Dominated, p.14
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       Dominated, p.14
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         Part #2 of The Enforcers series by Maya Banks

  know when he’d be home. When she didn’t find a notification, she nibbled at her lip and briefly pondered whether to text him or not.

  They’d never had an actual discussion about her texting or calling him when he was at work. She just took it on herself never to do so because she didn’t want to be a distraction or bother. But couples texted one another all the time. In the beginning she had reason to doubt her place in Drake’s life, but he’d made it clear ever since their reconciliation that he had no intention of her going anywhere.

  “Quit being a chicken,” she muttered.

  She could have asked Silas whether it was a good idea for her to text Drake at work, but she hadn’t thought of it until after he’d left. Shaking her head at her cowardice, she typed in a quick text and hit send before she could change her mind.

  Hi. Hope you had a good day at work. Just wondering what time you’ll be home. I’ll be ready and waiting. xoxo –Evangeline

  Her face grew hot. She felt like a complete idiot. What was with the xoxo? Jesus, what was she, in high school?

  Her phone pinged and she hurriedly punched in her code so she could read the return message.

  Will be home in fifteen minutes. Day was good. Will be better when I get home to my angel. xoxo back at you. –D

  A million tiny flutters assaulted her chest and she felt her lips split wide open as a huge smile attacked her face. Who knew a text message could be so sweet? She read it twice more, savoring each word. Lord, but she was in so deep she had no hope of ever finding her way out. For that matter she had no desire to.

  She squeezed herself and then danced across the living room floor in her sparkly princess heels. It was going to be a perfect night. She loved Christmas and the holidays. Loved Christmas music and decorations and lights. A night at Carnegie Hall with a kickoff to the holiday season was about as awesome as it could get. But being there on Drake’s arm? To boldly go where no woman had ever gone before?

  A giggle escaped her at the insane direction of her thoughts. Then she let out a dreamy sigh. Drake in a tux, her on his arm for the world to see.

  Absolute perfection.

  17

  Drake squeezed Evangeline’s hand as the car came to a stop behind several others waiting to drop off passengers on the red-carpet entrance to Carnegie Hall.

  “You look stunning, baby,” he said in a warm voice.

  Her gaze was riveted to the mass of people at the entrance and at all the news cameras and photographers. Flashbulbs were cascading in waves as people got out of their vehicles. Oh God. Drake had warned her, yes, but she hadn’t expected this. Like they were freaking celebrities or something.

  “Breathe, Angel,” Drake whispered. “Maddox, Silas and I are all with you. We won’t let anything happen. I promise.”

  She swallowed the knot in her throat but it promptly got lodged when their car moved ahead and was next to disembark. The door swung open and Drake got out, shielding the inside of the car with his big body. Immediately, Maddox and Silas both pressed in on either side of him as he reached inside for Evangeline’s hand.

  He pulled her to stand next to him in the chilly night air and she shivered, dazzled and dazed by the flood of bright lights and the flash of cameras going off in forty different directions.

  She flinched when people began shouting questions at Drake. Maddox caught Evangeline’s other hand in his and squeezed reassuringly as he pinned her securely between himself and Drake with Silas directly in front of her. They formed an impenetrable barrier to anyone seeking access, thank God.

  “Smile,” Maddox said next to her ear. “You look terrified. Flash them a gorgeous smile and show them those beautiful baby-blue eyes.”

  She felt like a robot programmed to carry out voice commands. She smiled so big, it felt as though her cheeks were cracking. She forced herself to relax and look as though she were having the time of her life and hadn’t a care in the world. She even made herself look directly into some of the cameras and flash a toothy smile.

  After they’d run the gauntlet and Drake had waved off requests for interviews, he pulled her inside the building and she promptly sagged.

  “That’s insane!” she whispered.

  “Come, let’s go find our seats. The sooner we’re seated, the faster we’re out of the line of fire,” Drake said.

  “You all right, doll?” Silas asked quietly when they took their seats in a private box above the stage. “You need to go freshen up before the show starts? Maddox and I can walk you to the ladies’ room.”

  Grateful for a chance to compose herself and check her makeup to ensure it wasn’t smeared everywhere, she nodded and rose. Drake caught her hand and lifted it to his mouth, pressing a gentle kiss to her palm.

  “Hurry back, Angel.”

  She gifted him with a radiant smile and then took Silas’s proffered arm and let him guide her out of the box and down the hall to the powder room.

  “We’ll wait out here,” Maddox said. “Don’t take too long. No one will come in after you, but there could be someone already inside. Do your thing, quick in and out, okay?”

  “Got it,” she said, flashing him a grateful smile.

  She pushed inside the bathroom and went to the mirror to check her makeup. She used a tissue to dab at the corners of her eyes and then reapplied her lip gloss. She heard a toilet flush and, heeding Maddox’s advice to be in and out quickly, she turned and started for the door, when a tall, elegantly dressed brunette stepped in front of her on her way to the mirror.

  “Excuse me,” Evangeline murmured as she stepped around the other woman.

  “Oh, you must be Drake’s latest fling,” the woman said, humor laced in her words.

  Evangeline reared back at the woman’s rudeness. “Pardon me?”

  The brunette smiled. “Do enjoy it while it lasts, sweetie. And believe me, it won’t last long. Drake never keeps the same woman more than a few weeks. But the perks are amazing. And between you and me. If he ever invites Manuel over? Be prepared for a very good time,” she purred.

  Her words fell on Evangeline like well-aimed daggers. Nausea swirled in her stomach until she was afraid of losing its contents, but pride was too ingrained in Evangeline to go down like that. She gathered herself together and managed to calmly stare the other woman down. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. Who is Manuel?”

  The other woman’s tinkly laughter was abrasive and annoying. “Oh, he’s a friend of Drake’s. They share the same kinks, if you will. And as luck would have it, they share their women on occasion as well.”

  Evangeline fought against the cold sweat that was fast breaking out on her forehead. Oh hell no, she wasn’t letting this woman take her down like this. She fixed the woman with a contemptuous and pitying look.

  “You don’t know Drake very well at all, do you?” Evangeline said scornfully.

  “Well enough,” the woman defended with a laugh.

  “No,” Evangeline snapped. “You don’t. Because if you did, then you’d know that Drake is an extremely possessive man and he never shares what he considers his. So if he shared you, then I guess that speaks to what he didn’t consider you. And if you do know Drake as well as you say, then you’d also know the significance of my being on his arm tonight when you should know perfectly well that he never takes a woman out with him anywhere. Now if you’ll excuse me, Drake’s men are outside waiting for me. But I doubt you ever met them either, did you?”

  The woman’s pale, shocked face was the last thing Evangeline saw on her way out the door. She should be doing a fist pump for scoring a strike against the catty bitch trying to take her down a few notches. But all she wanted to do was weep.

  Silas and Maddox immediately zeroed in on Evangeline’s distress and demanded to know what was wrong.

  “Nothing,” she said sharply. “Let’s just get back, please.”

  She stalked ahead, leaving them to fall in behind her or be left behind. They escorted her back into the box and she
slid into the seat next to Drake, her heart pounding. She saw Drake look curiously at her from her periphery and then glance sharply at Maddox and Silas.

  Thankfully the lights dimmed and applause rang out as the concert began. Once the music started, Evangeline was able to put the unpleasant bathroom encounter behind her. At least temporarily. The symphony was pure magic and she adored every note.

  • • •

  Drake sat watching Evangeline absorb the music with a look of enchantment on her beautiful face. He glanced back at Silas and Maddox, who sat just behind him and Evangeline, and arched an eyebrow in question. Something had upset Evangeline and he wanted to know who the fuck was responsible.

  Silas picked up his phone and motioned that he was texting Drake. A few seconds later, his phone on silent, Drake glanced at his phone and had to bite his lip to keep from uttering savage curses. Son of a bitch.

  Remember the crazy bitch you hooked up with about a year ago? Tall brunette named Lisa? She was in the bathroom with Evangeline and when Evangeline came out she was pale and shaken. I’m sure Lisa filled her head full of all kinds of shit.

  Drake’s jaw was clenched so tight with fury that his teeth ached. Jesus Christ. He tried to think back on just how much time he’d spent with Lisa. It hadn’t been much. Hell, he couldn’t even remember what they’d done together. But that didn’t mean she hadn’t filled Evangeline full of poison and ruined her entire night in the process.

  Goddamn it.

  When the lights came back up as the music ended, the chairman of the board for the two charities money was being raised for tonight came out on stage to give his prepared speech engineered to solicit as many donations as possible. But Drake had had enough and he wasn’t going to torture Evangeline a moment longer than necessary.

  “Get the car,” he said back to Maddox. “We’re leaving now.”

  Evangeline turned, having heard Drake’s command. “Is it over?” she whispered.

  “The good part is,” he said. “The rest is just speeches and soliciting donations. As I’ve already given one in your name as well as my foundation, it isn’t necessary for us to remain.”

  She nodded stiffly and then turned her attention back to the stage. A few moments later, Silas tapped Drake on the shoulder to indicate that Maddox was waiting out front. Drake reached for Evangeline’s arm and then slid his fingers down to tangle with hers. He pulled her up next to him and then wrapped his arm tightly around her waist and guided her out of the box.

  Silas’s expression was black but most notably, worry was evident in his eyes as he studied Evangeline’s somber countenance. As soon as they stepped outside, Silas immediately stepped directly in front of Evangeline, blocking her from the photographers and news cameras. Someone shouted at her, calling her Drake’s latest skirt, and she flinched, mortification brimming in her expressive eyes.

  Silas snarled and decked the guy who’d shouted the insult and bodies went flying. Drake picked Evangeline up and dove into the car, sending both their bodies sprawling across the backseat. As soon as Silas jumped into the front, Maddox roared off.

  “What the fuck happened back there?” Maddox demanded.

  “Dick mouthing off to Evangeline,” Silas growled. “Better give your lawyer a call in the morning, Drake. Son of a bitch had it coming to him, but it doesn’t mean he won’t scream like a little bitch and try to sue.”

  “If he does, me and the boys will pay him a little visit,” Maddox said grimly.

  “That’s enough,” Drake ordered.

  Evangeline was already freaked out enough. The last thing she needed was to be privy to the seedier side of Drake’s world.

  He picked her up and cradled her in his arms, holding her against his chest as he stroked one hand up and down her arm soothingly. He kissed her hair and left his lips there a long moment.

  “You okay, Angel?” he murmured.

  She nodded stiffly, and he cursed under his breath. Whatever the crazy bitch said to her in the bathroom must have really done a number on her.

  “Take us home and drop us off,” Drake said tersely.

  Silas turned slightly in his seat and focused his gaze on Evangeline. “You all right, doll?” he asked gently.

  It was like a fist to Drake’s gut when tears filled Evangeline’s eyes. She turned quickly away but not before he and Silas both saw her distress. Drake pulled her more firmly into his arms and tucked her head beneath his chin as they rode the rest of the way in silence.

  When they arrived at his apartment building, Silas got out and opened the door to help Evangeline. Drake emerged behind her and slipped his arm around her shoulders.

  “Thank you for everything, Silas,” she said in a quiet voice. “At least I looked the part tonight, thanks to you.”

  Silas reached out and cupped her chin in his palm. “You are every bit the part, Evangeline. You have more class in your little finger than that skank in the bathroom will ever dream of having.”

  She flushed red and moved her head away from Silas’s grasp. “Good night, Maddox,” she called back as she started toward the entrance.

  Drake quickly caught up to her and once more took her hand as they got on the elevator. Once inside, Drake pulled her into a hug and rested his chin atop her head.

  “What happened tonight, Angel?”

  She tensed against him and burrowed her face into his chest. He allowed her to dodge the question for the elevator ride. They would talk about it once they were inside the apartment, and hopefully he would be able to undo whatever damage had been done.

  When the elevator opened, Evangeline tried to break away from Drake’s hold and walk into the apartment, but Drake held tight to her hand and led her into the living room, where he gently pushed her down to sit on the couch before taking the seat next to her, angling so they faced each other.

  “What did the bitch in the bathroom say to you, Evangeline?”

  He knew he sounded harsh, but he wasn’t about to let Evangeline worm her way out of telling him what the conniving little bitch had done.

  Evangeline looked mortified and refused to meet his gaze. He was having none of that either. He put a finger to the side of her cheek and directed her gaze forward until finally she was looking at him.

  He sighed. “Angel, you know there were women before you,” he said gently. “I’ve never claimed to be a saint, but I can tell you that there have been no other women since I met you. I haven’t even looked at another woman. How could I? You’re the only woman I want.”

  And astonishingly it was true. From the moment Evangeline had barreled into his life, other women had simply ceased to exist for him.

  Evangeline averted her eyes, looking down where she was twisting her fingers together in agitation. “It wasn’t that,” she said softly.

  “Then what was it?”

  “It was what she said,” Evangeline choked out. “She said . . .” She closed her eyes and he was alarmed to see a hint of tears just before she’d slammed her eyelids shut.

  In that moment Drake wanted to track down the damn woman and verbally cut her to ribbons just as she’d apparently done to Evangeline. Whatever she’d said had gotten into his angel’s head. Had made her doubt herself and had dealt a blow to her self-confidence. Fuck that.

  “She told me to enjoy it while it lasted. That you never kept a woman for long.”

  When Drake would have spoken, she cut him off with a wave of her hand.

  “It wasn’t that. I mean I may be sweet, naïve and too trusting, as I’m reminded at every turn, but I know a jealous, catty woman when I see—and hear—one.”

  Bitterness tinged her words and Drake was reminded of the Evangeline he’d met that first night in the club. The Evangeline unsure of her place in the world. Unsure of her own self-worth. He wanted to put his fist through the wall.

  “She knew about Manuel,” Evangeline said painfully. “She asked me if you’d invited Manuel over and went on about what a good time it was and how the two of yo
u knew how to treat a woman. And for once I had a cutting remark. For once I stood up for myself and I put her in her place.”

  Drake’s brows drew together in confusion. “Then what . . . ?”

  Tears shimmered in Evangeline’s eyes, brighter now, threatening to spill over.

  “I’m not proud of what I said, but I won’t lie and say that at the time it didn’t feel a little bit good because for once I wasn’t a doormat and a victim. But . . .”

  “But what?” he prompted gently.

  “Oh God,” she whispered. “It was a lie. All of it was a lie and it hurts.”

  Drake was becoming more frustrated by the moment. “What was a lie?”

  “I told her that evidently she didn’t know you as well as she thought she did because you would never share anything you considered yours, and the fact that you had shared her should tell her what you didn’t consider her. Then I told her that knowing what she knows about you, she should also realize that you never appear in public with a woman on your arm and that I was on your arm at a very public event so what does that tell her?”

  “Good for you, baby,” Drake said softly, proud of her for standing up for herself.

  If anything she looked more miserable. And . . . sad. What the fuck?

  She lifted glossy eyes to his. Lifeless, dull eyes that stole the air from his lungs because she looked so unhappy and resigned.

  “But you did share me with Manuel,” she whispered. “Just, apparently, as you’ve shared your other women with him. What I thought was special was nothing more than something you’ve done dozens of times in the past. I thought that I was doing something solely for you. I wanted to do something that was just for you. For your pleasure. That wasn’t about me. How you must have laughed over the idea that I was doing something special for you. It was humiliating to see that knowing look on that woman’s horrid face. How smug and confident she was that I’d soon be replaced and was nothing more than another woman in a long line of women you have sex with.”

  Drake damn near exploded on the spot. It took every measure of control he possessed not to completely flip out, but that would only scare the shit out of her and the last thing he wanted was for her to fear him. Ever. God. Not Evangeline. He cultivated a healthy dose of fear in everyone else, even the women he involved himself with. He had no problem with them knowing if they ever crossed him they’d pay dearly. But Evangeline was the one person on the planet that it would kill him if she feared him. He wanted her trust. Her absolute faith in him that he would never hurt her.

  His hands were shaking with fury. Not at Evangeline. Never at Evangeline. He could well understand the source of her upset now that the story had come out. How to explain the difference between her and all the other women he’d fucked? He wasn’t even sure he could explain it to himself, much less anyone else.

  He reached for her hands, carefully prying them apart and twining them with his so he held them in her lap.

  “Angel, look at me.”

  Though he said it in a tender voice, it was a command nonetheless.

  With seeming reluctance and a good degree of embarrassment, she lifted her chin until her sad eyes connected with his.

  “If you don’t think what I have—what I feel—with you and for you is very different than what I’ve had or felt for any other woman, then you’re wrong. Yes, Manuel has participated on occasion when I’ve had sex with another woman, though not often. But the difference is, no other woman has ever wanted to do something so selfless as to ask me what I want and express her desire to do something solely for me. It’s always been about them. Their wants, their needs. They could give a damn about mine. Manuel’s involvement was to a degree for me because it’s something I enjoy, but mostly it was at the women’s behest and, trust me, their attention was focused entirely on Manuel. They didn’t give me one thought, never looked at me. My name wasn’t on their lips. They never looked to me for approval or permission. They never set aside their own pleasure for mine and they certainly didn’t torment themselves worrying that by experiencing pleasure, by orgasming with another man that they somehow were betraying me.”

  He took a breath, allowing his words to sink in. She looked startled and cocked her head to the side as she rapidly processed all he was saying.

  “Only you, Angel. Only you did and thought those things. Only you did it as a gift to me without one thought of yourself. If you don’t think that means anything to me, that you aren’t special to me and you’re just another woman I’ve fucked, then I’m doing things all wrong with you and obviously we need to have a very long, serious talk.”

  She looked shocked, color high in her cheeks, her eyes wide as she studied every nuance of his expression as if discerning his sincerity.

  “And you know what else, Angel? You were spot on when you said I’d never share anything I really considered mine, and no, I never considered those women mine. You, however, are mine in every possible way. You belong to me. I own you. And I’m never fucking letting you go.

  “I realize that sounds contradictory since Manuel has been over—twice—and you did have sex with him at my behest, but Angel, that wasn’t me sharing you,” he said softly, loosening his hold on one hand so he could lift his to cup and caress her cheek. “That was you sharing something infinitely precious with me. For me. And believe me when I say, that makes you more special to me than any other woman has been or ever will be.”

  “Oh,” she said, her mouth rounding in astonished understanding. “I never considered it that way.”

 
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