“Work was so busy, and I didn’t have a chance to call him until lunch. I was so worried he’d hear about our engagement before I could tell him.” She shoved at my shoulder. “You could’ve given me a heads-up that you were announcing it to the world!”
I shrugged. “It wasn’t planned, but I wasn’t going to deny it when asked.”
Her lips twisted wryly. “Of course not. Did you see that ridiculous post about a baby bump?”
“A frightening thought at this point,” I said, trying to keep my tone light despite the sudden rush of alarm I felt. “I’m planning on keeping you all to myself for a while.”
“I know, right?” She shook her head. “I was freaked out that my dad would think I was engaged and pregnant, and just couldn’t be bothered to let him know. It was such a relief to call him and find out you’d explained everything and smoothed the way.”
“My pleasure.” I would set the world on fire to clear a path for her, if that’s what it took.
Her hands went to work unbuttoning my vest. My brows arched in silent query, but I wasn’t going to stop her.
“I haven’t even left yet, and I’m missing you already,” she said quietly, straightening my tie.
“If I were just going to hole up with Cary for a bit, I’d do it here at home and not in San Diego.” She lifted her gaze to my face. “But he’s a head case over Tatiana being pregnant. Plus, I need to spend time with my dad. Especially now.”
“Is there something you should be telling me?”
“No. He sounded good when I talked to him, but I think he was hoping we’d have more time together before I got married. To him, it seems like you and I just met.”
I knew I should keep my mouth shut, but I couldn’t. “And we can’t forget Kline.”
Her jaw hardened. She dropped her attention back to where her fingers were buttoning my vest. “I’m leaving soon. I don’t want to fight again.”
I caught her hands. “Eva. Look at me.”
Staring into her stormy eyes, I felt the tug in my chest: a slow wrenching that could turn me upside down. She hadn’t stopped being angry with me, and I couldn’t stand it. “You still don’t understand what you do to me. How crazy you make me.”
“Don’t give me that. You shouldn’t have brought up Corinne the way you did.”
“Maybe not. But be honest, you brought up Kline this morning because you’re worried about seeing him.”
“I’m not worried!”
“Angel.” I gave her a patient look. “You’re worried. I don’t think you’d sleep with him, but I do think you’re anxious about crossing a line you shouldn’t. You needed a strong reaction from me, so you were blunt and you got it. You needed to see what it would do to me. How just the thought of you with him makes me insane.”
“Gideon.” She gripped my biceps. “Nothing is going to happen.”
“I’m not making excuses.” I brushed my fingertips across her cheek. “I hurt you and I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry, too. I wanted to avoid causing any problems and they happened anyway.”
I knew she regretted our fight. I could see it in her eyes. “We’re learning as we go. We’ll f**k up now and again. You just have to trust me, angel.”
“I have, Gideon. It’s why we’ve gotten so far. But the fact that you’d hurt me at all—on purpose . . .” She shook her head and I could see how what I’d said was eating at her. “You were always supposed to be the one I could count on to never hurt me deliberately.”
Hearing her doubt her trust in me was a hard blow. I took the hit, then explained myself the way I’d only ever done with her. I would explain anything, talk for hours, write the promise in blood . . . if that was what it took to make her believe in me.
“There’s a difference between deliberation and malicious intent, wouldn’t you agree?” I cupped her face in my hands. “I promise I’ll never cause you pain just to hurt you. Don’t you see that I’m just as vulnerable? You have the same power to hurt me.”
Her face softened, became even more stunning. “I wouldn’t.”
“But I did. You’ll have to forgive me.”
She stepped back. “I hate when you use that tone of voice.”
Inclined toward self-preservation, I didn’t allow the smile I felt to show. “But it makes you wet.”
Tossing a glare at me over her shoulder, Eva moved to the window and stood in the same spot I’d occupied that morning. Her ponytail showed off her beauty—and left her no way to conceal her emotions. Hot color rose in her cheeks.
Did she know how often I thought about tying her up when she was riled like this? Not to cage her or leash her, but to hold that vibrant energy of hers, that lust for life I’d never learned to have. She gave that to me, surrendered it fully.
“Don’t try to control me with sex, Gideon,” she said with her back to me.
“I don’t want to control you at all.”
“You manipulate me. You do things . . . say things . . . just to get a particular response out of me.”
My arms crossed as I remembered her kissing Kline. “As do you, which we just discussed.”
She faced me. “I’m allowed to, I’m a woman.”