my way down, my eyes taking in the luxurious interior of the house. Everything reeks of money, but it does nothing to keep the fear from licking at my insides.

When I reach the bottom of the stairs, I quickly take in the spacious living room. As my eyes turn to the kitchen, it’s only to find Demitri leaning back against a counter with his arms crossed over his chest. He just watches me.

Demitri Vetrov.

Again the realization shocks me to my core.

My eyes dart around until they land on the front door. Before I can take a step, Demitri says, “You can try to run, but you won’t get anywhere. We’re on an island.”

Another wave of shock crashes over me, and my eyes snap back to him.

 “You can’t swim to the mainland either.” He sounds bored, his demeanor casual.

My tongue darts out to wet my lips, and I swallow hard on the fear before I ask, “Why did you take me?”

“I already told you,” he mutters. “There’s a hit out on you. You’re here for your own safety. Once we’ve made contact with your father, we’ll do what he wants.”

The last time I spoke to my dad, he sounded really weak, and the call only lasted two minutes before he was breathless. “What if he can’t take the call? My dad’s sick.”

“An associate is on his way to meet with your father. You just need to sit tight.”

I lick my lips again, my hand still clutching the railing. “So, if my dad tells you to let me go, you will?”

Demitri only nods.

Yeah, right.

I cautiously move toward the front door, my eyes darting between Demitri and my escape.

“You’re free to move around the property, but if you give me any shit, I’ll lock you in the bedroom,” he warns me.

I expect him to lunge at me at any moment, but instead, he just watches me. As I get close to the front door, it starts to swing open. Instead of feeling hopeful that I’ll manage to escape, I begin to feel claustrophobic.

I’m on an island?

Surrounded by water?

My breathing begins to speed up as I step outside, and when I only see more water beyond the rocky shore, it feels like I’m a second away from losing my mind.

Spotting a boat, I dart forward and run as fast as I can. My bare feet slap against the rocks, and I ignore the discomfort of the uneven surface digging into my soles. I scramble onto the boat but quickly realize there are no keys.

Of course. Like Demitri would leave them in the boat.

Glancing around me, it starts to sink in, hopelessly and terrifyingly – I’ve been taken, and there’s nowhere for me to go.

A gasp explodes from my dry lips as I wrap my arms around myself. Trembles begin to wrack my body, and panic claws at my heart.

Dad will tell them to let me go.

Yuri will find me if they don’t.

People will notice I’m missing.

But not for a while.

God.

My breaths speed up as my panic grows.

I’ve been kidnapped by Demitri Vetrov.

I overheard Dad talk about him and Alexei Koslov. They wiped out half of the Albanian Mafia, killing close to a hundred men in one day. It was a bloodbath.

‘The devil and his hellhound will pave the way for the Bratva to take over new territories.’

Dad’s words shudder through me, and my eyes snap back to the house.

What do they want?

A ransom?

To use me as collateral, so my dad will do what they want?

Maybe they’re planning some kind of coop to overthrow my dad and brother so Alexei and Demitri can take over the Bratva?

Probably the latter, which means I’ll also be killed. That’s how it works in their world, right? Take out the whole family?

I slump down on the seat of the boat, hopelessness threatening to overwhelm me.

As the sun moves across the sky, I can’t bring myself to move. I stare blankly ahead of me as I process the past twelve hours.

Eventually, a weird calm settles over me.

It’s up to me to save myself.

But how?

I’m no match against Demitri.

I’ll have to try to catch him off guard, but not before I find the keys for the boat. 

Sucking in a deep breath of air, I slowly turn my eyes toward the house.

The only thing I know for sure is that I won’t go down without a fight.

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