My voice came quiet. Small. “He was raped. By the therapist he was seeing.”
Chris froze. For a long minute, he didn’t even breathe.
“He told Elizabeth, but she didn’t believe him. She knows he was telling the truth, but she’s denied it for whatever screwed-up reason she’s come up with.”
He straightened, shaking his head vehemently. “No.”
The one-word rebuff pushed me to my feet. “Are you going to deny it, too? Who would lie about something like that? Do you have any idea how hard it was for him to admit to what was happening? How confused he must have been that a man he trusted would do those things to him?”
Chris looked up at me. “Elizabeth would never ignore . . . something like that. There’s a misunderstanding. You’re confused.”
I took in his dilated pupils and white-rimmed lips but refused to feel bad for him. “She went through the motions. That’s all. When push came to shove, she chose to side with everyone but her own child.”
“You don’t know what you’re saying.”
I grabbed the handle of my bag and slung it over my shoulder. I bent into him, meeting him at eye level. “Gideon was raped. One of these days, you and your wife are going to look him in the eye like I’m looking at you and you’re going to admit it. And you’re going to apologize for all the years he’s lived with that alone.”
Gideon’s voice cracked through the air, making me jump. Straightening in a rush, I stumbled as I faced him.
He stood in the open doorway, his hand gripping the handle with such force it should’ve broken off. His face was hard, his body stiff, his gaze searing me with a different kind of heat.
Fury. I’d never seen him so angry.
Chris pushed heavily to his feet. “Gideon. What’s going on? What is she saying?”
Gideon’s arm shot out and grabbed me. He yanked me into the hallway with such force I yelped in alarm. I felt the bite of his fingers even after he released me.
With his hand at the small of my back, he propelled me forward, his stride so long and quick I had to scramble to keep pace.
“Gideon, wait,” I said breathlessly, my heart pounding. “We—”
“Not a f**king word,” he snapped, pushing me roughly through the etched glass security doors into the elevator vestibule.
I heard Chris calling Gideon’s name. I caught sight of him rushing toward us just before the elevator doors shut him out.
AS I LED Eva out of the Crossfire, Angus took one look at my face and his smile disappeared. He opened the rear door to the Bentley and stepped aside, watching me urge my wife into the backseat.
Our gazes met over her head as she slid into the back. I read the message in his faded blue eyes. Be gentle with her.
He didn’t know how hard it was for me to show as much restraint as I was managing. I could feel the vein pulsating in my temple, echoing the driving pulse beat that had my c**k throbbing.
I’d nearly stopped the elevator halfway down to f**k Eva against the wall like an animal. The only things that deterred me were the security cameras and watchful guard eyes monitoring the feed.
I wanted to leash her. Sink my teeth into her shoulder as I nailed her. Dominate her. She was a tigress, clawing and hissing at everyone she felt had done me wrong, and I needed to pin her down. Make her submit.
“Goddamn it,” I bit out, rounding the back of the car to get in on the other side. Eva was a wild card. I couldn’t control her.
I folded into the seat and slammed the door shut, staring out the window because I was afraid of what I’d do if I looked at her. She was the air I breathed and at the moment, I couldn’t catch my breath.
She set her hand on my thigh. “Gideon . . .”
Grabbing that slender hand wearing my ring, I shoved it between my legs and thrust my aching dick into her palm. “Open your mouth again and that’s what I’m putting in it.”
Angus slid behind the wheel and started the car. I felt Eva’s gaze on the side of my face. Her hand pulled away and I nearly groaned at the loss of her touch. Then she shifted, curling into my side. Her other hand slid back between my legs, cupping my c**k possessively. Her lips pressed a kiss against my jaw.
My arm went around her back. I took a deep breath, inhaling her scent.
The Bentley pulled away from the curb and we melded into midtown traffic.
IT wasn’t until we pulled over in front of the office building where Dr. Petersen kept his office that I remembered our appointment. I’d been counting the minutes until we got home and I could take Eva the way I needed to . . . fast . . . hard . . . furious.
She started sitting up when Angus got out of the car. I tightened my arm around her. “Not today,” I said tightly.
“Okay,” she whispered, kissing my jaw again.
Angus opened the door. She pulled away, then got out of the car anyway. She spun through the revolving doors and left me staring after her.
Ducking down, Angus peered in at me. “Couples therapy means the both of you.”
I glared at him. “Stop enjoying this.”
The smile in his eyes curved his lips into a broad grin. “She loves you, lad, whether you like it or naw.”
“Of course I like it,” I muttered, glancing over my shoulder to check the traffic before opening my door and stepping out. I rounded the trunk. “That doesn’t mean she’s not a loose cannon.”
Angus shut the door. A rare summer breeze ruffled the graying red hair that peeked out from beneath his chauffeur’s hat. “Sometimes you’ll lead, sometimes you’ll follow. Expect you’ll grumble about the following part for a while yet.”
I growled, exasperated. “She talked to Chris.”
His brows rose with surprise even as he nodded. “I saw him go in.”
“Why won’t she leave it the hell alone?” I stepped onto the sidewalk, tugging my vest into place and wishing I could straighten my thoughts as easily. “She can’t change the past.”
“It’s not the past she’s thinking of.” He set his hand briefly on my shoulder. “It’s the future.”
I found Eva pacing in Dr. Petersen’s office, her hands waving as she spoke. The good doctor sat in his customary chair, his attention on his tablet as he took notes.
“The whole situation makes me so mad,” she seethed. Then she caught sight of me standing in the doorway and paused midstride.
“Gideon.” A brilliant smile lit up her beautiful face.
There wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do to put that happy look on her. The fact that she smiled like that just because she saw me . . .
“Eva. Doctor.” I took a seat on the sofa. How much had she told him?
Dr. Petersen followed me with his gaze. “Hello, Gideon. I’m glad you could join us after all.”
I patted the cushion next to me and waited for Eva to sit.
“We’re making plans to move back into the penthouse on Fifth with Cary,” I said smoothly once she’d settled beside me, deflecting the conversation into territory I was more comfortable addressing. “I expect it will be a rocky transition for all of us.”
Dr. Petersen set his stylus down. “Eva was just telling me about a visit with your stepfather. I would like to hear more about that before we move on.”
I linked my fingers with Eva’s. “It’s not open for discussion.”
She stared at me. I turned my head to meet her gaze and my breath left me in a pained rush.
The new look on her face made me ache for a different reason altogether.
The session had barely started and already it couldn’t end soon enough for me.
I told Angus to take us home—to the penthouse.
It was obvious Eva was lost in her own thoughts by the surprise she displayed when the valet opened the door for her. We were in the subterranean garage beneath the building.
She glanced at me.
“I’ll explain,” I told her, as I took her elbow and led her to the elevator.
We rode up in silence. When the car doors opened into our private foyer, I felt her tense beneath my hand. We hadn’t been to the penthouse together in nearly a month. The last time we’d been in the foyer had been the night she confronted me about Nathan’s death.
I’d been afraid then, too. Terrified I had done something she couldn’t forgive me for.
We’d had many explosive moments here. The penthouse hadn’t seen as much joy and love between us as the secret apartment on the Upper West Side. But we would change that. One day, we would look back and this place would remind us of all the steps in our journey together, good and bad. I refused to envision anything else.
I opened the door, gesturing her in before me. She dropped her purse into an armchair and kicked off her shoes. I shrugged out of my jacket, hung it on the back of one of the bar stools in the kitchen, and then pulled a shiraz off the wine rack.
“You’re disappointed in me,” I called out, uncorking the wine.
Eva padded to the open archway and leaned against the tumbled stone. “No, not in you.”
Retrieving a decanter and two glasses, I considered my reply. It was difficult bargaining with my wife. In every other deal, I went in with the knowledge that I could take it or leave it. There was no agreement anywhere I couldn’t walk away from.
Except those that endangered my hold on Eva.
As I poured the wine from its bottle into the decanter, she joined me at the island.
Her hand came to rest on my shoulder. “We haven’t been together long, Gideon, and you’ve come so far already. I’m not going to push you to go farther so soon. These things take time.”
I let the decanted wine sit and turned to face her, pulling her close. She’d felt so far away the last hour or so and the distance had been killing me.
“Kiss me,” I murmured.
Tilting her head back, Eva lifted her mouth to me. I pressed my lips to hers but otherwise did nothing else, wanting her to be the one to reach out. Needing her to be.
The stroke of her tongue over the seam of my lips made me groan. The feel of her fingers sliding into the hair at my nape soothed me. There was an apology in the softness of her lips gliding across mine and love in her quiet moan of surrender.
I caught her up, lifting her feet from the floor, so relieved she still wanted me that I felt dizzy with it. “Eva . . . I’m sorry.”
“Shh, baby, it’s okay.” She pulled back and touched my face, cupping it in both hands. “You don’t have to apologize to me.”
The back of my throat burned. I lifted her onto the counter, stepping between her spread legs. Her skirt rose up, baring the ends of her garters. I wanted her. In every way.
My forehead touched hers. “You’re upset that I didn’t want to talk about Chris.”
“I wasn’t expecting you to avoid it so completely, that’s all.” She kissed my brow, her fingers brushing the hair from my face. “I should’ve considered the possibility, considering how angry you were when we left the Crossfire.”
“Not with you.”
“At the situation.” I exhaled roughly. “You’re expecting people to change and that doesn’t happen. In the meantime, you’re stirring up trouble at a time when we’ve got enough on our plates. I just want to have some peace with you, Eva. Days when we’re alone and happy and free of any bullshit.”
“And nights where you go to sleep in another bed? In another room?”
My eyes squeezed shut. “Is that what this is all about?”
“Not completely, but some of it, yeah. Gideon, I want to be with you. Waking and sleeping.”
“I understand, but—”