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

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

Silas had remained silent, his features carved in stone, but his eyes were a dead giveaway in a man who usually gave away nothing at all.

“She didn’t deserve this,” Silas said in his quiet voice. But then he never had to raise his voice to make his point. When he spoke, others instinctively ceased talking and listened to him. He was a man who commanded authority and respect.

“No, she didn’t,” Drake said hoarsely. “Don’t you think I know that? Do you think a single night goes by that I don’t replay the image of her broken, in utter despair, her tears—goddamn it, her tears—and worse, her fear. Of me. Of her humiliation. Her absolute belief in every insult, every word I hurled her way in an effort to make sure the goddamn Luconis never suspected what she meant to me. I’ll never forget. As long as I live, I’ll never forget that night.”

His tone grew savage, fury radiating from him like a beacon.

“She could be anywhere out there. Alone. Afraid. Her parents haven’t heard from her. And those bitches she called her best friends . . .” He broke off and had to visibly compose himself.

He and Maddox had gone there first only to discover that they hadn’t heard from her either. Except, when after making their disgust known, they’d turned to leave when Lana caved, admitting tearfully that Evangeline had called that day, the day she’d planned to visit them. To reconcile. And that she’d told her not to come. Guilt had been reflected in the eyes of all her “friends.”

It was then that Drake had understood that she’d never planned to execute her surprise to him, hadn’t lied to him in order to set up her playing hostess for him. She’d been hurt by her friends’ rejection, and so she’d turned to the one true thing in her life, seeking his approval, needing it, because she had no one else.

And Maddox felt as guilty as Drake did because if he’d gone up with Evangeline, as he usually did, he would have known her girls weren’t home and he wouldn’t have hesitated to take her somewhere else for the evening. He’d never expected her to make her escape and hurry back to Drake’s apartment to pull off her surprise for Drake. To let him know he mattered to her. She’d put everything on the line for him and he’d repaid her with a betrayal so cutting, so deep that he’d destroyed something so beautiful and innocent that he couldn’t think about it without losing his tenuous grip on his sanity.

Justice cleared his throat and ran a hand through his hair, hesitating almost as if he worried about Drake being even more pissed than he already was at what Justice was about to say.

“This may sound crazy, Drake,” Justice began warily. “But hear me out, okay?”

Drake made a sound of impatience. Every moment they stood in his office talking was another moment Evangeline was God only knew where on the streets, alone, devastated, thinking he’d lied to her about everything.

“Make it quick,” Drake snapped. “While we stand here discussing her, she’s out there, cold, alone, hungry, with nothing.”

Grief swamped him all over again, and he was forced to sit down in the chair behind his desk or risk collapsing. He covered his face with his hands, missing the shocked looks of his closest men and the uneasy looks they exchanged.

“I think you’ve gone about this the wrong way,” Justice said quietly.

Drake’s head came up, his lips twisted in a snarl. His other men stared questioningly at Justice, wondering if the man had lost his mind by crossing Drake or questioning his judgment.

“Hear me out,” Justice repeated. “You’ve protected her at all turns, kept her secret, afraid she would be used against you. Which is why you had to do what you did when things changed and there was no other way to protect her.”

Silas’s brooding expression became one of distaste, letting Drake—and the others—know exactly what he thought of what “had” to be done to ensure her safety—her life.

“Instead of hiding her, keeping her secret, I think you should go public with her. Very public,” Justice said emphatically.

“Are you insane?” Drake asked hoarsely. “Are you just trying to get her raped, tortured, killed?”

Justice held up his hand in the same request for Drake to hear him out. The others also fell silent, suddenly very curious as to where on earth Justice was going with this.

“No, you don’t hide her,” Justice said quietly. “You make her your fucking queen. You let the goddamn world know she is yours and that you’ll kill anyone who so much as looks at her wrong, threatens her, tries to use her to get to you. Think about it, Drake. You are the most feared man in the city. Do you honestly think they would be fool enough to go after what you value the most?”

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