Dominated - Maya Banks

PROLOGUE

He took the express elevator that only ran between his penthouse and the lobby, praying the entire way that Evangeline would even look at him, much less listen to anything he had to say.

God, let her be sweet, generous and forgiving one last time and he’d never give her reason to doubt him again.

As soon as the elevator doors opened, he bolted into the apartment yelling her name. He winced when he saw the mess in the kitchen, the contents of what appeared to be an extensive menu dumped on the floor, skillets and pots strewn across the bar, the stove and the floor along with the contents.

When he hit the living room on the way to the bedroom, his dread only increased when he saw the silver trays with appetizers scattered all over the room, liquor and wine bottles smashed and huge wet stains on his furniture and carpet.

Paying them no heed, he burst into the bedroom, prepared to beg, on his knees, for her to forgive him. He had a hell of a lot of explaining to do, and that explanation would raise questions he wasn’t prepared to answer without further fear of driving her away. If he hadn’t done so already.

But Evangeline was nowhere to be seen. All the jewelry he’d gifted her with, including the items she’d worn tonight, were scattered on their bed, and the remnants of the dress she’d worn lay in pieces on the floor.

When he checked her closet, it was full except for a couple pairs of jeans and a few casual shirts and one pair of tennis shoes. Most noticeable was that his small travel bag was missing.

He sank to his knees, his chest so tight it felt as though it were being crushed.

His worst nightmare had come to life. She was gone. He’d driven her away. He’d treated her despicably.

Not since his childhood had he felt such desolation and helpless despair. But this, this was his doing. He’d done the unthinkable. He wasn’t the victim. Evangeline was. His sweet, innocent angel whose only crime was loving him and wanting to take care of him and show him he mattered.

And he’d repaid her by taking her gift and throwing it back in her face in the most despicable way a man could hurt the woman he cared about.

He buried his face in his hands, raw agony clawing at his insides. “I fucked up, Angel. But I’m coming for you. So help me God. I know I failed you. I let you down. But goddamn it, I will not let you go. I’ll never let you go. I’ll fight for you with my last breath. I can’t live without you,” he whispered. “You’re the only thing good in my life. The only sunshine I’ve ever experienced in a life steeped in gray.

“I can’t live without you. You’re my only reason for living. You have to come home, because without you, I have—I am—nothing.”

1

“Find her,” Drake said harshly, the nights without sleep evident in his haggard appearance. “This is your only priority, your only job. Find her and bring her back to me.”

He’d gathered his sentinels. The only men in his inner circle, a tight band of men—brothers—his partners in business and the only men he trusted with his life—and Evangeline’s.

The only men he’d allow to see him at his lowest, unguarded. Vulnerable. Nothing mattered to him. Not exposing his weakness. Not allowing his iron control that had maintained him through most of his life to slip. They all knew that Evangeline was . . . special. All important. They liked and respected her.