Home > Entwined with You (Crossfire #3)(7)

Entwined with You (Crossfire #3)(7)
Author: Sylvia Day

“It ripped me apart,” he said quietly. “Seeing how hurt and angry you were. Knowing I was causing you pain and that you were pulling away from me … It was hell for us both, but I couldn’t take the risk that you might become a suspect.”

I stiffened. I hadn’t thought of that possibility. It could be argued that I was Gideon’s motive to kill. And it could be assumed that I was aware of the crime as well. My complete and utter ignorance hadn’t been my only protection; he’d made sure I had an alibi, too. Always protecting me—whatever the cost.

He pulled back. “I put a burner phone in your purse. It’s preprogrammed with a number that will put you in touch with Angus. If you need me for anything, you can reach me that way.”

My hands clenched into fists—I had to reach my boyfriend through his chauffeur. “I hate this.”

“So do I. Clearing my way back to you is my number one priority.”

“Isn’t it dangerous for Angus to be put in the middle?”

“He’s former MI6. Clandestine phone calls are child’s play for him.” He paused, then said, “Full disclosure, Eva: I can track you through the phone and I will.”

“What?” I slid out of bed and stood. My thoughts bounced back and forth between MI6—British secret service!—to geotracking my cell, unsure of what to latch on to first. “No way.”

He stood, too. “If I can’t be with you or talk to you, I at least need to know where you are.”

“Don’t be this way, Gideon.”

His face was composed. “I didn’t have to tell you.”

“Seriously?” I stalked to the closet to grab a robe. “And you said warning someone about ridiculous behavior isn’t an excuse for it.”

“Cut me some slack.”

Glaring at him, I shoved my hands into the sleeves of a red silk dressing gown and yanked the belt into a knot. “No. I think you’re a control freak who likes having me followed.”

He crossed his arms. “I like keeping you alive.”

I froze. After a moment, my brain rewound to look at the events of the last few weeks again—with the addition of Nathan in the picture. Abruptly, everything made sense: the way Gideon had freaked out when I’d tried to walk to work one morning, why Angus had shadowed me around the city every day, Gideon’s fury when he commandeered the elevator I was riding …

All those times I’d almost hated him for being an ass**le, he’d been thinking about keeping me safe from Nathan.

My knees weakened, and I sank inelegantly to the floor.

“Eva.”

“Give me a minute.” I’d figured out a lot of it already during the time we’d been apart. I’d realized Gideon would never allow Nathan to simply stroll into his office with photos of me being abused and violated, then just stroll back out again. Brett Kline had only kissed me and Gideon had beaten him up. Nathan had raped me repeatedly for years and documented it with pictures and video. Gideon’s reaction to meeting Nathan the first time had to have been violent.

Nathan must have visited the Crossfire Building the day I’d found Gideon freshly showered with a crimson stain on the cuff of his shirt. What I’d originally suspected was lipstick was Nathan’s blood. The sofa and sofa pillows in Gideon’s office had been skewed from a fight, not from a lunch quickie with Corinne.

Scowling fiercely, he crouched in front of me. “Damn it. Do you think I want to micromanage you? There have been extenuating circumstances. Give me credit for trying to balance your independence with keeping you safe.”

Wow. Hindsight didn’t just make things crystal clear; it smacked me upside the head and knocked some sense into me. “I get it.”

“I don’t think you do. This”—he gestured impatiently at himself—“is just a f**king shell. You’re what drives me, Eva. Can you understand that? You’re my heart and soul. If something ever happened to you, it would kill me, too. Keeping you safe is goddamned self-preservation! Tolerate it for me, if you won’t do it for yourself.”

I surged into him, knocking him off-balance and onto his back. I kissed him hard, my heart pounding and blood roaring in my ears.

“I hate to freak you out,” I muttered between desperate kisses, “but you’ve got it real bad for me.”

Groaning, he squeezed me tightly. “So we’re okay?”

I wrinkled my nose. “Maybe not about the burner phone. The cell stalking is nuts. Seriously. Not cool at all.”

“It’s temporary.”

“I know, but—”

He put a hand over my mouth. “I put directions on how to track my phone in your purse.”

That news left me speechless.

Gideon smirked. “Not such a bad idea on the flip side.”

“Shut up.” I slid off him and smacked his shoulder. “We are totally dysfunctional.”

“I prefer ‘selectively deviant.’ But we’ll keep that to ourselves.”

The warmth I’d felt bled away, replaced by a flare of panic at the reminder that we were hiding our relationship. How long would it be before I saw him again? Days? I couldn’t repeat the last few weeks of my life. Even thinking about going without him for any length of time made me feel sick.

I had to swallow past a painful lump to ask, “When can we be together again?”

“Tonight. Eva.” His beautiful eyes were haunted. “I can’t bear that look on your face.”

“Just be with me,” I whispered, my eyes stinging all over again. “I need you.”

Gideon’s fingertips glided softly down my cheek. “You were with me. The whole time. There wasn’t a second that passed when you weren’t on my mind. You own me, Eva. Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, I belong to you.”

I leaned into his touch, letting it soak into me and chase the chill away. “No more Corinne. I can’t stand it.”

“No more,” he agreed, startling me. “I’ve told her already. I’d hoped we could be friends, but she wants what she and I used to have, and I want you.”

“The night that Nathan died … she was your alibi.” I couldn’t say more. It hurt to think of how he might have filled the hours with her.

“No, the kitchen fire was my alibi. It took most of the night dealing with the FDNY, the insurance company, and making emergency arrangements for food service. Corinne stuck around for some of that, and when she left, I had plenty of staff on hand to vouch for my whereabouts.”

The surge of relief I felt must have shown on my face, because Gideon’s gaze softened and filled with the regret I’d seen so many times now.

He stood and held his hand out to help me up. “Your new neighbor would like to invite you over for a late dinner. Let’s say eight o’clock. You’ll find the key—and the key to the penthouse—on your keychain.”

I accepted his hand up and tried to lighten the mood with a teasing reply. “He’s seriously hot. I wonder if he puts out on the first date?”

His returning smile was so wicked it revved me up a notch. “I think your odds of getting laid are pretty good.”

I gave a dramatic sigh. “How romantic!”

“I’ll give you romance.” Pulling me into him, Gideon dipped me with consummate ease.

Pressed against him from hip to ankle and bowed backward in a yielding curve, I felt my robe slide apart, exposing my breast. He deepened my arch, until my tender sex hugged his hard thigh and I couldn’t help but be hyperaware of the power of his body as he supported my weight and his.

That quickly, he seduced me. Despite hours of pleasure and a very recent orgasm, I was primed for him in that moment, aroused by his skill and strength and self-assurance, his command of himself and of me.

I rode his leg with a slow slide, licking my lips. He growled and surrounded my nipple with the wet heat of his mouth, his tongue worrying the hardened point. Effortlessly he held me, aroused me, possessed me.

I closed my eyes and moaned my surrender.

BECAUSE of the heat and humidity, I chose a lightweight linen sheath dress and pulled my blond hair back in a ponytail. I accessorized with a small pair of gold hoop earrings and kept my makeup light.

Books
     Bared to You (Crossfire #1)
     Reflected in You (Crossfire #2)
     Entwined with You (Crossfire #3)
     Captivated by You (Crossfire #4)
     One with You (Crossfire #5)