“I spent twelve years trying to groom you into the perfect heir!” Blaine shouted at Sophie, hitting her hard across the face. She cradled her jaw, meeting Blaine’s gaze with fearful eyes. “What will it take for you to follow directions? You’ve given me no reason why I should trust you as the next leader.” He clenched his fists as if he were going for another attack, but he didn’t. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t denounce you as my heir?”
She couldn’t. Actually, she didn’t even want to be his heir. She wanted to go home, wherever home was. The only home she could think of was in Matt’s arms.
“I’m sorry,” Sophie said, trembling with fear. If she didn’t remain useful to him, she feared he would kill her. With a quick glance, she looked back at Matt who had been deposited on the floor of the living room. He was still unconscious. That couldn’t be good. Not at all. Especially because he had already lost a lot of blood.
“Are you really sorry?” Blaine asked, his dark eyes boring into her own. “I think you’d be more sorry as soon as I finish that FBI agent of yours off. Ever since he came around, you’ve been nothing but trouble. I want him to be awake for this.”
One of Blaine’s servants handed him a bowl full of water, and Blaine emptied its contents all over Matt’s head.
Matt sputtered awake, wincing as if the bullet wound in his shoulder hurt beyond imagination. She knew exactly how he felt. It definitely hurt a lot.
“Matt,” Sophie breathed as she attempted to run toward him, but Blaine caught a hold of her and slammed her against the wall, pinning her with a large hand around her tiny throat.
“Stop!” Matt shouted, but he was quickly restrained by Blaine’s lackey before he even had a chance to intervene. “Touch her and I’ll kill you!”
But Blaine didn’t heed his words, instead squeezing Sophie’s throat even harder to the point that she couldn’t even breathe. Sophie’s eyes widened in fear as she clawed at Blaine’s fingers, but she proved to be too weak to even make them budge.
“You know how much I dislike insubordinance, Sophie,” Blaine growled. “You’ve tried my patience again and again.” He squeezed even harder to the point where she was afraid her neck would snap. “And again,” he whispered.
“Stop it!” Matt shouted, struggling hard against his captor’s grip, but this only made it so the Russian pinned Matt down onto his hands and knees, giving him a face full of carpet.
Half of her fought to stay conscious while the other half fought against Blaine’s crushing grip. The was much worse than the bathtub. Much much worse.
“I can see that I’m not going to get you to comply with my wishes,” Blaine spat at her. “I have no further use for you.”
Sophie didn’t know it was even possible for Blaine to squeeze any tighter, but he did, leaving her no choice. Her fingers inched toward her skirt for her gun on her thigh, and quicker than Blaine could react, she pulled the trigger.
Blaine yelped as the bullet embedded itself in his leg, causing him to release his grip from Sophie. Sophie fell to her knees, gasping for air. Her neck hurt so bad, but she didn’t think it was broken.
She raced for her gun that she had dropped but Blaine got to it first. He picked it up and leveled it at her head, his expression nothing but pure, hard hatred.
“I thought we could be more, Sophie!” Blaine shouted at her, hitting her hard against the face again but this time with the back of her gun. “You had everything you wanted! Everything!”
Sophie’s breath shuddered but she forced herself to look Blaine in the eye, knowing that her life would be over the second the words left her mouth. “I had nothing I wanted,” Sophie spat back. “No family. No freedom. I had to live in fear every single day of my life. You’re no uncle of mine. You kidnapped me. You abused me. And I’d rather die than spend another second with you.”
Tears trailed down her face as she closed her eyes, feeling the muzzle of her own gun being pressed against her forehead.
“You disappoint me, Sophie,” Blaine said quietly. “But I’ll grant you your last request.” She didn’t have to look in order to know that Blaine’s finger moved toward the trigger of the gun. Just a few more seconds and it’ll all be over.
Sophie’s eyes flew open as she heard the Russian holding Matt down grunt. Matt had wrestled the large Russian away long enough to grab a hold of his gun and in a swift motion, pulled the trigger. Blaine went down so quickly that Sophie hardly had any time to register what had just happened. The large Russian beside Matt jumped on top of him and began punching him again and again. Sophie dove for her gun that had fallen from Blaine’s lifeless hand and pointed it at the large Russian’s head.
“No, Sophie!” Matt yelled. “Don’t!”
The Russian hit Matt in the face again and again as Sophie hesitated. Why would Matt say no?
Before she could even ponder that thought further, Matt reached for a lamp and smashed it across the man’s head, stunning him long enough for Matt to reach for the gun and shoot the man in the stomach, and then again in the head. He pushed the large Russian’s body off of him, breathing hard from all of his efforts.
“Matt,” Sophie breathed as she rushed to his side, her fingers fumbling helplessly as she took him in. The skin on his cheek looked raw from all the brutal punches he received and the bullet wound in his shoulder had soaked a good chunk of his shirt. He needed medical attention immediately.
She used Blaine’s phone to dial the number for the paramedics and waited beside Matt from them to arrive as he struggled to hold onto consciousness. Tears flowed down her cheeks as she cradled him in her arms, running her fingers through his hair comfortingly.
“Why wouldn’t you let me shoot him?” Sophie asked, her voice breaking.
Matt shook his head as he stared up at her. “I don’t want you to lose your innocence,” he replied quietly, his hold on her hand becoming weaker and weaker. “I don’t want you to have to live with that burden.”
His eyes started to close, so she shook his head, willing him to stay with her. “Don’t go. Please don’t go,” she whimpered. “I love you. Please don’t go.”
The paramedics burst in at that moment, taking her attention away from Matt for a brief second. When she looked back down, his eyes had closed and his breathing had stopped.
“No,” Sophie whispered. “No. Please. No.” In fear, she covered her mouth with her hand that was streaked in Matt’s blood, watching with tear-filled eyes as the paramedics loaded Matt onto the stretcher. This couldn’t be happening.
Sobs wracked her entire frame as she sunk to her knees, hardly responding as paramedics and police officers spoke to her. This couldn’t be happening.
She glanced up to see that the paramedics had disappeared, leaving her alone with the police and two dead bodies. Her whole heart throbbed in pain as her vision became blurry with tears once again.
This couldn’t be happening.