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My hunger for her rumbled up from my chest in a near growl. Eva shivered at the sound. I wanted to touch her … to put my hands and mouth all over her …

Instead, I let her look her fill.

Her breathing picked up. Seeing the effect I had on her was painfully, undeniably erotic. What I felt when she looked at me … it moved me.

She remained by the door. Steam drifted over the top of the shower, encroaching on the edges of the mirror and misting my skin. Her eyes dropped to my throat. “I haven’t been completely honest with you, Gideon.”

My hands fisted reflexively. She couldn’t say those words to me and not redirect my attention. “What are you talking about?”

“Just now, when we were in the bedroom. I could sense you pulling away and there was this panic I felt …”

Eva fell silent for a long moment. I waited, reining my lust back with a deep breath.

“Holding off until the wedding … It’s not just about Dr. Petersen’s advice or the way you cope with fights.” She swallowed. “It’s about me, too. You know how I was—I told you. Sex was all twisted up for me for a long time.”

She shifted on her feet, shame bowing her head. It made me sick to see it. It struck me then that I’d been too wrapped up in my own reactions to the events of the last week without thinking about what my wife was going through.

“It was for me, too,” I reminded her gruffly. “But it’s never been that way between us.”

She caught my gaze. “No. Never.”

My clenched fists relaxed.

“But that doesn’t mean I can’t still twist things up in my head,” she went on. “You walked into the bathroom and my first thought was that I should fuck you. Like if we have sex, it’ll fix everything. You won’t be mad anymore and I’ll have your love again.”

“You always have it. You always will.”

“I know that.” And from the set of her jaw, I could see that she did. “But that didn’t stop the voice in my head from telling me I’m risking too much. That I’m going to lose you if I don’t put out. That you’re too sexual to go so long without it.”

“God.” How many times and ways could I fuck this up? “The way I talked to you on the beach … I’m an asshole, Eva.”

“Sometimes.” She smiled. “You’re also the best thing that’s ever happened to me. That voice has been screwing me up for years, but it doesn’t have the same power anymore. Because of you. You’ve made me stronger.”

“Eva.” Words failed me.

“I want you to think about that. Not your nightmares or my parents or anything else. You’re exactly what I need, just the way you are, and I love you so much.”

I walked toward her.

“I still want to wait,” she said quietly, even as her eyes betrayed how I affected her.

She grabbed my wrist when I reached for her, her gaze holding mine. “Let me do all the touching.”

I inhaled sharply. “I can’t agree to that.”

Her mouth curved. “Yes, you can. You’re stronger than I am, Gideon. You have more control. Greater willpower.”

Her other hand reached up to graze my chest. I caught it and pressed it against my skin. “Is that what you need me to prove? My control?”

“You’re doing fine.” She pressed a kiss over my pounding heart. “I’m the one who needs to figure things out.”

Her tone of voice was soft, almost crooning. I was raging inside, burning with lust and love, and she was trying to gentle me. I almost laughed at the impossibility of that.

Then she stepped into me, her plush body fitting tightly against mine, her arms hugging me so hard there wasn’t any space between us.

I crushed her close, my head bowing over hers. I didn’t know until that moment how badly I’d needed to feel her like that. Tender and accepting, bared in every way possible.

She leaned her cheek against my chest. “I love you so much,” she whispered. “Can you feel it?”

It overwhelmed me. Her love for me, my love for her. Every time she said the words, they hit me like blows.

“You said once,” she whispered, “that there’s a moment while we’re making love when I open and you open and we’re together. I want to give you that all the time, Gideon.”

The suggestion that there was something missing in what we had stiffened my spine. “Does it really matter how and when we feel it?”

“You could argue that.” Her head tilted back. “I won’t disagree. But if you’re on the other side of the world when you need reassurance from me, I need to know that I can give it to you.”

“You’ll be with me,” I muttered, frustrated.

“Not always.” Her hand cupped my cheek. “There will be times when you need to be in two places at once. Eventually, you’ll trust me to fill in for you.”

I studied her, looking for cracks in her resolve. What I saw was determination. I didn’t totally understand what she hoped to achieve, but I wasn’t getting in the way. If she was going to change or evolve, I needed to be part of that process if I expected to keep her.

“Kiss me.” The words left my throat as a low command, but she must have sensed the yearning behind it.

She offered her mouth and I took it hard, too hard, my hunger violent and greedy. I lifted her off her feet, wanting her to wrap her legs around me, to open to me so I could push inside her.

She didn’t. She hung there, her hands stroking through my hair, her body trembling with the same unquenchable desire I felt. The flicks of her tongue against mine were maddening, taunting me with the memory of that tongue stroking over the rest of my body.

I struggled to pull away when everything inside me was goading me to push further. “I need to be inside you,” I said hoarsely, hating that I had to voice what was so obvious. Why make me plead?

“You are.” She nuzzled her cheek against mine. “I want you, too. I’m so wet for you right now. I feel so empty it hurts.”

“Eva … Christ.” Sweat slid down my back. “Let me have you.”

Her lips touched mine. Her fingers raked through my hair. “Let me love you another way.”

Could I handle that? Hell. I had to. I’d vowed to give her whatever she needed, to be the beginning and end of everything for her.

I set her down and went to the shower, shutting the taps off. Then I moved to the tub, stopped the drain, and started filling it.

“Are you mad?” she asked in a low voice I barely heard over the rush of water.

I looked at her, saw the way her arms crossed her chest and gave away her vulnerability. I told her the truth. “I love you.”

Eva’s lower lip trembled, then curved in a beautiful smile that took my breath away.

I’d once told her I would take her any way I could get her. That was even more true now than it was then. “Come here, angel.”

Her arms dropped to her sides and she came.

The shifting of the bed woke me. Blinking, I registered the sunlight flooding the room. Eva’s face came into focus, haloed by the light and bright with a wide grin.

“Morning, sleepyhead,” she said.

The night came flooding back to me. The long bath with my wife’s soapy hands running through my hair and over my skin. Her voice as she talked about the wedding. Her sensual laugh as I tickled her in bed. Her sighs and moans as we kissed until our lips were sore and swollen, making out like teenagers who weren’t ready to go all the way.

I won’t lie—sex would’ve taken things to another level. But the night was memorable all the same. It ranked right up there with other all-nighters we’d shared.

Then I remembered where I was and what that meant.

“I slept in the bed.” The realization was like a bucket of cold water dumped over me.

“Yep.” She gave a happy little bounce. “You did.”

To have done so was irresponsible in the worst way. I hadn’t even taken the medicine prescribed to help mitigate the risk.

“Don’t scowl like that,” she chastised, bending down to kiss the space between my brows. “You slept hard. When’s the last time you had a good night’s sleep?”

I sat up. “That’s not the point and you know it.”

“Listen, ace. We’ve got enough to be stressed about. We don’t need to get worked up over things that go right.” She stood. “If you want to be mad about something, be mad at Cary for packing this.”

She shrugged out of the short white robe she was wearing, revealing a tiny dark blue bikini that hugged what little it managed to cover.

“Jesus.” All the blood in my body rushed to my dick. It waved beneath the sheet in hearty appreciation.

Eva laughed, her eyes dropping to where my erection tented the luxuriously thick cotton. “You like.”

Holding her arms out, she turned, showing off the Brazilian cut of the bikini bottom. My wife’s ass was as voluptuous as her tits. I knew she thought she was too curvy, but I couldn’t disagree more. I’d never been one to appreciate overly generous assets on a woman, but Eva changed that for me, as she’d changed so many other things.