Home > Dominated (The Enforcers #2)(9)

Dominated (The Enforcers #2)(9)
Maya Banks

Oh God, what was she going to do? Why hadn’t she listened to her friends? Why had she been so naïve? And now, because of her own stupidity, she’d lost not only Drake but also her best friends.

What she wouldn’t give to be at their apartment right now, pouring her heart out and apologizing for betraying them. But she never wanted any of the people she loved to see her at her lowest point.

She had a few days yet to build her meager funds to afford the trip home and also to somehow find a way to get over what Drake had done to her so that she could face her family and not have her devastation reflected so clearly in her eyes and in her body language.

Sadness gripped her because once again she was fooling herself. A few days to get over Drake? She didn’t have a prayer of ever being free of Drake’s impact on her life, even as short-lived as their affair had been.

But she could at least promise herself never to love with all her heart and soul again. How could she when Drake would forever possess pieces of them?

Weariness assailed her and she wobbled as she gave another shove of the mop, and then grief consumed her in a giant swell, robbing her of strength. She grasped the handle of the mop in a desperate bid not to crumple onto the floor and give in to the heart-wrenching despair cutting her to ribbons.

Her hand shook. Her entire body trembled and so she stood there, breathing in and out, hanging on to the mop handle for dear life. And then she made the mistake of looking up and all the blood left her face. If her grip hadn’t already been so tight around the mop, she would have folded on the spot.

•   •   •

Drake strode into the doorway of the hotel and looked to see no clerk on duty. He heard the soft sound of water and the slap of a mop on the floor and instinctively turned, seeking the source of the sound.

Evangeline.

His heart accelerated as she slumped tiredly, clinging to the mop handle, and Drake drank in the sight like a starved man, devoid of all life. Until now. His knees shook and his hands . . . God, his hands trembled uncontrollably and a knot formed in his throat that prevented him from doing anything but absorbing the only shining thing in his life.

Evangeline. His angel. He’d found her. Finally.

But when she lifted her head and their gazes locked, recognition was swift and he was gutted by the piercing fear that flared in her eyes. The immediate step back she took, her eyes turning wild, like an animal poised to flee from a predator.

His eyelids were on fire, burning, his nostrils flaring with a sudden expulsion of emotion—and from the effort of holding back the tears that threatened to unman him. Because beautiful angel eyes that had once looked at him with love and trust were now filled with terror and apprehension and worst of all . . . shame. It made him want to put a fucking bullet through his head for all he’d done to her.

She was quickly assessing her escape routes and he moved in like the predator he was, but his usual cold aloofness that fit him like a second skin when he closed in for a kill had been replaced by utter panic. He couldn’t lose her. Not again. Not ever. The last days had been hell. The kind of hell he’d never experienced and never wanted to repeat.

He was shaking as he held out his hands in a placating manner, as though she were a trapped wild animal desperately seeking escape. Any escape.

“Evangeline,” he said hoarsely. “Please, baby, don’t run. Please. There’s so much I have to tell you. To explain. It’s taken me days to find you. The worst days of my entire life. Please don’t make me go through that again.”

Her lips curled contemptuously and a combination of anger and devastation glittered in her eyes, glossy with unshed tears. She looked so utterly fragile, worn to the bone. As though he’d already lost her, no matter that she stood a mere few feet away from him. Almost close enough to touch. Just a few more steps . . .

“What you went through?” she whispered. “What you went through?”

Her voice rose to the point of hysteria and now her tears flowed freely down her pale cheeks. He noted her pallor, the weight she’d lost in the days since he’d so callously discarded her, the shadows under her eyes that looked far too close to bruises for his liking. She looked . . . defeated.

He closed his eyes, halting the progress of the hand he’d lifted, hoping beyond hope that she wouldn’t flinch away, that she’d reach for him despite the fact that she hated him with the same passion with which she’d once loved him. He wanted that back. God, he was perilously close to begging. No one had ever loved him until Evangeline. His generous, loving angel who didn’t give a damn about his money, his power, the expensive gifts he’d showered her with or the entire wardrobe that cost more than she made in five years. She’d simply wanted him and the one thing he couldn’t offer her. His love. And his trust.

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