Getting this place set up must have kept him busy, too.
“I needed to be near you,” he said absently, looking into the bag. “I had to be sure I could get to you quickly. Before Nathan could.”
Shock rippled through me. At a time when I’d felt Gideon drifting further and further away from me, he’d been physically close. Watching over me. “When I called you from the hospital”—I swallowed past a dry lump—“you had someone with you …”
“Raúl. He was coordinating the move-in. I had to get it done before you and Cary came home.” He looked up at me. “Towels, angel?” he asked, with more than a hint of amusement.
He pulled the white hand towels embroidered with CROSSTRAINER out of the bag. I’d picked them up at the gym. At the time, I’d been envisioning him having a bare bones bachelor pad. Now, they were ridiculous.
“I’m sorry,” I said, still reeling from his disclosure about the apartment. “I had a different idea of what this place looked like.”
He pulled the towels away when I reached for them. “Your gifts are always thoughtful. Tell me what you were thinking about when you bought these.”
“I was thinking about making you think about me.”
“Every minute of every day,” he murmured.
“Let me clarify: Me—all hot and sweaty and desperate for you.”
“Umm … a fantasy I indulge in often.”
Abruptly, the memory of Gideon pleasuring himself in my shower punched into my mind. There really were no words for how fucking amazing that sight was. “Do you think about me when you get yourself off?”
“I don’t masturbate.”
“What? Come on. Every guy does.”
Gideon caught my hand and laced our fingers, then drew me toward the kitchen from which the most heavenly smell was emanating. “Let’s talk over wine.”
“Are you trying to ply me with alcohol?”
“No.” He released me and set the bag of towels on the counter. “I know the way to your heart is with food.”
I slid onto a bar stool just like the ones in my apartment, touched by his unique way of making me feel at home. “The way to my heart? Or into my pants?”
He smiled as he poured a glass of red wine from a bottle he’d previously opened to let breathe. “You’re not wearing pants.”
“Not wearing any panties, either.”
“Careful, Eva.” Gideon shot me a stern look. “Or you’ll derail my attempt to seduce you properly before I ride you on every flat surface in this apartment.”
My mouth went dry. The look in his eyes when he brought my glass over made me feel flushed and light-headed.
“Before you,” he murmured, with his lips to the edge of his glass, “I stroked off every time I took a shower. It was as much a part of my ritual as washing my hair.”
That I believed. Gideon was a very sexual man. When we were together, he’d fuck me before bed, first thing in the morning, and sometimes fit in a quickie during the course of the day.
“Since you, only once,” he continued. “You were there with me.”
I paused with my glass halfway to my mouth. “Really?”
I took a drink, gathering my thoughts. “Why did you stop? The last few weeks … We went a long time without.”
A ghost of a smile curved his lips. “I don’t have a drop to waste if I’m going to keep up with you.”
I set the wineglass down and pushed at his shoulder. “You’re always making me sound like a nymphomaniac!”
“You like sex, angel,” he purred. “Nothing wrong with that. You’re greedy and insatiable, and I love it. I love knowing that once I get inside you, you’re going to suck me dry. Then you’ll want to do it again.”
I felt my face heat. “For your information, I didn’t get off even once while we were apart. Never even got the urge because we weren’t together.”
He leaned into the counter, resting one elbow on the cool black granite. “Hmm.”
“I like fucking you because you’re you, not because I’m a cock-hungry slut. If you don’t like it, grow a gut or stop showering or something.” I slid off the stool. “Or just say no, Gideon.”
I marched into the living room, trying to get away from the unsettled feeling I’d had all day.
Gideon’s arms came around me from behind, halting me midstep. “Stop,” he said, with the familiar authoritative bite that always turned me on.
I tried to squirm free.
I gave up, my hands falling to my sides to clench my dress.
“Explain what the fuck just happened,” he said calmly.
My head bowed and I didn’t say anything, because I didn’t know what to say. A moment of silence later, he moved, swinging me up into the cradle of his arms and carrying me to the couch. He sat and arranged me on his lap. I snuggled into him.
His chin came to rest on the crown of my head. “You want to pick a fight, angel?”
“No,” I mumbled.
“Good. Me neither.” His hands stroked up and down my back. “So let’s talk instead.”
I pressed my nose into his throat. “I love you.”
“I know.” He tilted his head back, giving me room to nestle.
“I’m not a sex addict.”
“I don’t see why it’d be a problem if you were. God knows making love with you is my favorite thing to do. In fact, if you ever wanted me to take care of you more often, I’d go so far as to schedule sex with you into my day.”
“Oh my God!” I nipped him with my teeth, and he laughed softly.
Gideon wrapped my hair around his fist and tugged my head back. His gaze on my face was soft and serious. “You’re not upset about our incredible sex life. It’s something else.”
Sighing, I admitted, “I don’t know what it is. I’m just … off.”
Adjusting me in his lap, Gideon snuggled me closer, pulling me into his warmth. We fit so perfectly together, my curves aligning with his sculpted lines. “Do you like the apartment?”
“I love it.”
“Good.” His voice was laced with satisfaction. “Obviously, it’s an example—taken to the extreme.”
My heart rate jumped a little. “Of what our place could look like?”
“We’ll start fresh, of course. Everything new.”
I was moved by his pronouncement. Still, I had to say, “It was so risky doing this. Moving in here, getting in and out of the building. It makes me nervous just thinking about it.”
“On paper, someone lives here. So of course, he’d move furniture in, and come and go. He enters through the garage, just like all the other tenants with cars. When I’m being him, I dress a little differently, take the stairs, and check the security feeds so I know if I’m going to run into anyone before it happens.”
The amount of planning involved was mindboggling to me, but then he’d had practice getting to Nathan without a trace. “All this trouble and expense. For me. I can’t— I don’t know what to say.”
“Say you’ll plan on moving in with me.”
I savored the surge of pleasure his words brought me. “Do you have a time frame in mind for this fresh start?”
“As soon as we can get away with it.” His hand on my thigh squeezed gently.
I set my hand over his. There was so much standing in the way of us living together: the lingering trauma of our pasts; my dad, who disliked rich guys and thought Gideon was a cheater; and me, because I liked my apartment and believed that striking out in a new city meant doing as much as I could on my own.
I jumped to the biggest issue for me, though. “What about Cary?”
“The penthouse has an attached guest apartment.”
Pulling back quickly, I stared at him. “You’d do that for Cary?”
“No, I’d do it for you.”
“Gideon, I …” My words trailed off because there were no words. I was awed. Something inside me shifted a little.
“So you’re not upset about the apartment,” he said. “Something else is on your mind.”
I decided to save Brett for last. “I’ve got a girls’ night out on Saturday.”
He stilled. Maybe someone who didn’t know him as well as I did wouldn’t catch that subtle, sharp alertness, but I caught it. “Girls’ night doing what, exactly?”
“Dancing. Drinking. The usual.”
“Is it a manhunt?”
“No.” I licked my dry lips, mesmerized by the change in him. He’d gone from intimately playful to intensely focused. “We’re all attached. At least I think we all are. I’m not sure about Megumi’s roommate, but Megumi’s got a man and you know Shawna’s got her chef.”
He was suddenly all business when he said, “I’ll make the arrangements—car, driver, and security. If you stick with a circuit of my clubs, your security will stay in the car. You want to branch out, he’s going in with you.”
Blinking in surprise, I said, “Okay.”
From the kitchen, the oven timer began beeping.
Gideon went from sitting to standing, with me in his arms, in one powerfully graceful surge. My eyes widened. My blood hummed through my veins. I wrapped my arms around his neck and let him carry me to the kitchen. “I love how strong you are.”
“You’re easy to impress.” Settling me on a bar stool, he gave me a lingering kiss before heading to the oven.
“You cooked?” I wasn’t sure why the thought surprised me, but it did.
“No. Arnoldo had ready-to-cook lasagna and a salad delivered.”
“Sounds awesome.” I knew from having eaten in celebrity chef Arnoldo Ricci’s restaurant that the food would be killer.
Grabbing my glass, I wasted the wonderful wine by gulping it down for courage, thinking it was time to tell him what he wouldn’t want to hear. I took the plunge and said, “Brett called me at work today.”
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