Tears Of Salvation: Chapter 16

ALEXEI

I’ve been wound tight since the kiss. I pride myself on always having control over everything. But as soon as it comes to Isabella, the intensity overrides any hope of me keeping control of the situation.

It’s as if a primal instinct takes over, and all I want to do is claim everything she has to offer until I own her.

I’m standing in my bedroom, and with my hands in the pockets of my pants, I stare blankly over the backyard while trying to figure out how I feel.

I fucking want Isabella Terrero. Not only because she’ll be a valuable ally, but because I’m falling for her.

I’m fucking falling.

I’ve teased my friends and brother when they fell in love. I helped them get the girl. I’ve watched them build lives with the women they love.

But not for a second did I think there’s a woman out there who will make me want my own happily ever after.

I let out a burst of cynical laughter.

Fuck, how the mighty fall.

Isabella Terrero. The fucking daughter of my enemy. I did not see that coming.

My eyes narrow at the thought that her memory can return at any moment. I have no fucking idea what I’ll do if that happens.

I’m not sure how Isabella will react. After all, we could’ve left her to die in Columbia. Hopefully, that counts for something. Also, I’ve gone above and beyond to make her feel at home.

Maybe she won’t freak out.

Maybe luck will be on my side for a little while longer.

I hear the door open behind me and slowly glance over my shoulder. Isabella comes in and shuts the door before walking toward me.

I turn my gaze back to the view outside the window as she comes to stand beside me. Silence weaves around us as I wonder what the future holds for us. I’ve always been able to plan ahead, but that seems to be a thing of the past.

“I want to start training,” she murmurs softly.

“Okay.” Turning my face, I glance down at her. “Just take it slow.”

She nods, lifting her eyes to mine, and then we stare at each other.

After a moment, Isabella asks, “Who are you, Alexei? What makes you tick?”

I turn my gaze back to the view, thinking how to answer her. “I’m a conqueror.” I take a slow breath, then exhale.
“It’s all about the power. I’m addicted to it.” Turning to face Isabella, I stare deep into her eyes. “You’re the first woman to make me tick. You’re such a fucking challenge, and I love it.”

A soft smile forms around Isabella’s mouth. “I just need a little more time.”

Time.

Nodding, I lift my left arm and wrap it around her shoulders, pulling her against my side. “As long as you fall in love with me.” I make it sound like a joke even though I’m dead serious.

Isabella glances up at me. “That’s the easy part… but it’s only been two weeks… in my mind. I can’t just get engaged and marry you based on what I’ve been told. I’m sorry we have to start over. I know it must be frustrating for you.”

Lowering my arm from her shoulders, I turn to face her. “Setting love aside, would you consider a marriage to form an alliance?”

Isabella’s left eyebrow lifts. “With the world we’re born into, I always knew my mother would try and force the issue at some point. Not that I had any intention of just marrying whoever she tried to pawn off on me.” Isabella shakes her head. “I’m not a slave.”

It was worth a try.

“But I’m willing to consider it,” she says, surprising me. “After all, it will still be my choice and not my mother’s.”

The corner of my mouth lifts. “Marrying me would be the biggest fuck you to your mother. Keep that in mind.”

And making the announcement of our engagement public might be just the thing to draw Sonia out of her hiding place.

Isabella lets out a chuckle and walks toward the bathroom. “You make it sound very tempting.”

Hopefully, tempting enough.

“I’m going to get ready for bed,” she adds before disappearing into the bathroom.

My eyes drift to the bed, and knowing sex isn’t on the table, I’m mentally preparing myself for one hell of a long night.

Letting out a sigh, I walk to the closet and moving my suits out of the way, the biometric scanner verifies me before the vault opens.

Taking the engagement ring I got earlier today from my pocket, I place it in the vault before shutting it, not sure whether I’ll ever get to put the ring on Isabella’s finger.

 


 

ISABELLA

 

It feels strangely intimate hearing Alexei take a shower as I slip beneath the covers.

But not awkward.

There’s even anticipation growing in my chest. Gathering my hair, I pull it over my right shoulder, and then I lie down.

I can smell Alexei on the covers, and turning my head, I look at the right side of the bed where he’ll sleep. The bathroom door opens, and my eyes flick to where Alexei comes out wearing only a pair of black sweatpants, steam billowing behind him.

My gaze drifts over his chest and abs, and the hot V leading to the low-hanging waistband.

God, I have good taste.

He stops next to the bed, and tilting his head, he stares at me. “You look good in my bed.”

Things have been good between us, and the sexual tension is off the charts, but I’m still healing, so there will be no sex.

“Don’t get any ideas,” I warn him.

Alexei grins as he shakes his head. Switching off the light, he comes to throw the covers back and then lies down.

“You stay on your side, and I’ll stay on mine,” I say.

“Fuck that shit,” he grumbles. “I’m already forgoing sex.” Alexei reaches for me, and then I’m tugged over to his side until my body’s pressed against his.

My left hand lands on his chest, and I feel the heat from his body seeping into mine. I can’t keep a smile from playing around my lips as I rest my head against his shoulder.

We lie in silence, and I take a deep breath of Alexei’s scent.

I love it.

I relax and close my eyes, focusing on how it feels to lie next to Alexei. With things not feeling so new between us anymore, the emotions growing inside me don’t seem weird or too fast, but instead, natural.

Also, there’s no worry of having to wonder how Alexei feels about me, so I’m not burdened by the usual uncertainties when starting a relationship.

“What are you thinking?” he murmurs.

“How natural this feels,” I answer honestly.

“Yeah?” He places a finger beneath my chin and nudges my face up so I’ll meet his eyes.

We’re wrapped in a bubble of intimacy, and it has me admitting, “You make it easy for me to get back to how we were before I lost my memory.”

Alexei slowly begins to lean down until I feel his breath on my lips. His voice is a low rumble as he says, “Christ, I want to fuck you, but for now, I’ll settle for your mouth.”

Our mouths meet in a frenzy, and I feel Alexei’s need spilling over into me as his lips knead mine until they’re swollen and tingling. His teeth bites and his tongue soothes, working me up until I’m second-guessing myself.

I’ve healed a lot. Maybe the pain won’t be so bad.

I should’ve taken painkillers.

God, there’s no way I’m stopping him if he pushes for more.

My heart rate spikes, and my breaths come fast as I lose myself in the kiss, handing the control over to Alexei. It makes him growl, and he pushes me onto my back.

Alexei pushes a hand beneath my shirt, and I’m surprised when his touch is soft and not rough. It’s in total contrast to the kiss, but knowing he’s still keeping my injuries in mind, warms my heart.

When his palm covers my breast, my breaths speed up even more. I wrap my right arm around him, my fingers splaying over his muscled back.

Alexei’s tongue thrusts forcefully, sweeping through my mouth as if he’s branding me.

His hand moves away from my breast, and as he keeps himself braced on his left arm to keep his weight off me, he pushes the waistband of my leggings down until the side of my hip is exposed. When his fingers trail up and down the stretch of skin, he lets out a satisfied moan.

Pulling his mouth away from mine, his lips move over my jaw and down my neck. “Christ, I love the feel of your skin. Fucking silk.”

Caught up in the moment, I’m a second away from begging him to fuck me.

Before I can voice my need, Alexei pulls entirely away from me and slumps onto his back beside me, taking deep breaths. “Now we’re both frustrated.”

“You couldn’t just suffer in silence on your own?” I grumble, frustrated that we can’t take it further. Two weeks after taking two bullets is a bit too soon.

Lowering his hand, he grips his impressive length through the sweatpants and lets out a chuckle. “Trust me, I’m suffering more. I just wanted company tonight, seeing as I won’t be getting any sleep.”

“Aww… poor you,” I mutter. “While you’re unable to sleep, can you go get me some water and painkillers?”

Alexei’s eyes snap to me, and he instantly leans over me. “Did I hurt you?”

Shaking my head, I grin at him. “It’s just tender enough to annoy me, and they’ll knock me out.”

Getting up from the bed, Alexei says, “Be right back.”

When he leaves the room, I stare up at the ceiling, and my thoughts turn to the passionate moment we just shared.

Maybe a marriage to form an alliance won’t be the worst thing. I can definitely learn to love Alexei.

I already like him, and the attraction between us is strong.

Deciding to take a couple of days to think about it, I actually feel better than I have during the past two weeks. It feels as if things are slowly falling back into place even though my memories are still missing in action.

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