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Tears Of Salvation: Chapter 17


The waiting and not knowing what Isabella will decide or when her memory will return is going to be the end of me. I fucking hate it.

It’s been two weeks since I mentioned the marriage to form an alliance, and she hasn’t said anything about it since.

Patience is not a fucking virtue. It’s pure torture.

Walking into the gym, I find Isabella jogging on a treadmill. She’s nearly regained her former muscle and strength. But then again, she’s been working out like a demon.

Climbing on the treadmill next to hers, I set the pace for a slow jog so I can warm up.

“You’re late,” she says, sounding a little breathless.

I was on a call with Carson, who hasn’t been able to find the girls. It’s been a month since Carson and Damien were forced to breach Isabella’s safe house, only to find it empty.

The girls we saved before Isabella got hurt just vanished, and I can only hope Sonia didn’t get to them first.

Also, there’s still no fucking trace of Sonia. She’s too quiet, and I get a feeling she’s planning an attack. Even though she was seen in Ethiopia, there’s been no proof of life, and I think it’s to throw us off her track.

“I had business to take care of,” I reply as I increase my pace.

“Something wrong?” Isabella asks, sparing me a glance.

“Just frustrated,” I mutter, increasing my pace until I’m running. “Sonia’s nowhere to be found, and I don’t like it one bit.”

Isabella slows her treadmill down to a stop, and then it looks like she’s deep in thought.

“You know where she might be hiding?” I’ve asked Isabella before, but all the places she mentioned didn’t help to find Sonia.

“What about St. Monarch’s?” Isabella turns her eyes to mine. “That’s where I’d go.”

A frown forms on my forehead.

Then it fucking hits me like a ten-ton truck. I should’ve thought of St. Monarch’s. That’s where we all go if we need medical care and to lay low.


Madame Keller knows I’ve been looking for Sonia.


Stopping the treadmill, I rush out of the gym and head straight for the security room, where I left my phone. Picking up the device, anger begins to bubble in my chest as I dial the number for St. Monarch’s.

“What’s wrong?” Demitri asks. I hold up a hand to silence him.

“Mr. Koslov, to what do I owe the honor?” Madame Keller answers.

“Is Sonia Terrero there?” I bite the question out.

Madame Keller doesn’t answer immediately before she answers, “You know I can’t tell you if a guest is on the grounds. Especially if they’re paying for the security St. Monarch’s offers.”


I end the call before I start a war with Madame Keller, and then I slam a fist on the desk. “Fuck!”

Demitri gets up from the chair. “Want to tell me what’s going on?”

“Sonia’s fucking hiding at St. Monarch’s,” I say, my voice deadly from the rage pulsing through my body.

I fucking should’ve checked St. Monarch’s first. I’ve wasted so much time.

“Fuck,” Demitri mutters just as Isabella comes walking into the security room.

She must’ve heard what I just said because she doesn’t hesitate to remind me, “St. Monarch’s is neutral ground. Going after my mother while she’s there will take a hell of a lot of firepower.”

Demitri shakes his head. “Not to mention, a lot of our allies won’t have our back.”

“Carson and Damien will,” I state the obvious. “Also Winter and Lucian.”

“That makes seven of us against a well-trained army,” Isabella says.


My eyes snap to hers. “You’re willing to fight with us?”

A frown forms on Isabella’s forehead. “With a little training, I’ll be ready. I’m healed, so I don’t see what the problem is.”

Fuck. Right.

I almost slipped up.

Isabella lifts her chin, and it makes her look powerful as she says, “Besides, it’s only right that I’m at my fiancé’s side.”

My heart literally stops for a moment before it starts to speed up. “Is that a yes?”

Isabella shrugs. “Ask me and find out.” Then, turning around, she walks to the door. “The proposal better be romantic.”

Even though I’m still angry from learning where Sonia’s been hiding, a smile spreads over my face.

That’s one win I really needed right now.

Turning to Demitri, ask, “How am I going to make the proposal romantic?”

He gives me an incredulous look. “You’re aware I don’t have a romantic bone in my body? Go ask Ariana.”


I leave the security room to take care of planning the proposal so I can focus solely on Sonia.

One fucking mountain at a time, Alexei.

When I walk into Ariana’s office, she gives me a startled look. “What? Did something happen?”

Grabbing a chair, I sit down, and then I lock eyes with her. “Give me an idea for a romantic proposal.” Ariana blinks at me as if I just spoke a foreign language. “Want me to repeat it in Russian?”

She quickly shakes her head. “Oh no, I just never expected to hear those words from you. I thought you knew everything,” she teases me.

I give her a scowl.

“Don’t give me the look of death. If you want my help, ask me nicely.”

Taking a deep breath, I smile. “Help me plan a romantic proposal, little one.”

Ariana lets out a chuckle. “You don’t know how to ask for something, but that will do.”

Ariana begins to tap her fingers on her desk, and when a solid minute has passed, I say, “Take your time. It’s not like I’m in a rush.”

She shoots me a glare. “I have a million ideas, and I’m trying to figure out which one Isabella will love. So sit quietly and let me think if you want my help.”

Christ, this is going to take all day.

“What about a candle-lit dinner?” I ask.

“Boring,” Ariana mutters.

I try to come up with something else, but I’ve got nothing.

I stare at Ariana until she lets out a huff. “You’re putting a damper on my creativity.” Another torturous moment passes, then she says, “You could take her to a field with pretty flowers. Maybe have lanterns hanging from trees to make it look mystical. You’re going to have to write vows or something to win her over with. Just asking her to marry you isn’t enough.”

“Me writing something? You’re kidding, right?”

Ariana frowns at me. “Figure it out, Alexei. I’m not helping with that. It has to come from the heart.”

I let out a burst of laughter. “It’s cute how you assume I have a heart.”

Ariana leans over to me, patting my chest. “You forget I know you. Don’t try and be all badass with me.” Settling back in her chair, she says, “Just tell Isabella why you want to marry her. Tell her how you feel.”

Damn, have I been so good at the act that even Ariana believes I’m in love with Isabella?

As if Ariana can read my mind, she says, “Only you think it’s an act. I’ve seen how you are with Isabella. You care about her, and maybe you should accept that fact before you ask her to marry you.”

Getting up from the chair, I look down at Ariana. “Caring is not loving, little one.”

I stalk out of her office and find myself heading to one of the empty guest rooms. I shut the door behind me and then go stand in front of the window so I can think.

I’ve been so caught up in everything, I haven’t really considered how I feel.

I remember the hook-up I had with Isabella. Seeing her in action and how she earned my respect. But, having her close to me the past month… yeah, I do care.

I love her bravery, her strength, her intelligence. Most of all, I love how she fought against Sonia to free the slaves. It shows Isabella has heart. When she cares about something, she’s willing to die for it.

Closing my eyes, I bring up the image of Isabella. Her beauty, her sensualness, her scent – I love it all.

I fucking love her?

My eyes snap open, and I frown.

Is this what it’s like?

Taking a deep breath, I bring up the memory of Isabella falling from the helicopter. Her almost dying.

My hands tighten in fists as a shudder ripples through my chest.

Okay. Deep breaths.

You love Isabella.


My breathing begins to speed up as I feel panic for the first time in my life.

What if her memory returns and I lose her?

What the fuck will I do then?





After yesterday’s shit show, when we found out my mother’s been hiding at St. Monarch’s all along, Alexei’s been tense as hell.

He only came to bed in the early morning hours and was gone when I woke up. I’m trying to think of a way to help, but right now, I’m coming up empty-handed.

I grab a bottle of water from the fridge when Alexei comes stalking into the kitchen.

Giving me an impatient look, he says, “You better drink that quickly.”


“I want to take you somewhere.”

I take a couple of sips and then place the bottle on the counter while asking, “Where?”

Alexei grabs hold of my hand, and then he drags me out of the kitchen and up the stairs to our suite. Gesturing at the closet, he says, “Change into your leather pants and jacket. I’ll wait downstairs.”

I watch him stalk out of the room as if he’s off to kill someone, then I pull clothes from the closet. I quickly change and put on a pair of boots, hoping whatever he has planned will ease his stress level a little.

When I look at my reflection in the mirror, a familiar sensation flickers through me. I feel comfortable in the clothes as if they’re a second skin.

Also, I look badass.

Walking out of the room, I head down the stairs and find Alexei standing by the open front door. His eyes lock on me, and then the corner of his mouth lifts as if he’s satisfied with what he’s seeing.

We step out of the house, and when I see the motorcycle, a smile spreads over my face. 

Alexei climbs onto the metal beast then holds a helmet out to me. “Come.”

I take the helmet and put it on, and then I climb onto the back of the motorcycle and grip hold of Alexei’s sides.

He starts the engine, and when he pulls away from the house, I wrap my arms around his middle.

The moment he steers the motorcycle off the property, he opens the throttle, and we dart forward.

I let out a burst of laughter, feeling more excited than when I’m at the shooting range.

When we hit the highway, the wind rips at us. Exhilaration rushes through my veins, and I close my eyes, losing myself in the moment.

With my arms wrapped tightly around Alexei, and the motorcycle’s power between my legs, the moment feels… perfect.

Losing track of time, I have no idea how long we’re riding or where we’re heading until Alexei brings us to a stop. Glancing around, we’re near a cliff overlooking the ocean.

We climb off, and after removing the helmets, Alexei takes hold of my hand and leads me up a trail. When we reach the top, I stare out over the beautiful view, still smiling.


I turn to Alexei, and seeing the serious expression, I give him a questioning look.

He takes a deep breath and then tilting his head, the seriousness makes way for a tender look that causes my heart to constrict.

“Whatever happens in the future, I want you to remember this moment. I mean everything I’m going to say.”

“Okay.” My tongue darts out to wet my lips.

Alexei takes another deep breath, and then his eyes lock with mine. “I love you.”

The words hit me straight in the heart, which is weird because it’s not the first time he’s saying them to me. But this time, it sounds different… heartfelt.

He shakes his head, emotion tightening his features. “I fucking love everything about you. I could spend the next hour going into detail, but I won’t. I want you. All of you. I want you next to my side. I want to wage wars with you. I want to build empires with you. I want you in every new memory I make because there isn’t a woman on the face of this planet I respect more.”

Alexei’s words knock the breath from me, filling my racing heart with overwhelming emotions. Happiness. Comfort. Anticipation. But most importantly, affection… and the first glimmer of love.

“Isabella Terrero, will you marry me?” Alexei asks.

I stare at him for a moment, taking in the importance of what’s happening on this cliff.

It’s not just about love. It’s us forming an unbreakable alliance for life. Together we’ll fight. Together we’ll die.

But first… together, we’ll live.

“Yes, I will.”

Alexei’s eyes drift closed, and relief washes over his face. “Thank fuck.” He lets out a chuckle then reaches into his pocket, pulling out a ring. “Give me your left hand.”

“Who said romance was dead?” I mutter playfully as I offer my hand to him.

Alexei slips his ring onto my finger, and then his eyes lift to mine. “There’s no going back now.”

I lower my gaze to the princess-cut diamond. “An alliance between a Koslov and a Terrero, who would’ve thought.”

When I meet Alexei’s eyes again, he says, “I can’t wait to change your last name to Koslov.”

Isabella Koslov.

I inhale sharply from how powerful the name sounds.

A new name for a new life.

Alexei closes the distance between us, and lifting both his hands, he frames my face and stares at me with absolute devotion.

Raising myself on my toes, I press my mouth to his, and then I wrap my arms around him… the man I’m going to marry… the man I’ll conquer the world with.


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