Home > Dominated (The Enforcers #2)(15)

Dominated (The Enforcers #2)(15)
Maya Banks

Except her love for him.

And it was a well-known fact that one-sided love was doomed from the start. She couldn’t love him enough to make up for the fact that he didn’t and would never love her.

“Angel, you break my heart,” he said, his throat clogged with emotion.

“I’d say we’re even then,” she whispered without malice.


Drake knew he was being a coward holding off his conversation with Evangeline for as long as possible, but he hadn’t yet figured out exactly what he wanted to say or how to say it. All of his focus and energy over the past few days had been centered on finding his angel. He’d purposely blocked all other thoughts from his mind because he wouldn’t entertain for a moment the thought that he wouldn’t find her and bring her back where she belonged.

But now that he had what he wanted most . . . No, having her back ran a close second to gaining her forgiveness and understanding. Her trust wouldn’t be earned so easily the second time around, and he knew he had to tread carefully. He couldn’t afford another mistake like this one or he’d lose Evangeline forever. He was lucky he hadn’t lost her this time.

You don’t know you haven’t already lost her. She was here physically. But she damn sure wasn’t with him emotionally. She was reserved, in self-protection mode, determined not to give him the power to ever hurt her again.

He paced the floor outside the bathroom of his hotel suite as he waited for Evangeline to reappear after her shower. He’d laid out clothes for her on the counter so she wouldn’t feel vulnerable and at a disadvantage when he cleared the air. Or died trying.

No, she would listen to him. She had to. Evangeline wasn’t like the many other women of his acquaintance. She didn’t emotionally manipulate men—anyone—with tears, nor did she pout or withhold forgiveness in order to punish people.

But everyone had their limits and he hoped like hell that he hadn’t put himself beyond redemption. That he hadn’t done permanent damage to her loving, generous heart. He was jaded and cynical enough for both of them. The idea of Evangeline becoming someone like him—hard, distrustful and suspicious—made him sick to his soul.

You don’t deserve her.

Maybe Hatcher, as fucked up as his reasoning had been, had been right. For the first time, Drake allowed doubt to creep into his mind. Was he doing the wrong thing by fighting for Evangeline? By doing a complete one-eighty and making her his queen, thus rendering her off-limits to anyone who valued not only their material wealth but also their life?

Because no one who knew Drake, whether personally or by reputation only, would ever doubt that if something or someone Drake valued came to harm, he would turn the fucking world over until every last person who even knew of the plan, regardless of whether they actually participated, paid dearly.

Drake would ruin anyone who put a finger on Evangeline. And then the person would die, and it wouldn’t be a quick or merciful death. He would repay ten times over every mark, scratch, hurt, fear or threat Evangeline suffered.

He shook his head, dispelling the cloud of doubt in a pissed-off motion. Hatcher was lucky to still have the use of his limbs after bringing that shit up to Drake’s face. And Drake’s other men hadn’t been any happier about Hatch’s “helpful” suggestion.

The sound of the door made Drake turn in his tracks, and he held his breath as Evangeline hesitantly appeared in the doorway of the en suite bathroom, her fingers gripping the door frame so tightly that her fingertips were chalk white. Her hair lay damply against her face and trailed down her shoulders, and when she saw he was looking at her, she shifted and curled her arms protectively around her midsection as if to hide herself from his scrutiny.

She was wearing a simple pair of jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt, and he noticed that she’d put her socks and shoes back on, as if ensuring that she was prepared to flee at any moment. Unease and indecision flickered through her expressive eyes, and after she’d sought out his position in the room and briefly locked gazes with him, her stare skittered away and she refused to look up at him again.

He sighed and lowered his hand from his bedraggled hair and let it dangle down his side.

“Are you willing to listen to me, Angel?” he asked quietly. “To give me a chance to explain?”

One small shoulder lifted in a half shrug and her bottom lip disappeared between her teeth as she chewed nervously at it.

“I guess I don’t understand what there is left to say,” she said in a soft voice. “You made yourself abundantly clear where I stand, or rather where I don’t stand. How can rehashing it do either of us any good?”

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