He growled, his head falling back. “Make me come.”
“Any way you want,” I vowed.
“WEAR the blue tie. The one that matches your eyes.” I had a direct view into the walk-in closet, where Gideon was picking out the suit he’d wear to wrap up the week.
He glanced over to where I sat on the edge of the bed in the master bedroom, a cup of coffee in my hands. His mouth curved in an indulgent smile.
“I love your eyes,” I told him with an easy shrug. “They’re gorgeous.”
He unhooked the tie from the rack and stepped back into the bedroom with a graphite gray suit draped over his forearm. He wore only black boxer briefs, affording me the joy of admiring his leanly ripped body and taut golden skin.
“It’s uncanny how often we think alike,” he said. “I picked out this suit because the color reminds me of your eyes.”
That made me smile. I swung my legs, too full of love and happiness to sit still.
Laying his clothes on the bed, Gideon came to me. I tilted my head back to look up at him, my heart beating strong and sure.
He cupped the sides of my head, his thumbs brushing over my eyebrows. “Such a beautiful stormy gray. And so very expressive.”
“A totally unfair advantage for you. You read me like a book, while you’ve got the best poker face I’ve ever seen.”
Bending over, he kissed my forehead. “And yet I can never get away with anything with you.”
“So you say.” I watched him start to dress. “Listen, I want you to do something for me.”
“If you need a date and it can’t be me, take Ireland.”
He paused in the act of buttoning up his shirt. “She’s seventeen, Eva.”
“So? Your sister is a beautiful, classy young woman who adores you. She’d do you proud.”
Sighing, he grabbed his slacks. “I can’t imagine her being anything but bored at the few events appropriate for her to attend.”
“You said she’d be bored having dinner at my place and you were wrong about that.”
“You were there,” he argued, yanking up his pants. “She had fun with you.”
I took a drink of my coffee. “You said anything,” I reminded.
“I don’t have a problem going dateless, Eva. And I told you I won’t be seeing Corinne anymore.”
I stared at him over the rim of my mug and didn’t say anything.
Gideon shoved his shirttails into his slacks with obvious frustration. “Fine.”
“You could refrain from grinning like the Cheshire cat,” he muttered.
He stilled, his narrowed eyes sliding down my body to where my robe had fallen away from my bare legs.
“Don’t get any ideas, ace. I already put out this morning.”
“Do you have a passport?” he asked.
I frowned. “Yes. Why?”
Nodding briskly, he reached for the tie I loved. “You’ll need it.”
Excitement tingled through me. “For what?”
“Duh.” I slid off the bed onto my feet. “Travel to where?”
His eyes held a wicked gleam as he swiftly and expertly knotted his tie. “Somewhere.”
“Are you shipping me off to parts unknown?”
“Wouldn’t I love to,” he murmured. “You and me on a deserted tropical island where you’d be perpetually naked and I could slide into you at any moment.”
I set one hand on my hip and shot him a look. “Sunburned and bowlegged. Sexy.”
He laughed and my toes flexed into the carpet.
“I want to see you tonight,” he said, as he shrugged into his vest.
“You just want to put it in me again.”
“Well, you did tell me not to stop. Repeatedly.”
Snorting, I put my coffee down on the nightstand and shrugged out of my robe. Naked, I crossed the room, skirting him when he made a grab for me. I was opening a drawer to choose one of the lovely Carine Gilson bra and panty sets he kept stocked for me, when he came up behind me, slid his arms beneath mine, and cupped my breasts in both hands.
“I can remind you,” he purred.
“Don’t you have a job to get to? Because I do.”
Gideon pressed against my back. “Come work with me.”
“And pour your coffee while waiting for you to fuck me?”
“So am I.” I spun so quickly to face him that I knocked my purse onto the floor. “I have a job and I like it a lot. You know that.”
“And you’re good at it.” He gripped my shoulders. “Be good at it for me.”
“I can’t, for the same reason I didn’t accept help from my stepfather. I want to make it on my own!”
“I know that. I respect that about you.” His hands caressed my arms. “I clawed my way up, too, with the Cross name trying to drag me down. I’d never take the effort away from you. You wouldn’t get anything you didn’t earn.”
I suppressed the twinge of sympathy I felt for Gideon’s suffering over his father, a Ponzi scheme swindler who’d taken his own life rather than face jail time. “Do you really think anyone is going to believe I got the job for any reason other than I’m the chick you’re sticking it to now?”
“Shut up.” He shook me. “You’re pissed off and that’s fine, but don’t talk about us that way.”
I pushed at him. “Everyone else will.”
Growling, he released me. “You signed up for a CrossTrainer membership even though you’ve got Equinox and Krav Maga. Explain why.”
I pivoted to yank a pair of panties on so I wasn’t arguing while buck naked. “That’s different.”
I faced him again, stepping on stuff that had fallen out of my purse, which only made me madder. “Waters Field and Leaman isn’t in competition with Cross Industries! You use the agency’s services yourself.”
“Do you think you’ll never work on a campaign for one of my competitors?”
Standing there in his unbuttoned vest and impeccable tie, he was making it hard for me to think properly. He was beautiful and passionate and everything I’d ever wanted, which made it nearly impossible for me to deny him anything.
“That’s not the point. I won’t be happy, Gideon,” I said with quiet honesty.
“Come here.” He held his arms open for me and hugged me when I walked into them. He spoke with his lips against my temple. “One day, the ‘Cross’ in Cross Industries won’t refer to just me.”
My anger and frustration simmered. “Can we not talk about this now?”
“One last thing: You can apply for a position just like anyone else, if that’s the way you need to do it. I won’t interfere. If you get the job, you’d be working on a different floor of the Crossfire and climbing the career ladder all on your own. Whether you advance won’t be up to me.”
“It’s important to you.” It wasn’t a question.
“Of course it is. We’re working hard to build a future together. This is a natural step in that direction.”
I nodded reluctantly. “I have to be independent.”
His hand cupped my nape, holding me close. “Don’t forget what matters most. If you work hard and show skill and talent, that’s what people will base their judgments on.”
“I have to get ready for work.”
Gideon searched my face, then kissed me softly.
He released me and I bent down to pick up my purse. Then I noticed that I’d stepped on my mirrored compact and shattered its case. I wasn’t heartbroken over it, because I could always pick up another at Sephora on the way home. What froze my blood was the electrical wire sticking out of the cracked plastic.
Gideon crouched down to help me. I looked at him. “What is this?”
He took the compact from me and broke off more of the shell to expose a microchip with a small antenna. “A bug, maybe. Or a tracking device.”
I looked at him with horror. My lips moved silently. The police?
“I’ve got jammers in the apartment,” he answered, shocking me further. “And no. There’s no way any judge would’ve authorized a tap on you. There’s nothing to justify it.”
“Jesus.” I fell back on my ass, feeling sick.
“I’ll have my guys look at it.” He lowered to his knees and brushed the hair back from my face. “Could it be your mother?”
I stared at him helplessly.
“My God, Gideon.” I held him off with an uplifted hand and grabbed my phone with the other. I dialed Clancy, my stepfather’s bodyguard, and the moment he answered, I said, “Is the bug in my compact one of yours?”
There was a pause, then, “Tracking device, not a bug. Yes.”
“For fuck’s sake, Clancy!”
“It’s my job.”
“Your job sucks,” I shot back, picturing him in my head. Clancy was solid muscle. He wore his dirty-blond hair in a military crew cut and radiated a vibe that was deadly dangerous. But I wasn’t afraid of him. “This is bullshit and you know it.”
“Keeping you safe became a bigger concern when Nathan Barker showed up again. He was slippery, so I had to cover both of you. The minute his death was confirmed, I turned off the receiver.”
I squeezed my eyes shut. “This isn’t about the damn tracker! I don’t have a problem with that. It’s the keeping-me-in-the-dark part that’s wrong on so many levels. I feel violated, Clancy.”
“I don’t blame you, but Mrs. Stanton didn’t want you to worry.”
“I’m an adult! I get to decide if I worry or not.” I shot a look at Gideon when I said that, because what I was saying was totally applicable to him, too.
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