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The Fall of East

The Fall of East

Author:Nana Malone


New Adult

Nyla Kincade has stolen my ruthless heart.Now that she owns it I’m not taking it back.I’ve vowed to protect her and all that we love with everything that I have.I will die before I break that oath.Considering the danger we face, that might be a careless promise.But I’ve fought this hard for vengeance, I must see it through. Because for those who heard no evil, a debt must be paid.And I will stop at nothing to see the scales balanced.


Someone had shoved dry cotton pads in my mouth. Dry, bitter—tasting cotton and saw dust pads. I tried to push them out of my mouth with my tongue to no avail.

Somewhere in the distance, someone whispered. "Fuck, I am so sorry, Nyla. Please, please, be okay."

The overwhelming desire to comfort them took over. I needed to tell them that I would be okay just as soon as someone removed the cotton from my mouth. I turned toward the voice but then froze as a burning pain seared through my shoulder like I was being jabbed repeatedly by a hot poker.


The nausea hit next, and I wanted to vomit. Oh God, what if I tried to vomit and the cotton was still in my mouth? I would choke.

Warmth enveloped my hand and started to spread up my arm, chasing off a chill I didn't know I had. I wanted that warmth. Wanted to cocoon myself in it and never let go.

I'm sorry. Again, those words filtered into my consciousness.

I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

My heart stopped.

Those words. Words full of anguish. Words a part of me had needed to hear since the moment my heart was broken.

Those were the words East Hale had said to me… before he shot me.

After everything we'd been through to be together, he had put a bullet through me. A bullet.

Off in the distance, I could hear beeping. Beep—beep—beep... It sounded like an alarm. Somehow, something sounding like an alarm was far less prevalent in my mind than the thought of how the man I cared about had shot me… with a gun. Through my flesh. And there had been no hostage situation where he had to shoot me to get to the bad guy, or some other such Jason Bourne—like shit.

Oh no. We'd been alone in a room, and that motherfucker had shot me. His eyes full of promise, his words telling me he cared about me, right before putting a bullet in my shoulder. Well, I was going to return the favor, except I was going to have much better aim.

Just as soon as it wasn't dark and painful and cold anymore. So damn cold.

Why was it cold?

Oh, he'd removed his hand. Not only had he shot me, but now he'd also left me alone and bereft.

More beeping. Faster now. Beep—beep—beep—beep—beep.

He had shot me. It was all I could think about. His soulful, moss—green eyes as they pleaded with me. The look of grim determination on his lush lips as he pressed them together and raised his gun and then fired.

The alarms were louder now, faster too. Beep—beep—beep—beep—beep—beep.

God, I was so cold, and the bitterness on my tongue added insult to injury. I needed to get out of there so I could kill him.

Damn right. I had plans for East Hale. I was not going to let him go slowly into the night. Oh no. I was going to make it torturous. Like a rain of fire.

Yep, a rain of fire.

My brain latched onto various revenge schemes as I lay in the dark and cold. The asshole had shot me, and I hated him.

No, you don't. You love him. Just think about why he shot you.

Why? There was no good reason to shoot the woman you loved. That was ridiculous. Nobody shot a woman they loved. It was counterintuitive. Useless really, because when she recovered, she would come for you. Unless, of course, you thought she was going to die. In which case, sure, go ahead...

Then that voice again. East's voice. God, why did he sound so good? The deep rich baritone was like mulled wine at the holiday. Warming me in places too buried to feel warmth. "Yeah, she's coming to. Get the doctor in here. She seems agitated."

Agitated? Damn straight I was agitated. That motherfucker had shot me. Why couldn't I wake up? I wanted out of this cold place. I wanted to go find East and shoot him. Tit for tat. That was really how I dealt with most things, honestly. Tit for tat. Where would I shoot him?

The balls.

Of course. As if there was any question. He was going to get shot in the balls. That thought brought me much satisfaction, and the beeping slowed down.

It was still too loud though.

"There you are, sweetheart. Come on, wake up. Talk to us."

There was another voice saying, "Back off. The last thing she needs is to see you first thing when she wakes up."

That rich, chocolatey voice talked back. "She'll want to see me. She'll understand."

The other voice was familiar. Sweet. Like a warm hug in the winter. "I swear to God, if you put your hands on her again, I will shoot you right here." Amelia. That was definitely Amelia.

I furrowed my brow. More shooting? If someone was getting shot, I wanted in on this.

And then the beeping was slow but steady, and really close, as if it was right next to me. There was light in the periphery of my vision, but I still couldn't see anything. I tried blinking my eyes, but it was a searing, white light, so I quickly closed them. It was all too much.

"Easy, love." East whispered. Did he always sound so good? I listened to him because his voice was so soothing and made me want to tuck in, even though I wanted to kill the man.

Amelia bit back, "I swear to God, if you touch her, you die."

"She cares about me. You can't stop it. You're stuck with me."

"Oh, I promise you, she will get over it."

East was almost laughing now. "And you really think I'm going to let you shoot me?"

"Oh, let me? I'm an Interpol agent, remember? If you—"

I opened my eyes more slowly, and their voices came into sharper focus as I listened to the two of them bicker like school children over my bed. "If you two are done now..." I croaked.

What the hell was wrong with my voice? Why was it so scratchy?

Both heads snapped in my direction. East was right at my side and took my hand. "Sweetheart, I'm so sorry. Are you okay?"

I frowned at him and then slid my gaze to Amelia. "Amelia, you were right. This is why we don't date fuck boys, because fuck boys shoot us." I tried to snatch my hand from his, but his grip was too firm.

The idiot just smiled at me with relief etched on his sculpted face. "Yes, I am a fuck boy. I'm sorry. But Interpol was coming, and Denning... I knew he wouldn't believe that you hadn't seen anything, so I shot you."

I blinked up at him. Sleep was still threatening to pull me down, but I fought it. "You shot me to help me keep my job?"

"Of course. Regardless of what you say, your job is important to you. I know that. So I gave you plausible deniability."

He wanted to give me plausible deniability?

That is sweet though.

I frowned. I didn't want sweet. I didn't want him being wonderful. He had shot me.

Amelia leaned in. "You should go, Hale. I told you if you hurt her that I was going to end you. I'm not going to do that in the hospital because, you know, they'll likely save you. But watch your back, because I certainly do have plans for you."

He rolled his eyes. "I'm not leaving. My family donated a wing to the hospital. You couldn't kick me out if you tried."

Amelia glared at him. "Who does that? Who casually throws around that they own part of the hospital?"

I mumbled. "He does. The London Lords do. This is all his fault."

"I agree. Completely his fault." She nodded in solidarity.

East just rolled his eyes. "It is my fault. I did this. And I will fix it. The last thing I ever want to do is see you in pain."

"Well," I gasped, "next time, don't shoot me."

He nodded, still holding my hand. "I'm going to take care of you, okay? Anything you need."

"I don't need anything." Especially not from him.

"Well, you're getting it. And might I note that you already live with me?"

"Clearly, I'm moving out. You know, on account of the shooting."

"Well, why don't we wait until you've recovered, and then we can talk about it?"

Recovered? I was fine. Surely it couldn't be that bad. I tried to move and then winced. "Fuck. Son of a bitch."

It was his turn to wince then. "I'm sorry. Again."

Amelia laughed. "You're going to have to come up with a new line."

He glowered at her. "Stay out of this. This is between me and Nyla. I will apologize fifty million ways. I'm very persuasive."

Amelia snorted. "I'll bet you are."

"Can you two please stop it? My shoulder is throbbing. Where did you shoot me?"

"In that soft tissue right below the clavicle, clean shot through and through. The doctor says I missed all major ligaments, so it was a minor surgery and they just stitched you up. It'll take a few weeks, but you should have full function in your arm in no time."

"Where am I?"

"Evanston. It's a private hospital."

My brows lifted. "Evanston? You mean the fancy one that the celebrities go to?"

East nodded. "Well, yeah. And the best surgeon in all of Europe was flown in. He'll be in shortly. But he says you're going to be as good as new in no time."

Amelia just crossed her arms and shook her head. "He's been throwing money around here like he's Daddy Warbucks. Stomping around until he gets his way. Hell, he almost banned visitors until the doctor said it was good for you to wake up to familiar faces. That's the only reason I'm in here. Otherwise, he would have banned me too."

I frowned at him. "You will not ban Amelia."

He mumbled under his breath. "Well, if she keeps talking shit, I will."

"East Alexander Hale."

He sighed. "Fine. Fine. Of course, I wouldn't ban Amelia."

There was a knock at the door, and we all turned in that direction. It opened slowly, and a familiar brunette popped her head through. "Hiya. Oh my goodness, you're awake. I'm so glad to see that."

I frowned. "Hazel?"

Amelia just stared at her. East stood guard over me like a sentry, arms crossed, scowl in place. "What are you doing here?" he asked.

"Oh, um..." She hesitated. "Well, she's on Denning's team, you see. He's downstairs. You know, with the rest of the team. He wanted to make sure she's all right. I didn't want to sit around, so I snuck about and told him I was going to the loo. And I also went to the gift shop and bought this." She held up a small bouquet of gerbera daisies. "So, how are we feeling?"

I winced as I tried to adjust myself and my pillows. There's nothing more humiliating than being flat on your back when seeing someone who could be a potential enemy. "Like I've been shot."

"Right. Of course. Sorry."

Amelia and East both scowled like stone gargoyles ready to protect my house. "Um, you two give us a minute, would you?"

They both nodded but didn't look like they were going to move until I nudged them again. "Guys, please."

They both left slowly, sauntering by Hazel. And I saw East deliberately leave the door cracked open. She laughed when they were gone. "My, they are protective of you."

"Amelia is. She's family. East, well, the jury is still out."

From the hallway, I heard him chuckle. Jackass.

"Well, that's lovely, isn't it?"

I looked at the gerbera daisies in her hands. "Um, thanks for those. You can put them over there." She looked relieved to have something to do with herself. "Can I ask you what you're doing here, Hazel?"

"Oh, you know, I just..." She licked her lips nervously. "I know it's a bit untoward and seems odd, but honestly, I don't have many friends here. And I like you. I know my fiancé is a twat to you sometimes. But regardless of that, I like you a lot, and I was distressed to hear that you'd been shot. If it's possible, I would like us to be friends."

"You're asking me that when I'm flat on my back?"

She laughed. "Well, it's not like you can go anywhere."

I coughed a laugh. "That would be accurate. So what, I guess we're friends now?"

East popped his head in. "Over my dead body. I need to do a security background check on you for Nyla's protection."

Hazel's eyes went wide, and I shook my head at her. "Don't mind him. He's just being obsessive."

Hazel's brows furrowed. "Should we call the police?"

I shook my head. "I am the police. And to be frank, he has a really nice ass. So I might keep him. But right now, he has pissed me off beyond recognition, so I'm not sure if I can ever forgive him."

East chimed in again from the hallway. "You know I can hear you, right?"

Hazel just laughed. "Oh, girl talk. I love this. I must say, he does have nice buns."

I coughed a laugh, wondering just how in the world Hazel and I had become friends. Amelia, on the other hand, studied her with an inscrutable face from her position outside my door. She didn't trust Hazel, and she didn't think I should either.

I was glad to know she was always looking out for me. Because after the shooting, I wasn't sure who I could trust.



I woke up to a shadow in my room. Someone stood in the corner, dark and looming. It took all of two seconds to realize I was awake, and that it was not, in fact, a dream.

Automatically, I reached under my pillow for a weapon. I always kept a weapon under my pillow. Sometimes an extendable baton, sometimes a knife. Something. Except I found nothing.

Because you're still in the hospital, remember?

Oh, excellent. So there I was with no weapon, and someone had come to kill me. Bloody fantastic. Things were just looking better and better.

"Your nurses quite resemble Attila the Hun."

I marginally relaxed when I realized I knew that voice. "Theroux. What are you doing here?"

"What, I can't check on you? After all, the word is you have been shot."

Just thinking about who shot me and how the hell I ended up there ticked me off even more. "Wow, you really take this partnership seriously. Maybe you could do me the service of handcuffing yourself to me then calling in the Interpol agents out in the hall. It would be a brilliant way to get the collar."

He chuckled softly. "Don't be like that. I brought you a present."

I groaned. "I really don't need one. As you can see, I already have so many damn flowers that my room resembles a mortuary."

"I see that. You can rest assured it's not flowers. Look to your left."

My brows furrowed as I leaned down to find a smallish box of files. "What is this?"

"Agent Kincade, I'm starting to think you don't listen. It's a present. Something you've probably been looking for and didn't even know it."

"Oh, so we're back to riddles, are we?"

He sighed. "I'm not trying to make things difficult for you. But this is one of those things you'll need to learn for yourself. You need to pull on that little string and unravel it yourself. Because if I just tell you, you won't believe me."

"Try me."

"If you want to talk after you've looked at it, you know how to reach me."

"How? I don't have your number."

He grinned. "No, you don't. But I'll reach out to you. How's that?"

Before I could think of anything else to say, he stalked calmly out of my room as if he wasn't one of the most wanted men in the whole world.



To be fair, I hadn't really thought it through when I told Nyla I was the one who was going to be taking care of her. The taking—care—of—her part wasn't hard. I wanted to take care of her. And it went far beyond guilt or concern. I was pretty certain I loved her. I didn't want anyone else being the one to help her get better.

No. What I'd underestimated was Nyla's pure stubbornness.

But you knew she was stubborn.

I did, but not like this. For starters, I couldn't keep her in bed.

Every time I turned around, there she was, climbing out of bed because she needed something, or she wanted her laptop, or she couldn't find her phone and maybe it was out in the living room, or she was bored by staying in the bedroom.

And it was only day three. She'd been discharged two days after the surgery, and she was already doing much better. We only really needed to change her bandages and make sure she wasn't overdoing it. Another few days, and we wouldn't need to do that anymore. But she did have to go back to the hospital to get her stitches out. So far, she'd managed with a sponge bath and a soak to keep everything nice and dry, but I could tell she was desperate for a shower because she kept looking longingly at the showerhead every time I helped her into the loo.

The latest point of contention was when I came out of my office to find her trying to climb up onto the countertop to reach something. "What the fuck are you doing?"

"I want a bowl."

"Yes, the bowls are right there. At reachable levels."

She frowned. "I want a big bowl for popcorn."

I stared at her. "Popcorn?"

She nodded. "You know, you can make it on the stove or in the microwave. It's delicious."

I sighed and glared at her. "Is there a reason you didn't call me?"

"Well, I figured you were busy. Plus, I can reach it. It's just a bowl."

"Nyla, you were trying to climb on the counter."

Her brow furrowed. "Look, I'm not good at being a prisoner. I just want to be able to do things for myself."

"And you will be able to. Just not yet. You just got out of the hospital."

"Because you shot me."

I threw my hands up. "Jesus. You shoot someone one time, and they never let you forget."

"For the love of Christ, of course I will never forget. You shot me."

I knew I shouldn't react, but my lip began twitching before I knew what was happening. She stomped her foot, but I couldn't help it. The laugh started as a low grumble, deep in the center of my chest. I hoped that maybe she wouldn't notice, but of course she did, and she went still and lifted a brow. Then she threw the pack of popcorn at me as she reached for another packet, and I ducked.

I charged at her quickly, because I knew that if she got going, other things were going to get thrown too. "Nyla Kincade, put the popcorn down."

She reached for the spatula next. Even as I scooped her up gently and put her over my shoulder, she whacked my arse with the spatula. "Put me down, you overgrown wanker. You're such an oaf."

"Well, oaf implies that I'm big, so I'll take it."

"Only you would figure out how to turn that into a compliment. Have I mentioned that I hate you?"

"More than once. Again, I'm sorry you feel that way. I care about you very much."

"Well, I do not care about you right now."

"Nyla, come on, behave yourself."

But instead of behaving herself, she whacked me harder. The sting surprised me enough that I stopped and went stock—still. I glanced down, and my cock was hard. Excellent. The more she struggled in my arms, rubbing against me, the more I was reminded that I couldn't have her right now.

"Nyla, if you want to start those games, we can. It's not usually my thing, but I am more than happy to spank you. I think I owe you one anyway," I ground out.

The little tremor in her body told me that she didn't hate the idea, but she was injured, so we weren't doing any of that. At least not for another few days when the doctor said she could go without the sling.

"You wouldn't dare." Her voice was a shocked whisper.

"If I think it will get you off, I will absolutely go there." My brain offered up all the helpful images it could of Nyla with her arse up in the air, her beautiful bronze skin begging for my touch.

"You are such an impossible—"

I flipped her body up, bracing her on one arm so that I could ease her down onto the bed. "You were saying, my love?"

I let her body slide down over the ridges of mine and waited to see if she could find a single thing to say.

"I— I don't like this," she said on a breathless whisper.

I laughed. "I know. And I'm sorry that you're in this situation because of me. I really am. Hell, even I think I'm a wanker. But right now, I just really need you to cooperate with me. Please."

"I will not cooperate. I can't lay here in bed letting you just take care of me. I hate it."

"I know. You're not a woman who wants to be looked after. I get that. I also get that I fucked up. These things happen. I should have found another way to get you out of that situation at the Jameson estate."

"I swear to God, East, when I recover, you are in so much trouble."

"I'll look forward to that. In the meantime, stay here and text me if you need something. You know what, fuck that. Hold on." I jogged back to the kitchen, grabbed her popcorn, stuck it in the microwave, and then went into the office and grabbed my laptop and my phone.

Despite her protests, I'd put her in my room to recuperate. I rarely worked in my bedroom. I liked to keep a nice separation so that on the nights when I couldn't sleep, I wouldn't associate the bedroom with an office.

Once I settled my things on the desk by the window, I went back for the popcorn. I seasoned it just how she liked it. Very little butter, but a sprinkle of both salt and sugar. The sweet—salty combination was amazing. Then I brought the massive bowl back into the bedroom with several napkins. "For my lady."

She perked up as soon as the scent of popcorn hit her nostrils, and she inhaled deep. "Why are you doing all of this?"

"Because I broke you, so I'm going to mend you. And you matter to me. I don't know how long it's going to take for you to hear me when I say that, so I'm going to keep saying it. I'm sorry I had to shoot you. Now, eat your popcorn. Read your book. I'm going to work now."

"Can you just get me my work files or something?"

I laughed. "No way. Your boss, subsequently also your best friend, already warned you about that. I am not incurring her wrath, because not only do I have to get back into your good graces, I need to earn my way back into hers as well. I shot her most—prized employee. She's pissed with me. So right now, you sit there. Read something."

"But I don't know what else is going on with the case."

"And I guess you won't know until Amelia tells you, right?"

She grumbled something along the lines of, "You can stick your rationality up your arse."

And I chuckled as I turned around. I wasn't sure why, but the harder she fought, the more I wanted her, and the more I wanted to take care of her. She just had to get used to it because she was mine.

And I wasn't letting her go.