Home > Dominated (The Enforcers #2)(4)

Dominated (The Enforcers #2)(4)
Author: Maya Banks

For a long moment there was silence, and then Maddox said quietly, “She’s the one.”

Drake didn’t pretend to misunderstand what Maddox had stated. He knew damn well what Maddox was inferring. Drake had always avoided commitment and relationships like the plague. He’d never trusted anyone but those gathered in his office now, much less a woman. He’d vowed never to become emotionally involved with any woman, not only because he had yet to meet a woman who stirred him enough to want one but also because of the danger and risk posed to her for no other reason than whose arm she was on.

Now? Yeah, Evangeline was the one.

But instead of answering the question with a simple yes or no, he simply leveled a stare at them, one filled with determination and fire uncharacteristic of his usual cold, aloof features.

“I’m never letting her go. Even if it means tying her to my damn bed every night. If she ever wants out, then she’s going to have to convince me that I’m not who or what she wants and that the lifestyle I demand isn’t what she wants, and she’s going to have to tell me she isn’t happy. But she’ll never want for another thing in her life. I’ll make damn sure of that.”

“There will never be another like her for you,” Silas said as though refuting that Evangeline would ever leave. But there was something else in Silas’s piercing gaze. Perhaps he sought to know just how deep Drake’s feelings for Evangeline ran. Silas seemed so sure of Evangeline, that she’d forgive him. But maybe Silas worried that Drake would betray her again?

“No,” Drake said flatly, in response to Silas’s statement. “How could there be? You only taste that kind of perfection once in your life, and if you’re too stupid to hang on to something that good and bust your ass to make damn sure you keep it, then you don’t deserve it.”

He lifted his gaze to Silas, anger and determination surging through his veins. He didn’t owe him or any of them a damn thing and yet this . . . Evangeline . . . and what she meant to him was too important to fuck up by being anything but blunt. There could be no doubt or he couldn’t be assured of their complete and utter commitment to his search. He swept his eyes over Maddox and Justice, including them in his impassioned, angry statement.

“Get this in your heads. Evangeline is everything to me. There is no Drake Donovan without Evangeline. If something ever happens to her, and especially if something happens to her because of me, I won’t survive it. I won’t want to. She gives me purpose. A reason to live. A reason to get up in the morning and face a new day. You don’t get that kind of light only to have it extinguished and hope to ever recover from it.”

His men seemed stunned, not over his feelings for Evangeline, because they shared them to a degree, but because he’d just laid bare his soul to them all. Understanding quickly followed their surprise while Silas merely gave a clipped nod as if satisfied that Drake had just passed some test he was unaware had been put to him.

Well good. Drake had gotten through to them and now that he had, he knew they would die for Evangeline. They’d put themselves between her and any threat because they knew if anything happened to Evangeline, they’d lose Drake too.

“We will protect her—and you—with our lives,” Silas said.

Maddox and Justice repeated Silas’s vow, purpose and determination now blazing in their eyes.

They’d all climbed their way up from nothing. They all had nebulous pasts, nothing given to them. Everything they had, they’d fought for. They were family, all pledged to one another by a bond stronger than any blood bond would ever be.

And now for the first time, they would be widening their intimate circle to include . . . a woman. Drake’s woman. None of them had ever involved themselves with any woman long enough for it to be considered a semblance of a relationship. They sated their needs, always ensuring that the woman was cared for, pleasured in return, and they were generous when they cut them loose. But no woman had ever even threatened to crack the hard shells around their hearts.

Until now.

Until Evangeline.

Part of his men felt envy, and part of them felt pity because now Drake had a hell of a lot more at stake than before. Before he had only himself and his brothers to worry about. He was feared and revered. No one dared to strike at him. But now Drake had a weakness and it could well be his ultimate downfall. His being impervious to any weakness had been what had made it impossible for his enemies to strike at him. Because Drake had no one or nothing he gave one fuck about. Now? He had a woman who was his entire world. And God help the fool who ever tried to put so much as a scratch on Evangeline because Drake would appear like an avenging angel or the scariest demon from hell and wreak savage vengeance on whoever wronged his Evangeline. And he would do it personally. He wouldn’t have Silas go after the bastard. It would be too personal. Drake would be unstoppable and would tear apart anyone who ever hurt his woman.

 

 

2


“Mr. Donovan! Mr. Donovan!”

Drake nearly growled in frustration at the unwanted intrusion as he stalked toward the elevator. It was three in the morning and he and his men had spent the day scouring the city, yet another hopeless day of searching for Evangeline that had come to nothing.

He whirled on the doorman and some of what he was feeling must have been reflected in his expression because the doorman recoiled and stopped in his tracks a few feet from where Drake stood at the now-open elevator.

“Whatever it is, it can wait,” Drake snapped. “I am not to be disturbed.”

For a moment, the doorman seemed to grapple with indecision, and in disgust, Drake turned and walked into the elevator. The doorman lunged forward, holding out his hand to prevent the doors from closing.

“It’s about Evangeline, uh, I mean Miss Hawthorn.”

At the mention of her name, Drake stepped off the elevator and grasped the older man by the lapels of his coat.

“What about Evangeline?” Drake growled. “Do you know anything?”

The man’s face was gray and his eyes flickered downward in guilt. What the fuck?

But then the doorman had seen Drake leave the building just a few minutes after he’d arrived with the Luconis. He sucked in a breath. Oh dear God. How stupid could Drake be? The doorman would have to have seen Evangeline leave as well. And the condition she was in when she’d left.

The doorman liked Evangeline. Had always had a friendly word for her, as Evangeline had for him. There had been genuine affection between the two, but Drake had never paid it any notice because Evangeline inspired that in everyone she met.

But what if . . .

The dread was crawling more insidiously through Drake’s body as his grip tightened and then finally relaxed, freeing the man to take a few stumbling steps backward.

It had never occurred to Drake to question the man. He’d been too frantic to find Evangeline, turning the entire goddamn city over like a deranged madman. What if the answer had been here all along and Evangeline had had to be out there somewhere, alone, desperate, hungry and devastated while Drake wasted time chasing all the wrong leads?

“Do you care for her?” the doorman asked in a nearly accusatory tone.

Oh yes, this man knew something and he was mad as hell over what Drake had done to Evangeline. And now Drake had to tread very carefully because if he gave this man any reason to believe he intended to harm Evangeline, he’d never get any information from the doorman Evangeline had taken under her wing. Just as she’d done with everyone else she came into contact with.

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