Dominated, p.15
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       Dominated, p.15

         Part #2 of The Enforcers series by Maya Banks
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  “It’s a fact,” Drake said firmly. “I’m sorry she hurt you. I’m even sorrier that for even one second she made you doubt your place in my life and that your self-confidence took a hit. But baby, if it were any other woman except you sitting here questioning her worth to me, I would have already shown her to the door, because no other woman matters.”

  Her face crumbled, apology and regret shadowing her eyes. “I’m so sorry, Drake.”

  He put a finger to her lips before she could say anything further. “You will not apologize for being human and having feelings. Not to me. Never to me. But from now on, if you hear shit that upsets you, then you come to me so I can straighten it out before it gets in your head and takes root. Got it?”

  She nodded, though worry was still a ghost in her eyes.

  “Now come here and kiss me,” he said quietly.

  She leaned in immediately, and he loved that she obeyed without hesitation or question. So sweetly submissive. So fucking perfect. And all his.

  He ravaged her mouth, thrusting his tongue deep inside like he was dying to shove his dick inside her sweet little pussy. A groan emerged, rumbling from his chest, sounding like a growl in his throat.

  “Bed. Now.”

  They were the only two words he was capable of speaking, but they got his point across perfectly. Not waiting for her to rise, he simply swept her into his arms and strode to the bedroom so he could back up his words with actions. After tonight, he wanted there to be no doubt as to her place in his life.

  In his heart.

  In his fucking soul.

  18

  Evangeline stood with Drake on the tarmac waiting impatiently for the inbound plane to taxi to the terminal. She simply couldn’t believe that she was about to see her parents face-to-face for the first time since she’d moved to the city, which seemed a lifetime ago.

  She squeezed Drake’s hand until she was sure it was probably bloodless, but he merely smiled indulgently at her and squeezed back.

  “There it is,” he said, pointing to the small plane approaching them.

  “Oh God, Drake. It’s them!” she cried.

  The weather wasn’t great. A cold front had pushed through in brutal fashion, dumping a mixture of sleet and snow over the city for the past two days. Today’s offering was an icy drizzle that the umbrella Drake held over her head did little to shield. She was shivering to her toes but didn’t even register the discomfort of the wind and moisture. She was too focused on seeing her mom and dad.

  The plane halted several feet away and she waited breathlessly for the door to open. When her mother appeared at the top of the steps, it was too much for Evangeline to bear any longer. She broke from Drake’s hold and ran to the bottom, waiting as the two attendants helped her mother down the steps.

  And then she was in her mother’s arms.

  “Mama!”

  Tears flowed freely down Evangeline’s cheeks, mixing with the rain and icy sleet.

  “My baby,” her mother said over and over. “Let me look at you.”

  She pulled Evangeline away and inspected her from head to toe.

  “Oh, darling, you look absolutely beautiful,” her mother said in a choked voice.

  “Where’s Daddy?” Evangeline asked anxiously.

  “They’re getting his wheelchair and carrying him down the steps. Look, there he is now.”

  Evangeline rocked up on her tiptoes, straining to see as two men provided a chair with their arms for her father and carefully brought him down the steps. At the bottom, he was met with his wheelchair and he was eased down so he was comfortable.

  “Come give your dad a big hug, girl,” her father said gruffly.

  Evangeline threw her arms around her dad and held on for all she was worth. Tears obscured her vision but it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered except they were here and she could hold them and tell them she loved them in person.

  “Angel, honey. I hate to interrupt, but your parents are getting soaked and you’ve been standing here in the rain waiting for them for the past half hour. You’re going to get sick. Let’s get everyone to the van.”

  Evangeline pulled away from her dad, mortified that she’d been so rude to Drake. She’d practically forgotten he was even here and she hadn’t even introduced him to her parents.

  “Mama, Daddy, there is someone very special I want y’all to meet.”

  She reached for Drake’s hand and pulled him into their circle.

  “This is Drake Donovan. Drake, this is my mother and father.”

  Drake leaned down to kiss her mother on the cheek. “Mrs. Hawthorn, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you in person. I now know exactly where Evangeline gets not only her wit and intelligence but her beauty as well. If looking at you right now is showing me what I’m in for in thirty or so years, then I’m one very lucky man.”

  Her mother blushed fiery red. “Oh, nonsense,” she said, momentarily too flustered to even respond. “And please do call me Brenda. You’re family after all, and Mrs. Hawthorn sounds far too stuffy.”

  “My pleasure, Brenda.” Then he turned and extended his hand to Evangeline’s father. “I’m honored to meet you, sir. I’ve heard so much about the both of you that I feel like I already know you.”

  “Grant,” her father said in his gruff voice. “And I’m pleased to meet you as well, Drake. I’m very grateful to you for looking out for my little girl. Her mother and I have stayed awake countless nights worrying over her living so far away and in such a big city. She’s a small-town girl at heart and she’s too trusting and softhearted for her own good.”

  “On that we agree,” Drake said. “But it’s those qualities that make her so special and I wouldn’t change a single thing about her.”

  “He’ll do, Brenda,” her father said with an approving nod. “I’d say our girl is in very good hands.”

  “Come. The van is parked just over here. Let’s get you folks out of the weather. We’ll get you checked into your hotel and let you settle in and rest, and then Evangeline and I will come get you for dinner.”

  They hurried to the wheelchair-accessible van that Drake had rented for her parents’ use while in the city, complete with hired driver and assistant to help with the wheelchair. Drake ushered the women into the van while the attendants got her father in, and then they piled the luggage into the back with the chair. Drake climbed in next to Evangeline and they headed to Times Square, where Drake had reserved a suite at the Marriott.

  “Everything is so big here, Evangeline,” her mother exclaimed. “And my word, all the lights. Everyone is in a hurry and busy, busy, busy.”

  Evangeline smiled. “Wait until you see Times Square, Mama. It’s insane there.”

  Her parents oohed and ahhed the entire way to the hotel, but when her mother got her first glimpse of Times Square, her mouth fell open.

  “Well, my word! How does anyone sleep at night with so much racket going on?”

  Drake chuckled. “The rooms are equipped with room-darkening blinds so the lights won’t keep you awake. If you need anything at all during your stay, just contact the concierge and they’ll provide whatever you need. Evangeline supplied you with both our cell numbers. Don’t hesitate to call me for anything at all, day or night.”

  “You’re a fine young man, Drake,” her mother said, giving him an affectionate pat on the arm. “Your parents must be so proud.”

  Drake stiffened slightly and his eyes grew cold for a fleeting instant. His smile didn’t reach his eyes. “I lost my parents a long time ago.”

  “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that,” her mother fretted. “My apologies for bringing it up like that.”

  “No offense whatsoever taken, Brenda,” Drake said, warmth returning to his voice. “It was a long time ago. I was only a child. I barely remember them.”

  But Evangeline knew that was a lie. Whatever memories he did have weren’t good ones. In the beginning her relationship with her parents had baffled Drake. Initially he’d been angry o
ver what he perceived as them taking advantage of her because she worked tirelessly to provide for them. It was only later that he’d begun to understand the depths of her devotion to them. And theirs to her.

  It was obvious that he’d never had that kind of relationship with the people who’d given him life, and her heart ached for that young boy forced to make his own way in the world. Just as the rest of Drake’s men had done. It was the one thing that they all had in common and that tied them together. Troubled, difficult pasts with only themselves to rely on and no one else.

  “So what are we doing for Thanksgiving, Evangeline?” her mother asked when they stepped out of the van in front of the hotel.

  Evangeline smiled. “I’m cooking for all of us at Drake’s apartment. I’d love for you to help me so we can have a big feast like old times.”

  “Oh, that does sound lovely, darling. Of course I’ll help. I’d love to. It will be so much fun for us both to be in the kitchen again. She’s such a wonderful cook, Drake, don’t you agree?”

  “That I do, ma’am,” he said. “She spoils me with regular home-cooked meals. If I’m not careful, I’ll have to buy an entire new wardrobe.”

  Evangeline snorted. As if. The man was built like a brick house. He didn’t have a single inch of spare flesh anywhere on his body. And she ought to know, considering how well acquainted with his body she was.

  After getting her parents checked in and all the luggage brought up to the room, Evangeline hugged her parents after urging them to rest before dinner, and then after setting a time to meet, she and Drake took their leave.

  It took all of Evangeline’s restraint not to stay with her parents in the hotel room, but they did need to rest. They both looked tired and she was concerned about her father. He wasn’t used to traveling and exerting himself as much as he had during the trip. If she stayed, neither her father nor her mother would rest. They would all stay up talking and catching up.

  Drake must have sensed her reluctance to leave because he took her hand and pulled her against his side as they walked to the elevator. He kissed her temple.

  “You’ll get to visit with them plenty before they return home,” he said comfortingly.

  “I know. It’s just hard to let them go even for a few hours when I haven’t seen them in so very long,” she said wistfully.

  “They seem like wonderful people. Just like their daughter.”

  “You are a wonderful person, Drake. Thank you again so much for making this happen. This is the best present anyone has ever given me.”

  She threw her arms around his neck as the elevator doors closed and they zoomed toward the bottom floor, and then she drew his head down to hers and pressed her lips to his.

  They were still locked together when the elevator slowed its descent. Reluctantly Evangeline pulled away, her eyes half lidded and heavy. They got off the elevator and walked to the side street where Jax waited with Thane in a car to take them back to Drake’s apartment.

  “Do you suppose Maddox would mind going shopping with my mother and me in the morning?” Evangeline asked as they slid in. “I need to go to the grocer and get all the stuff for Thanksgiving. I thought she could go with me, and Dad could hang out at your apartment until we got back.”

  “I thought I’d take off work tomorrow, so I’ll keep your dad company. That will give me the rest of the week off with the holiday.”

  “You don’t mind?” Evangeline asked.

  “Of course I don’t mind spending time with your father, Angel. You go and spend time with your mom. I’ll call Maddox and ask him to be there in the morning to take you.”

  With a contented sigh, she settled into Drake’s arms for the ride back to the apartment. For the next five days, she had the three most important people in the world all to herself. Life was, she thought with hazy mellowness, absolutely . . . perfect.

  19

  True to Drake’s word, Maddox arrived the next morning along with Silas to take her and her mother shopping. Evangeline was delighted that her mother would get to meet the two men she felt the closest bond with. She had a feeling that neither man would quite know what to do with her mom.

  And she had a surprise up her sleeve that she hoped went well. She’d approached Drake with her request that morning and when she’d revealed that she’d very much like to invite Maddox and Silas to eat Thanksgiving dinner with them, he’d been surprised but had told her that he had no problem with her inviting them.

  He’d looked . . . pleased . . . that she’d thought to include them.

  Maddox and Silas were currently in the living room with Drake and her father while Evangeline was whipping up a quick breakfast and her mother was in the bathroom.

  “Maddox? Silas?” she called.

  They appeared in the kitchen a moment later and she flashed them a welcoming smile.

  “Want to help me set the table? I made enough breakfast for everyone. It won’t take too long and then we can hop over to the market with my grocery list.”

  Maddox sniffed the air appreciatively. Then he clutched his chest dramatically.

  “Will you marry me, Evangeline? Let me take you away from all of this. Oh wait. This is exactly what I want you to do at my place. But it’s the only thing I’ll ever ask of you. Well, and sex of course. If you cook for me every day, I’ll make sure you never want for anything for the rest of your life.”

  Silas rolled his eyes and began taking plates down from the cabinets. Evangeline laughed and blew Maddox a kiss.

  “As a matter of fact, the real reason I called the two of you in here is because I have a special request.”

  Both men came to attention and Silas probed her with his stare.

  “Everything okay, doll?” Silas asked in concern.

  “Oh yes, everything is fine. I wanted to ask the two of you if y’all would do me the honor of having Thanksgiving dinner with me, Drake and my parents?”

  Maddox looked poleaxed and Silas’s expression froze on his face.

  “Thanksgiving is a time to be with family,” she continued softly. “And I consider the both of you family. It would mean a lot to me. That is if you don’t have other plans already.”

  “I would be very honored to accept your invitation,” Maddox said in a solemn tone.

  Silas leaned in and brushed his lips across her cheek. “I’ll be here, doll. And thank you for the invite. It means a lot to me.”

  She smiled, relieved that they seemed to be happy to be included in her plans.

  “Have a seat. Let me go get Dad and Drake and we’ll eat.”

  Breakfast was lively and fun, but when Evangeline’s mother realized that she and Evangeline were going to have the escort of both Silas and Maddox to the market, her reaction was hysterical.

  “Well, I never, Evangeline! Is it so dangerous in the big city that we have to be escorted around by these two extremely good-looking young men?”

  Evangeline choked on her drink when she saw Maddox’s neck turn red and Silas fidget in his seat.

  “They are extremely good looking, Mama, don’t you think?” Evangeline said, her eyes twinkling. “Just think. Everyone will be wondering who on earth you are or what celebrity you are, being guarded by Maddox and Silas. Maybe I should have asked Zander or Jax to come along too,” she mused.

  “You, my darling angel, are a wicked tease,” Drake said in a low voice only she could hear. Laughter shone brightly in his eyes and he covered his smile by taking a long drink from his glass.

  “Oh my. You’re right!” her mother exclaimed. “Oh, isn’t this exciting, Grant? Wait until I tell everyone back home. They won’t believe me, of course, so you’ll take pictures, won’t you, Evangeline?”

  There was such a look and sound of hope in her mother’s face and voice that Evangeline nearly lost the battle and burst into laughter on the spot.

  “Absolutely, Mama. I’ll take as many pictures as you want. I’m sure Maddox and Silas won’t mind at all, will you?” she said sweetly, staring
innocently at the two men in question.

  Silas coughed and then looked at her mother, sincerity etched in his features.

  “It would be my privilege to escort Evangeline’s mother around the city. Evangeline is an amazing, beautiful woman and is also one of the most compassionate and loving people I’ve ever met. I can only draw the conclusion that she gets it from her mother.”

  To Evangeline’s delight, her mother blushed to the roots of her hair and then fanned herself with her hand in rapid fashion.

  “Oh my Jesus,” she breathed. “Evangeline, what do you do with all these wonderful young men?”

  Evangeline choked and Drake squeezed her hand beneath the table, his features working up and down as he tried to suppress his laughter over Evangeline’s mortification. Maddox smirked while Silas’s lips turned up into a slow grin.

  “Not nearly enough,” Maddox said morosely. “I could eat her cooking every day.”

  “You’ll get plenty of my and my mother’s cooking tomorrow,” Evangeline said pointedly. “You’ll be in a food coma for days.”

  “I can’t wait,” Maddox said, a wistful note to his voice.

  “Are you ready to go to the market, Mama?” Evangeline asked. “I have my grocery list all written up. Maddox, do you and Silas have any special requests for tomorrow’s meal?”

  “Trust me. We’ll eat whatever you put on the table, doll,” Silas vowed.

  “That ain’t no lie,” Maddox said emphatically.

  “Well, let’s be off then, shall we?” her mother said brightly. “I don’t know when the last time a trip to the grocery store was this exciting. I plan to enjoy every minute of it.”

  Drake caught Evangeline’s hand as she rose from the table and gently pulled her back to his seat. “Forgetting something, Angel?” he murmured.

  She was flustered at first, wondering what he was talking about. But then she saw the devilish gleam in his eye.

  “My good-bye kiss, perhaps?” he prompted.

  She flushed but was secretly thrilled that he didn’t mind kissing her in front of her parents or his men. She leaned down and kissed him long and sweet, running her tongue over the contours of his mouth until he parted his lips and let her delve inside.

  He tasted so good. She wanted to melt into his lap and spend the next hour doing nothing more than kissing him.

  “Go easy on my men, okay, Angel?” he said in amusement.

  “You act like I’m a troublemaker,” she said with a sniff.

  “Only the very best kind,” he murmured.

  She kissed him one last time and then went to collect her purse.

  “Everyone ready?” she asked once she returned.

  • • •

  Thanksgiving Day was the most wonderful holiday Evangeline could ever remember experiencing. She and her mother had begun cooking in the morning and they’d eaten shortly after two that afternoon.

  At first, her mother had been appalled when Drake had instructed her and Evangeline not to worry about the dishes, but when he’d reassured her that his cleaning service would be in, her mother had a swift change of heart and readily stayed away from the pile of pots, pans, skillets, roasting pans, glasses, plates and eating utensils.

  It was that evening that her mother had made an innocent comment that sparked an idea in Evangeline. Her mother had asked if Evangeline planned to put up the tree the following morning—as was their family tradition ever since Evangeline could remember.

  Not at all knowing what Drake’s feelings on the subject were—he didn’t seem the type who went crazy decorating for any occasion—the longer she thought about it, the more her idea took root.

  And so before going to bed Thanksgiving night, she made a discreet call to Maddox and made her request.

  When Evangeline’s parents arrived at Drake’s apartment Friday morning, they were accompanied by every single one of Drake’s men. When they began walking off the elevator carrying boxes and shopping bags and the pièce de résistance, the ten-foot live Christmas tree, Drake’s eyebrows went up and he immediately searched Evangeline out in the crowd now assembled in his apartment.

  She smiled but her stomach was a mass of nerves. She really hoped this didn’t go badly.

  Walking over to him, she slid her arms around his waist and smiled again. “Surprise,” she said softly. “And Merry Christmas. It’s tradition in my family
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