“Yes,” he says, and I see a reflection of my rage and pain in the hard glitter of his eyes. “The men who hurt her are dead, and I’m taking steps to wipe out their entire organization. By the time I’m done, Al-Quadar will be nothing more than a file in government archives.”
I hold his gaze without blinking. “Good.” I want them all destroyed. I want Julian to tear them apart and make them feel Beth’s agony.
In this moment, we understand each other perfectly. He’s a killer, and that’s exactly what I need him to be. I don’t want a sweet, gentle man with a conscience—I want a monster who will brutally avenge Beth’s death.
A faint smile lifts the corners of his lips. Bending down, he kisses me lightly on the forehead, then releases me to walk over to the bed, where the rest of his clothes are.
Frowning, I watch as he pulls on a long-sleeved T-shirt, socks, and a pair of boots. “Are you leaving?” I ask, feeling like a cold fist is squeezing my heart at the thought.
“No,” he replies, putting on his leather jacket and walking over to my closet. “We are leaving.” Opening the closet door, he pulls out my winter coat and warm boots and tosses them to me.
I catch the coat on auto-pilot and put it on. “Are you kidnapping me again?” I ask, pulling on the boots.
“I don’t know.” Coming up to me, he cups my face in his hand, his thumb rubbing lightly against my lower lip. “Am I?”
I don’t know either. For the first time in months, I feel alive. I feel emotions again, sharp and bright. Fear, excitement, exhilaration.
It’s not the sweet, tender kind of love I always dreamed of, but it’s love. Dark, twisted, and obsessive, it’s both a compulsion and an addiction. I know the world will condemn me for my choices, but I need Julian as much as he needs me.
“What if I don’t want to go with you?” I don’t know why I feel the need to ask. I already know the answer.
He smiles. Dropping his hand from my face, he reaches into the pocket of his jacket and pulls out a small syringe, showing it to me.
“I see,” I say calmly. He’s come prepared for any eventuality.
He puts the syringe away and offers me his hand. I hesitate for a moment, then I put my hand in his large palm. He curls his fingers around mine, and his eyes look impossibly blue in that moment, almost radiant.
We walk out together, holding hands like a couple. He leads me to a car that’s waiting for us—a black car with window glass that looks to be unusually thick. Likely bulletproof.
He opens the door for me, and I climb inside.
As the car takes off, he pulls me closer to him, and I bury my face in the crook of his neck, breathing in his familiar scent.
For the first time in months, I feel like I’m home.