Home > Dominated (The Enforcers #2)(16)

Dominated (The Enforcers #2)(16)
Maya Banks

No longer willing or able to maintain the distance yawning between them, he closed in to loom over her before she could even emit her gasp of surprise. He cupped her cheek and caressed her baby-fine skin with his thumb and fingers.

“It was a lie,” he said starkly. “It was all a lie. Oh God, Angel. You weren’t supposed to be there. I had no idea you were there or I would have never brought those men to our home. I was caught completely off-guard and I had to act fast or you would become a target.”

The look she sent him was acid-filled and disbelieving. He couldn’t blame her.

Drake sighed and then put both his hands between them to collect hers in his grasp. Then he backed slowly toward the bed and settled down on the edge, pulling Evangeline down with him.

She went utterly rigid, every muscle in her body protesting his nearness. Too bad. He wasn’t letting her out of his sight again. No matter what it took, how long it took, he would win her back. Until then he would dream of the day when she came willingly into his arms with love and laughter in her eyes. Just as she’d done so many times before that fucked-up night.

He wasn’t the most patient man in the world. He had to cough to cover the choked laughter that threatened to bubble from his throat. His men often said that Drake was the most impatient bastard on the face of the earth and that he had no experience with sitting back and waiting on anything, or the desire to do so.

When he wanted something, it was his. End of story. And he’d mow over every single obstacle between him and what he desired. Now, for the first time, he had to exert a modicum of patience. Because if he didn’t, he risked losing everything that mattered. And God, he hated it. Hated that he wasn’t even now in bed with Evangeline, her naked, his body covering hers as he reasserted his dominance and control over her. But not just his dominance and control. She was the woman he cherished most in his life. Never before had he been with a woman who inspired so great a need and desire to protect and take care of her.

She required exquisite care in his handling of her. He owed her that and so much more. So very much more. She deserved to be treated as something infinitely precious. He knew she was strong, despite her protests to the contrary. She wouldn’t break, but that didn’t mean he had the right to push her. To take her strength for granted. She might not have broken—yet—but that didn’t mean she hadn’t come way too fucking close for his peace of mind. Never would he forget seeing her in the hotel she’d found work in and how close to her breaking point she appeared to be. And he’d done that to her. No one else. He only had himself to blame.

There was a fragile air about her that had never existed during their time together. What kind of an asshole would it make him to blithely ignore the delicate state she was in and forcefully go on as though nothing had happened?

Never would he leave her without his rock-solid support, and he damn sure wouldn’t assume anything when it came to her state of mind, her sense of self-worth and what was going on in her head, especially when it came to her thoughts regarding him and her place in his life.

“I made a mistake with you,” Drake admitted.

She blinked, clearly not expecting him to admit fault. Her features reflected her surprise, and he understood why. Drake wasn’t a man to readily admit failure. Normally he was too self-assured and didn’t give a damn what others thought of his choices.

“Angel, I have many powerful, ruthless enemies. Men who would use any means available to strike at me. I’ve long frustrated them because I don’t have any weakness to exploit. There’s nothing I care about enough to make concessions or to yield to blackmail and extortion.”

He took a breath and looked directly into her eyes.

“Until you.”

Her eyes widened and then she bit her lip in consternation. He could see the wheels spinning madly in her mind as she tried to process his sincerity.

He wanted to touch her, to yank her into his arms and prove his words, but he didn’t have this in the bag, not by a long shot. She didn’t believe him and he couldn’t blame her. Not when he’d made it a practice to be aloof and hold himself at a distance from everyone.

He dragged a hand through his hair until the short strands stood up on end in complete disarray.

“I handled you all wrong. I hid you, what you meant to me. Tried to keep you a secret and out of the public eye.”

She sent him a puzzled look. “Why? I don’t understand.”

He sighed. “Because if my enemies even got a hint of what you mean to me, how important you are to me and that I’d do anything to keep you safe, they would have gone after you. They would have been relentless and once they got their hands on you, they would have used you to take me down. They would have threatened you, and Angel, these aren’t men to make idle threats. If I hadn’t complied with their demands, they would have made you suffer horribly and eventually killed you.”

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