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The Skull Crusher (Skull 2) Penelope Sky 2022/8/5 16:52:07

“I saved her because she’s valuable property. It was nothing personal.”

“Well, I don’t believe that. I think you actually care about this girl, but you won’t admit it to yourself.”

“I never lie so that doesn’t make any sense.”

“People lie to themselves all the time. It’s a defense mechanism. You can’t stand the idea of caring about this woman, so you pretend she means nothing. You keep telling yourself she means nothing. You’ve said it enough times that you actually believe it.”

I refilled my glass and brought it to my lips as I stared at the coffee table. “I can’t have a woman in my life, at least not a permanent one. I’m the Skull King, and my obligation is to my men and our organization. There’s no happily ever after with me. She would just be a liability, a distraction. There’s no reason to keep her. I enjoy her now, but I can’t enjoy her in the long term.”

“Maybe that’s true. But you would really do that to an innocent woman?” Heath was usually hard and cold like I was, but he obviously had a soft spot for Cassini. Maybe his tenure in prison changed his attitude about wrongful suffering.

“I don’t care about innocent people. If I did, I wouldn’t be the Skull King.”

“You know what will happen to her.” He stared at me as he held the cigar between his fingertips.

Lucian would beat her bloody. He would rape her, have his men rape her. He would torture her until he finally felt satisfied. Then he would kill her in a brutal way. It wouldn’t be a bullet through the skull, something quick and relatively painless. It would be horrific, like drowning her in the pool or burning her alive.

“You’re telling me you can just carry on like nothing happened? Knowing the woman who has been in your bed every night was now being tortured?”

“What other option do I have? I can’t let him keep the diamond.”

“It’s just a diamond, Balto.”

“One of the most expensive diamonds in the world.”

“So?” he asked with a shrug. “You don’t have enough money already?”

“He betrayed me, Heath.” I slammed my glass on the table. “We had a deal, and he betrayed me. You think I can just let that go?”

“You got your revenge when you slept with his wife. If you ask me, that’s worse.”

“Not worse enough…” I stared at the coffee table.

“If Lucian does make the offer, really think it over. I know you’ll regret handing her over.”

“You don’t know anything, Heath. I threw you in jail for six months, remember? Lucian’s soldiers are just working for a paycheck, but that didn’t stop me from crushing one’s skull with my boot and recording it for Lucian to see. I’m a heartless son of a bitch.”

“Well, I deserved to be thrown in jail. We both know it. And Lucian’s soldier would have raped Cassini if he got his way. You don’t need to feel bad for what you did. But Cassini is different. Let’s not forget that you hunted down her ex-boyfriend and tortured him for what he did to her. She didn’t ask you to do that. You weren’t obligated to do it. But you did it anyway. What does that say about you?”

“She deserved vengeance. That’s all.”

“And you don’t think she deserves to be free from Lucian?” he questioned. “Beating the shit out of Evan doesn’t help her, Balto. It doesn’t make a difference. It only satisfied your rage. You say it was for her, but we both know that’s bullshit.”

I rubbed my hands together as I stared at my hard knuckles. Maybe I did care about Cassini, but not enough to change my plans. When I took her, I’d always had the intention of selling her back. I just wanted leverage against Lucian so he would give me what I wanted. I was too stubborn to change my mind. “Let’s drop it, alright?” I grabbed my glass again and finished the contents. “We’ve got work to do.” I rose to my feet and grabbed the gun off the counter.

Heath put out his cigar even though he wasn’t finished with it and came to my side. “Alright. I’ve said my piece.”

We headed to the elevator so we could ride to the lobby. I hit the button then we waited for the carriage to rise all the way to our level. Heath pulled out his phone and checked his text messages before he shoved it back into his pocket.

“Balto?” Her quiet voice sounded from behind me.

I turned around to see Cassini standing there, swallowed by my enormous t-shirt. It reached all the way to her knees, and the sleeves touched her elbows.

Heath abruptly turned around and faced the elevator, knowing it would piss me off if he stared at her when she looked so sexy in my clothes. “Pretend I’m not here…”