We will not fulfill any book request that does not come through the book request page or does not follow the rules of requesting books. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Comments are manually approved by us. Thus, if you don't see your comment immediately after leaving a comment, understand that it is held for moderation. There is no need to submit another comment. Even that will be put in the moderation queue.

Please avoid leaving disrespectful comments towards other users/readers. Those who use such cheap and derogatory language will have their comments deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked from accessing this website (and its sister site). This instruction specifically applies to those who think they are too smart. Behave or be set aside!

Nikolai: Mine to Protect – Epilogue


Four and a half years later. . .

Blood gargling in a windpipe is a fascinating noise. It sounds like death but from a person who hasn’t yet submitted to the fact they’re going to die. It’s their last beacon of hope. Their last endeavor to fight.

You shouldn’t delay the inevitable, though. Death will find you no matter how many years pass. You can’t hurt a man’s family and not suffer the consequences of your actions. It might take them a year to find you—it might even take four and a half—but no matter how often you glance over your shoulder, no matter how well you cover your steps, death will always be there, waiting.

Revenge isn’t something that must be immediately executed. But be warned, the longer revenge festers, the louder the monster inside a once-subdued man will roar.

The man hanging bloody and bruised in the basement of my compound was given plenty of notice. He was stared down and warned that his actions would not be forgotten. But instead of acting like a man, he hid like a coward.

It did him no good. His day before the judge, jury, and executioner has arrived. Rico is about to get his revenge.

Rico’s eyes hold the same devilish appearance they held when Justine discovered him barricading his family in a dingy room at the back of an old airport hangar. They’re just filled with hate now instead of the toxic mix of drugs the Vasiliev crew tried to subdue him with.

The dose they gave him should have been lethal. He had more drugs in his system than I sampled during the entirety of my teen years. He should have been dead, not pinning one of my men to the wall by his throat.

It’s a pity Maxsim’s men misunderstood the strength of a man in love. Just like my Ahren went to the depths of hell for me, Rico stopped at nothing to keep his family safe. Delusional nightmares, a knife wound to the chest, and half a dozen men couldn’t stop him from safeguarding his family.

He did his job.

Other than a slight case of dehydration and malnutrition, Blaire and Eli were given a clean bill of health after their ordeal.

It was only Rico left suffering.

He wanted to hunt and kill. He wanted the men who hurt his family to suffer. Instead, he set aside his feelings for the greater good. He was so determined to stay by his wife and son’s bedsides, he made the doctors stitch his wound in their room.

They thought he was stubborn, that they’d never handle a more irrational man in their lifetime. They had no clue of the meaning “neurotic” until I entered their realm. . .

Just as my instincts saw me following Justine steps, they warned me something wasn’t right the instant the anesthesiologist began placing an oxygen mask over my mouth.

I’d had a countless number of operations in my childhood, so panic about going under the knife wasn’t the cause of my sweaty palms and erratic heart rate. It was something much greater than fear eating me alive.

My intuition was proven right when Trey burst into my operating room only seconds later. He didn’t say anything, but his ashen face spoke volumes. He had an expression on his face that could only mean one thing: my ahren needed me.

I’d only removed half the cords dangling out of me when a much more urgent case was rushed into the operating room next to me. Justine was lying lifeless on a stainless steel table. Her pants were covered with bright red blood, and her arm was flopped over the side of the gurney.

The pain rocketing through my body relocated to my heart when I raced to her bedside. I was about to demand an update when a gloved up and ready-to-operate doctor entered the room. “What are we looking at?”

The man inserting a cannula into an extremely shallow vein in Justine’s arm replied, “Internal bleeding from a mass on the lower right side of her abdomen. Believed orthostatic hypotension. Blood pressure is 75/43, and oxygen levels are mid-seventies.”

“Any allergies we’re aware of? Current medical conditions?”

The second man shook his head, forcing me to interject, “She’s pregnant.”

Both men’s heads jackknifed to me in sync. They were so caught up assessing Justine, they hadn’t noticed me in the room. Their diligence has served them well to date.

The head surgeon wasn’t pleased by my appearance, but he used my knowledge to his advantage. “What caused her injuries?”

I rattled off everything that happened the prior four days.

He was shocked. “And this?” He pointed to the rippled skin covering a majority of Justine’s right ribcage.

“She was mauled by a dog.”

“A dog?” His remorse couldn’t be missed.

It had nothing on mine when I replied, “Yes. Five years ago.”

Justine made a low, painful groan when the surgeon pushed on her stomach. I hated that she was in pain, but the fact she made a sound was promising.

My eyes danced between the surgeon’s when he headed my way. “We need to stop the bleeding. The blood in her abdomen is compromising her organs. If we don’t control the flow, she could go into cardiac arrest.”

I nodded, understanding him. I underwent a similar operation a few weeks after my sixteenth birthday.

“And the baby?”

The surgeon’s face went a little white. “We don’t know yet. We’ll do everything we can to stop further impact to the fetus, but our efforts will be focused on Justine’s wellbeing.”

I felt like I was sucker-punched. His hit was so forceful, before I could comprehend what I was doing, I was standing on the other side of the swinging operating doors. . .

I lose my train of thought when a grunt sounds through my ears. The noise didn’t come from the man shackled to the ceiling as he watches Rico unroll his bag of tricks. It came from behind my shoulder.

“Eww. Why is his head hanging like that?”

I leave my front row seat to a private execution when a pair of icy blue eyes swing my way.

“Is he a bad man, Daddy?”

With a growl warning her it’s way past her bedtime, I scoop Mila into my arms and briskly exit the room. We walk the halls commonly referred to as the “dungeon” without a word spoken between us. Mila is just like me—a rule breaker in every sense of the word—but she knows some rules can never be broken, such as interrupting me while I’m at “work.”

When we step over the threshold no woman in the Popov household is game to cross, a handful of housemaids rush to my side, more than eager to take Mila off my hands.

I shoo them away without words. Daddy’s little girl is in his arms, and I’m not giving her up for anything.

“Where’s Mama?” I ask Mila as we climb the large spiral staircase that leads to the main sleeping quarters.

Mila lets out a big yawn. “She’s sick again.”

“Is that why you came to find me? Cause Mama is sick?” The hammering of my heart is heard in my low timbre.

Mila’s big blue eyes seek mine as she contemplates whether to tell me the truth or not. She doesn’t deliberate for long. “No. I wanted to play with Uncle Rico and you.”

She is only four, but I know she isn’t referring to the Barbie dolls Justine attempts to entice her with every day. Mila is an exact replica of me. Same eyes. Same hair coloring. Same black-veined heart. There is just one difference. She walked through the gates of hell while in her mother’s womb. I marched through them after I was born.

Mila is the baby Justine fought with all her might to save four and a half years ago. A little dark-haired girl with the smile of Satan but the beauty to lure an angel into believing she’s a saint.

She’s a female version of me.

Toby, on the other hand, he’s just like his mother. He’s shy and reserved, preferring to watch from afar before putting his precisely thought-out actions into play. His hair is as red as his mother’s, and his face is just as sweet. He’s such a laidback little guy, who has never once voiced annoyance that Mila snagged the title of “heir” by racing into the world seven minutes and thirteen seconds before him.

There’s no jealousy amongst them or hatred that the four years they’ve had on this earth have been shared with one another. They love each other as siblings should, their bond assuring me that they’ll have each other’s backs as I will always have Rico’s. . . and perhaps Maya’s.

If Maya hadn’t learned from her mistakes, the results may have been vastly different. But Justine was right, discovering the man she was in love with wasn’t who she thought was punishment enough.

Maxsim could have saved Maya the heartache. He could have proven without a doubt that she was worthier than any possession he could have wished for, but it was proven without a doubt that greed was his priority.

He wasn’t going to give Maya the life Vladimir withheld from her because she was a girl. He wanted to a rule a kingdom he had no right to reign. He wanted to step into my shoes.

He lost the chance to discover that the greatest gift you can have doesn’t have a monetary value when I demanded he choose between his life or Maya’s.

He chose wrong when he picked himself.

Maya hasn’t looked me in the eye since she witnessed firsthand what happens when you double-cross me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t feel the heat of her gaze.

Don’t misconstrue. She’s not eyeing me with hate but, rather, remorse. She’s aware how different circumstances would have been if Justine and the twins didn’t make it out of the fire she sparked.

Maxsim’s blood wouldn’t have been the only blood shed that night if Justine hadn’t exerted the strength I’ve always seen in her eyes. She fought like a tigress, her fight still inspiring me to this day.

My queen was worthy of her throne the day she was born, but the grit she showed that weekend sealed her fate for eternity.

My chest swells when I enter Mila and Toby’s room. Roman is fast asleep on the rocking chair Justine used while nursing. He has a book of nursery rhymes splayed across his chest and a pair of glasses he swears he doesn’t need balancing on the tip of his nose.

If I hadn’t given him the weekend off, he’d be punished for sleeping on the job, but since he’s here more in a grandfather role than as guardian, I’ll let his punishment slide.

Over two weeks had passed before anyone heard from Roman after the incident at Rico’s apartment four and a half years ago. Things didn’t look good, but my crew was ordered to continue searching until he was found and returned to his family.

We could only hope he wasn’t returned in a body bag.

The discovery of his whereabouts was far from the notions running through my head. He wasn’t buried in a shallow ditch or under police watch. He was doing the job I pay him to do. He was bringing the men responsible for our near downfall to justice.

I can still recall the gleam in his eyes when he stood at the entrance of the dungeon upon his return. His boots were as muddy as the sneer on his face, but they had nothing on his eyes. They were worn by Satan himself—deadly and without fear.

His time off the grid served me well. Maxsim’s knowledge assured Roman he wasn’t the only one working against us.

His theory was right.

Four snitches, three members considering jumping ship, and one captain were brought to justice in the two weeks Roman went rogue.

All were dead—except the latter.

Roman kept Maxsim alive for me, knowing I have no qualms getting my hands dirty when it comes to seeking retribution for the ones I love.

I was on the verge of snapping as I had all those years ago when I was only a boy. My men were bombarded; my brothers were injured, and my queen was lying in a hospital bed.

It was all forgotten in those hours I spent with Maxsim.

Sergei’s death was hidden to protect my Ahren.

Maxsim’s was paraded for the same reason.

His death gave me back the fear and respect I crave, then Asher and Trey returned my entity’s honor.

It took a few months, but the Popov entity has returned to the glory it once held. Both Asher and Trey can be thanked for its resurrection. While I tended to private matters, they held down the fort.

Now not only do the Popovs hold ranks across a majority of America, we’ve jabbed our foot in the door of a Russian stronghold we never fathomed we’d own. Soon, we will be unstoppable.

Rumors have circulated about upcoming takeover bids, but none have been implemented. Our enemies are wary of the union we’ve founded with Asher’s crew, but even more than that, they’re fearful of the powerful couple helming our crusade.

I thought I was invincible before Justine came into my life. I was a fool. A king can’t be a king without his queen at his side.

After tucking an almost passed out Mila into her bed, I make my way out of the room she shares with Toby. There are over a dozen spare rooms in the Popov mansion, but Mila and Toby are adamant about sharing the same one. If that doesn’t reveal their closeness, nothing will.

Usually, the urge to kill would have me returning to the show I was in the process of watching before Mila arrived, but years of observation award me the knowledge that this is a different adrenaline thickening my blood. I’m not on the hunt for a bloodbath. I’m craving something much more potent than the high you get watching a monster silenced. I want my drug. My addiction. The woman I crave more than the greatest drug on the market.

Mila’s comment about Justine being sick rings true when I enter our bedroom. Justine is rolled on her side with a pillow stuffed between her legs. Her face is paler than normal, and an empty bucket sits inches from her head.

Goosebumps break across her milky white skin when I creep up behind her. She purrs a soft moan when the bristles on my chin graze the dog bite on her shoulder.

“The baby still upsetting your stomach?”

I cup the tiny curve in her lower stomach when she groans. “He’s not a fan of shellfish.”

“I don’t blame him. It’s stinky and gross.”

I’m tempted to pinch myself when Justine giggles before rolling over to face me. The visual confronting me is too soul-stealing to be classed as anything less than perfect. Big, unique green-blue eyes on the face of an angel, and a body that only grows more appetizing the rounder her belly becomes. She is truly stunning.

Recalling my request for her to be bare and waiting for me, I tug on the satin belt cinching her kimono close to her body. It gives way without too much effort, exposing a body I’ve killed for and will continue killing for for years to come.

“How sick are you?” I ask before lowering my mouth to circle my tongue around her budded nipple.

“Not that sick.” She arches her back, revealing not even the worst case of morning sickness could curb her desires.

“Are you sure? I don’t want you throwing up on me.”

Laughing, Justine pushes my head toward the scent I’m sucking in like an addict hitting three lines. In all honesty, the smell of her cunt when she’s horny is the most delicious thing I’ve ever smelled.

“Like a little vomit will stop you.”

“True,” I agree with a chuckle. “Nothing could keep me away from you, Ahren. Not a man or a mountain. Not even an atom bomb.” I place a kiss on her chest for each word I speak next. “Not. A. Single. Fucking. Thing.”

Her thighs sweep open when I lower my lips to her belly and whisper, “маленький воин папы.”

She loves the nicknames I give our babies while growing inside her. This one is daddy’s little warrior. He’ll be stronger than both Mila and Toby combined. Not because he hasn’t faced the struggles they did in the womb, but because he’s both Justine and me conjoined.

Mila and Toby share our blood, but they represent us as individual people. Mila is strong and protective, whereas Toby is an observer with a massive brain—AKA me and Justine.

This baby will have equal parts of us both. He’ll be both smart and strong like his mother, and a natural-born leader like me.

As my attention to Justine’s body drops lower and lower, she stuffs a heap of pillows under her head. She doesn’t want her belly hiding a visual she’ll never grow tired of watching. She loves watching me devour her so much, I don’t need to say my next words, but I will, because not only does she love me, she also loves my filthy mouth.

“Now watch me eat the tastiest cunt I’ve ever tasted.”



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