Not even the two cops standing between us could diminish the surge of hunger that flooded me at the sight of him.
I watched as he came toward me, shrugging out of his suit jacket as if it were the most natural thing to have two of New York’s finest there to question me. He tossed it over the back of a bar stool at the island and moved beside me, taking my coffee out of my hands and pressing a kiss to my temple.
“Gideon Cross,” he said, extending his hand to both officers. “And this is our counsel, Arash Madani.”
It was then I noticed that Arash had entered the kitchen behind my husband. The officers, as focused on Gideon as I was, didn’t seem to have noticed him either.
Supremely confident, with dark good looks and easy charm, Arash swept into the room and took over, introducing himself with a wide smile. The disparity between him and Gideon was striking. Both men were elegant, handsome, and poised. Both were courteous. But Arash was accessible, relatable. Gideon was imposing and remote.
I looked up at my husband, watching as he drank from my mug. “Would you like some black coffee instead?”
His hand swept down my back, his eyes on the officers and Arash. “I’d love some.”
“It’s good that you’re here, Mr. Cross,” Peña said. “Dr. Lucas also filed a complaint against you.”
“Well, that was fun,” Arash said an hour later, after showing the officers out to the elevator.
Gideon shot him a look as he deftly opened a bottle of malbec. “If that’s your idea of entertainment, you need to get out more.”
“I was planning on doing that tonight—with a very hot blonde, I might add—until I got your call.” Arash pulled out one of the island bar stools and sat.
I scooped up all the mugs and moved them to the sink. “Thank you, Arash.”
“You’re most welcome.”
“I bet you don’t step into courtrooms all that often, but I want to be there the next time you do. You’re awesome.”
He grinned. “I’ll be sure to let you know.”
“Don’t thank him for doing his job,” Gideon muttered. He poured the dark red wine into three glasses.
“I’m thanking him for doing his job well,” I countered, still impressed by the way Arash worked. The attorney was charismatic and disarming, as well as humble when it served his purposes. He put everyone at ease, then let them do the talking while he figured out his best angle of attack.
Gideon scowled at me. “What the hell do you think I’m paying him so much to do? Fuck up?”
“Dial it back, ace,” I said calmly. “Don’t let that bitch get to you. And don’t take that tone with me. Or your friend.”
Arash winked at me. “I think he’s jealous you like me so much.”
“Ha!” Then I saw the way Gideon glared at Arash and my brows went up. “Seriously?”
“Get back on topic. How are you fixing this?” my husband challenged, looking daggers at his friend over the rim of his wineglass.
“Fixing your fuck-up?” Arash asked, his brown eyes bright with silent laughter. “You both provided Anne Lucas the ammunition for this by going to her place of employment on two separate occasions. You’re damned lucky she embellished her story with a little assault accusation against Eva. If she’d just stuck with the truth, she’d have you both by the throats.”
I went to the fridge and started pulling out items to throw together for dinner. I’d been kicking myself for being stupid all evening. It would never have occurred to me to think she might voluntarily reveal her sordid extramarital affair with Gideon. She was supposed to be an upstanding member of the mental health community and her husband was a well-regarded pediatrician.
I’d underestimated her. And I hadn’t listened to Gideon when he had warned me she was dangerous. The result was that she had a legitimate complaint that first Gideon had barged into her office during a therapy session, and then I’d ambushed her at work again two weeks later.
Arash accepted the glass Gideon slid briskly over to him. “The district attorney may or may not decide to go after her for falsely reporting an incident, but she damaged her credibility by accusing Eva of putting hands on her when security footage proves otherwise. Very fortunate, you having that, by the way.”
Learning that Gideon did indeed own the building Anne Lucas worked in hadn’t surprised me too much. My husband needed control, and having that sort of hold over the businesses of both the Lucases was just like him.
“It shouldn’t have to be said,” Arash went on, “but when confronted by crazy, Do Not Engage.”
Gideon arched his brow at me. It chafed, but he was right. He’d told me so.
The attorney shot warning glances at both of us. “I’ll work on getting her erroneous assault complaint dismissed and see if I can leverage it to our advantage by filing a counterclaim of harassment. I’ll also try for protection orders for both of you and Cary Taylor, but regardless, you all need to stay far, far away from her.”
“Absolutely,” I assured him, taking the opportunity to palm my husband’s fine, taut ass as I passed behind him.
He shot me a wry glance over his shoulder. I blew him a kiss.
It tickled me that he would feel even the slightest bit of jealousy. The most impressive thing about Arash was that he held his own next to Gideon; he certainly couldn’t surpass him. While I’d seen that Arash could be every bit as threatening as my husband, it wasn’t his default setting.
Gideon was always dangerous. No one ever mistook him for anything else. I was intensely attracted to that about him, understood that I would never tame him. And God, was he gorgeous. He knew it, too. Knew how dazzled I was by him.
But the green-eyed monster could still get the better of him.
“You’ll stay for dinner?” I asked Arash. “No idea what I’m making yet, but we ruined your plans and I feel bad about that.”
“It’s still early.” Gideon took a deep swallow of his wine. “He can make other plans.”
“I’d love to stay for dinner,” Arash said, grinning wickedly.
I couldn’t resist copping another feel, so I reached around my husband to get my wine and caressed his thigh while I was at it. I brushed my breasts across his back as I withdrew my hand.
Lightning quick, Gideon’s hand caught my wrist. He squeezed and a shiver of arousal slid through me.
Those blue eyes turned on me. “You want to misbehave?” he asked silkily.
I was instantly desperate for him. Because he looked so cool and savagely civilized, completely contained while he basically asked if I wanted to fuck.
He had no idea how much.
I heard a faint buzz. Still holding me captive by the wrist, Gideon looked across the island at Arash. “Pass my phone over.”
Arash looked at me and shook his head, even as he turned to dig Gideon’s phone out of the suit jacket on the bar stool. “How you put up with him, I will never know.”
“He’s great in bed,” I quipped, “and he’s not surly there, so …”
Gideon yanked me into his side and bit my earlobe. My nipples tightened into hard points. He growled almost inaudibly against my neck, though I doubted he cared if Arash heard.
Breathless, I pulled away and tried to focus on cooking. I hadn’t taken over Gideon’s kitchen before, hadn’t a clue where anything was or what he had stocked, aside from what I’d glimpsed while getting coffee ready for the police. I found an onion, and located a knife and cutting board. Grateful as I was for the distraction, I had to do something else besides getting us both revved up.
“Right,” Gideon said into the phone with a sigh. “I’m coming.”
I looked up. “Do you have to go somewhere?”
“No. Angus is bringing Lucky up.”
“Who’s Lucky?” Arash asked.
The lawyer looked suitably shocked. “You have a dog?”
“I do now,” Gideon said ruefully, leaving the kitchen.
When he returned a moment later with a squirming Lucky happily licking his jaw, I melted. There he stood, in his vest and shirtsleeves, a titan of industry, a global powerhouse, and he was being overwhelmed by the cutest puppy ever.
Picking up his phone, I unlocked it and snapped a picture.
That was going into a frame, ASAP.
While I was at it, I texted Cary. Hey, it’s Eva. Want to come over to the penthouse for dinner?
I waited a beat for him to reply, then set Gideon’s phone down and went back to chopping.
“I should’ve listened to you about Anne,” I told Gideon as we returned to the living room after saying good-bye to Arash. “I’m sorry.”
His hand at my lower back slid over farther, cupping my waist. “Don’t be.”
“It’s got to be frustrating for you to deal with my stubbornness.”
“You’re great in bed, and you’re not stubborn there, so …”
I laughed as he tossed my words back at me. I was happy. Spending the evening with him and Arash, watching how relaxed and easy he was with his friend, being able to move around the penthouse as if it were my home …