“She should’ve just killed herself,” Sarai says. “If it was me, I wouldn’t go through all the trouble.”

“You would if you couldn’t bring yourself to take your own life. There are many people like that out there, Sarai. Ready to die, but afraid to do it themselves.”

She doesn’t respond.

“Do you think they’ll come after us?” she asks.

I open my door and get out and then move around to her side, opening hers. “Right now, no. He would’ve done it before we left if that was the case.” I reach out my hand to her. She places her fingers into mine and I help her out of the car.

After shutting the door I add, “Hamburg has far too much to lose. But that’s not to say he won’t devise some kind of plan to take revenge on me in some way that he believes he can’t be linked to it.”

“Or me,” she says and looks at me hopelessly. “He could take revenge on me.”

I hit the alarm on the key ring twice and the car beeps, echoing loudly through the parking garage.

This time I don’t respond.

I walk with her to the elevator and up to our room on the top floor. I don’t think much at all about Arthur and Mary Hamburg or what went down tonight. Mostly I think about Sarai and what she went through with me. She didn’t die, but I feel like another part of her did. And it’s one hundred percent my fault. I knew I shouldn’t have taken her there. I am fully aware of my own actions and how inexcusable they are. I came to terms with it the moment Sarai didn’t back out of the last chance I gave her. It should’ve been me, right then, who put a stop to her having anything more to do with it.

I chose a different path.

And I don’t regret it.

There are a few more things that Sarai and I need to talk about and I fully expect the way I touched her in Hamburg’s suite to be among the first. I prepare myself for it, but when we walk into the room and she kicks off her heels, she stuns me when she says, “I want to kill him.” She sits down on the end of the bed and turns her head to look up at me, resolve at home in her eyes. “That man needs to die, Victor. He needs to pay for what he’s done. He needs to pay with his life. Just like she did.”

There is my proof. Sarai has the blood of a killer; there’s no mistaking it anymore. I know I didn’t make her that way. Life did that, not me. But I know I’m the one who ultimately pulled the shroud from her eyes to make her see it.

“It’s only a matter of time before a hit is ordered on him too,” I say.

I take off my jacket and tie, draping them over the back of a chair.

“We should’ve done it when we had the chance,” she says.

Breaking apart the buttons of my dress shirt, I glance over at her sitting there, staring off at the wall, and I wonder in what way she’s imagining she’s killing Hamburg. It’s bloody. It’s vengeful. I’m sure of it.

I lay my shirt over the chair with my jacket and walk toward her, stepping out of my shoes on the way.

“If we did it tonight,” I say, sitting down on the end of the bed beside her, “we wouldn’t have made it out of there alive. It wasn’t part of the mission. Every mission must be planned precisely. Stray from any part of it and you triple your chances of exposing yourself or getting yourself killed.”

We sit in stillness, both looking out ahead, both married to our thoughts. I wonder if hers are about me. I can’t help but for mine to be about her.

CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHT

Sarai

I never want Victor to leave me. I couldn’t bear the thought of it before, but now…now things are so much different. Our souls have become intimate, whether he wants to admit it to himself or not. We are one in the same and I don’t want to imagine being on my own without him. Ever.

“Sarai, I’m sorry for what I did.”

I look over. I know what he means, but I’m not sure yet what to say in return.

“I hope you believe me when I say I got nothing out of it. It was merely for show. I hope you understand that.”

I do believe him. I know I couldn’t look a normal person in the eye and tell them what happened without them thinking I’ve lost my mind, or that I’ve succumbed to Stockholm syndrome. But Victor could’ve had his way with me many times over. He could’ve raped me. He could’ve given in to me the few times I’ve shown an attraction to him. But he never did and he always pushed me away. Up until a few nights ago when I slipped into his bed. He didn’t push me away then, but I know deep down that he was more attuned to the rage I was feeling in that moment than even I was.

Without looking at him, I ask in a quiet voice, “If he hadn’t of put in the access code to the room sooner…would you have f**ked me?”

I notice him glance over but I don’t meet his eyes.

“No,” he answers in a quiet voice to match mine. He sighs. “Sarai, I couldn’t force him to open the room. He might’ve punched in a panic code and alerted the guards in the house, or—”

I look at him finally, locking my eyes with his. “But would you have wanted to?”

He becomes quiet. I watch the struggle shift in his face.

“Not there,” he says. “Not like that.”

I lift my dress over my head and drop it on the floor.

“Will you now?” I ask.

He doesn’t answer, but I’ve learned by now that the only way to get what I want from him is not to relent.

I get up from the bed and move to stand in-between his legs. Both of his hands move up my thighs slowly and he tucks his fingers behind the elastic of my panties. His lips touch my belly, the tip of his tongue grazing the skin between my ribs so softly it raises chills all over my body. I run my fingers through his hair as he slides my panties over my h*ps and down my legs.

Then I straddle his lap.

I kiss him softly and whisper once more, “Will you, Victor Faust? If that is your name.” I nudge the side of his face with my chin.

“Only under one condition,” he whispers hotly onto my mouth.

“What condition?”

He kisses my lips slowly.

“That I’m the one in control this time.”

I part my mouth near his, teasing him with a kiss that I want him to take from me, my fingertips gently enclosed around his jaw. He gazes into my eyes for a moment, reading my thoughts. And then both of his arms wrap possessively around my body, crushing me against him. His kiss is ravenous, his strong fingers digging into the skin of my back and I can feel the hardness of his c*ck so distinctly through the fabric of his pants that it makes me tremble. My lips part and my whole body shudders just feeling him there, wanting him inside of me more than I think I’ve ever wanted anything in my life.

He spears one hand within the back of my hair, forcing my head back and exposing my neck to him. He kisses my throat upward in a perfectly straight line until he finds my mouth again and takes my bottom lip into his teeth.

I feel two of his fingers slip into me below.

I gasp, my head still forced backward in his grasp, and I thrust my h*ps gently against his fingers.

“I want you inside of me,” I say breathily.

I can’t f**king take it anymore.

With my lips on his, our warm tongues tangled, I fumble the button on his pants and then slide the zipper down.

He flips me over onto the bed, crawling on top of me and never breaks the kiss while stripping off his pants with one hand. And when I feel the warmth of his nak*d body, I wrap my legs around him, crushing him with my thighs, pushing myself toward him so I can feel the swell of his c*ck against my wetness. His mouth searches my neck and my chest until his teeth find my n**ples and he bites them just hard enough to make me whimper.

“This goes against everything that I am, Sarai,” he says and then kisses me.

“No, it doesn’t,” I whisper and kiss him back. “It’s you becoming more of who you really are.”

And then he slides his c*ck inside of me slowly. I can barely keep my eyes open anymore. My legs tremble and my body shudders with tiny tremors that explode and infiltrate my insides. I gasp and shove my h*ps forward to force him deeper.

I never imagined that sex could feel like this, that the way my body is reacting to him could ever feel like this.

He raises his body from mine, still on his knees between my legs and he grabs my thighs tight in his hands, pulling me toward him. He f**ks me slowly at first, so slowly that it drives me mad. With each thrust he pushes deeper until my thighs are trembling and I can’t hold them steady around his body anymore. The back of my head arches against the pillow and I moan and gasp and dig my fingers into the flesh of his hips. He starts to f**k me harder and I grip the pillow above my head before pressing my hands against the headboard, forcing myself against him, feeling his c*ck swell inside of me.

He collapses over me again and I feel the wetness of his mouth on my breast. My throat. My lips. His chest heaves with rapid breath and I can feel his heart beating against mine. He begins to pace himself and while he f**ks me slowly, his kiss deep and hot and hungry, he reaches one hand down between my legs and moves his fingers in a steady, persistent motion on my clit. I wind my fingers in his hair, gripping it so tight, moaning into his mouth, tasting his tongue.

So attuned with each other, we come together. He pulls out to finish, but doesn’t stop moving his fingers until my shuddering body finally eases and my trembling legs dissolve into mush on both sides of him.

He rests his sweating head across my br**sts and I brush my fingers through his hair. We stay like this for the much of the night, in stillness and in thought.

And all I can think about is how I never want to leave this room with him.

~~~

I lay tangled in the sheets with Victor. The curtains on the window are fully opened and I gaze across the room at the bluish-black sky faintly illuminated by the city lights beneath it. Victor fell asleep sometime after he made love to me. Made love? I’m not sure I understand the true meaning of that phrase. I don’t think that this thing between us is love, or even lust. It’s something else, something powerful and unmistakable that neither of us have been able to ignore. But it doesn’t have a face. Or a name. Maybe he didn’t make love to me, but he didn’t f**k me either.

It was definitely something else.

I hear his heart beating calmly against my cheek. I feel his breath emit lightly against the top of my hair. His body is so warm, almost hot, as I lie wrapped within his arms. His natural scent, it’s faint but comforting and draws me closer to him like a bee to nectar.

“Where do I go from here?” I whisper my private thoughts aloud and then bury myself further beside him when I don’t have an answer.

“We’ll figure it out,” Victor says and his arm gently squeezes around me.

I had no idea he was awake. I raise my head from his chest and lay down against his arm so that I can see his face.

“You’re not going to leave?”

It’s a long-shot, but I’m hopeful.

A second of quiet passes between us and his bare chest rises and falls with a deep and steady breath.

“Sarai, you know that I can’t take you with me,” he says and my heart sinks. “It’s just not realistic. My life is in the Order. It always has been. It wouldn’t be like waking up one day and deciding I hate my job and want to find something better. If I were to leave my Order—because that is precisely what I would have to do—the next hit that would be arranged would be on me. And on you.”


Tags: J.A. Redmerski In the Company of Killers Book Series
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