I’m not sure that my telling her it’s me is any sort of reassurance. Especially if she thinks I’m a killer.
Well, I am, but only when the job calls for it. Never of a woman under my care.
I look her over making sure there are no serious wounds, all while keeping an eye on the fucking asshole lying face up on the concrete.
I was able to get a couple of shots in with the silencer, enough to keep him down but not dead.
No. I’m not done with that prick and if he thinks the worst of his pathetic life was getting ignored by his father… well, let’s just say he’s about to find out there’s a whole new world of pain out there, and it’s all coming for him.
“Titus.” Ashley looks up at me with the last thing I expect to see—love.
Fear, disgust, and maybe indifference. I expected any of these, but not love.
“Yes, little treasure.”
“I love you.” Her words are whispered, but I hear them.
I squeeze her body as I bring it to mine, wanting to absorb all of her into me, making us one. “I love you too. More than you could ever know.”
Her eyes blink, looking deep into mine. “I know, because I feel it too.”
A gargled voice breaks into our moment and right then I wish I would have gone in with an extra shot. “Awe, well isn’t this fucking sweet.” Brad coughs and sputters, choking on his own blood. “So now that you’re re-united, what’s your plan? Taking me to the hospital and then getting me locked up like you did my father?”
Laying Ashley gently on the ground, I rise, stalking toward this pathetic excuse of a man. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”
His brows push together confused with my question. “What? Why would anyone in their right mind want to go to prison?”
I laugh, amazed at how clueless this man is. “You think that prison is the worst we can do to you? We are the men of WRATH, our connections spread far and wide. There isn’t a method of torture we haven’t seen, and not a one we wouldn’t be willing to try on you.”
Brad sputters before swallowing down whatever he just gurgled up. “But you can’t. That’s illegal.”
My hand acts of its own accord, reaching out and grabbing his neck before squeezing until his eyes are practically bulging out of his head. “And was throwing Ashley off a bridge legal?”
“But, but… you’re not me. You’re the good guy.”
I sneer, “Good guy, bad guy. Things aren’t always black and white. All you need to know is that you’ve crossed a line, one that you could never come back from. As far as your fate? You’ll have to wait and see. Lucky for you, I owe my brothers for having kept a secret.”
Brad’s face contorts, “How does that make me lucky?”
I slap him lightly on the face, “By offering you up to my brothers, you avoid the Titus Torture Special… Well, that is if they don’t choose it as your punishment.”
I hear Ashley snort behind me, and I’m glad she’s finding amusement in Brad pissing his pants.
“You won’t get away with this!” Brad squeaks.
“Watch me.” I grin from ear to ear before cocking my fist and slamming it straight against his temple, knocking him the fuck out.
Turning back to Ashley, I offer a softer smile. “Okay, princess. Let’s get you home.”
My eyes blink open, the dim lighting of my room sneaking through and making me realize I’m back home.
Alive and safe, thanks to Titus.
“You’re awake.” Titus lowers himself onto the side of the bed as he strokes my head.
“Yes. I mean, I feel like I’m stuck in quicksand still, but look,” I lift up my hand and wiggle my fingers slowly.
Titus smiles, “Yes, the doctor said that you should have full faculty of your extremities within the next hour or so. Thankfully, that fucker didn’t use enough drugs to cause permanent damage.”
I cringe, knowing this could’ve been so much worse. “God, how did you find me?” Titus touches my neck, lifting the beautiful platinum collar he gifted me.
“There’s a tracker in the pendant.” He raises a brow when he sees the outrage on my face. “I never used it to check up on you and only had it as a fail-safe in case everything went to hell. Which it did. So, you’re welcome.”
This man has the audacity to smirk at me right now. “You’re just lucky this all worked out. Had I found out about this beforehand, you would’ve been in big trouble.”
His hand lingers on my chest, his fingers gently tracing an invisible line along my neck and making my heart sink.
I know where his thoughts are and the reason behind the storm in his eyes.
“No, Titus. I need you to hear me out.”
Titus gives me a solemn nod, his hand retracting from my body.
Taking his hand in mine, I return it to my chest, laying his palm flat over my heart. “Do you feel this, Titus? It’s my heart, and it beats for you. There is nothing in this world that could ever make me stop loving you. You could slay a million souls and my heart would still be yours.” I bring a hand to his face, my fingers tracing the contours of his chiseled mouth. “You’re ingrained into every part of me and to remove you would be to split me in two. I would not survive it.”
Titus goes to speak but I press my fingers over his lips. “Please, let me finish.”
His glistening eyes blink, releasing a tear down the planes of his masculine face. Placing a soft kiss to my fingers, my man lets me continue.
“I don’t care what you’ve done in the past. All I know is that you are mine and I am yours. You would never do anything to harm me or those I love. I know this just as I know my heart will only ever beat for you.”
Titus lets out a choked sob as he pulls me to him, squeezing me so tight I feel it in my bones. “Ashley, my little treasure. I don’t deserve you. Even when you think I’ve killed, you still give yourself to me. Unconditionally, I know you are mine.”
I pull back enough to look into his eyes, “Always, unconditionally.”
A soft smile plays on my man’s plump lips. “Well, it’s good to know that you’d stand by me no matter what. But there’s something you need to know… I didn’t kill that girl.”
My brows reach up to my hair line and my mouth opens into an ‘O.’ “What do you mean? But I thought…”
Brushing a loose strand from my face, Titus sighs. “William didn’t finish telling you everything. The jerk led in with the worst of it but didn’t get to tell you that the girl had died from an overdose of whatever cocktail she was on.” He shakes his head and sucks in his lips, audibly breathing in and out before continuing. “That doesn’t mean that I didn’t have a role in her death. Instead of being so caught up in what I was doing, I could’ve been paying attention to the signs. I could’ve intervened sooner. Maybe she’d still be alive.”
“Oh, Titus. You were just a kid back then. You reacted just as any other teenager your age would’ve.” I feel my face transform from one of concern to one of fury. “I can’t believe my damn brother skipped out on a vital piece of information.”
“To his defense, he said you stormed out without giving him a chance to explain.” Titus smirks.
He freaking smirks!
“I cannot believe you’re sitting here, standing up for the man when he was trying to throw you under the bus!” I scoff, shaking my head from left to right.
“Hey, he was trying to protect his baby sister. I can’t really blame him. And to be fair, I knew this was going to happen eventually. I’d just planned it all so differently.”
Titus reaches for the nightstand where he keeps his things, pulling out a pair of socks and then a tiny black velvet box within them.
That sneaky bastard.
My hands fly up to my mouth as soon as my brain registers what he’s holding.
Titus chuckles as he takes my hand in his, his body moving off the bed and kneeling right beside it. “This is definitely not how I planned it, but I can’t see myself holding back one second longer.”
Unbidden tears stream down my face at the sight before me. My man, my beautifully damaged and lethal man, kneeling on one knee. It’s what I’ve always dreamt of, what I’ve always wanted, and now it’s finally here.
“Ashley Hawthorne, my queen. I’m not good with words so excuse me as I speak from my heart. I may not be the most eloquent or sentimental man, but I do know one thing, and it’s that I never want to spend a day without calling you mine.” He reaches out, grabbing my hand while popping open the little black box.
I gasp, looking down at the impeccable cushion cut diamond set on a delicate platinum band. It’s absolutely stunning.
“You may deserve a man that’s a million times better than me, but I’m selfish. I knew you were off-limits. I knew I was too damaged and that you needed more. But I caved, letting myself taste you. And instead of searching for redemption or seeking atonement, I found my saving grace in you. You’ve freed me from the shackles of my past and shown me that the future is bright with you in it. You are a light, a beacon of hope, and I want you all for me. Now and forever, I want you to be mine. Mine to treasure. Mine to pleasure. Mine to adore.”
Tears keep falling as I take in his words of devotion. “Titus Eirik Bonde, I’ll follow you to the ends of this earth and beyond. I am now, and forever will be, yours. Yours to treasure. Yours to pleasure. Yours to adore.”
Titus’ hands shake as he slides on the beautiful ring, the physical embodiment of our love, and my heart soars. Nothing could ruin this moment. Absolutely nothing.
I wrap my arms around Titus’ neck, bringing him to me when there’s a loud pounding at the door.
“What the—” I mumble at the same time as my brother’s voice booms into my apartment.
“Open the damn door Titus. I know you’re both in here!”
I take back what I said. William. William could definitely ruin this moment.
Leave a Reply