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Tears Of Salvation: Chapter 25


‘Clear,’ Demitri murmurs.

“Over the wall,” I order the women.

Isabella begins to help Ana up, but then I step in and, taking hold of Ana, who doesn’t look a day over twenty, I push her onto the top of the wall.

Isabella’s up next to the girl before I take another breath. Then, hoisting myself over, the three of us drop to the ground.

‘Run. More cars are approaching,’ Demitri’s voice comes over the earpiece.

“Run,” I bark. “Toward those apartments.” I point to where Demitri’s taken up a sniping position.

The women dart forward, and I’m right behind them.

When we’re near the building, I hear a bullet hitting metal behind me.

‘Faster,’ Demitri growls.

Darting forward, I grab hold of Ana, and tossing her over my shoulder, I shoot past Isabella. She quickly catches up and sticks to my side as I race for the spot where the SUV is parked.

Reaching the vehicle, I yank the back door open and toss Ana inside. “Isabella, get in the back,” I shout, and then I climb in behind the steering wheel. “Demitri.”

‘Go. I’ll catch up.’

“Fuck!” I start the engine and floor the gas, knowing Demitri can follow the tracker I have in the tag I never remove.

As I steer the SUV through traffic, I bring up Demitri’s tracker on my phone.

“Move, Demitri!” I order.

‘Five seconds.’

“Fucker!” I snarl, and then I pull up the handbrake and yank the steering wheel, making a U-turn. “Get your ass to the street. I’m coming.”

‘You never fucking listen to me,’ he mutters.

As I approach the building, I say, “Get ready, Isabella. I need you to provide cover. Move behind me.”

“Down,” she instructs Ana, and then she opens the back window and moves in behind my seat.


“Yes,” she breathes, and I glance in the rearview mirror for a moment. Seeing she has a gun in each hand, I focus on the road ahead.

Just as Demitri jumps to the ground, I pull the steering wheel to the right. “Cover!”

Isabella opens fire as the SUV skids to the side, and then I lean over and throw the passenger door open.

A bullet slams into my door, and then Demitri darts into the vehicle. Pressing on the gas, the SUV shoots forward while Isabella keeps firing behind me.

When I’ve put some distance between Sonia’s men and us, Isabella slumps back against the seat and reloads her guns.

“Hi, Demitri,” Isabella says. “Miss me?”

He lets out a chuckle. “No, but thanks for the cover.”

“Just repaying the favor.”

The corner of my mouth lifts, then I say, “The little one behind your seat is Ana. Ana, this is Demitri.”

“I figured as much,” Ana says.

“Stay down,” Isabella tells Ana, then she grabs hold of my seat and leans forward. Her scent drifts to me as she asks, “Where are we going?”

“Airfield and then home,” I answer.

I keep glancing behind us to make sure we don’t have company until we reach the airfield. I stop the SUV in a hanger, and we all pile out of the vehicle.

Ana sticks slightly behind Isabella as we all walk to the private jet.

Climbing the steps, I wonder how Isabella and Ana met. I’m guessing she’s one of the girls Isabella saved, but I can’t figure out why she kept her.

Demitri secures the door behind us before going to the cockpit.

Isabella and Ana take off their backpacks, and taking a seat, they strap themselves in. I sit down opposite Isabella, and my eyes settle on her.

When she glances up and sees me staring, she gives me a what now look.

“Still hate me?” I ask.

Her eyes narrow on me.

“You know there’s a thin line between love and hate,” I tease her. My eyes slant to Ana. “What do you think, little one. Will Isabella forgive me?”

Ana meets my eyes for the first time, just giving me a shrug.

I see I have my work cut out to win Ana’s trust.

My gaze goes back to Isabella. “There’s an even thinner line between the truth and a lie.”

“Clearly. You’ve mastered the art of that,” Isabella mutters.

“Just like you have,” I say, and it makes Isabella stare at me.

What matters right now is that I’m taking Isabella home.

One win at a time.

As Demitri flies us back to LA, I alternate, staring out of the window and looking at Isabella. My eyes keep finding their way back to her.

Three hours into the flight, Ana finally seems to relax, and she begins to nod off. Isabella presses Ana’s head to her shoulder and whispers, “Sleep a little. I’ll wake you when we land.”

I watch the two women interact, and seeing how protective and loving Isabella is with Ana, once again warms my heart.

Life is so much easier when you have someone you can call family.





The flight to LA messed with my head.

By the time we reach Alexei’s mansion, I feel drained and frazzled. I’m holding Ana’s hand, more for myself than to give her support.

I’m using Ana as a shield to keep Alexei at a distance, and it makes me feel like a rotten friend.

Then I remember the fact that Alexei came for us. We would’ve been attacked, and there’s no telling if I would’ve been able to get us out of the house alive.

Alexei could’ve left me to my own defenses, but he didn’t. That has to mean something. Right?

Then the thought crosses my mind that Alexei charges a substantial amount for his protection, and my eyes dart to him.

“How much do I owe you?” the words burst from me as we walk into the house.

Alexei lets out a chuckle. “Hmm… I’ll let you know.”

I shoot him a glare. “Don’t play games with me.”

Alexei stops walking and comes to stand right in front of me. His stare is intense as his eyes meet mine.

It’s different meeting his eyes after my memory returned, knowing the power he holds. It’s intimidating, making me feel awkward instead of strong.

Ana’s fingers tighten around mine, and I give her a reassuring squeeze.

“How much?” I demand. I have twenty million that I’ve stolen from my mother over the past two years. I’ll pay everything if it means I’m not in Alexei’s debt.

He tilts his head. “I want time as payment.”

A frown forms on my forehead. “How much time?”

The corner of his mouth lifts in a hot smirk. “An hour alone with you.”

Ana grips my hand tighter, and it has me asking, “Only to talk?”

“Of course,” Alexei mutters, and then there’s a sudden flash of anger in his eyes. “I’m offended that you even have to ask.”

Instant regret ripples through my heart because I know Alexei won’t demand anything intimate. Taking me by force won’t be a turn-on for him.

To Alexei, it’s all about me submitting willingly and the power he gains from it.

“I didn’t mean to offend you,” I say, then I agree, “One hour.”

“Now,” he demands, and then he heads up the stairs. “Get Ana settled in one of the guest rooms.”

I tug Ana up the stairs and watch as Alexei goes into his suite while I head to the guest room next to his.

When I shut the door behind us, I turn to Ana. “We’ll be safe here.”

Ana nods as she glances around the room.

“Go take a shower while I talk to Alexei.”

Ana’s eyes dart to mine. “Will you be okay?”

I nod. “It’s better to get the talk over with as soon as possible.” I open the door then say, “Try to relax.”

Ana nods as she sets her backpack down.

I shut the door behind me and walk to Alexei’s suite. When I step inside, Alexei’s standing out on the balcony, his back turned to me.

My gaze roams over the room, and I notice everything I used while I lived here is exactly where I left it.

Alexei turns to face me, and then a sad smile tugs at his mouth. “Do you feel violated?”

The question catches me off guard, and I frown at Alexei. I shake my head. “Humiliated. Angry as hell. Hurt.” I move closer. “The list goes on, but no, not violated.”

Alexei looks relieved, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly. Then he sets the timer on his watch. “One hour, starting now.”

I nod, and lifting my chin, I brace myself.

Alexei doesn’t say anything but just stares at me. When minutes start to tick by, I ask, “You wanted to talk?”

“I’ll get to that. But, first, I just want to look at you.”

Lightly shaking my head, I take a seat on the side of the bed, and then I stare back at Alexei.

I take in the man that’s upended my world while making me feel safe at the same time. It’s something to get used to.

I’m torn between how I felt during the two months I stayed here and not knowing what to believe.


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