That left Gideon and me with two very vicious enemies to contend with.
I explained as much as I could. “The Lucases have this whole twisted history thing with Gideon that I can’t get into, but it’s no coincidence that you two ended up together that night. She planned it that way.”
“Because she’s nuts and she knows it’ll fuck with my head.”
“Why the hell would you care who I tangle with?”
“Cary … I always care.” I heard my mobile phone start ringing. The “Hanging by a Moment” ring tone told me it was my husband calling. I stood. “But in this case, it’s the calculation behind it. You weren’t just some random hot fling. She targeted you specifically because you’re my best friend.”
“I’m not seeing how that accomplishes anything.”
“It’s flipping the bird at Gideon. Getting his attention is what she wants more than anything.”
Cary arched a brow. “The whole thing sounds loopy, but whatever. I ran into her again not too long ago.”
“Last week, maybe.” He shrugged. “I’d just wrapped up a shoot and my Uber was waiting outside the studio. She was stepping out of a café with a girlfriend at the same time. It was totally out of the blue.”
I shook my head. My phone stopped ringing. “No way. Did she say anything to you?”
“Sure. She kinda flirted a little, which isn’t surprising considering the last time we saw each other. I shut her down, told her I was working on a relationship. She was cool about it. Wished me luck, said thanks again for a fun time. She took off down the street. End of story.”
My phone started ringing again. “If you ever see her, walk the other way and call me. Okay?”
“O-kay, but you’re not telling me enough for this to make any sense.”
“Let me talk with Gideon.” I hurried toward my phone and answered it. “Hey.”
“Were you in the shower?” Gideon purred. “Are you naked and wet, angel?”
“Oh, God. Hang on a minute.” I dropped the phone to my shoulder and walked back to Cary. “Was she wearing a wig when you saw her?”
Cary’s brows shot up. “How the hell would I know?”
“Was it long like when you first met her?”
I nodded grimly. Anne wore her hair cropped and I’d never seen a picture of her otherwise. She’d worn a wig when she pursued Cary at the dinner, which had thrown me off and hidden her from Gideon.
Maybe it was a new style for her.
Or maybe it was another indication that she had special plans when it came to Cary.
I put the phone to my ear. “I need you to come back over, Gideon. And bring Angus up with you.”
Something in my tone must have relayed my concern, because Gideon showed up with both Angus and Raúl. I opened the door and found the three men filling the hallway, my husband front and center, with both bodyguards flanking him. To call the sight of them intense would be an understatement.
Gideon had loosened his tie and unbuttoned his collar and vest but was otherwise dressed as he’d been when we parted earlier. The slight dishevelment was sexy as hell, sending an instant tingle of arousal through my blood. It was a temptation, an enticement for me to finish taking off those expensive, elegant layers and reveal the powerful, primal male underneath. As smoking hot as Gideon was with clothes on, there was nothing like the sight of him purely nude.
My gaze locked with Gideon’s and gave me away. One darkly winged brow arched upward, and the corner of his mouth lifted in amusement.
“Hello to you, too,” he teased, in reply to my heated look.
The two men behind him stood in contrast with their bespoke but starkly basic black suits, white shirts, and unembellished black ties all perfectly arranged.
I’d never really noticed before how superfluous Angus and Raúl appeared when standing beside Gideon, a man who could clearly manage a hand-to-hand confrontation without any help.
Raúl stood stone-faced, as per his usual. Angus, too, was stoic, but the mischievous glance he sent my way told me he’d caught me eye-fucking his boss.
I felt my face get hot.
Stepping back and out of the way, I let them in. Angus and Raúl headed into the living room where Cary waited. Gideon hung back with me as I shut the door.
“You’re giving me that look, angel, but you wanted Angus with me. Explain.”
That made me laugh, which was just what I needed to break the tension. “How can I help it when it looks like you were stripping when I called you?”
“I can finish here.”
“You realize I may have to burn all your clothes after the wedding. You should always be naked.”
“Would make for interesting meetings at work.”
“Umm … maybe not, then. For my eyes only and all that.” I leaned into the door and took a deep breath. “Anne’s made contact with Cary since the dinner.”
All the warmth and lightness left Gideon’s eyes, replaced by a chill that warned of bad things ahead.
He started toward the living room. I raced to catch up, linking our hands to remind him that we were in this together. I knew it was a concept that was going to take some getting used to. Gideon had been standing alone for so long, fighting his own battles and those of the people he loved.
Taking a seat on the coffee table, he faced Cary and said, “Tell me what you told Eva.”
Gideon looked ready to tackle Wall Street while Cary looked ready to tackle a nap, but that didn’t seem to impact my husband at all.
Cary ran through it all again, his gaze darting occasionally toward Angus and Raúl, who stood nearby. “That’s it,” he finished. “No offense, guys, but you seem like a lot of muscle for a redhead who’s maybe a hundred twenty pounds soaking wet.”
I would’ve pegged Anne at a hundred thirty, but that was neither here nor there. “Better safe than sorry,” I said.
He shot me a look. “What can she do? Seriously. What’s everyone all anxious about?”
Gideon shifted restlessly. “We had an … affair. That’s not the right word. It wasn’t pretty.”
“You fucked her,” Cary said bluntly. “I figured that much.”
“Fucked her over,” I elaborated, stepping closer so I could rest my hand on Gideon’s shoulder. I supported my husband, even though I couldn’t condone what he’d done. And truthfully, the part of me that was obsessed with Gideon pitied Anne. There had been times when I believed I’d lost Gideon forever, and I had gone a little crazy myself.
Still, she was dangerous in a way I could never be, and that danger was directed at people I loved. “She’s not taking it well that he’s with me.”
“What? Are we talking Fatal Attraction–type stuff ?”
“Well, she’s a psychologist, so Fatal Attraction meets Basic Instinct would be more accurate. It’s a Michael Douglas marathon wrapped up in one woman.”
“Don’t joke, Eva,” Gideon said tightly.
“Who’s joking?” I shot back. “Cary saw her in that long wig she wore to the dinner. I’m thinking she wanted him to recognize her so they could chat.”
Cary snorted. “So she’s crazy town. What do you want me to do? Let you know if I run into her again?”
“I want a protection detail on you,” I said.
Gideon nodded. “Agreed.”
“Wow.” Cary rubbed at the five o’clock shadow on his jaw. “You guys are hard-core about this.”
“You’ve got enough going on,” I reminded him. “If she’s got an agenda, you don’t need to deal with it.”
His lips twisted wryly. “Can’t argue with that.”
“We’ll take care of it,” Angus said. Raúl nodded, and then both men headed downstairs.
Gideon stayed behind.
Cary looked back and forth between us, then stood. “I don’t think you two need me anymore, so I’m hitting it. I’ll catch you in the morning,” he said to me, before sauntering down the hall to his bedroom.
“Are you worried?” I asked Gideon when we were alone.
“You are. That’s enough.”
I took the spot on the sofa directly across from him. “It’s not so much worry. More like curiosity. What does she think she can accomplish through Cary?”
Gideon exhaled wearily. “She’s playing head games, Eva. That’s all.”
“I don’t think so. She was very specific in her comments to me at the dinner, warning me away from you. Like I don’t know you and wouldn’t want you if I did.”
His jaw tightened and I knew I’d struck a chord. He’d never really gotten into what they had talked about when he went to her office. It was possible she’d said something similar to him then.
“I’m going to talk to Anne,” I announced.
Gideon pierced me with his icy blue gaze. “The hell you are.”