My dad didn’t answer right away. “Thank you. It might take me a while to get used to the idea. It’s a bit extravagant, and I don’t want to be a burden.”
Gideon pulled his shades off, baring his eyes. “That’s what money’s for. All I want is to make your daughter happy. Make that easy on me, Mr. Reyes. We all want to see Eva smiling as much as possible.”
It sank in then why my dad was so opposed to Stanton paying for anything. My stepdad didn’t do it for me; he did it for my mom. Gideon would only ever consider me when making decisions. I knew my dad could live with that.
I caught Gideon’s gaze and mouthed, I love you.
His grip on my hand tightened until it hurt. I didn’t mind.
My dad smiled. “Making Eva happy. How can I argue with that?”
THE smell of freshly brewed coffee brought my well-trained senses to life the following morning. I blinked up at the bedroom ceiling of my Upper West Side apartment and gave a sleepy smile when I discovered Gideon standing beside my bed, stripping out of his shirt. The sight of his leanly muscular torso and washboard abs almost made up for the fact that I’d obviously spent the night alone after falling asleep in his arms.
“Good morning,” I murmured, rolling onto my side as he pushed his pajama bottoms down and kicked them off.
Whoever said Mondays sucked had obviously never woken up to a na**d Gideon Cross.
“It will be,” he said, lifting the covers and sliding between the sheets with me.
I shivered as his cool skin touched mine. “Yikes!”
His arms slipped around me, and his lips touched my neck. “Warm me up, angel.”
By the time I was done with him he was sweating and the coffee he’d brought me was cold.
I didn’t mind in the least.
I was in an excellent mood when I got to work. Morning sex contributed to that, of course. Also the sight of Gideon getting dressed for the day, watching him transform from the private man I knew and loved into the dark and dangerous global magnate. The day only got better when I exited on the twentieth floor and saw Megumi sitting at her desk.
I waved at her through the glass security doors, but my smile faded the moment I got a good look at her. She was pale and had dark circles under her eyes. Her usually sassy asymmetrical haircut looked limp and overlong, and she was wearing a long-sleeved blouse and dark slacks that were out of place with the August mugginess.
“Hey,” I greeted her when she buzzed me through. “How are you? I’ve been worried about you.”
She gave me a weak smile. “I’m sorry I didn’t call you back.”
“Don’t worry about it. I’m totally antisocial when I get sick. I just want to curl up in bed and be left alone.”
Her lower lip quivered and her eyes grew shiny with tears.
“Are you okay?” I glanced around, worried about her privacy as other employees passed through the reception area. “Did you see a doctor?”
She started crying.
Horrified, I stood frozen for a minute. “Megumi. What’s wrong?”
She pulled off her headset and stood, tears spilling down her face. She shook her head violently. “I can’t talk about it now.”
“When is your break?”
But she was already hurrying to the bathroom, leaving me staring after her.
I headed to my cubicle and dropped off my bag, then went down the hall to Will Granger’s desk. He wasn’t there, but I found him in the break room when I stopped to grab some coffee.
“Hey, you.” His eyes behind his square-framed glasses looked as worried as I felt. “Did you see Megumi?”
“Yeah. She looks wiped out. And she started crying when I asked how she’s doing.”
He slid the carton of half-and-half over to me. “Not good, whatever it is.”
“I’m bad with not knowing. My imagination runs wild. I’m bouncing between cancer, pregnancy, and everything in between.”
Will shrugged helplessly. With his neatly trimmed sideburns and subtly quirky-patterned shirts, he was the sort of affable and easy-natured guy who was hard to dislike.
“Eva.” Mark stuck his head in the door. “I’ve got news.”
My boss’s bright eyes told me he was excited about something. “I’m all ears. Coffee?”
“Sure. Thanks. See you in my office.” He ducked back out again.
Will grabbed his mug off the counter. “Have a good one.”
He left. I hurried to get the coffee ready, then went to Mark’s office. He’d taken his jacket off and was studying something on his monitor. He looked up, smiling when he saw me.
“We’ve got a new RFP request.” His smile widened. “And they asked for me specifically.”
I tensed. Setting his coffee down, I asked warily, “Is it another Cross Industries product?”
As much as I loved Gideon and admired all that he’d accomplished, I didn’t want to be totally overshadowed by his world. Part of who we were as a couple was two people who had separate working lives. I enjoyed riding to work with my husband, but I needed to say good-bye to him, too. I needed those few hours when he didn’t consume me.
“No, it’s bigger.”
My brows rose. I couldn’t think of anything or anyone bigger than Cross Industries.
Mark slid a picture of a silver-and-red box across the desk to me. “It’s the new PhazeOne gaming system from LanCorp.”