I WAS IN my room, sliding the strapless gown up over my matching bustier, when Gideon came in. I
literally stopped breathing, my gaze drinking in his reflection in my cheval mirror. Standing behind
me in a tuxedo tailored just for him, with a lovely gray tie that matched my dress so well, he was
dazzling. I’d never seen him look so gorgeous.
“Wow,” I breathed, entranced. “You are so getting laid tonight.”
His mouth quirked. “Does that mean I can skip zipping you up?”
“Does that mean we can skip going to this thing?”
“Not a chance, angel. I’m showing off my wife tonight.”
“No one knows I’m your wife.”
“I know it.” He came up behind me and secured my zipper. “And soon—really soon—the world
will know it.”
I leaned back into him, admiring our joint reflection. We took great pictures together.
Which made me think of other pictures …
“Promise me,” I said, “that you’ll never watch the video.”
When he didn’t answer me, I turned to look at him directly. When I saw the closed-off look on his
face, I started freaking out. “Gideon. Did you watch it already?”
His jaw tightened. “A minute or two. Nothing explicit. Just enough to prove validity.”
“Oh my God. Promise me you won’t watch it.” My voice rose and grew sharp as panic spread
through me. “Promise me!”
His hands encircled my wrists and squeezed hard enough to make my breath catch. I stared at him,
wide-eyed, confused by the sudden aggression.
“Calm down,” he said quietly.
The oddest rush of warmth spread outward from where he touched me. My heart beat faster, but
also steadier. I stared at our hands, my attention catching on his ruby ring. Red. Like the cuffs he’d
bought for me. I felt similarly captured and bound now. And it soothed me in a way I didn’t
But Gideon obviously did.
That was why I’d been afraid to marry him so quickly, I realized. He was taking me on a journey
that had an unknown destination and I had agreed to follow him blindfolded. It wasn’t about where
we’d end up as a couple, because that was never in question. We were obsessed, dependent on each
other in the unrelenting way of addicts. Where I would end up, who I’d be at the end, was what I
Gideon’s transformation had been almost violent, happening in a moment of sharp clarity when
he’d comprehended that he wouldn’t—couldn’t—live without me. My change was more gradual, so
painstakingly measured that I’d believed I wouldn’t have to change at all.
I was wrong.
Swallowing past the lump in my throat, I spoke more steadily. “Gideon, listen. Whatever’s on that
video, it’s nothing compared to what you and I have. The only memories I want in your head are ones
we make. What we’ve got together … that’s the only thing that’s real. The only thing that matters. So
please … promise me.”
He closed his eyes briefly, then nodded. “All right. I promise.”
I breathed out a sigh of relief. “Thank you.”
Lifting my hands to his mouth, he kissed them. “You’re mine, Eva.”
BY silent, mutual agreement, we refrained from mussing each other up in the limo before our first
public appearance as a married couple. I was nervous, and while an orgasm or two would help
alleviate that, looking less than perfect would only make it worse. And people would notice. Not only
was my silver gown eye-catching, with its brilliant sheen and short train, but my arm-candy husband
was an impossible-to-miss accessory.
Attention would be on us, and Gideon seemed determined to keep it that way. He helped me out of
the limo when we arrived at Fifth Avenue and Central Park South, taking a moment to slide his lips
across my temple. “That dress is going to look amazing on my bedroom floor.”
I laughed at the cheesy line, which I knew he’d intended, and camera flashes went off in a storm of
blinding light. Once he turned away from me, all warmth left his face, the beautiful planes settling into
a closed expression that gave nothing away. He set his hand at the small of my back and led me across
the red carpet and into Cipriani’s.
Once inside, he found a spot he approved of and we stayed there for an hour as business associates
and acquaintances circled around us. He wanted me at his side and he wanted to be at mine as well,
something he proved a short while later when we were headed to the dance floor.
“Introduce me,” he said simply and I followed his gaze to where Christine Field and Walter
Leaman, of Waters Field & Leaman, were laughing along with the group of people they were standing
with. Christine looked restrained and elegant in a black beaded dress that covered her from throat to
wrists to ankles except for the plunging back, and Walter, who was a large man, looked successful
and confident in a nicely cut tuxedo and bow tie.
“They know who you are,” I pointed out.
“Do they know who I am to you?”
I wrinkled my nose a little, knowing my world was going to change drastically once my single-girl
self was subsumed by my identity as Eva Cross. “Come on, ace.”
We headed over there, weaving through round tables covered in white linens and decorated with
candelabras wrapped in floral garlands that lent a wonderful fragrance to the room.
My bosses spotted Gideon first, of course. I don’t think they even recognized me until Gideon quite
obviously deferred to me by letting me speak first.
“Good evening,” I said, shaking Christine’s and Walter’s hands. “I know you’re both familiar with
Gideon Cross, my …”
I paused, my brain grinding to a halt.
“Fiancé,” Gideon finished, shaking hands.
Congratulations were exchanged; smiles got bigger, eyes brighter.
“This doesn’t mean we’re losing you, does it?” Christine asked, diamond drop earrings glinting in
the soft light of the chandeliers.
“No. I’m not going anywhere.”
That earned me a sharp pinch on my butt from Gideon.
We were going to have to deal with the work issue at some point, but I figured I could hold him off
at least until our next wedding.
We talked a bit about the Kingsman Vodka campaign, which was mostly a way to emphasize what a
good job Waters Field & Leaman had done so the agency could hook more Cross Industries business.
Gideon knew the game, of course, and played it well. He was polite, charming, and clearly not a man
who could be easily influenced.
After that, we ran out of things to talk about. Gideon made our excuses.
“Let’s dance,” he murmured in my ear. “I want to hold you.”
We moved onto the dance floor, where Cary was drawing attention with a stunning redhead.
Flashes of a pale, shapely leg could be seen through the risqué slit in her emerald green dress. He
moved her into a spin, then a dip. Undeniably suave.
Trey hadn’t been able to come because of an evening class, and I was sorry about that. I was sorry,
too, that I was glad Cary hadn’t brought Tatiana instead. Thinking that way made me feel bitchy, and I
seriously disliked catty bitches.
“Look at me.”
I tilted my head at Gideon’s command and found his eyes on me. “Hi, ace.”
With his hand at my back and my hand in his, we swept casually around the dance floor.
“Crossfire,” he whispered, his gaze hot on my face.
I touched his cheek with my fingertips. “We’re learning from our mistakes.”
“You read my mind.”
“It feels good.”
He smiled, his eyes so blue and his hair so damn sexy I wanted to run my fingers through it right
then and there. He pulled me closer. “Not as good as you feel.”
We stayed on the dance floor through two songs. Then the music ended when the bandleader turned
to the mic and made an announcement: Dinner was about to be served. Seated at our table were my
mother and Richard, Cary, a plastic surgeon and his wife, and a guy who said he’d just wrapped up
shooting the pilot episode to a new television show he hoped would be picked up for a full-season
run. The meal was some sort of Asian fusion and I ate everything, because it was good and the portions
weren’t that big. Gideon had his hand on my thigh beneath the table, his thumb rubbing lightly in small
circles that made me squirm.
He leaned over. “Sit still.”
“Stop it,” I whispered back.
“Keep wiggling and I’ll put my fingers inside you.”
“You wouldn’t dare.”
He smirked. “Try me and see.”
Because I wouldn’t put it past him, I sat still, even though it killed me.
“Excuse me,” Cary said abruptly, pushing back from the table.
I watched him walk away and caught his gaze lingering on a nearby table. When the redhead in
green followed him out of the room a few moments later, I wasn’t too surprised, but I was very
disappointed. I knew the situation with Tatiana was stressing him out and I knew mindless sex was
Cary’s cure-all, but it also fucked with his self-esteem and led to more problems than it fixed.
It was good that we were only a couple days away from seeing Dr. Travis.
Leaning into Gideon, I whispered, “Cary and I are going to San Diego this weekend.”
His head swiveled toward me. “You’re telling me this now?”
“Well, between your exes and my ex, my parents, Cary, and everything else, it keeps slipping my
mind! I figured I’d better tell you before I forgot again.”
“Angel …” He shook his head.
“Hang on.” I pushed to my feet. I needed to remind him that Brett had a tour stop in San Diego at the
same time, but I had to catch Cary first.
He looked at me quizzically as he stood.
“Be right back,” I told him, adding very quietly, “Got some cockblocking to do.”
I heard the warning in his tone and ignored it, lifting my skirt and hurrying after Cary. I’d just made
it past the ballroom entrance, when I ran into a familiar face.
“Magdalene,” I said in surprise, stopping. “I didn’t know you were here.”
“Gage was wrapped up in a project, so we ran a little late. Missed dinner entirely, but at least I got
my hands on one of those chocolate mousse things they served for dessert.”
“Kick-ass,” I agreed.
“Totally.” Magdalene smiled.
I thought to myself that she looked really good. Softer, sweeter. Still stunning and sultry in a oneshouldered
red lace dress, her dark hair framing a delicate face and crimson lips. Getting away from
Christopher Vidal had done her a lot of good. And having a new man in her life surely helped. I
remembered her mentioning a guy named Gage when she’d visited me at work a couple weeks before.
“I saw you with Gideon,” she said. “And I noticed your ring.”
“You should’ve come over and said hi.”
“I was eating that dessert.”
I laughed. “A girl’s got to have her priorities.”
Magdalene reached out and touched my arm briefly. “I’m happy for you, Eva. Happy for Gideon.”
“Thank you. You should stop by our table and tell him that.”
“I will. Catch you later.”
She walked off and I stared after her for a minute, still wary but thinking she might not be so bad
The one negative about running into Magdalene was losing Cary. By the time I resumed chasing
after him, he’d already ducked out of sight somewhere.
I headed back to Gideon, mentally preparing the ass-chewing I was going to give Cary. Elizabeth
Vidal halted me in my tracks.
“Excuse me,” I said, when I nearly bumped into her.
She grabbed me by the elbow and pulled me over to a dark corner. Then she caught my hand and
looked at my gorgeous Asscher diamond. “That’s my ring.”
I tugged free. “It was your ring. It’s mine now. Your son gave it to me around the time he asked me
to marry him.”
She looked at me with those blue eyes that were so like her son’s. So like Ireland’s. She was a
beautiful woman, glamorous and elegant. As much a head-turner as my mother, really, but she had
“I won’t let you take him away from me,” she bit out between brilliantly white teeth.
“You’ve got it all wrong.” I crossed my arms. “I want to get you two together, so we can put
everything out in the open.”
“You’re filling his head with lies.”
“Oh my God. Seriously? The next time he tells you what happened—and I’ll make sure he does—
you’re going to believe him. And you’re going to apologize, and find some fucking way to make it
easier for him to bear. Because I want him healed and healthy and whole.”
Elizabeth stared at me, clearly fuming. She obviously wasn’t on board with that plan.
“Are we done?” I asked, disgusted with her deliberate blindness.
“Not even close,” she hissed, leaning into me. “I know about you and that lead singer. I’m on to
I shook my head. Had Christopher talked to her? What would he have said? Knowing what he’d
done to Magdalene, I believed him capable of pretty much anything. “Unbelievable. You believe the
lies and ignore the truth.”
I started walking away but stopped. “What I think is really interesting is that after I confronted you
last time, you didn’t ask Gideon about what happened. ‘Hey, son, your crazy girlfriend told me this
crazy story.’ I can’t figure out why you didn’t ask him. I don’t suppose you’d want to explain?”
“Yeah, I didn’t think you would.”
I left her behind before she opened her mouth again and ruined my night.
Unfortunately, when I started heading toward my table, I saw Deanna Johnson sitting in my seat,
talking to Gideon.
“Are you kidding me?” I muttered, my gaze narrowing at the way the reporter kept putting her hand
on his forearm as she talked. Cary was off doing what he shouldn’t be doing; my mom and Stanton
were on the dance floor. And Deanna had slid in like a snake.
Whatever Gideon thought, it was obvious to me that her interest in him was as hot as ever. And
while he offered no encouragement aside from listening to whatever she was saying, just the fact that
he was giving her attention was watering that weed.
“She must be great in bed. He fucks her a lot.”
I stiffened and turned toward the woman talking to me. It was Cary’s redhead, who had the flushed,
bright-eyed look of a woman who’d just had a very nice orgasm. Still, she was older than I’d first
thought from a distance.
“You should watch out for him,” she said, looking at Gideon. “He uses women. I’ve seen it happen.
More than it should.”
“I can handle myself.”
“They all say that.” Her sympathetic smile rubbed me the wrong way. “I know of two women
who’ve experienced severe depression over him. Certainly, they won’t be the last.”
“You shouldn’t listen to gossip,” I snapped.
She walked away with an irritatingly serene smile, reaching up to pat her hair as she skirted tables
on the way to her own.
It wasn’t until she was halfway across the room that I placed her face.
I hurried back to Gideon. He stood when I reached him.
“I need you real quick,” I said briskly, before shooting a look at the brunette in my chair. “Deanna,
always a pleasure.”
She ignored the dig. “Hi, Eva. I was just leaving—”
But I’d already tuned her out. I caught Gideon’s hand and tugged. “Come on.”
“All right, hang on.” He said something to Deanna, but I didn’t catch it, pulling him along instead.
“Christ, Eva. What the hell is the rush?”
I stopped by the wall and looked out over the room, searching for green and red. Seemed to me he
would have noticed his former lover—unless she’d been deliberately avoiding him. Of course she
looked so different without her former pixie haircut, and I hadn’t seen her white-haired husband,
which would have made it easier to identify her sooner. “Do you know if Anne Lucas is here?”
His hand tightened on mine. “I haven’t seen her. Why?”
“Emerald green dress, long red hair. Seen that woman?”
“She was dancing with Cary earlier.”
“I wasn’t paying attention.”
I looked at him, getting aggravated. “Jesus, Gideon. It was hard to miss her.”
“Forgive me for having eyes only for my wife,” he said dryly.
I squeezed his hand. “I’m sorry. I just need to know if it was her.”
“Explain why. Did she come up to you?”
“Yeah, she did. Shoveled some shit my way, then wandered off. I think Cary sneaked off with her,
too. You know, for a quickie.”
Gideon’s face turned hard. He turned his attention to the room, sweeping it from one side to the
other, with a slow searching glance. “I don’t see her. Or anyone like you described.”
“Isn’t Anne a therapist?”
A sense of foreboding made me restless. “Can we go now?”
He studied me. “Tell me what she said to you.”
“Nothing I haven’t heard before.”
“That’s reassuring,” he muttered. “Yes, let’s go.”
We went back to our table for my clutch and to say good-bye to everyone.
“Can I hitch a ride with you?” Cary asked, after I hugged my mom good-bye.
Gideon nodded. “Come on.”
ANGUS shut the door of the limo.
Cary, Gideon, and I settled back into the bench seats, and just a couple of minutes later we pulled
away from Cipriani’s and into traffic.
My best friend shot me a look. “Don’t start.”
He hated when I laid into him about his behavior, and I didn’t blame him. I wasn’t his mother. But I
was someone who loved him and wanted good things for him. I knew how self-destructive he could
be when left unchecked.
But that wasn’t my biggest concern at that moment.
“What was her name?” I asked, praying he knew so I could identify the redhead once and for all.
“Jesus.” My hands flexed restlessly around my clutch. “Do you know it or not?”
“I didn’t ask,” he retorted. “Drop it.”
“Watch the tone, Cary,” Gideon admonished quietly. “You’ve got a problem, fine. Don’t take it out
on Eva for giving a shit about you.”
Cary’s jaw tightened and he looked out the window.
I sat back and Gideon drew me into the curve of his shoulder, his hand running up and down my
No one said another word on the ride home.
WHEN we reached my apartment, Gideon headed into the kitchen to grab a bottle of water and ended
up on the phone, his gaze meeting mine across the breakfast bar and the several feet separating us.
Cary stalked off to his bedroom, then turned abruptly at the hallway and came back to hug me.
With his face in the curve of my shoulder, he whispered, “Sorry, baby girl.”
I hugged him back. “You deserve better than the way you treat yourself.”
“I didn’t do her,” he said quietly, pulling back to look at me. “I was going to. I thought I wanted to.
But when it came down to it, it hit me that I have a kid coming. A kid, Eva. And I don’t want him—or
her—growing up thinking of me the way I do my mom. I gotta get my shit straight.”
I hugged him again. “I’m proud of you.”
“Yeah, well.” He pulled back, looking sheepish. “I still rubbed her off, since I’d taken it that far,
but my dick stayed tucked in my pants.”
“TMI, Cary,” I said. “Totally TMI.”
“We still heading out to San Diego tomorrow?” His hopeful look twisted my heart.
“Hell, yeah. I’m looking forward to it.”
His grin was tinged with relief. “Good. I’ve got us flying out at eight thirty.”
Gideon rejoined us just then, and the look he gave me told me we weren’t done talking about my
going away for the weekend. But when Cary headed down the hallway to his room, I grabbed Gideon
and kissed him hard, delaying that conversation. As I’d hoped, he didn’t hesitate to pull me in and
take over, his mouth eating at mine with lush, deep licks.
Moaning, I let him sweep me away. The world could go crazy by itself for a night. Tomorrow was
soon enough to face it and everything we had to deal with.
I grabbed him by the tie. “Tonight, you’re mine.”
“I’m yours every night,” he said in that warm, raspy voice that stirred the hottest fantasies.
“Start now.” I walked backward, pulling him toward my room. “And don’t stop.”
He didn’t. Not ’til morning.