Home > Dominated (The Enforcers #2)(10)

Dominated (The Enforcers #2)(10)
Maya Banks

And now he had no hope of ever regaining either.

“Angel,” he whispered, his voice cracking. “You have every reason to hate me, to despise the very sight of me. What I did was unforgivable. But I had no choice. Please give me a chance to explain. If after, you still hate me, if you still want me out of your life, I’ll let you go. It will fucking kill me, but I swear to you I’ll let you go and you will never want for anything for the rest of your life whether I’m a part of it or not. You will never have to work in these conditions. You will be financially secure. I’ve already seen to it even though I know it isn’t what you want from me. You’ve never wanted anything from me but . . . me. Give me a chance, Angel. God, give me a chance to make this right. So that you’ll want me again. Just me and nothing else. I will never doubt you, I never have. But I will make damn sure you never have reason to doubt me again.”

“Bitch.”

“Whore.”

“Worthless.”

Her whispered words, so much agony inflected into every single one, words he’d thrown at her, direct arrows that had crippled her self-confidence, nearly destroyed the thin string to which he was clinging desperately. The one that was keeping him from losing all vestiges of his control. Because those words he’d thrown at her were now darts directed back at him, each piercing him like a kill shot.

He had recognized it in the restaurant, that awful evening that seemed a lifetime ago, that what he’d done to her had been far worse than the damage inflicted on her by Eddie, her ex. But knowing and seeing were two different things, and now he was seeing her, seeing just how much he’d ripped her to pieces and destroyed something so utterly beautiful and innocent.

“That’s what I was to you, Drake,” she said, still whispering, her body shuddering violently with each broken breath.

“No!” he shouted, making her flinch and recoil from the raw fury in his voice.

Her eyes were wide with fear, uncertainty, and so much pain, pain he well understood because he’d been living in hell from the night he’d betrayed her. But even knowing the anguish he’d suffered, he knew it in no way compared to her pain and suffering, and that only gutted him even more because never had he wanted to cause her such pain and ugliness. He’d made a sacred vow to himself. Vows. And he’d broken both as surely as he’d broken her.

“Never,” he said savagely. “They were lies, Angel. Terrible, ugly, necessary lies. Oh God, if I could only go back, if I could only have that day back. I would have made certain you were never involved, never exposed like that. In my arrogance I thought I could keep you safe and separated from that aspect of my life. It’s a mistake I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life. I know you can never forgive, but God, please, I’m begging you. Give me the chance to explain, to try to make you understand the world I live in. A world I should have never allowed you into, but I could no more deny myself your sweetness and light than a starving man could refuse food and water. Angel, you were—are—the only good thing in my life, and God help me but I couldn’t do the right thing and let you go. I had to have you. I needed you. I still need you.”

Her brow furrowed, her expression perplexed. Her eyes were bewildered as she took in the anguished words he’d delivered with so much emotion and self-loathing. She seemed to filter through each and every word he’d said, her expression ever changing as she processed the conflicting statements. He didn’t even know if he’d made any goddamn sense. All he knew was that he was desperate and he would do or say anything to get her to come home with him.

“Necessary? Necessary?” she repeated, her face creased with pain. “It was necessary for you to humiliate me, to strip me bare in front of those m-men, to debase and degrade me, make me feel like a worthless whore?”

Sweet heaven, but every single word from that night was solidly ingrained in her memory because she recalled them verbatim, had absorbed them and worse of all, believed them.

Drake groaned, and he didn’t even recognize his own voice, so great was the agony. Like a wounded animal or a beast mourning the loss of his mate. He was both, but not nearly as wounded as the beautiful woman standing so close and yet so very far away.

She shook her head and then covered her face with both hands, her knees giving way as she slid toward the floor. Drake vaulted over the cleaning equipment in an attempt to catch her, but he was too late and so he skidded to a halt and collapsed to his knees in front of her, his arms immediately going around her, ignoring her sudden recoil, her rejection of his touch and body. Ignoring her reaction, he anchored her shaking body to his, holding on in a vow to never again let go.

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