Home > Dominated (The Enforcers #2)(19)

Dominated (The Enforcers #2)(19)
Maya Banks

A peculiar pain settled into his chest and something that resembled panic scuttled around his insides. Maybe she wouldn’t like the kind of life he offered. Not many would. She’d be living in a veritable prison.

Oh, she’d have every imaginable luxury and convenience. She’d be spoiled and pampered, her needs put before all others. But the one thing she wouldn’t have was . . . freedom. If she remained with him, she would be consigned to a life of high security. No one would have unfettered access to her.

How long would she be able to live in such suffocating circumstances? How long before she’d rebel and lash out over the extreme protective measures Drake put into place? Not many people would willingly consign themselves to a veritable prison no matter how luxurious that prison might be.

“Can you forgive me, Angel?” he asked softly. “Can you forgive me in time? Will you give me the chance to make it up to you? To prove to you that I would never again subject you to what I did that night? I know it’s a lot to ask. I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted nothing further to do with me, but I don’t want to live without you. You are all that’s good in my life. The only good. The very best part of me, and I damn near destroyed that in my panic and fear that you would be used to strike at me. I could never live with myself were something to happen to you because of me. And I’m going to do everything in my power to protect you from the bastards who would think nothing of abusing a woman in order to achieve their goal. Every single one of my men is devoted to your safety and protection. They will protect you with their lives. I need you to believe that. And I need you to believe that you are the most important thing to me and I will never let you go without one hell of a fight.”

Her expression was dazed, and the internal war she was waging with herself was evident in her stormy eyes. She looked . . . afraid. He wanted to let loose a string of curses that would singe the hide off the most hardened man, but the last thing he needed to do was push her in the opposite direction.

“So we just get back . . . together?” she asked in a choked voice. “Pick up where we left off?”

“No,” he said, completely serious. “We, or rather I, start over. New beginning. Better this time. I have a lot to make up to you, and I’m not going to pretend otherwise. You, however, don’t need to change a damn thing. You did nothing wrong. You gave me a gift most men can only dream of receiving, and I didn’t nurture and protect that gift as I should have. That changes right now and going forward. If you’ll say yes and agree to stay with me.”

“Oh, Drake, I don’t know what to say,” she said in a choked voice.

Tears welled in her eyes and he hastily thumbed at the moisture as it began to leak down her cheeks.

“I was so happy. You made me happy. And I wanted to make you happy. Everything was . . . perfect. And then . . .”

“Shhh, my angel,” he said, cradling her once more in his arms. “It will be perfect again. I promise. I don’t expect you to forgive or forget any time soon. All I ask is the opportunity to prove to you that I can be the man you deserve. Just say yes and we’ll take it one day at a time, and I’ll promise to try to make each day better than the last. I have no doubt we’ll hit a few roadblocks along the way, but I can promise you that what happened that night will never happen again. I’d give everything I own to be able to go back and make it never happen.”

She leaned her forehead against his, closing her eyes as she battled the tears streaking silently down her cheeks.

“I want this—you,” she whispered in an aching voice that throbbed with emotion. “But I’m scared, Drake. You have so much power over me. You have the power to make me so very happy, but you also have the power to destroy me like no other. I don’t think I’ll survive so much pain again. I’ve been dead for the last five days, and I hate how vulnerable you make me feel, that I depend on you for so much happiness. It scares me to death. Can you understand that? I can’t imagine you being helpless, at someone else’s mercy and dependent on them just to maintain your sanity and keep it together.”

“I do understand,” he murmured. “I understand far more than you realize because you hold me in the palms of your hands, and you have as much power over me as you say I have over you. And I have to tell you, it sucks. I hate feeling so helpless. I’ve never been dependent on another person in my life. I’m always in control and yet when I’m with you I feel anything but in control. I feel as though I’m walking through a minefield, and one wrong move and I destroy something very precious and beautiful. I damn near did just that. I certainly inflicted a lot of damage, and that makes me a complete bastard. Believe me, Angel. I will never forget. I will never forgive myself for what happened that night. It’s something I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life. I haven’t eaten, I haven’t slept, I’ve been a shell of a man for the last five days, and self-loathing has slowly eaten a hole in my soul until there’s barely anything left, if anything at all.”

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