We are taking book requests on our companion website. You can request books here. Make sure, you are following the rules.

Tears Of Salvation: Chapter 23


Standing in front of the window in our bedroom, I check the tracking device I had slotted between the diamond and the band of Isabella’s engagement ring. It shows she’s in Panama.

She hasn’t taken the ring off.

“What’s in Panama, baby?” I whisper as I watch the dot flash. It hasn’t moved for the last twenty-four hours.

Letting out a sigh, I shove my phone back in my pocket and stare out at the garden as the sun rises.

What a fucking mess.

My teeth tug at my bottom lip as I try to come up with a way of convincing Isabella not everything was a lie.

There’s a soft tap on the bedroom door, and when I glance over my shoulder, Demitri comes in.

“How are you holding up?” he asks as he comes to stand next to me.

“I’ll survive.”


The thought of Isabella not being a part of my life is too unbearable to even consider.

“I’ll find a way to get her back.”

“You might not be able to,” Demitri warns.

“I’ll find a way,” I say with certainty. “She can’t hate me forever.”

“How would you have reacted if you were in her position?” Demitri asks, crossing his arms over his chest.

“I didn’t force her,” I mutter.

I’m not my father.

“Answer the question.”

Letting out a sigh, I try to put myself in Isabella’s shoes. Then I shake my head and glare at Demitri. “I wouldn’t be as pissed about it as she is.”

Demitri lifts an eyebrow at me. “What if you were in Isabella’s position, but instead of it being Isabella, your memory returns, and you come face to face with Sonia.”

“What the actual fuck,” I snap at him. “That’s just twisted, brother. Anyone else but Sonia.”

“Isabella considered you the enemy, and then she spent two months falling for the charismatic version of you while you had your way with her. I can only imagine what a fucking shock it must’ve been for her. I told you not to do it.”

Rage explodes through my veins. Turning to face Demitri, my features tighten. He assumes the same position, and then we stare at each other, tension building between us.

Then my body shudders as the memories from my past crawl to the surface like rotten corpses.

I can hear Papa slapping Mama. It’s the only sound echoing through the house because she never cries out loud.

I glance at my baby brother, glad he’s asleep, and then I sneak out of the room. As I creep closer to the stairs, the awful sounds of Papa hitting her become louder. Reaching the railing, I crouch down and peek down.

Papa has his favorite gun in his hand, using it to hit Mama. I bite my bottom lip when I see all the blood.


My face crumbles, and I almost cry out to Papa to stop, but then he points the gun at Mama. She turns her face toward me, and it hurts to see how badly Papa has beaten her.

“Close your eyes,” she cries, her eyes locked on me.

I can’t, Mama.

A bang makes my body jerk, and then my heart pounds out of my chest as I watch Papa glare up at me.

“You never hesitate to pull the trigger, Alexei. When someone betrays you, you kill them. Got it?”

I can’t nod as my eyes move to Mama.

“Do you understand?” Papa shouts.

My movements are jerky as my head bobs up and down.

I understand that Papa killed Mama.

I return from hell with a shuddering breath, and my eyes focus on Demitri’s concerned face.

He didn’t just say what I think he did.

Demitri knows my past.

“Not once did I force, Isabella. And let’s not forget the attraction was there before she lost her memory,” I bite the words out. “I lied about one thing. Don’t make it sound like I fucking held her here against her will, tied her to my bed, and fucking raped her.”

My body begins to tremble uncontrollably from my temper shooting into outer-fucking-space, and my breaths speed up.

Demitri takes a step back, realization flickering in his eyes. “I never said that. Calm down.” The concern quickly deepens on his face. “That’s not what I meant.”

Not able to think straight, I walk away before doing something I’ll regret and blindly head out of the house.

“Alexei!” Demitri shouts behind me.

Climbing into one of the SUVs, I start the engine, and then I floor the gas, fishtailing it out of the driveway.

I push the SUV as fast as it will go while everything in me trembles as if a fucking earthquake is ripping through me.

Is that how Isabella feels?

Is that how she sees it?

I didn’t.

I wouldn’t.

Only when I bring the SUV to a skidding stop do I realize where I am. I shove the door open and walk up the trail until I reach the top of the cliff, and then I sink to my knees.

‘Close your eyes,’ I hear my mother whisper.

Lifting my hand to my chest, I grip the fabric over my heart as unbearable pain rips through me.

Our mother was a sex slave, and when she was done giving birth to Carson and me, my father shot her like she was nothing more than a sick dog that had to be put out of its misery. All because she tried to escape. My father saw it as a betrayal.

It was the first death I witnessed, and I was the last thing she saw.

At seven years old, I was old enough to understand what happened. Luckily Carson was too young to remember anything about her. I’ve protected him from it all his life.

And when I turned twenty-one, I killed my father.

These are my darkest secrets only Demitri knows. The skeletons in my closet, demanding I live by a strict code of honor.

We don’t force women.

This is why I fucking hate Sonia more than anything. It’s why I’m willing to die as long as I take her with me.

My body shudders as I bend over, my fingers grasping at the grass beneath me.

If Isabella feels that I violated her, then there’s no way I’ll ever get her back.

The thought tears mercilessly through my heart, and when it’s done shredding it to pieces, it moves onto my soul.

Because that’s how deeply I love her.

I begin to shake my head, refusing to accept the possibility that she won’t be able to forgive me, that I’m no different from my father.

Christ. No.

I begin to gasp for air as the most profound ache seizes my chest.


I suck in a strangled breath and slam a fist into the ground, and then the first tear falls, and it feels as if it’s coated in my mother’s blood, leaving a trail of betrayal over my cheek.

I’m sorry.

I’m so fucking sorry.

Hearing footsteps behind me, I dart up and spinning around, it’s only to see Demitri walking toward me.

When he stops in front of me, he takes hold of my shoulder and pulls me into an embrace. “I’m sorry. That’s not what I meant. Don’t even think that.”

I suck in a painful breath of air. “What if that’s how she feels? Then I’m no better than him.”

Demitri shakes his head hard, tightening his arms around me. “You didn’t force yourself on Isabella. Just take a moment and calm down. You can’t think clearly when you lose your shit.”

It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s hard to calm down.

Closing my eyes, I listen to my friend. I focus on taking deep breaths.

“You’re a good man,” Demitri murmurs.

I nod, taking another deep breath.

“You’re nothing like your father.”

Bringing my arms up, I grab hold of Demitri, the ghosts of the past refusing to let go of me.

“You’re nothing like your father,” Demitri repeats.

I shake my head, just trying to even out my breathing.

Demitri pulls back and placing his hands on the sides of my neck, his eyes lock with mine. “Listen to me, Alexei. You didn’t force Isabella. Yes, you lied, but you didn’t force her to do anything she didn’t want to.”

I just stare at the only person who truly knows me.

Then he continues, “You’re a good man. I wouldn’t risk my life for you if you weren’t.” I lower my eyes from Demitri’s, but then he says, “You have my loyalty and love because you are nothing like your father. The day you killed him, I vowed to be your custodian because I knew there wasn’t a man alive more deserving of my protection than you.”

I nod, swallowing hard on the turbulent emotions inside me. Turning away from Demitri, I focus my eyes on the ocean.

He moves in next to me, and then silence falls between us as he gives me time to push the past back into the shadows.

 I didn’t force Isabella.

Slowly, I blink as I cling to the thought for the sake of my sanity.





I drag my body out of bed and get ready for the day.

The strength that used to flow through my veins feels like it’s been sapped from my body. The anger has given way to raw heartache, and as much as I hate to admit it, I miss Alexei.

I miss his playful smile.

I miss the way he looked at me… as if he really loved me.

I miss feeling his strong arms around me.

I even fucking miss the way he walks.


Shaking my head, I try to force Alexei from my mind, and after putting on my boots, I leave the bedroom.

I find Ana in the kitchen, where she’s preparing a cup of coffee. “Want some?”

I nod and take a seat at the table.

“You don’t have to go today,” she says. Ana’s made it clear she’s not happy about us going back to Columbia to get my motorcycle and weapons.

I’ve spent the past week watching the area around the safe house and the other property to make sure it’s clear. Which it isn’t. My mother’s men are watching it, which tells me she’s figured out what I was up to.

“I have to. I can’t leave them there.”

She sets a cup of coffee down in front of me and takes a seat across from me. Her eyes drift over my face, then she pats her heart and asks, “How are you feeling.”

“Raw.” I shake my head. “It’s hard to think it was all an act.”

“Maybe it wasn’t,” Ana mentions.

I let out a bitter chuckle. “Alexei Koslov does nothing unless he’s going to gain from it. The most important thing to him is power.” I take a sip of the beverage, then add, “And loyalty.” I let out a sigh.

Ana gives me a comforting look.

Shaking my head, I continue, “I’m still trying to put all the pieces together, and there’s one thing I’m not clear on. Why fake a relationship between us? What would he stand to gain from it?”

Ana shrugs. “It’s not like he can get to your mother through you.”

“Exactly. That’s the confusing part.” We sit and think for a moment. “Alexei wants my mother dead. To think he lied about a relationship just to form an alliance with me… that’s seriously too extreme, even for him.”

Ana sets her mug down on the table. “You said you hooked up with him. Maybe it was love at first sight for him.”

I let out a burst of laughter. “No.”

“Why won’t you consider it?” Ana asks.

“Because it’s ridiculous. Alexei Koslov doesn’t fall in love.”

“He’s human, Isabella. Even your mother fell in love. It happens.”

I stare down at the caramel liquid in the cup, considering what Ana just said.

Remembering how Alexei looked at me like I was everything he ever wanted stabs at my crushed heart.

Was it all an act?

‘I. Love. You.’

‘I could’ve left you for dead, but I didn’t. I could’ve taken what I wanted, but I gave you a choice. Don’t forget that. Don’t forget what I said to you on that cliff.’

Closing my eyes, my mind goes back to when Alexei proposed to me.

‘Whatever happens in the future, I want you to remember this moment. I mean everything I’m going to say,’ Alexei takes a deep breath, and then his eyes lock with mine. ‘I love you.’

God, it felt like he meant what he said. I remember how the words hit, making me feel emotional.

‘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.’

The heartache becomes too much to bear, and shaking my head to rid myself of the memories, I get up. I grab the cup and empty it into the sink. “We leave in five minutes.”

“Isabella,” Ana calls after me. I stop and glance over my shoulder. “It does get easier with time.”

“It does?” I ask, wondering if she’s referring to what happened to her.

Ana nods. “Yes, especially when you have someone to lean on.”

“Did I make it easier for you?” I ask, needing to know if I made a difference in her life.

“I wouldn’t be sitting here if it weren’t for you,” she admits, then she gets up and comes to stand in front of me. “Not because you saved me, but because you gave me a reason to live.”

Emotion wells in my chest. “I really needed to hear that.”

Ana’s mouth lifts slightly. “Sorry I haven’t said it before.”

I shake my head, then I meet her eyes. “You never talk about what happened.”

Pain flashes over her features. “I can’t.”


Ana takes a deep breath, and then she steps around me. “The five minutes are up. I guess we should get going.”

I follow Ana out of the house, thinking how she’s changing day by day.

Maybe that’s all it will take to get over Alexei – time.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


not work with dark mode