Then I saw the woman I’d prefer never to see again—Corinne Giroux. And she was talking to my man, with her palm resting intimately against his chest.


They stood off to the side, sheltered by a column outside the stream of traffic heading in and out of the security turnstiles. Corinne’s long black hair fell nearly to her waist, a glossy curtain that stood out even against her classic black dress. Both she and Gideon were in profile so I couldn’t see her eyes, but I knew they were a gorgeous aquamarine hue. She was a beautiful woman and together, they made a stunning couple. Especially right then, with both of them dressed in black, the only spot of color being Gideon’s blue tie. My favorite one.


Abruptly, Gideon’s head turned and found me, as if he’d felt me watching him. The instant our gazes met, I felt that soul-deep recognition pierce through me, that primitive awareness I’d only ever felt with him. Elementally, something inside me knew he was mine. Had known it from the moment I first laid eyes on him.


And some other woman had her hands on him.


My brows rose in a silent WTF? At that moment, Corinne followed his gaze. She didn’t look happy to see me paused in the middle of the massive lobby, staring at them.


She was lucky I didn’t go up to her and yank her away from him by her hair.


Then she cupped his jaw, urged his attention back to her, and lifted onto her tiptoes to press a kiss against his hard mouth, and I really considered doing it. Even took a step toward them.


Gideon’s head jerked back just before she accomplished her goal, his hands catching her by the arms and thrusting her away.


Reining in my temper, I exhaled my irritation and left him to it. I can’t say I didn’t feel jealous, because of course I did—Corinne could be with him publicly and I couldn’t. But I didn’t have the sick fear in my gut I’d felt before, the horrible insecurity that told me I was going to lose the man I loved more than anything.


It was weird not to feel that panic. There was still a little voice in my head cautioning me against being too confident, telling me it’d be better to be afraid, to guard myself from getting hurt. But for once, I was able to ignore it. After all Gideon and I had been through, all that we were still going through, all he’d done for me … it was harder to disbelieve than to believe.


Despite everything, we were stronger than we’d ever been.


I hopped on an elevator and headed up to work, my thoughts drifting to my parents. I was choosing to take it as a good sign that neither my mother nor Stanton had called to bitch about my dad. I crossed my fingers and hoped that when I got home we could all put Nathan behind us for good. I was so ready for that. Beyond ready to move on to the next phase of my life, whatever that might be.


The elevator car slowed to a stop on the tenth floor and the doors opened to the high-pitched whirring sound of power tools and the rhythmic banging of hammers. Directly ahead of the elevator, plastic sheeting hung from the ceiling. I hadn’t realized any part of the Crossfire was under construction, and I peered around the people in front of me, trying to get a look.


“Anyone getting out?” the guy nearest the door asked, looking over his shoulder.


I straightened and shook my head, even though he hadn’t been talking to me personally. No one else moved. We waited for the doors to close and shut out the construction noise.


But they didn’t move, either.


When the guy began hitting the elevator buttons to no avail, I realized what was going on.


Gideon.


Smiling to myself, I said, “Excuse me, please.”


The occupants of the car shifted to let me out and another guy stepped out with me. The doors closed behind us and the car continued on.


“What the hell?” the guy said, scowling as he turned and surveyed the other three elevators. He was a little taller than me, but not much, and wore dress slacks with a short-sleeved shirt and tie.


The ding announcing the arrival of another car was nearly drowned out by the construction noise. When the doors to that elevator opened, Gideon stepped out, looking suave and dashing and irritated.


I wanted to jump him, he looked so hot. Plus, I’ll admit it totally turned me on when he went all alpha male on me.


I’d stop the world from spinning for you. Sometimes, it felt like he did.


Grumbling under his breath, the short-sleeved guy walked into Gideon’s vacated elevator and left us.


Gideon’s hand went to his hips, his jacket parting to reveal the sleekness of his suit. All three pieces were black with a subtle sheen that was unmistakably costly. His dress shirt was black and his cuff links were a familiar gold and onyx.


He was dressed as he’d been that very first day I’d met him. At the time, I’d wanted to climb up his scrumptious body and screw him senseless.


All these weeks later, that hadn’t changed.


“Eva,” he began in that toe-curlingly sexy voice of his. “It’s not what you think. Corinne came by because I’m not taking her calls—”


I held up my hand to cut him off and glanced at his gift, my beautiful watch, on my other wrist. “I’ve got thirty minutes. I’d rather fuck you than talk about your ex, if you don’t mind.”


He stood silent and unmoving for a long minute, staring at me, trying to gauge my mood. I watched his brain and body switch gears, adjusting from aggravation to awareness. His gaze narrowed, his eyes darkened. A flush came to his cheekbones and his lips parted on a sharp breath. His weight shifted as his blood heated and his cock thickened, his sexuality stirring like a panther stretching after a lazy nap.


I could almost feel the sexual current crackle between us, sparking to life. I responded to it as I’d been trained to do, softening and quickening, my core clenching gently. Begging for him. The commotion around us only made me hornier, adding urgency to the beat of my heart.


Gideon reached into an inner pocket of his jacket and withdrew his phone. He speed-dialed, then lifted the phone to his ear, his eyes locked with mine. “I’m running thirty minutes late. If that won’t work for Anderson, reschedule.”


He hung up, casually dropping his phone back in his pocket.


“I’m so hot for you right now,” I told him, my voice husky with want.


Reaching down, he adjusted himself, then approached me, his eyes smoldering. “Come on.”


He set his hand at the small of my back in that way I loved so much, the pressure and warmth hitting a spot that sent tingles of anticipation through me. I looked up at him over my shoulder and saw the slight smile on his mouth, proof that he knew what that innocent touch was doing to me.


We pushed through plastic sheeting, leaving the bank of elevators behind us. In front of us was sunlight and cement and hanging sheeting everywhere I looked. Through the plastic I could see the watery, foggy shadows of workers. I heard music that was nearly drowned out by the din, and men shouting to each other.


Gideon led me through the plastic, knowing his way. His silence was spurring me on, the weight of expectation growing with every step we took. We reached a door and he opened it, urging me into a room that would be someone’s corner office.


The city was spread out before me, the view of the modern urban jungle dotted with buildings that wore their history proudly. Steam billowed into the cloudless blue sky at irregular intervals, and the cars seemed to flow along the streets like tributaries.


I heard the door lock behind me and I turned to face Gideon, catching him shrugging out of his jacket. There was furniture in the room. A desk and chairs, and a seating area positioned in the corner. All of it was draped in tarps, the space still unfinished.


With methodical deliberation, he removed his vest, tie, and shirt. I watched him, obsessed with the masculine perfection of him. “We could be interrupted,” he said. “Or overheard.”


“Would that bother you?”


“Only if it bothers you.” He approached me with his fly open and the waistband of his boxer briefs clearly visible in the gap.


“You’re provoking me. You’d never risk us being interrupted.”


“Not that I’d stop. I can’t think of anything capable of stopping me once I’m inside you.” He took my purse from my hand and dropped it into one of the chairs. “You’ve got too many clothes on.”


Wrapping his arms around me, Gideon lowered the zipper at my back with practiced ease, his lips whispering across mine. “I’ll try not to get you too messy.”


“I like messy.” I stepped out of my dress and was about to unhook my bra when he tossed me over his shoulder.


I squealed in surprise, smacking his taut ass with both of my hands. He spanked me hard enough to sting, then threw my dress aside so perfectly it landed directly across his jacket. He was walking across the room when his hand reached up and tugged my panties down below the curve of my butt.


He caught the edge of the tarp draped over the couch and threw it back, then sat me down, crouching in front of me. As he pulled my underwear past my strappy heels, he asked, “Everything okay, angel?”


“Yeah.” I smiled and touched his cheek, knowing that question encompassed everything from my parents to my job. He always checked to see where my head was at before he took over my body. “Everything’s good.”


Gideon pulled my hips to the very edge of the sofa with my legs on either side of him, exposing my cleft to his gaze. “So tell me what’s got this pretty cunt so greedy today.”


“You.”


“Excellent answer.”


I pushed at his shoulder. “You’re wearing the suit you wore when I met you. I wanted to fuck you so bad then, but I couldn’t do anything about it. Now I can.”


He pressed my thighs wide with gentle hands, his thumb stroking over my clit. My sex quivered as pleasure pulsed through me.


“And now I can,” he murmured, his dark head lowering.


I grasped desperately at the cushion beneath me, my stomach tightening as his tongue licked leisurely through my slit. He rimmed the trembling opening to my sex, teasing me before his tongue sank into me. I arched violently, my back bowing while he tormented the tender flesh.

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