Angel's Cage (Molotov Obsession #2) -Anna Zaires Page 0,1

her to keep him out of the way for now, given… you know.” She waves toward Chloe’s door.

“Good thinking.” I know I shouldn’t mollycoddle my son, but I’m oddly reluctant to expose him to the brutal realities of our life, the way our father did with me. Hunting and fishing is one thing—I’m happy to have Pavel teach Slava that, along with other key life skills—but I’d rather not have him see his tutor covered in blood.

He’ll learn what it means to be a Molotov eventually, but not yet.

Alina looks relieved at my praise. “So what happened?” she asks, following me as I head to my room. “Who sent the assassins after her?”

“It’s a long story.” One I’m still digesting myself. “Suffice it to say, she’s still in danger.”

Alina grabs my sleeve, bringing me to a halt. “So you didn’t…?”

“I did.” I put a bullet in the brain of one of the assassins and wounded the other badly enough that he died shortly after—but not before I got a name out of him.

A name I’m still trying to come to grips with.

My sister peers at me with a frown etched into her forehead. “But you think there are more coming.”

“I’m sure of it.”

“Why? Who is she, Kolya?”

“That’s what I intend to find out.”

Pulling out of her hold, I step into my room and close the door.

Though Chloe is still under, I’m anxious to get back to her, so I quickly shower and change. Then I fire off a message to Konstantin, updating him on what I’ve learned and asking his team of hackers to look into the man the assassin named as their employer.

Tom Bransford.

The presidential candidate who may be Chloe’s father.

She doesn’t know that last part yet, and I don’t know if I should say anything regarding my suspicions until I have more concrete proof. Right now, the evidence is circumstantial at best, and if I’m wrong, Chloe will have even more reason to think I’m a twisted monster.

Which I am. I just don’t want her thinking that way about me.

My chest tightens as I picture the sweet, radiant smile she gave me before the drugs in the IV took hold. I want more of that, not the blank, terrified look she’d worn in the woods when I came toward her, gun in hand, having killed one of her assailants and wounded the other.

I never want to see that look on her face again.

Alina is gone when I emerge into the hallway and hurry back to Chloe’s room. I know she’s fine with the doctor and the nurses watching her, but I can’t help the anxiety that gnaws at me each moment she’s out of my sight. She came so fucking close to dying. If I’d shown up a few minutes later, if Konstantin’s team hadn’t been able to hack into the NSA satellite to pinpoint her exact location, if the bullet had pierced her body a few inches to the left—there’s an infinite number of ways this could’ve turned out differently.

An infinite number of ways I could’ve lost her.

“She should be coming to in a few minutes,” the doctor informs me when I step into her room. He’s one of the best trauma surgeons in the state; Pavel had him and his team flown in on a chopper from Boise for an exorbitant fee that buys both their services and their discretion.

“Good. Thanks.” Ignoring the stares from the two female nurses, I approach Chloe, a painful ache squeezing my ribcage as I note the grayish tinge of her bronzed skin. They’ve washed the blood and dirt off her face and arms and dressed her in a hospital gown, but her hair is still matted, with a couple of twigs and leaves caught in the golden-brown strands.

I remove the debris, dropping it onto the small table next to her gurney. I hate seeing her like this, so small and fragile and wounded. I’d give anything to have been able to take that bullet for her, or better yet, to have woken up a few hours earlier, so I could’ve stopped her from leaving.

Reaching over, I tenderly stroke my knuckles over her finely shaped jaw. Her skin is soft and warm. Unable to help myself, I rub my thumb over her slightly parted lips. Plush, doll-like lips, the upper slightly fuller than the lower. Sinful lips that could seduce a saint—not that I am or ever have been one.

Pulling my hand away before my body can react inappropriately, I go