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Skipped chapter nineteen? It was market PRIVATE. You must follow me to read private chapters. Please refer to Fine Facts at the front of this book for further details.

"Are we going to talk about it?"

Mark was enjoying the view—Virginia, naked, lying on her stomach in his bed. He leaned over and drew his fingers along her back from the top of her shoulders all the way down to where the sheet gathered low at her hips. He'd been expecting the question, but it still troubled him, knowing he had to censor how much he should tell her, could tell her.

"Well?" She wasn't letting it go.

"Yes, you were right, a contract has been put out on you." He eased his weight back against the headboard and she rolled onto her side, pulling the black satin up to cover her breasts.

"By Gus I assume?"

"No. Gus doesn't have that kind of authority. It was Augustus."

Frowning, she shifted up to her elbow. "Why me? Because of us? That seems excessive."

Mark shook his head. "I'm sure it was Gus's suggestion. He's never liked your gym being in his territory. It gives people too much hope. And now with the Green Soldiers . . ." He knew her well enough to keep his opinion on their age and experience to himself. "Gus knows you've been training them there, and it's pissing him off. And he's not above using Simon's death to sway his father."

"Simon? Were they that close to Simon?" She looked down and fiddled with the edge of the sheet. "Sorry, I know this is painful for you."

Mark felt it all come flooding back, the sorrow of Simon's death, the self-loathing after he vented his anger on her, the ache of emptiness during their time apart. Even now, he hated how she looked so wary.

He put his finger under her chin and lifted it, drawing her gaze back up to his. "I know how you felt about him. So did Simon, don't ever doubt that. He was the happiest I had ever seen him when you came into our lives. The same holds true for me."

"Thank you," she whispered.

He leaned in and kissed her before getting back to her question with, "Gus's motives are never obvious. This was his way to get rid of you, get ultimate revenge on me, and hopefully disband the Green Soldiers all in one shot. He could have cared less about Simon's death. Gus hated Simon . . . at least the threat Simon posed."

As Virginia went to speak, Mark added, "Simon was Augustus's son."

She gasped.

He nodded. "He had an affair with my sister, couldn't stay away from her. Augustus has always had a thing for young, beautiful women." Mark could hear the bitterness creeping into his own voice. "I was never sure how Julia felt about him, apart from his money, which she loved. Although to be fair, we didn't have the best upbringing. I think she was just trying to improve her situation."

Virginia's eyes flared with the mention of his childhood. He didn't like to talk about the past—with good reason.

"When she became pregnant, Augustus ended the relationship, telling her if she kept her mouth shut she would be well rewarded. Otherwise, he would give her nothing."

"Nice guy. I think I know where Gus gets all his charm."

"I wasn't any more admirable. Awed by Augustus's wealth and fame, I helped convince Julia it would be best to keep the father's identity a secret."

"You were, what, eighteen at the time? You were still a kid."

Mark felt the tightness of a scowl. He didn't want her making excuses for his behavior. "I knew right from wrong," he barked.

The Silent Ones [✔️] (#2 in the Chilvati Series)Where stories live. Discover now