Entwined with YouBy: Sylvia Day
Gideon’s voice and the feel of his hands on me pulled me from sleep. I mumbled a protest as he shifted me onto my side, and then the heat of his body was warming my back. One of his muscular arms wrapped around my waist, tucking me close.
Spooned with him, the biceps of his other arm hard beneath my cheek, I slid back into unconsciousness.
WHEN I woke again, it felt like days later. I lay on the couch with my eyes closed for long minutes, soaking in the warmth of Gideon’s powerful body and breathing air that smelled of him. After a while, I decided that sleeping longer would only throw off my body clock even more. We’d had a lot of late nights and early mornings since we had gotten back together, and they were taking their toll.
“You’ve been crying,” he murmured, burying his face in my hair. “Tell me what’s wrong.”
I wrapped my arms over his, snuggling into him. I told him about the watch. “Maybe I overreacted,” I finished. “I was tired, which makes me irritable. But God … it hurt like hell. It totally ruined a gift that meant a lot to me, you know?”
“I can imagine.” His fingers drew gentle circles across my stomach, caressing me through the silk of my shirt. “I’m sorry.”
I looked toward the windows and saw that night had fallen. “What time is it?”
“A little after eight.”
“What time did you get in?”
“Half past six.”
I wriggled around to face him. “Early for you.”
“Once I knew you were here, I couldn’t stay away. I’ve wanted to be with you since your flowers arrived.”
“You liked them?”
He smiled. “I have to say, reading your words in Angus’s handwriting was … interesting.”
“I’m trying to be safe.”
He kissed the tip of my nose. “While still spoiling me.”
“I want to. I want to ruin you for other women.”
The pad of his thumb brushed over my bottom lip. “You did that the moment I saw you.”
“Sweet talker.” My depression lifted just from being with Gideon and knowing I was his sole focus at that moment. “You trying to get in my pants again?”
“You’re not wearing pants.”
“Is that a no?”
“That’s a yes, I want under your skirt.” His eyes darkened when I nipped his thumb with my teeth. “And inside your hot, wet, tight little cunt. I’ve wanted that all day. I want it every day. I want it now, but we’ll wait until you’re feeling better.”
“You could kiss it and make it better.”
“Kiss what, exactly?”
I knew I could get used to having him all to myself like this. Knew I wanted to. Which was impossible, of course.
Thousands of little pieces of him were committed to thousands of people and projects and commitments. If I’d learned anything from my mother’s multiple marriages to successful businessmen, it was that wives were often mistresses, almost invariably taking second place because their husbands were also married to their work. There was a reason why a man became a captain in his chosen field—he gave it his all. The woman in his life got what was left.
Gideon tucked my hair behind my ear. “I want this. Coming home to you.”
It always startled me when it seemed like he’d read my thoughts. “Would it have been better if you’d found me barefoot in the kitchen?”
“I wouldn’t be opposed, but naked in bed would work best for me.”
“I’m a decent cook, but you just want me for my body.”
He smiled. “It’s the very delicious package holding everything else I want.”
“I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.”
“Love to.” His fingertips slid gently down my cheek. “But first, I want to make sure you’re in the right frame of mind after the situation with your mother.”
“I’ll get over it.”
“Eva.” His tone warned me that he wouldn’t be put off.
I sighed. “I’ll forgive her, I always do. I don’t have a choice, really, because I love her and I know she means well, even if she is seriously misguided. But this thing with the watch …”
I rubbed at the ache in my chest. “It broke something in our relationship. And no matter how we move forward, there’s always going to be that crack there that didn’t exist before. That’s what hurts.”
Gideon was quiet for a long time. One of his hands slid into my hair, while the other curled possessively over my hip. I waited for him to say what was on his mind.
“I broke something in our relationship, too,” he said finally, his voice somber. “I’m afraid it’s always going to be between us.”
The sadness in his eyes twisted into me, hurting me. “Let me up.”
He did, reluctantly, watching me warily as I stood. I hesitated before I unzipped my skirt. “Now I know what it feels like to lose you, Gideon. How badly it hurts. If you shut me out, it’s probably going to make me panic a little. You’ll just have to be careful of that, and I’ll just have to trust that your love is going to stick.”
He nodded his understanding and acceptance, but I could see it was eating at him.
“Magdalene came by today,” I said, to take his mind off the lingering rift between us.
He tensed. “I told her not to.”
“It’s okay. She was probably concerned about me nursing a grudge, but I think she realized I love you too much to hurt you.”
He sat up as I let my skirt drop. It pooled on the floor, revealing my garters and stockings, which earned me a slow hiss through his clenched teeth. I climbed back onto the couch and straddled his thighs, draping my arms around his neck. His breath was hot through the silk of my shirt, stirring my blood.
“Hey.” I ran both hands through his hair, nuzzling my cheek against him. “Stop worrying about us. I think we need to be worrying about Deanna Johnson. What’s the worst she could possibly dig up on you?”
His head fell back, his gaze narrowing. “She’s my problem. I’ll deal with her.”
“I think she’s after something really juicy. Calling you out as a heartless playboy isn’t going to be enough.”
“Stop worrying. The only reason I would care is because I don’t want my past shoved in your face.”
“You’re too confident.” My fingers went to his vest and began freeing the buttons. I exposed his shirt and removed his tie, draping it carefully over the back of the sofa. “Are you going to talk to her?”
“I’m going to ignore her.”
“Is that the right way to handle this?” I went to work on his shirt.
“She wants my attention; she’s not going to get it.”
“She’ll find another way, then.”
He settled deeper into the seat back, his neck tilting to look up to me. “The only way for a woman to get my attention is to be you.”
“Ace.” I kissed him, tugging at his shirttails. He shifted to make it easier for me to pull them out of his pants. “I need you to explain Deanna,” I murmured. “What set her off like this?”
He sighed. “She was a mistake in every sense. She made herself available once, and I make it a rule to avoid overly eager women a second time.”
“And that doesn’t make you sound like an asshole at all.”
“I can’t change what happened,” he said coldly.
I could tell he was embarrassed. He could be as much of a dick as any guy, but he was never proud of it.
“Deanna happened to be covering an event where Anne Lucas was making me uncomfortable,” he continued. “I used Deanna to keep Anne from approaching me. I didn’t feel good about it afterward and I didn’t handle it well.”
“I get the picture.” I pushed his shirt apart, exposing his warm, firm skin.
Remembering how he reacted after the first time we’d had sex, I could imagine how he’d handled Deanna. With me, he’d immediately shut down and shut me out, leaving me feeling used and worthless. He’d fought to win me back after that, but the reporter hadn’t been so lucky.
“You don’t want to lead her on with any contact,” I summed up. “She’s probably still digging on you.”
“I doubt that. I don’t think I said more than a dozen words to her altogether.”
“You were an ass to me, too. I fell in love with you anyway.”
My hands slid lovingly across his hard chest, caressing the light dusting of dark hair before coasting down the thin, silky trail that led below his waistband. His abs quivered beneath my touch, the tempo of his breathing changing.
Sinking to sit on his lap, I adored his body. My thumbs circled the tiny points of his nipples and I watched his reaction, waiting for him to succumb to the subtle pleasure of my touch. I lowered my head and pressed a kiss to his throat, feeling his pulse leap beneath my lips and inhaling the virile scent of his skin. Enjoying him was something I didn’t get to do enough of, because he always turned it back around on me.
Gideon groaned, his hand coming up to grip my hair. “Eva.”
“I love the way you respond to me,” I whispered, seduced by having such an unabashedly sexual male completely at my mercy. “Like you can’t help yourself.”
“I can’t.” He let the sleep-tousled strands sift through his fingers. “You touch me like you worship me.”
“I feel it in your hands … your mouth. The way you look at me.” His throat worked on a swallow and I followed the movement with my eyes.
“I’ve never wanted anything more.” I caressed his torso, tracing muscled pecs, then the line of every rib. Like a connoisseur admiring the perfection of a priceless work of art. “Let’s play a game.”
His tongue did a slow sweep along the curve of his lip, making my sex clench with jealousy. He knew it, too. I saw it in the way his eyes glittered dangerously. “Depends on the rules.”
“Tonight, you’re mine, ace.”
“I’m always yours.”
I unbuttoned my blouse and shrugged out of it, exposing my white lace demi-bra and matching thong.
“Angel,” he breathed, his gaze so hot I felt it slide over my bared flesh. His hands moved to touch and I caught his wrists, staying him.
“Rule number one: I’m going to suck you, stroke you, and tease you all night long. You’re going to come until you can’t see straight.” I cupped him through his slacks, massaging his rigid length with my palm. “Rule number two: You’re just going to lie back and enjoy it.”
“No returning the favor?”
“Not happening,” he said decisively.
I pouted. “Pretty please.”
“Angel, getting you off is ninety-nine percent of the fun for me.”
“But then I’m so busy coming I don’t get to enjoy you!” I complained. “Just for once—one night—I want you to be selfish. I want you to let go, be an animal, come just because it feels good and you’re ready.”
His lips thinned. “I can’t do that with you. I need you with me.”
“I knew you’d say that.” Because I’d once told him that feeling used by a man for his pleasure was a trigger for me. I needed to feel loved and wanted, too. Not as an interchangeable female body to ejaculate into, but as Eva, an individual woman who needed genuine affection with sex. “But this is my game and it’s played by my rules.”
“I haven’t agreed to play.”
“Hear me out.”
Gideon exhaled slowly. “I can’t do it, Eva.”
“You could do it with other women,” I argued.
“I wasn’t in love with them!”
I melted. I couldn’t help it. “Baby … I want this,” I whispered. “Real bad.”
He made an exasperated noise. “Help me understand.”
“I can’t hear your heart racing when I’m gasping for breath. I can’t feel you shaking when I’m shaking, too. I can’t taste you when my mouth is dry from begging you to finish me off.”
His beautiful face softened. “I lose my mind every time I come inside you. Let that be enough.”
I shook my head. “You’ve said I’m like your favorite wet dream made real. Those dreams couldn’t have all been about getting the girl off. What about the blowjobs? The hand jobs? You love my tits. Don’t you want to fuck them until you come all over me?”
“Jesus, Eva.” His cock thickened in my grip.
Brushing my parted lips across his, I deftly opened his slacks. “I want to be your dirtiest fantasy,” I whispered. “I want to be filthy for you.”
“You’re already what I want you to be,” he said darkly.
“Am I?” I ran my nails lightly down his sides, biting my lower lip when he hissed. “Then do it for me. I love those moments after you’ve seen to me and you’re chasing your own orgasm. When your rhythm and focus changes, and you get ferocious. I know you’re just thinking about how good it feels and how hot you are and how hard you’re going to come. It makes me feel so good to get you that worked up. I want a whole night of feeling like that.”
His hands squeezed my thighs. “With one stipulation.”
“What is it?”
“You get tonight. Next weekend, the game’s on me.”
My mouth fell open. “I get a night, you get a whole weekend?”
“Umm … a whole weekend of seeing to you.”
“Man,” I muttered, “you drive a hard bargain.”
His smile was razor sharp. “That’s the plan.”
“OUR mom says that our dad is a real sex machine.”
Gideon glanced at me, grinning, from where he sat beside me on the floor. “You’ve got a weird catalog of movie lines in that gorgeous head of yours, angel.”
I took a swig from my bottled water and swallowed just in time to recite the next line from Kindergarten Cop. “My dad’s a gynecologist and he looks at vaginas all day long.”
His laughter made me so happy I felt as if I could float away. He was bright-eyed and more relaxed than I’d seen him since forever. Some of that had to do with the straight-to-the-point blowjob I’d given him on the couch, followed by a long, slow, slippery hand job in the shower. But a lot of it came from me, I knew.
When I was in a good mood, he was, too. It amazed me that I had a profound influence on such a man. Gideon was a force of nature, his magnetic self-possession so powerful it put everyone around him in his shadow. I saw flashes of it every day and was awed by it, but not nearly as much as I was by the charming, wryly amusing lover I had entirely to myself in our private moments together.
“Hey,” I said, “you won’t be laughing when your kids tell their teachers the same things about you.”
“Since they’d have to hear it from you, I’d know who it was that really needed the spanking.”
He turned his head to resume watching the movie, as if he hadn’t just knocked the wind out of me. Gideon was a man who’d lived an entirely solitary life, and yet he’d accepted me into it so completely that he could envision a future I was afraid to imagine. I was so scared I’d only be setting myself up for a heartbreak I couldn’t survive.
Noting my silence, he set his hand on my bare knee and glanced at me again. “Still hungry?”
My gaze remained trained on the open Chinese take-out boxes on the coffee table in front of us, and the black magic roses, which Gideon had brought home from work so we could enjoy them over the weekend.
Not wanting to make more of his statement than he’d intended, I said, “Only for you.”
I put my hand in his lap, feeling the soft heft of his cock within the black boxer briefs I’d allowed him to wear for dinner.
“You are a dangerous woman,” he murmured, leaning closer.
Moving quickly, I caught his mouth with my own, sucking on his lower lip. “Have to be,” I murmured, “to keep up with you, Dark and Dangerous.”
“I need to check in with Cary again,” I said with a sigh. “See if Mom’s left yet.”
“Yeah.” I leaned my head on his shoulder. “There’s nothing like a little Gideon therapy to make things look up.”
“Did I mention I make house calls? Twenty-four-seven.”
I sank my teeth into his biceps. “Let me take care of this, then I’ll make you come again.”
“I’m good, thanks,” he shot back, clearly amused.
“But we haven’t played with the girls yet.”
He bent down and buried his face in my cleavage. “Hello, girls.”
Laughing, I shoved at his shoulders and he pushed me backward until I sprawled on the floor between the sofa and coffee table. He hovered above me, his arms tight and hard from supporting his weight. His gaze roamed, caressing my bra, then my bare tummy, then my thong and garters. The ensemble I wore post-shower was fire-engine red, chosen to keep Gideon revved.
“You’re my lucky charm,” he said.
I squeezed his biceps. “Really?”
“Yep.” He licked the upper swell of my breast. “You’re magically delicious.”
“Oh my God!” I laughed. “Cheesy.”
His eyes smiled at me. “I did warn you about me and romance.”
“You lied. You’re the most romantic guy I’ve ever dated. I can’t believe you hung those CrossTrainer towels in your bathroom.”
“How could I not? And I wasn’t kidding about you being lucky.” He kissed me. “I’ve been working on offloading my share of a casino in Milan. Those black magic roses arrived just as a bidder threw in a small winery in Bordeaux that I’ve had my eye on. Guess what it’s called … La Rose Noir.”
“A winery for a casino, huh? So you remain the god of sex, vice, and recreation.”
“Endeavors that help me satisfy you, my goddess of desire, pleasure, and corny one-liners.”
I ran my hands down his sides and slid my fingers beneath his waistband. “When do I get to try the wine?”
“When you’re helping me brainstorm the advertising campaign for it.”
With a sigh, I said, “You don’t give up, do you?”
“Not when I want something, no.” He rose to his knees and then helped me sit up. “And I want you. Very, very much.”
“You have me,” I said, using his words.
“I have your heart and your insanely sexy body. Now, I want your brain. I want everything.”
“I need to save something for me.”
“No. Take me instead.” Gideon’s hands reached around to cup the bare cheeks of my ass. “Not an even trade in quality, I’m sorry to say.”
“You’re bargaining like mad today.”
“Giroux was happy with his deal. You will be, too, I promise.”
“Giroux?” My heart thudded. “No relation to Corinne?”
“Her husband. Although they’re estranged and facing divorce, as you know.”
“No way. You do business with her husband?”
His mouth twisted ruefully. “First time. And likely the last, although I did tell him that I’m involved with a special woman—and she’s not his wife.”
“The problem is that she’s in love with you.”
“She doesn’t know me.” He cupped the back of my head and rubbed our noses together. “Hurry up and call Cary. I’ll clean up dinner. Then we’ll suck face.”
I scrambled up to head to my purse for my phone. Gideon grabbed a garter and snapped it, sending a shock wave of sensation across my skin. Surprisingly aroused by the nip of pain, I slapped his hand away and hurried out of reach.
Cary answered on the second ring. “Hey, baby girl. You still doing okay?”
“Yes. And you’re still the best friend ever. Is Mom still hanging around?”
“She bailed a little over an hour ago. You stayin’ over at loverman’s?”
“Yeah, unless you need me.”
“Nah, I’m good. Trey’s on his way over now.”
That news made me feel a lot better about spending a second night away. “Say hi to him for me.”
“Sure. I’ll kiss him for you, too.”
“Well, if it’s from me, don’t make it too hot and wet.”
“Spoilsport. Hey, remember how you asked me to do some digging on the Good Doctor Lucas? So far, I’ve come up with a whole lotta nada. He doesn’t seem to do much else besides work. No kids. Wife is a doctor, too. A shrink.”
I glanced at Gideon, cautiously ensuring that he didn’t overhear. “Seriously?”
“Why? Is that important?”
“No, I guess not. I just … I guess I expect psychologists to be astute judges of character.”
“Do you know her?”
“What’s going on, Eva? You’re all cloak-and-dagger lately, and it’s starting to piss me off.”
Climbing onto a bar stool, I explained as much as I could. “I met Dr. Lucas at a charity dinner one night, then again when you were in the hospital. Both times he said some nasty things about Gideon and I’m just trying to figure out what his deal is.”
“Come on, Eva. What else could it be besides Cross banged his wife?”
Unable to reveal a past that wasn’t mine to share, I didn’t answer. “I’ll be home tomorrow afternoon. I’ve got that girls’ night out. You sure you don’t want to come?”
“Go ahead, change the subject,” Cary bitched. “Yes, I’m sure I don’t want to come. I’m not ready to hit the scene. Just thinking about it gives me hives.”
Nathan had jumped Cary outside a club, and Cary was still recovering physically from that. Somehow, I’d forgotten that it was the mind that took longer to heal. He played it so cool, but I should’ve known better. “The weekend after next, you want to fly out to San Diego? See my dad, our friends … maybe even Dr. Travis, if we’re up for it?”
“Subtle, Eva,” he said dryly. “But yeah, sounds good. I may need you to front me some money, since I’m not working right now.”
“No problem. I’ll make the arrangements and we can square up later.”
“Oh, before you hang up. One of your friends called earlier—Deanna. I forgot to tell you when we talked before. She has news and she wants you to call her back.”
I shot a look at Gideon. He caught my eye and something on my face must have given me away, because his eyes took on that familiar hard gleam. He headed toward me with that long, agile stride, the remnants of dinner carted neatly in the original delivery bag.
“Did you tell her anything?” I asked Cary in a low voice.
“Tell her anything? Like what?”
“Like something you wouldn’t want to tell a reporter, because that’s what she is.”
Gideon’s face took on a stony cast. He passed me to drop the trash in the compactor, then came back to my side.
“You’re friends with a reporter?” Cary asked. “Are you nuts?”
“No, I’m not friends with her. I have no idea how she got my home number, unless she called up from the front desk.”
“What the hell does she want?”
“An exposé on Gideon. She’s starting to get on my bad side. She’s all over him like a rash.”
“I’ll blow her off if she calls back.”
“No, don’t.” I held Gideon’s gaze. “Just don’t give her any information about anything. Where did you tell her I was?”
“Perfect. Thanks, Cary. Call if you need me.”
“Have a banging good time.”
“Jesus, Cary.” Shaking my head, I killed the call.
“Deanna Johnson called you?” Gideon asked, his arms crossing his chest.
“Yep. And I’m about to call her back.”
“No, you’re not.”
“Shut up, caveman. I’m not into that ‘me Cross, you Cross little woman’ bullshit,” I snapped. “In case you’ve forgotten already, we made a trade. You got me, and I got you. I protect what’s mine.”
“Eva, don’t fight my battles for me. I can take care of myself.”
“I know that. You’ve been doing it your whole life. Now, you’ve got me. I can handle this one.”
Something shifted over his features, so swiftly I couldn’t identify whether he was getting pissed. “I don’t want you to have to deal with my past.”
“You dealt with mine.”
“That was different.”
“A threat is a threat, ace. We’re in this together. She’s reaching out to me, which makes me your best shot at figuring out what she’s up to.”
He threw up one hand in frustration, then raked it through his hair. I had to force myself not to get distracted by the way his entire torso flexed with his agitation—his abs clenching, his biceps hardening. “I don’t give a shit what she’s up to. You know the truth, and you’re the only one who matters.”
“If you think I’m going to sit around while she crucifies you in the press, you need to revisit and revise!”
“She can’t hurt me unless she hurts you, and it’s possible that’s what she’s really after.”
“We won’t know unless I talk to her.” I pulled Deanna’s card out of my purse and dialed, blocking my number from showing on her Caller ID.
“Eva, damn it!”
I put the phone on speaker and set it on the counter.
“Deanna Johnson,” she answered briskly.
“Deanna, it’s Eva Tramell.”
“Eva, hi.” The tone of her voice changed, assuming a friendliness we hadn’t yet established. “How are you?”
“I’m good. You?” Studying Gideon, I tried to see if hearing her voice had any effect whatsoever. He glared back, looking deliciously pissed off. I’d become resigned to the fact that whatever his mood, I always found him irresistible.
“Things are churning. In my line of work that’s always good.”
“So is getting your facts straight.”
“Which is one of the reasons I called you. I have a source who claims Gideon walked in on a ménage composed of you, your roommate, and another guy, and flew into a rage. The guy ended up in the hospital and is now pressing assault charges. Is that true?”
I froze, my hearing drowned by my roaring blood. The night I’d met Corinne, I’d come home to find Cary in a four-body sexual tangle that included a guy named Ian. When Ian had lewdly—and nakedly—propositioned me to join them, Gideon had refused the offer with his fist.
I looked at Gideon and my stomach cramped. It was true. He was being sued. I could see the proof of it in his face, which was devoid of all emotion, his thoughts hidden behind a flawless mask. “No, it’s not true,” I answered.
“I have nothing further to say to you.”
“I also have a firsthand account of an altercation between Gideon and Brett Kline, allegedly over you being caught in a hot clinch with Kline. Is that true?”
My knuckles whitened as I gripped the edge of the counter.
“Your roommate was recently assaulted,” she went on. “Did Gideon have anything to do with that?”
Oh my God … “You’re out of your mind,” I said coldly.
“The footage of you and Gideon arguing in Bryant Park shows him being very aggressive and physically rough with you. Are you in an abusive relationship with Gideon Cross? Is he violent with an uncontrollable temper? Are you afraid of him, Eva?”
Gideon spun on his heel and walked away, striding down the hallway and turning into his home office.
“Fuck you, Deanna,” I bit out. “You’re going to rip an innocent man’s reputation apart because you can’t deal with casual sex? Way to represent the sophisticated modern woman.”
“He answered the phone,” she hissed, “before he was done. He answered the fucking phone and started talking about an inspection at one of his properties. Midconversation he looked at me lying there waiting for him and he said, ‘You can go.’ Just like that. He treated me like a whore, only I didn’t get paid. He didn’t even offer me a drink.”
I closed my eyes. Jesus. “I’m sorry, Deanna. I mean that sincerely. I’ve met my share of assholes and it sounds like he was one to you. But what you’re doing is wrong.”
“It’s not wrong if it’s true.”
“But it’s not.”
She sighed. “I’m sorry you’re in the middle of this, Eva.”
“No, you’re not.” I hit the end button and stood with my head bent, holding on to the counter while the room spun around me.