Consumed by Deception (Deception Trilogy #3) - Rina Kent Page 0,2

can’t do this to me! I’m the mother of your son!”

“Doesn’t make you exempt from punishment.” Dad retrieves his gun and motions with it at his guards. “Put her on her knees.”

The men push her down until her knees hit the ground, her shoes making a haunting sound on the concrete as she thrashes. “No! Don’t! Are you picking Nikolai over me?”

“I’m picking the brotherhood over you. If you’re not punished properly, Nikolai will never forgive what he thinks is my betrayal.” He pauses, looking at me for the first time tonight. “Come here, Adrian.”

Pavel gives me a slight push, then releases me but follows close behind. My legs feel as heavy as bricks as I drag them to where Dad is standing.

“You’re old enough now, so listen carefully, my boy.” Dad jams the gun against Mom’s forehead and she stares up at him with her usual haughty defiance, not even a single tear escaping her lids. “This is how you punish traitors, no matter how close they are to you.”

He pulls the trigger.

A loud bang echoes through our surroundings as hot liquid splashes onto my face.


Age thirty-six

I’ve witnessed life ending right in front of my eyes.

Not once.

Not twice.

But countless times.

After I saw the life leave my mom’s body when I was ten years old, I had an epiphany.

Ah. Death is that easy.

Death is a pull of a trigger, a splatter of blood, and empty eyes.

If Mom, the fearless Dominika who was stronger than life itself, was killed that easily, then the act couldn’t be that hard.

That’s why I’ve never feared death. Never looked the other way from it. Never hesitated in front of it.

In fact, I barged straight into it. I conquered it and shoved it to its knees in front of me, like Dad did to Mom, then shot it in the face.

I’ve eluded the merciless clutches of death so often that I thought myself immune to it.

That in a way, death doesn’t imply to me.

Doesn’t touch me.

Wouldn’t touch me.

That was my mistake. The error in my system.

Even though I’ve never feared the end—or anything, actually—since Mom’s execution, there’s something I’ve feared losing.

Or someone.

The world goes in slow motion, but it’s still too fast and impossible to stop.

When I followed Lia here after she sent a doppelgänger home and attempted to escape, this isn’t what I thought would happen.

Lia tumbles down the cliff like a leaf. Light, tiny, and so fucking fragile.

I reach out a hand, but all I grab is air.

Panic like I’ve never felt in my life snaps my shoulder blades together and freezes me in place.

Fuck no.

This isn’t how it’s going to end.

I skid down the side of the cliff, sliding over the dirt until I nearly hit the water. My bicep wound screams in pain and my tendons ripple with every movement.

Pulling out my phone, I hit the flashlight icon until a beam of light spills in front of me, illuminating the violent waves hitting the rocks.

The thought of Lia being stuck out there, ripped apart by the angry water, tightens my body and assaults my nerves.

I make out a small figure clinging to a rock while it floats in the water, but it doesn’t drift away.

My men’s voices grow near, and Kolya’s large build is the first to appear as he makes his way down the side of the cliff.

“Get ropes!” I bark, then place my phone on a small rock, directing the flashlight forward before I dive straight into the freezing water.

Shock ripples through my body and my wound, the wound she caused in her attempt to escape me, but I ignore all the discomfort as I swim against the harsh current.

The crashing waves are stubbornly trying to whisk Lia away, to slam her delicate body against the merciless rocks and suck out her life essence.

When I reach her, I find out why the water hasn’t succeeded in taking her. I thought she was looped around one rock, but it turns out, she’s stuck between two. One of them isn’t visible but is imprisoning her lower half.

I grab her cold, wet wrist and stop breathing while I wait for her pulse.

One fraction of a second passes.



A tiny beat thumps beneath my frozen finger and I finally inhale in a large breath of air.

I use one rock as an anchor as I pull Lia from between the other two. The moment she’s loose, I loop an arm around her waist and hold her freezing body close to mine.

Dark strands of her hair cover