Home > Dominated (The Enforcers #2)(8)

Dominated (The Enforcers #2)(8)
Maya Banks

Then Drake frowned. “But that’s been five days ago now. Do you know if Evangeline is still there? She’s not the kind of person . . . that is, she’d never accept charity. She’s too proud. She’d never stay somewhere she couldn’t pay her own way.”

“My sister gave her a job as a cleaner, even though Evangeline was honest and up front and told my sister she didn’t plan to stay long. Just until she earned enough money to move on.”

Drake’s blood froze. Move on. God. How close he’d come to losing her for good. If she was even still there.

“Her shift starts in an hour,” the doorman said quietly. Then he lifted his chin, staring Drake down as an equal, fire in his eyes. “Don’t make me regret breaking her trust, sir. I would never do anything to hurt that young lady. She’s seen far too much hurt as it is.”

“On that you and I agree,” Drake said, closing his hand over the doorman’s shoulder. “Thank you. I’ll never be able to repay you for your kindness to Evangeline when she needed it the most and for helping me find Evangeline to make things right, though God knows I don’t deserve it.”

“Just bring her home, Mr. Donovan,” the doorman said in a somber voice. “It’s just not the same here without her.”

The words hit him where Drake lived. Right in the heart. Because they were absolutely true. Nothing was the same without Evangeline.

He nearly turned and hurried back out of the apartment building after gaining the name and address of the hotel from the doorman, but he needed to shower and change and he needed to call Silas and Maddox. They were the two who liked Evangeline the most, had the most vested interest in the search. Maddox still carried the weight of guilt for allowing Evangeline to escape in the first place, and Silas . . . Drake wasn’t sure what the connection between his enforcer and Evangeline was, only that it was the most unlikely friendship he’d ever encountered.

But one thing was for certain. Silas was fiercely protective of Evangeline, and Evangeline was equally protective of Silas, taking on anyone and everyone who dared malign him in any way. It would only be fitting for Maddox and Silas to accompany him to bring Evangeline home, to ensure her safety—and his.

•   •   •

Silas swore violently under his breath when the car bearing him, Drake and Maddox pulled up to the dilapidated hotel five minutes after Evangeline’s shift was to start. Drake sent him a startled look, one eyebrow arched in question.

But Silas offered no explanation. His only response was a dark, brooding scowl, one that was echoed on Maddox’s stony features. Neither man was happy that this was where Evangeline had been living and working while they’d been combing the streets of the city looking for her.

But at least the doorman had been caring enough to ensure that Evangeline had a safe place to go. For that, the doorman would have Drake’s undying gratitude.

“Wait here for me,” Drake said as he opened the door to get out. “And hope like hell that I can convince her to come back with me.”

3

Evangeline plopped the mop down into the bucket of soapy water and then settled it into the wringer, using all her strength to wring as much of the water from the mop as she could before beginning the arduous task of cleaning the reception area.

She knew she had to be quick about it and not interfere with the comings and goings of the customers, which was why it was done at four in the morning each day. Her back ached, her feet were swollen and sore and her eyes burned from the storms of tears she cried every night when she lay on her cot unable to sleep.

She knew she looked bad and that her movements were robotic as she performed her task by rote. If it weren’t for the fact that her heart ached with pain that never subsided, she would have sworn she’d already died and was merely a zombie stumbling through her daily routine.

A few more days. All she needed was a few more days and she’d have enough money to buy an airline ticket back home to her parents. She was no stranger to hard work. She’d work two, three jobs, whatever it took to support her parents, and it would have the added bonus of giving her no time to think about . . .

A shudder rolled over her and her eyes burned like acid had been poured into them. Damn it, she would not cry here. Only at night, in the dark where no one could see or hear, did she allow her grief to consume her.

Who was she fooling? She wouldn’t stop thinking about Drake and his cutting betrayal until her dying day. Putting half the country between them certainly wouldn’t help. Not when her heart would forever remain in New York. With a man who had no heart, no soul, no capacity to love.

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