“That’s not fair, Gideon. You won’t give me a chance.”
“If you need a ride, Angus is at your service.” I caught the handle of the door and paused. “Don’t come here again, Mother. I don’t like arguing with you. It would be best for both of us if you just stay away.”
I left the door open behind me and headed toward the conference room.
“YOU took this shot today?”
I looked up at Raúl, who stood in front of my desk. Dressed in a plain black suit, he had the steady, watchful gaze of a man who made his living by seeing and hearing everything.
“Yes,” he answered. “Not more than an hour ago.”
I returned my attention to the photo in front of me. It was difficult looking at Anne Lucas. The sight of her foxlike face, with its sharp chin and sharper eyes, brought back memories I wished I could erase from my mind. Not just of her, but of her brother, who’d been similar in ways that made my skin crawl.
“Eva said the woman had long hair,” I murmured, noting that Anne still had cropped hair. I remembered the plastic feel of it, the sharp-gelled spikes scratching my thighs as she deep-throated my cock, working desperately to get me hard enough to f**k her.
I handed the tablet back to Raúl. “Find out who it was.”
“Did Eva call you?”
He frowned. “No.” But he pulled out his smartphone and checked it. “No,” he said again.
“She may wait until you fly out to San Diego. She wants you to find a friend of hers.”
“No problem. I’ll take care of it.”
“Take care of her,” I said, holding his gaze.
“Doesn’t need to be said.”
“I know. Thank you.”
As he left my office, I sat back in my chair. There were a number of women in my past who might cause problems for me with my wife. The women I’d slept with were aggressive by nature, ones who put me in the position of needing to take the upper hand. Eva was the only woman who’d ever grabbed the lead and made me want more.
It was getting harder to let her be away from me, not easier.
“The team from Envoy is here,” Scott said through the speaker.
“Send them in.”
I powered through my day, wrapping up the week’s agenda and laying the groundwork for more to come. There was a lot I needed to get off my plate before I could take time off with Eva. Our daylong honeymoon had been perfect, but far too short. I wanted at least two weeks away with her, preferably a month. Someplace far away from work and other commitments, where I could have her all to myself with no interruptions.
My smartphone vibrated on my desktop and I looked at it, surprised to see my sister’s face on the screen. I’d texted Ireland earlier to let her know about the engagement. Her reply had been a short and simple, Yay! Stoked. Congrats, bro!
I’d barely answered the call with a quick hello when she cut me off.
“I’m so f**king excited!” she yelled, forcing me to pull the phone away from my ear.
“Watch the mouth.”
“Are you kidding? I’m seventeen, not seven. This is so awesome. I’ve wanted a sister forever, but figured I’d be old and gray before you and Christopher stopped bouncing around and settled down.”
I sat back in my chair. “I live to serve.”
“Ha. Yeah, right. You done good, you know. Eva’s a keeper.”
“Yes, I know.”
“Thanks to her, I get to harass you now. Always a highlight of my day.”
My chest tightened, forcing me to take a minute before I could reply in an easy tone of voice. “Oddly enough, it’s a highlight of mine as well.”
“Well, yeah. It should be.” Her voice lowered. “I heard Mom losing her shit over it earlier. She told Dad she went to your work and you guys got in a fight or something. I think she’s kinda jealous. She’ll get over it.”
“Don’t worry about it. Everything’s fine.”
“I know. It just sucks that she couldn’t keep it together today of all days. Anyway, I’m thrilled and wanted you to know that.”
“But I’m not going to be the flower girl. I’m too old for that. I’m up for being a bridesmaid, though. Even a groomswoman or whatever. Just sayin’.”
“All right.” My mouth curved. “I’ll pass that along to Eva.”
I’d just hung up when Scott buzzed through my office line.
“Miss Tramell is here,” he announced, making me realize how late in the day it was. “And, as a reminder, your videoconference with the development team in California is in five minutes.”
Pushing back from the desk, I saw Eva round the corner and come into view. I could watch her walk for hours. She had a sway to her h*ps that made me ache to f**k her and a determined tilt to her chin that challenged every dominant instinct I had.
I wanted to fist her ponytail in my hand, take her mouth, and grind against her. Just the way I’d wanted to the first time I saw her. And every time since.
“Send along the proposal deck to the team,” I told Scott. “Tell them to review and I’ll join in shortly.”
Eva swept through the door.
“Eva.” I stood. “How was your day?”
She rounded the desk, then grabbed me by the tie.
I was instantly hard and totally focused on her.
“I f**king love you,” she said, before yanking my mouth down to meet hers.
I hooked one arm around her waist and felt around for the opacity controls with my other hand, all the while letting her kiss me as if she owned me. Which she did. Absolutely.
The feel of her lips against mine and the unmistakable possessiveness of her actions were exactly what I needed after the day I’d had. Holding her close, I turned and half-sat on the edge of the desk, pulling her in between my thighs. I could say it was a more secure way to hold her, but honestly, my knees were weak.
Her kisses did that to me. Did what three hours of sparring with my trainer couldn’t do.
Inhaling through the rising lust, I breathed her in, allowing the delicate fragrance of her perfume and the provocative scent that was hers alone to intoxicate me. Her lips were soft and damp against mine, demanding in the subtlest of ways. Her tongue licked delicately, savoring, teasing and arousing me effortlessly.
Eva kissed me as if I were the most delicious thing she’d ever tasted, a flavor she craved and was helplessly addicted to. The feeling was heady and had become necessary. I lived for her kisses.
When she kissed me, I knew I belonged right where I was.
Tilting her head, she moaned into my mouth, a soft sound of pleasure and surrender. Her fingers were in my hair, sliding through it, tugging it. That sensation of being caught—claimed—challenged me on the deepest level. I drew her closer, until the firmness of her belly pressed against the hardness of my erection.
My dick was throbbing, aching.
“You’ll make me come,” I murmured. All the effort I’d once had to expend to become aroused enough to orgasm was unnecessary with my wife. The fact that she existed stirred my blood. The strength of her desire was enough to set me off.
She leaned back slightly, breathless like me. “I don’t mind.”
“I wouldn’t, either, if I didn’t have a meeting waiting.”
“I don’t want to hold you up. I just want to thank you for what you said to my dad.”
Smiling, I gave her ass a two-handed squeeze. “My lawyer said I’d score major points for that.”
“Work was so busy, and I didn’t have a chance to call him until lunch. I was so worried he’d hear about our engagement before I could tell him.” She shoved at my shoulder. “You could’ve given me a heads-up that you were announcing it to the world!”
I shrugged. “It wasn’t planned, but I wasn’t going to deny it when asked.”
Her lips twisted wryly. “Of course not. Did you see that ridiculous post about a baby bump?”
“A frightening thought at this point,” I said, trying to keep my tone light despite the sudden rush of alarm I felt. “I’m planning on keeping you all to myself for a while.”
“I know, right?” She shook her head. “I was freaked out that my dad would think I was engaged and pregnant, and just couldn’t be bothered to let him know. It was such a relief to call him and find out you’d explained everything and smoothed the way.”
“My pleasure.” I would set the world on fire to clear a path for her, if that’s what it took.
Her hands went to work unbuttoning my vest. My brows arched in silent query, but I wasn’t going to stop her.
“I haven’t even left yet, and I’m missing you already,” she said quietly, straightening my tie.
“If I were just going to hole up with Cary for a bit, I’d do it here at home and not in San Diego.” She lifted her gaze to my face. “But he’s a head case over Tatiana being pregnant. Plus, I need to spend time with my dad. Especially now.”
“Is there something you should be telling me?”
“No. He sounded good when I talked to him, but I think he was hoping we’d have more time together before I got married. To him, it seems like you and I just met.”
I knew I should keep my mouth shut, but I couldn’t. “And we can’t forget Kline.”
Her jaw hardened. She dropped her attention back to where her fingers were buttoning my vest. “I’m leaving soon. I don’t want to fight again.”
I caught her hands. “Eva. Look at me.”
Staring into her stormy eyes, I felt the tug in my chest: a slow wrenching that could turn me upside down. She hadn’t stopped being angry with me, and I couldn’t stand it. “You still don’t understand what you do to me. How crazy you make me.”
“Don’t give me that. You shouldn’t have brought up Corinne the way you did.”
“Maybe not. But be honest, you brought up Kline this morning because you’re worried about seeing him.”
“I’m not worried!”
“Angel.” I gave her a patient look. “You’re worried. I don’t think you’d sleep with him, but I do think you’re anxious about crossing a line you shouldn’t. You needed a strong reaction from me, so you were blunt and you got it. You needed to see what it would do to me. How just the thought of you with him makes me insane.”
“Gideon.” She gripped my biceps. “Nothing is going to happen.”
“I’m not making excuses.” I brushed my fingertips across her cheek. “I hurt you and I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry, too. I wanted to avoid causing any problems and they happened anyway.”
I knew she regretted our fight. I could see it in her eyes. “We’re learning as we go. We’ll f**k up now and again. You just have to trust me, angel.”
“I have, Gideon. It’s why we’ve gotten so far. But the fact that you’d hurt me at all—on purpose . . .” She shook her head and I could see how what I’d said was eating at her. “You were always supposed to be the one I could count on to never hurt me deliberately.”
Hearing her doubt her trust in me was a hard blow. I took the hit, then explained myself the way I’d only ever done with her. I would explain anything, talk for hours, write the promise in blood . . . if that was what it took to make her believe in me.
“There’s a difference between deliberation and malicious intent, wouldn’t you agree?” I cupped her face in my hands. “I promise I’ll never cause you pain just to hurt you. Don’t you see that I’m just as vulnerable? You have the same power to hurt me.”