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

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

He could damn well make his peace with God in the end. But since he had no soul, it was doubtful he even believed in a higher deity. Her eyes slid to the corners of her lids in his direction in disgust. Who was she kidding? He likely thought he was God.

Fear and panic slithered down her spine as the car slowed to a halt in front of a prestigious New York City hotel. She wanted to laugh at the idea of Drake hauling a woman dressed in a service uniform into the swanky interior. He’d likely receive looks of pity. A man with his wealth and social standing being so desperate as to fraternize with the common folk.

“Angel?”

Drake’s hesitant address broke into her bitter reverie. She whirled around, careful to keep as much distance as possible between them.

The fury she’d finally worked up the nerve to express came to an abrupt halt when their eyes met. She flinched at how haunted and . . . devastated . . . he looked. She promptly slammed her eyes shut before her resolve could weaken even further than it already had.

What the hell was wrong with her? This was her opportunity to take him apart verbally just as he had done to her. To rip him to shreds and destroy him every bit as much as he had her. To give him a taste of what it felt like to be on the receiving end of . . .

Hatred.

She dropped her face into her hands as a shudder rolled violently through her body. Oh God, oh God. She was sounding—acting—just like him.

Tentative hands skimmed up her arms, hesitant as though Drake feared rejection. But hadn’t he already rejected her? She hated mind games. Why had he come after her? Why was she in his car? He’d washed his hands of her. He’d made that clear enough. So why the elaborate charade?

Her head ached vilely but not nearly as horrifically as her heart.

“What do you want, Drake?” she asked in a low voice. “What will it take for you to leave me alone—in peace? Surely that isn’t too much to ask. I’ve had to come to terms with how very wrong I was about you, but I didn’t think I could possibly be this wrong. That you would derive enjoyment from my emotional pain.”

She stared through her tear-filled vision to meet his agonized gaze, determined to stand her ground.

“I get that you’re done with me. You made that very clear. But are you truly going to embarrass and humiliate me just because you can? So you can physically and emotionally abuse me again?”

So wrapped up was she in her impassioned plea that it took her a few seconds to realize that Silas and Maddox had exited the car, leaving her alone with Drake. It shouldn’t have felt like yet another betrayal from people she hadn’t anticipated it from, but it did. And it shouldn’t have hurt. But it did. Drake’s men owed her nothing. Their loyalties lay with him. What was she but yet one more woman Drake had amused himself with?

Slowly, as if fearing her rejection—well, that made two of them in the same boat—Drake reached up to gently cup her chin, holding it in place so she was forced to hold his gaze when she would have dropped it, giving in to despair.

“Angel, listen to me. Please.”

She went utterly still because this wasn’t a side of Drake she’d ever before witnessed. Humble. Upset? And dear God, he sounded precariously close to begging.

His thumb stroked across her cheek in a tender pattern, his eyes drenched with the same welling emotion that she felt in her throat.

“What do you want?” she whispered, her voice breaking with the strain of her heartache.

“You. I want you. Only you. Always you.”

She flinched and would have reared back, but his other hand went to her shoulder to restrain her and hold her in place. Her breath stuttered out as though she couldn’t make her lungs cooperate and breathe for her.

“No, don’t. Listen. Just listen.”

She bit into her bottom lip, refusing to shed another tear over this whole messed-up situation.

“There is so much I need to say to you. I need to explain. I don’t deserve your understanding and I damn sure don’t deserve your mercy, but if it were possible, I’d be on my knees in front of you right now begging for one chance to make things right. Come up with me so we can talk. So that I can give you what should have already been yours—what is rightfully yours and already belongs to you. I know I’m not worthy of your consideration. I know. But at least let me explain and try to make you understand. I’m not demanding any promises from you, but I can give you my promise. If you still hate me, if you still can’t stand the sight of me, if you never want to see me again after I’ve told you everything you need to know, then . . .”

He broke off and drew his hand away from her shoulder to run it raggedly through his hair. It was then she saw a startling revelation in his eyes. If his hand hadn’t already been curved around her chin guarding her mouth, her hand would have flown to her lips to stifle her gasp of shock.

He was afraid.

“Then what?” she asked in a low voice, her lips trembling against the firmness of his fingers.

“I’ll let you go,” he said in a lifeless voice.

He said the words as if he’d just been handed a death sentence. And she didn’t understand any of this. The whole thing.

“You already let me go,” she said dully.

“No!”

Rage sparked in her blood and rushed through her veins until she was dizzy with it.

“Yes. Oh yes, you did, Drake.” She sent him a scornful look that conveyed precisely what she thought of his method of farewell. Then she shook her head. “No, I guess that isn’t true either. You didn’t let me go. Letting someone go implies an act of kindness. A noble gesture. You threw me out like I was no better than garbage!”

Drake’s eyes closed briefly and then settled back on her face. “I owe you an explanation.”

“It’s a little late to be thinking of that now,” she said scornfully.

He shook his head. “Angel, please. Just come inside. Let me explain. Give me five minutes. If you want nothing ever to do with me again after five minutes, I’ll have Maddox drive you wherever you want to go, but it will not fucking be back to work at the run-down rat’s nest where I found you.”

His voice became fierce and his eyes blazed with a savage light. Her breath caught and hung in her throat as his face loomed closer to hers. Raw hunger emanated from the glittering orbs and her pulse accelerated wildly in her veins.

“I swore to provide for your safety and well-being whether I was in the picture or not, and I don’t break my word. You will be free to do what you wish, how you wish, without ever having to mop fucking floors or work in places where I can’t be assured of your security at all times.”

She knew her attempt at a smile was tragic. How could she smile when she was bleeding to death from the inside out? Drake Donovan never broke his word. Oh, but he had. Not only had he broken promises made to her as her dominant, but he’d lied to her. The entire time they were together. It was all one huge lie because nothing had been real.

Except her love for him.

And it was a well-known fact that one-sided love was doomed from the start. She couldn’t love him enough to make up for the fact that he didn’t and would never love her.

“Angel, you break my heart,” he said, his throat clogged with emotion.

“I’d say we’re even then,” she whispered without malice.

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