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Tears Of Salvation: Chapter 12


Staring at Isabella as she sleeps, the plan to tell her we’re engaged keeps growing, taking root in my mind.

Dr. Oberio said the amnesia could be temporary or permanent. There’s no way of telling how things will play out in Isabella’s case, as the mind is a mysterious thing.

I’m going to fucking do it.

If her memory returns before I’ve managed to make her fall for me, I’ll let her go. Maybe fate will be on my side, and it will only return after the wedding. After I’ve managed to form a solid bond with her.

Before that, there will be no way on god’s green earth I’ll be able to keep her. Isabella’s too wild, and I refuse to break her. I’m not even sure if that’s a possibility with the will of steel she has.

She begins to stir, and it has me leaning forward and taking hold of her hand. I brush my thumb over her soft skin and wait until her eyes open and focus on me.

Smiling at her, I inject tenderness into my voice as I ask, “How do you feel?”

“Ahh… alive.” She swallows hard, and I quickly reach for a glass of water. Slipping my left hand beneath her head, I help her so she can take a sip, and then she murmurs, “Thanks.”

Instead of moving back, I pull my fingers through the strands of her hair, and it has her asking, “Are we close?”

Locking eyes with Isabella, the lie spills effortlessly over my lips. “Yes. We’re engaged.”

Her eyebrows shoot up. “We are? When did that happen?”

“After I helped Winter, I stopped by the academy, and we just hit things off.”

She blinks at me, then a frown settles on her forehead. “And how does my mother feel about that?”

Letting out a chuckle, I shake my head. “She wasn’t happy.” Here goes nothing. “She attacked us, and that’s why you got hurt.” It’s not that much of a stretch. Meaning my next words, I say, “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to protect you. I wasn’t expecting things to turn out the way they did.”

Isabella stares long and hard at me, then she asks, “So we just hit it off, and what… we’re in love?”

Nodding, I soften my expression, hoping it looks similar to me being in love. I’ve never loved a woman, so fuck knows what that looks like. “It was love at first sight.”

The suspicion doesn’t leave Isabella’s eyes as she watches me. “Then I should feel something if you hug me… right?”

I fucking hope so.

Sitting down on the side of the bed, I place my hands on the pillow on either side of Isabella’s head. Leaning down until we’re face to face, I lock eyes with her. “You’re the most amazing woman I know, Isabella. A fucking goddess. Not only did I fall for you, but I admire you.”

Her lips part as her eyes jump over my face, then she starts to look uncomfortable and mutters, “Fine, I feel it. Give me some space.”

Smiling, I press a kiss to her forehead, and then I move back to the chair.

“Ah… so I lost four years?”

“Yes. You’re twenty-five now.”

“How long did we date before we got engaged?”

Fuck. I didn’t think that part through.

“Three years,” I answer, just winging it. “We’ve been engaged a year and would’ve gotten married in a month.”

Not bad, Alexei.

“Did I complete my training at St. Monarch’s?” she fires off another question.

“You didn’t train in sex slavery and drug dealing.” And that is why information is so damn expensive in my world. “You trained as a custodian, and you were just as good as Demitri.”

Surprise flickers in her eyes. “Really?”

“Yes, since you finished your training, we’ve been working against your mother to free the slaves.”

Isabella tries to sit up, and I quickly reach for her shoulders, pulling her toward me so I can adjust the pillows behind her before leaning her back against them. “I’ve been freeing slaves… with you?”

I sit down on the side of the bed. “Yes. It’s something you’re very passionate about.”

Isabella stares down at the covers over her legs, and I can see she’s trying hard to remember. Bringing a hand up to her face, I tuck some of her black hair behind her ear, and then I palm her cheek. “Your memories will come back. Don’t push too hard right now.”

Lifting her eyes to mine, it feels as if she’s searching for something on my face, and then she asks, “Do you love me?”

Ahh… what the hell, let’s just go with it.

“Very much. You have no idea how important you are to me.”

No idea at all.

“So, do we live together?” she asks another question.

I nod. “In LA.”

I’ll have to make space for her in my room and fill half the walk-in closet with clothes. Fuck, I have a lot to do before she leaves the hospital.

Isabella nods, and a slight frown line forms between her eyebrows. Her gaze darts around the room before settling on mine. “I don’t think I can get married in a month. I know… we share a history, but… I need time to get to know you again.”

“I can be patient.” Now that’s the biggest lie I’ve told her. I’m as impatient as fuck. The corner of my mouth lifts as I say, “I don’t want you to worry about anything and to just take it easy so you can heal.”

Her eyes search mine again as if she’s weighing every word I say, then she murmurs, “Thank you.”

There’s a moment’s silence before she admits, “All I know of you is that you’re the best assassin.”

Moving back to the chair, I get comfortable. “I’m now the head of the bratva.”

Isabella lets out a chuckle. “Ooh, I bet that pissed off my mother.”

“A fuck ton.”

The smile on Isabella’s face draws my attention to her mouth, and then I say, “When you smile like that, it makes me want to kiss you.”

Her left eyebrow lifts slightly. “Are you warning me or asking permission?”

“Oh, baby,” I chuckle darkly. “I’m warning you.” Pushing up from the chair again, I frame her face with both my hands and press a kiss to her mouth. Everything fucking stills inside me the same way it did when I fucked her at the party. Then, a weird mixture of instinct and need takes over, and my lips begin to move against hers.

I can honestly say I can’t remember when I last kissed a woman. Fucked, yes. But kiss… I come up blank.

My heart actually skips a fucking beat at the intensity I’m hit with, and then I yank away from Isabella. Getting up from the bed, I wipe the pad off my thumb over my bottom lip as I stare down at her. “I should go home and… pack a hospital bag for you. Get some sleep while I’m gone.”

Isabella clears her throat. “Remember a toothbrush.”

Nodding, I head out of the room while it feels as if I’ve just been fucking tasered in the heart.





God, nothing makes sense. Besides feeling like I’ve been hit by a bus, everything’s foreign.

I keep trying to remember, forcing myself until it feels as if I have a second heartbeat pounding away against my skull.

But the last thing I remember clearly is wanting to talk to Madame Keller about switching my training. I didn’t want my mother to know, and it all adds up with what Alexei told me earlier.

When he stared into my eyes and told me what he thought of me, and when he kissed me, I felt a strong attraction toward him. I can see why I fell for him even though I can’t say that I love him. Maybe the emotions will come back?

I’m engaged to Alexei Koslov.

“I’m engaged to Alexei Koslov,” I say the words out loud, but it sounds more like a question than a fact.

“I trained as a custodian, and I’m as good as Demitri.” This time I feel the words settle in my heart.

Everything else Alexei said makes sense. I’m not surprised my mother almost killed me because there was never any love between us, and I planned to overthrow her.

Also, I respect Winter and everything she stands for. Last I heard, she married Damien Vetrov, so I can see how I’d be open to getting to know Alexei, seeing as they are practically family.

My thoughts turn back to when he kissed me, and I focus on how I felt. It was like a rush… an adrenaline shot to my heart.

Letting out a sigh, I close my eyes and try to relax, but I feel too wound up.

God, it’s like my mind is filled with blank spots. I know they’re there, but I can’t figure out what’s missing. It feels like I’ve forgotten something or someone very important. As if it’s on the tip of my tongue, but I just can’t… I let out a frustrated growl, pushing my hands into my hair and gripping fistfuls.

Maybe it’s Alexei? Maybe this feeling is the love I felt for him?

I keep my eyes closed, the bright lights of the hospital room making my migraine worse.

“You okay?” Alexei suddenly asks, and my eyes snap open. I didn’t even hear him come into the room.

“Bad headache,” I answer as I watch him set down a bag on the chair by the door.

Alexei glances to where the nursing station is, and then he orders, “Give her something for pain.”

“Yes, Mr. Koslov,” the nurse quickly answers, and a moment later, she comes rushing into the room.

After she injects something into my IV, Alexei murmurs, “Thank you.” He comes to stand next to the bed, and once the nurse leaves, he leans over me, pressing a kiss to my forehead. “Hopefully, you’ll feel better soon.”

My eyes dart over his face as he pulls back, and once again, I try to imagine us a couple.

God, it feels so foreign.

Shouldn’t I have some sense that I loved this man enough to marry him?

Alexei’s dark brown eyes lock on mine, and I instantly feel the intensity and power coming from him. He’s attractive, his features strong and mercilessly cut from granite. The blondish-white hair gives him an edgy vibe.

He is my type.

I focus on my feelings and notice I don’t feel any fear, which means I subconsciously feel safe with him.

Alexei tilts his head. “What are you thinking?”

“I’m trying to make sense of everything.” Shaking my head, I let out a frustrated sigh. “Everything’s confusing. I hate it.”

His mouth lifts into a sexy grin. “You have this thing of always being in control. So it’s normal that you’ll feel out of your depth right now.” He takes hold of my hand, his fingers feeling strong around mine. “Until you’re back to your old self, I’ll take care of everything. Try to think of it as a vacation. You deserve it after working your ass off and nearly dying.”

“How long will I stay in the hospital?” I ask, needing to know how much time I have to prepare myself for going home with Alexei.

“Dr. Oberio said another three days.”

Slowly, I nod, then I ask, “What’s… our home like?”

Alexei takes a seat on the chair next to the bed, making the damn thing look like a throne. “Right now, Demitri and Ariana live with us at the mansion. We’re actually going to build another house on the property where Demitri and Ariana can move to so we’ll have more privacy.” He takes a breath, then explains, “We met Ariana last year. Her father was the former head of the bratva. I took over from him after he passed away, and because we had to protect Ariana, she and Demitri hit it off.”

“What’s my relationship like with her?” I ask, actually relieved to hear it won’t just be Alexei and me.

“You’re friends,” he answers, then he adds, “I’ve told Ariana what happened and that you don’t remember her. Don’t worry. We’ll take things slow when you’re home.”

Nodding, I murmur, “Thank you.” I glance down at our hands, and as Alexei brushes his thumb over my skin, it doesn’t feel uncomfortable. Instead, it actually feels good, causing something to hum to life deep inside of me.

My gaze moves to my left hand, and then I frown. “If we’re engaged, where’s the ring?”

“You sent it in to be cleaned. I’ll pick it up once it’s ready,” Alexei immediately answers.

Feeling a little uncomfortable, I ask, “Do you mind holding onto it for a while… just until I’m ready?”

He gives me a comforting smile. “Of course.”

I stare at Alexei, and somehow I know I’m safe with him, and it’s what I need most while I recover – just a place where I’m safe until my memory returns and I can figure out what’s next.


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