Dominated, p.16
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       Dominated, p.16
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         Part #2 of The Enforcers series by Maya Banks

  that the tree always goes up the day after Thanksgiving and remains up through New Year’s. I hope you don’t mind but I wanted to do something special for you while they were still here to help decorate and enjoy the tree as well.”

  “You did this for me?” he asked in an odd tone.

  She nodded. “Do you like it?” she asked hesitantly.

  He hugged her to him and then kissed her lingeringly. “I love it. Thank you.”

  “Evangeline, dear, you and Drake come and help decorate your tree!” her mother called from across the room. “Your young men outdid themselves. We must have fifteen hundred lights that go on this tree!”

  Evangeline looked to Drake and when he nodded, she took his hand and pulled him to where her mother was pulling ornaments from their boxes.

  “Your father and I brought you something,” her mother said, reaching for a tattered box Evangeline hadn’t noticed until now.

  She lovingly smoothed her hands over the worn packaging before opening it to reveal its contents. Evangeline sucked in her breath and the sting of tears burned her eyelids.

  “Oh, Mama,” she said.

  “I brought ornaments from our family tree that I thought you’d like to have for your own tree,” her mother said, a sheen of moisture in her own eyes. “Some of them you made yourself in school as a child. And there is one for every single Christmas you’ve celebrated, dating back to your very first Christmas. I also brought you several of the handmade ornaments your grammie made over the years. I know how much you loved and cherished them.”

  Evangeline sat on the couch next to her mother and hugged her. Then the two women began examining each of the ornaments.

  “Thank you,” Evangeline said in a hushed whisper. “I love them, Mama.”

  “You’re very welcome, darling. I just can’t believe that you’re all grown up now with a life of your own. I know we don’t say it nearly enough, but your father and I are so proud of you. No one could be more proud of their child than we are. Before we came to visit, I used to fret and worry and I had so much regret that you had to put off school and move to the city in order to help support me and your father.”

  “No, Mama!”

  “Shh,” her mother said, laying a hand gently atop Evangeline’s. “Let me finish.”

  Evangeline noticed that Drake, Silas and Maddox were all listening to what her mother was saying, though they weren’t being obvious about it.

  “As I said, I had so much regret and I worried endlessly about you here on your own. Only having a few friends and being swallowed up by a city full of strangers. But once I got here and saw you, I realized that it’s wrong of me to wish all of this away. Because if you hadn’t moved here, you wouldn’t have met Drake and you wouldn’t be as happy as you look right now and I’d never want to take that away from you.”

  “You’re very right about one thing, Brenda,” Drake interjected somberly. “As much as I hate the circumstances that brought Evangeline to New York, I, like you, can’t bring myself to regret them because were it not for those circumstances, she wouldn’t be standing here today in my apartment. I wouldn’t have her. And now that I do, how I came to have her isn’t nearly as important as her continuing to belong to me.”

  Evangeline felt like someone had just punched her in the stomach. She felt flattened by his words and the ring of sincerity and truth in them. She stared at him in utter astonishment.

  Her mom and dad exchanged pleased, happy smiles as they watched Evangeline grapple with the enormity of Drake’s impassioned statement.

  “We’ve got the lights hung, Mrs. Hawthorn,” Jax said from his post at the tree. “If you’ll tell us what needs to go where, we’ll knock out the rest of the decorations.”

  Evangeline stood, her knees shaky, but she couldn’t contain her broad smile. Maybe she’d never smiled this big.

  “I’ll make everyone a deal,” she called so everyone could hear. “If y’all will hang the decorations as my mom instructs, I’ll start on a late lunch and feed everyone.”

  A chorus of whoops went up and then it was a race to see who could hang the ornaments the fastest. Drake went back to sit next to her father, and the two of them quickly became immersed in conversation while Evangeline stood in the doorway of the kitchen surveying her packed apartment and the brilliant glitter of fifteen hundred lights draped from the top to the bottom of the tree.

  Her heart swelled with contentment. This was her family now. She watched as the men taunted and ribbed one another, though they were all extremely respectful in front of her mother. She could hug and kiss every single one of them for being so wonderfully solicitous of her during her visit.

  She dabbed at the corner of her eye to prevent any tears from falling down her cheeks.

  “Evangeline? You okay?” Silas asked beside her.

  She turned to see him standing next to her, a concerned expression marring his handsome features. She gave him her second-biggest smile of the day.

  “I’m more than okay,” she breathed. “Look around, Silas. This is our family. What could possibly be better than family gathered to decorate the Christmas tree and eat dinner together?”

  Silas smiled, something he seemed to do with increasing frequency around her lately.

  “It’s you, doll. You’ve made us family.”

  20

  It was late when Drake and Evangeline returned to their apartment after seeing her parents back to the hotel. She was already dreading the following day, when her parents would fly back home.

  As they walked off the elevator, Drake reached out and shackled her wrist with his fingers and pulled her to a stop.

  “Go into the bedroom, get undressed and wait for me on the bed. Lie on your back, arms over your head, legs spread so I see what is mine the minute I walk through the bedroom door.”

  Her mouth went dry and she swallowed at the knot seemingly lodged there. His voice was so sexy. Low pitched and husky. The mere sound had the same effect as if he’d stroked her with his hands. Each word was its own individual caress over her ears.

  “I’ll give you five minutes,” he warned.

  She’d be ready for him in three.

  Turning, she hurried to the bedroom, already stripping her clothing off as she entered. She tossed her dress and shoes in the far corner and then crawled on top of the covers and eased down on her back. Then she lifted her arms up over her so they rested on the pillow above her head.

  She lay there in a dreamy state of heightened arousal, every sense on alert. Waiting. Her pulse raced to life the moment she sensed his presence. Before he ever made a betraying sound, she knew he was there.

  Her eyelids fluttered lazily as she moved her gaze to where he stood by the bed. He was staring down at her, his expression gentle, affection glowing from his dark eyes. She felt a decadent little thrill. It was times like this, times like the previous several days when his every action, word, look and touch whispered to her that he could love her.

  She just had to be patient. Drake wasn’t a man to make himself vulnerable to anyone, especially another woman. All she could do in the meantime was show him that she wasn’t going anywhere. That she loved him unconditionally. The wait would be well worth it. She had no doubt there.

  No longer did insidious thoughts latch on and take hold, undermining her self-confidence, making her fear the future and how long Drake would remain in their relationship. He’d done nothing to make her think he was growing tired of her. Just the opposite. It seemed that with every passing day, he openly accepted the bigger role in his life she played.

  “What are you thinking, Angel?” Drake murmured as he stroked his hand over her naked curves.

  Her entire body was painfully aware. She trembled and shuddered with nearly violent need. There was such a look of intensity in Drake’s eyes tonight. As though he’d come to some momentous decision or realization.

  She wanted to question him about it, but what was she supposed to say? That she sensed a change
in him? In his priorities, and that he’d placed her ahead of all else? It was a very good way of opening herself up to abject humiliation if she was wrong. No, she couldn’t try to rush commitment from him. That would be the biggest mistake of all.

  “I’m thinking about how lucky I am,” she whispered around the knot in her throat. “This Thanksgiving has been the best Thanksgiving I’ve ever had. I loved every minute of it, Drake. We were like one big family. My parents. Your men. And us . . .”

  His smile was spreading warmth through parts of her body that hadn’t felt this warm in a very long time. His eyes were like liquid sunshine, his gaze fiery over her skin. More often than not, his eyes and his expression were so very dark. Shadowed. Past hurts and painful memories lurking just beneath the surface. But tonight, his eyes looked almost golden brown and not black.

  She was fascinated by that golden gaze. Mesmerized as the light caught the bronze flecks in his eyes.

  He tossed his clothing to the side and slowly got up on the bed, hovering above her as he rested on his elbows so his weight didn’t crush her. She let out a small moan as his body pressed down on hers. Automatically her body moved to accommodate his. Soft to his hard. She cushioned him on the bed even though his full weight wasn’t on her.

  He stared down at her, those brilliant eyes still full of such heat and mystery.

  “Do you know what I was thinking?” he asked huskily as he brushed his thumbs over her cheeks, tucking tiny strands of her hair behind her ears.

  “What?” she whispered.

  “That I need, that I want to thank you for the best Thanskgiving anyone has ever given me.”

  Tears swam in her eyes as she soaked in his reverence and the absolute sincerity in his voice and expression.

  “I’m glad,” she choked out. “I’m so glad, Drake. I want you to be happy. Even if it’s not with me.”

  She could have bitten her tongue for allowing even a second of her insecurities to surface. Especially when Drake was already baring his soul, or at least part of it, to her.

  “I didn’t mean that like I said,” she said hastily. “I swear to you I’m not fishing for anything, Drake. I truly mean that. I want you to be happy. No matter what that takes. I hope I’m the one who can do it. I pray that I am. But if I’m not, I just want you to know that you have people who love you and care about you. I’m not the only one.”

  Drake shook his head, his gaze genuinely puzzled. “Surely you don’t think I have any plans to end what we share, Angel.”

  She smiled. “No. I was just trying to say what was in my heart and, well, sometimes that doesn’t go over too well,” she said ruefully.

  He smiled back down at her and swept her lips into a long, sweet kiss that made her feel the sting of tears all over again.

  “No one has ever cooked a holiday meal for me,” he said absently. He looked uncomfortable with the confession and the ramifications of it as well. “No one has ever asked my brothers to eat a meal with them like you did. And yet you cooked not only for me, but for them as well. Hell, you had them decorating a fucking Christmas tree in my living room.”

  He looked down at her with an awed expression.

  “Swear to God, Angel. You’re a fucking miracle. I should have known the day you had everyone eating cupcakes in my office that we were all goners. I’ve never seen my men react to a woman in my life like they have to you. I’ve never had a woman in my life as long as I’ve had you,” he amended.

  Once more, he looked unsettled, as though the realizations he was having unhinged him and he had no idea what to do with each one as it was unveiled.

  “They adore you, Angel. And they’re loyal to you. Every bit as much as they are to me. You’ve changed all of us. At times they have no better idea of what to do with you than I do. You surprise them with your unconditional acceptance at every corner. As you surprise me . . .”

  “Drake, you have to stop,” she said helplessly. “You’re going to make me cry!”

  He smiled and kissed her cheeks, her eyelids, the corners of her eyes as though he were removing invisible tears.

  “I find I don’t mind you crying so much as long as you’re happy. But if you were ever unhappy about anything, you have to know I’d move heaven and earth to make you happy again.”

  She squeezed her arms around his waist and lifted her cheek to press to his chest. “I do know that, Drake. And you do, you know. You make me so very happy.”

  Relief flared in his eyes. “I’m glad. I don’t know what I’d ever do without you. I don’t want to even contemplate it.”

  “How about we don’t, then?” she whispered.

  “That’s the best idea I’ve heard in a long time,” he whispered back as he kissed her again.

  He licked over her bottom lip and then flicked his tongue to the corner of her mouth before lapping delicately at her upper lip. With a sigh, she relaxed and opened her mouth for him, her lips parting as his tongue slid inward, spreading his taste over her tongue.

  When he drew away, his eyes were blazing with intensity and conviction.

  “Thank you, my angel. For giving me . . . hope. For showing me what a real holiday with . . . family . . . feels like. I’ll never forget this Thanksgiving. Ever. It—and you—mean the world to me.”

  “Make love to me,” she urged, suddenly impatient to feel him on her, inside her, warming her from the inside out.

  “Oh I am,” he said in a hushed, reverent tone. He kissed her once, twice and then a third time. “I understand that our relationship—and sexual relationship—is built on your submission and my dominance and that a certain amount of kink factors in. But tonight I’m going to make love to you. Tonight, kink has no place in our bedroom. Just you and me, and me loving you. Showing you my love.”

  She sucked in her breath so sharply she nearly passed out. Oh God, did he even realize what he was saying? Drake wasn’t the kind of man to say things he didn’t mean in the heat of the moment.

  He’d come so close to saying everything she could ever hope for or dream of. For now it was more than enough. He wanted to show her his love. His love was all she ever wanted. Nothing else. Just him and his heart. His love. For all time.

  He took his time. Never had he displayed such a remarkable amount of patience or exacting determination to withhold both of their pleasure until they were both senseless with it. He kissed and licked every inch of her body, spending an extra amount of time at her breasts and then between her legs.

  She was frantic with need, gasping, arching, crying out as her body throbbed and she climbed higher and higher up the peak. For nearly an hour, he stroked and caressed, kissed and licked, murmured sweet, beautiful words to her that she memorized and sealed into her heart, never to be forgotten.

  Each time she urged him to slide inside her and give them both what they wanted, he’d smile and simply ignore her plea, opting instead to bring her to even greater heights of pleasure and blinding need.

  She was nearly sobbing, out of her head with mind-numbing ecstasy when finally he parted her legs and gently positioned himself between them.

  “Look at me, Angel,” he said in a tender voice.

  Her eyes locked with his and satisfaction burned brightly in his gaze.

  “Take me,” he whispered. “All of me.”

  He surged deep, taking her breath with the swiftness and power of his possession. He was deep. So much deeper than ever before. He seemed as determined as she was for him to take every inch. She could deny him nothing. She lifted her legs and hooked them around his back and lifted her hips so the angle of his entry was even better.

  He hesitated the barest of seconds and then powered forward again, burying himself to the hilt.

  Her vision blurred and she knew she couldn’t possibly hold on a minute longer. She was too close. Too aroused. She needed him too much.

  “Drake!” she cried out. “Please. Don’t stop. Not now!”

  “No, Angel. Never,” he vowed.

  He
drove himself forward, melting into her body as she wrapped arms and legs tightly around him. She melted into his arms, her body soft and pliable, so accepting of him.

  The first blast of her orgasm rocked her to her very core. She had no awareness in those few moments as pleasure, sharp, edgy like a knife, sliced its wicked way through her body, all the way to her very soul.

  Her eyes blanked, the pupils constricting. She tried to focus on Drake’s fierce expression, the possession she saw so clearly outlined on his face, but it was simply too much.

  Every muscle and nerve ending in her body tensed to the point of pain. She drew herself up in agony, trying to clutch more fiercely at Drake. She was sobbing. She dimly registered the fact that she was sobbing and begging and pleading.

  And then his mouth found hers and he swallowed up her loud cry as she let it out into the night.

  The entire world around her burst, exploded into a cacophony of color and sensation. So much pleasure. It winged its way through her body, foaming thickly through her veins, bathing every inch of her skin.

  She couldn’t breathe, so Drake breathed for her. He swallowed up her air and then offered her his. Nothing had ever felt so intimate and sweet. Never had she felt this kind of love for any other man. She never would.

  What would she have ever done if she’d never met Drake? How hollow would her life be even now if he weren’t a part of it? She closed her eyes tightly, felt the hot tears slide down her cheek, and she gulped back her sob as she clung tightly to him in the explosive aftermath.

  He lowered his heaving body to hers, panting as he struggled to catch his breath. He buried his face in her hair and gathered her so close in his arms that there wasn’t an inch of her skin not covered by him.

  “Never had anything so sweet in my life,” he barely managed to get out. “Never will again. You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever had, Angel. Don’t ever leave me. Please don’t leave me.”

  She was shocked by the vulnerability she heard in his voice. Shocked that he’d allowed her to witness it. Or perhaps he had no idea what he was saying. But his words, his impassioned plea, rocked her all the way to her heart and soul.

  “I won’t,” she said tenderly. “Never, Drake, darling. I’ll always be here. As long as you want me, I am yours.”

  He crushed her to him, holding her so tightly she couldn’t breathe. “I need you, Angel. I need you so damn much.”

  His words were so hushed that she thought she’d imagined them at first. A euphoric thrill washed through her blood, and peace settled over her. Maybe . . . just maybe fairy tales did come true.

  21

  Evangeline lay in Drake’s arms, so contented that she was utterly boneless with it. She was draped completely over his body, lying atop him, their legs tangled with the sheets and blankets.

  She’d attempted to move once, but Drake’s hold had tightened on her and he’d simply murmured, “I like you right where you are, Angel.”

  Evangeline idly caressed him, running her fingers lightly over the muscled contours of his body and through the smattering of hair at the top of his chest and the slightly thicker and darker line that whorled in the very center before drifting in a straight line to his navel.

  The man was a god. A magnificent sexy beast of a man that no other man she’d ever seen could even come close to. And he was all hers.

  She smiled her smug satisfaction and lay there a long moment savoring the intimacy of their hold.

  And then thoughts from the holiday drifted through her mind and she remembered Drake’s stiff response to her mother saying how proud his parents must be of him. And his awed thank-you for the best holiday anyone had ever given him. He’d said that no one had ever cooked a holiday meal for him. For that matter, that very first time she’d cooked for him, he’d said, somewhat bewilderingly, that no one had ever cooked anything for him.

  Surely he meant as an adult. Wouldn’t his mother have cooked for him when he was a child?

  Icy fingers of dread clutched at her heart because somehow she sensed that Drake’s childhood had not been a happy one. For that matter, the common tie that seemed to bind all of his men together as brothers was less-than-ideal pasts. None of them had actually spoken of their pasts, but then neither had they ever once mentioned having families. No references to their childhoods. Nothing.

  She levered herself off his chest enough that she could look into his eyes, and she did so earnestly, searching his gaze for any sign that perhaps she should let this go or at least bring it up some other time.

  When she saw nothing but warmth and tenderness, she nibbled at her lower lip and then hesitantly broached the subject on her mind.

  “Drake? Can I ask you something?” she asked tentatively.

  His eyes narrowed but he didn’t look angry. Just . . . worried. “Of course. What is it, Angel?”

 
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