Home > Dominated (The Enforcers #2)(20)

Dominated (The Enforcers #2)(20)
Maya Banks

“Drake, no,” she cried out. “Stop. Just stop! You can’t torture yourself this way. It does neither of us any good. If we’re going to make this work, then we have to put it behind us and move forward. If you stay bogged down in the past, it will destroy us both. If I can forgive, then you should be able to do the same.”

Drake sucked in his breath and his pulse accelerated wildly. He was shaking and desperately trying to hold himself together as her words penetrated his anger and grief. He grasped her shoulders and pushed his face toward hers until they were nose to nose.

“Do you mean that, Evangeline? Are you saying what I think you’re saying? Are you giving me another chance?”

His heart felt like it was about to burst out of his chest. It was beating far too fast and for a moment, he feared the strain would be too much and he’d have a heart attack. His entire body shook. Not one part of him was calm or still as his gaze bored into hers, seeking confirmation of the hope that had taken root and snaked insidiously through his veins.

She swallowed and he saw how difficult this was for her. How monumental a decision she’d reached. But then she slowly nodded.

“I need the words,” he said hoarsely. “I have to be sure. I need to hear you say it out loud.”

“Yes,” she said softly. “I’ll give you—us—another chance. I won’t lie. I’m scared out of my mind. But I’m willing to try.”

It was too much for Drake. He crushed her into his arms, holding on to her for dear life. He rocked back and forth, alternating murmuring against her hair and brushing kisses over the silken tresses.

A huge knot in his throat prevented him from articulating his thoughts and emotions, so he simply held her, touching her, caressing her, kissing her over and over as he silently gave thanks for this beautiful, sweet and generous woman in his arms.

He didn’t deserve her, no, but no way in hell would he ever willingly give her up. She had become vital to him. As necessary as breathing. He couldn’t imagine his life without her now. Never did he want to go back to the stark, barren existence he’d endured before Evangeline had stormed into his life and changed everything.

For several long minutes, he simply held her, unable to form any semblance of words. Reluctantly, he loosened his hold on her and pressed a kiss to her lips before gathering her hands in his.

“I need to know if you no longer want to live in the apartment we lived in before. It’s perfectly understandable if you don’t. I don’t want to do anything that brings back bad memories. But if we choose to live in one of my other residences, I’ll need a week or so to properly secure it and get it up to the same standards as my current apartment. We can move each day so we don’t spend the same night in one place until all of the work is done and a new main residence is secured.”

“I’m okay with going back to your apartment,” she said after a brief moment.

He studied her demeanor, her expression and her eyes, looking for any sign of hesitation or fear. But he saw nothing.

“Are you sure?” he asked anyway.

She nodded. “There’s no sense in spending all that time and money to outfit another dwelling when the one you have is already suitable.”

“Then let’s go home,” he said gently, holding his hand out to her as he stood.

With only a slight hesitation, she slid her soft palm over his and allowed him to pull her up to stand beside him.

“You won’t regret this, Evangeline,” he said with utter gravity.

Her gaze searched his for a few seconds and then she offered his hand a gentle squeeze. She hesitated only a brief second as she seemed to overcome her internal struggle and then let out a deep breath. Hope seized his chest when her eyes softened. She licked her lips once and then uttered the sweetest words he’d ever heard.

“I believe you, Drake. I believe you.”

6

Evangeline’s nerves were a wreck by the time they arrived at Drake’s apartment. Though she had agreed to remain here instead of having Drake go to the time and expense of setting up another residence, it didn’t mean that the mere thought of walking back into a place that had hosted her utter humiliation didn’t have her on the verge of an anxiety attack.

To make matters worse, as soon as they entered the lobby Evangeline saw Edward and cringed at the sympathy and worry in his eyes as he hurried over. Oh God. She just wanted the floor to open up and swallow her whole.

But Drake must have sensed her mortification and warned Edward off with a look, because Edward halted and then turned to busy himself with another task. By the time they made it onto the elevator, she was shaking and on the verge of hyperventilation.

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