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Leave Me (Touch of Death #2)
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Adelina Ricci was a job, until she became much more. I was tasked to protect her, but I failed. Now she is in the hands of the enemy, and this time, she doesn’t want saving. She’s going to marry him.
We’re bound in a tangled web of loyalty and lies, betrayal and longing. She needs to avenge her fathers death. I just need her.
A princess in a tower. A hero without a cause. A love that may ruin them both.
Leave me or love me?
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My legs buckle, and I drop to one knee, sinking into the carpet-like lawn. She shot me.
“Adelina!” I call after her, but she keeps going, breaking into a jog and disappearing into the darkness. A sinking feeling takes root in my gut.
She left. Shot me and left. Just like that. She didn’t even look back. I attempt to stand, and pain fires up the length of my leg, rendering the muscles useless. Breath hisses through my teeth, and blood seeps around my fingers as I clutch my thigh.
The security light cuts out, and I’m left there, alone in the darkness. I need to move, but betrayal is a wound that cuts deeper than I ever imagined, plaguing me until everything blurs into this messy fog that I can’t see through.
The sound of rapid gunfire pops on the other side of the house, and it snaps me out of my temporary paralysis. My family needs my help. Gritting my teeth, I brace myself to push through the pain and get the hell up. Movement in my periphery stops me, and I freeze, my very breath pausing in my lungs. A figure moves around the side of the house, their form a brief black smudge against the light of the window as they cross the patio doors. I can tell it’s an Elite just by the way he moves. As soon as I budge, the security light will reveal my presence. I wait until he’s near the next window, where the tiniest bit of light touches him. One, two, three. I grab my gun and light explodes across the lawns, blinding me for a moment, but I don’t need to see. I marked his position before I even touched my weapon. I pull the trigger twice. The shots pierce the night as quickly as the light shattered the darkness.
The black spots clear from my vision just as the body hits the ground. They’ve made it around the back, which means Nero’s men aren’t managing to hold them off. On a growl, I shove to my feet. My leg wobbles under my weight, and searing fire shoots through my thigh like someone is digging a hot poker into my leg, but pain is only in the mind, and adrenaline works wonders.
I’m ready to start shooting when suddenly the gunfire from the front of the house stops. I tilt my head to the side, waiting to hear more. Nothing. Silence. Somebody won, but who? Panic creeps over me, and I limp forward, hobbling toward the back door. I clutch the gun in my hand, ready for anything. As I step onto the pool deck, the security light doesn’t come on, and it makes me pause. My muscles bunch, primed for an attack. The back door hangs open, and the lights under the water in the pool cast just enough of a glow for me to make out the unmistakable dark stain on the wooden floor in the hallway.
I take several deep breaths, slowing my heart rate and pulling my mind into a place of absolute focus. As the pounding in my chest subsides, the faint sound of footsteps takes its place. Then again. Uneven, stumbling. They get closer, and I press my back to the wall beside the door. Closer, closer, and then someone crosses the threshold. My gun is at his temple the second his feet touch the patio.
“Shit. Please don’t kill me.”
I lower the gun, my muscles instantly relaxing.
Tommy turns to face me, his eyes wide and his face even whiter than usual in the blue-tinted light. “Ah, fuck.” He presses his hand to his chest and closes his eyes as panting breaths slip past his lips. “You scared the shit outta me.” His hair is matted and crusted with blood on the left side of his head. “Have you seen Adelina?” he asks.
“She’s gone,” I say the words through gritted teeth, hating them.
“What? You let her go?”
My hand is around his throat in a heartbeat, and my gun rammed under his chin. “I didn’t let her go!”
He holds up his hands. “Okay, okay. I’m sorry,” he wheezes.
I release him with a shove, and he stumbles away, coughing. “Where are Una and Nero?”
He hikes a thumb back inside the house. “Cleaning up.”
“Is everyone okay?”
He nods, and I stalk past him into the house. The pain in my leg intensifies as the adrenaline dissipates. By the time I find Una in the kitchen, I can barely walk. Her hair is falling out of a messy braid, and blood spray coats the exposed skin of her chest and face.
One of Nero’s men sits on a stool at the breakfast bar. Una’s tying off a tourniquet around the top of his arm. Her gaze swings toward me before her eyes drop to the white tile floor, where bloody footsteps now follow me from the doorway.