She stopped, her body taut in a way that told me to let go. Which I did. Immediately.
I stared at her for a beat, trying to pull my thoughts together. Clancy. Gideon. Nathan. What the hell did it mean? Where was she going with it?
Most of all, why did I feel as if she were helping me? Looking out for me. For Gideon.
What I ended up saying startled me. “I’m looking to support an organization that does good work for abuse survivors.”
Her brows rose. “Why are you telling me?”
“I don’t know where to start.”
She shot me a look. “Try Crossroads,” she said dryly. “I’ve heard good things about that one.”
I was sitting cross-legged on the floor of my bedroom’s sitting room when Gideon came home. He walked in wearing loose-legged jeans and a V-neck white T-shirt, the keys to my place spinning around his finger.
I stared. I couldn’t help it. Would he always stop my heart? I hoped so.
The room was small and girly, decorated by my mother with antiques, such as the silly escritoire I was supposed to use as a desk. Gideon infused a drugging dose of testosterone into the space, making me feel soft and feminine and eager to be ravished.
“Hi, ace.” The love and longing he inspired were exposed in those two words.
The keys were caught in his hand abruptly and he came to a stop, looking down at me much as he had that first day in the Crossfire lobby. His eyes took on the brooding fierceness I found wildly exciting.
For some reason I would probably never understand, he felt the same about me.
“Angel mine.” He dropped gracefully into a crouch, his hair sliding briefly along his cheekbones in a loving caress. “What are you working on?”
His fingers rifled through the papers scattered on the floor around me. Before my research into his Crossroads Foundation distracted him, I caught his hand and squeezed it.
I blurted out what I knew, as abruptly as the info had been sprung on me. “It was Clancy, Gideon. Clancy and his brother in the FBI planted Nathan’s bracelet on that mobster.”
He nodded. “I figured.”
“You did? How?” I smacked him on the shoulder. “Why didn’t you say something? I’ve been worried sick.”
Gideon settled on the floor in front of me, crossing his long legs in a pose mirroring mine. “I don’t have all the answers yet. Angus and I have been narrowing it down. Whoever was responsible was either watching Nathan or me and following our movements, so we started there.”
“Or watching both of you.”
“Precisely. Who would do that? Who had a stake in it? In you?”
“Jesus.” I searched his face. “Detective Graves knows. The FBI. Clancy—”
“She brought it up at Parker’s studio tonight. Tossed it at me in passing just to see how I’d take the news.”
His gaze narrowed. “Either she’s f**king with you or she wants you to stop worrying. My bet is on the latter.”
I almost asked why, but then I realized I’d come to the same conclusion. The detective was tough as nails, but she had a heart. I had caught glimpses of it during the few times we’d interacted with one another. And she was good at her job, obviously.
“We have to trust her, then?” I asked, crawling over the brochures and paperwork to curl into his lap.
He pulled me into him, fitting me into the hard planes of his body as if I were meant to be there always. I felt that way when he held me. Safe. Treasured. Adored.
His lips touched my forehead. “I’m going to talk to Clancy just to be sure, but he’s no fool. He wouldn’t leave anything to chance.”
My hand tightened around a fistful of his T-shirt, hanging on to him with everything I had. “Don’t keep things like this from me, Gideon. Stop trying to protect me.”
“I can’t.” His grip on me tightened, too. “Maybe I should have said something, but we have only a few hours alone every day and I want them to be perfect.”
“Gideon. You’ve got to let me in.”
His chest expanded beneath my cheek, his heart beating strong and sure. “I’m working on it, Eva.”
That was all I could ask for.
THE next morning I padded into the kitchen on bare feet to find Gideon pouring coffee. I could say the smell of java is what added a spring to my step, but it was the sight of my husband, freshly shaved and dressed with his vest hanging open, that did it. I loved seeing him a little undone.
He looked me over as I went to him, my heels rapping on the marble, his face impassive and his eyes warm. Did he get the same kick when he caught sight of me ready to tackle my day? I doubted it. I was convinced men just saw hot . . . or not.
Wrapping my fingers around his wrist, I led his hand around me and up the back of my skirt to cup the undercurve of my buttock.
A smile teased the corners of his lips. “Hello to you, too, Mrs. Cross.”
He snapped the back of my garter against my thigh. I jumped at the sting and gasped as warmth spread outward from the spot.
“Hmm . . . you like that.” He smirked.
My lower lip stuck out in a pout. “It hurt.”
Gideon shifted to lean back against the counter and pulled me between his spread legs, both of his hands lightly gripping the back of my thighs. He nuzzled his nose against my temple and massaged the place that burned. “I’m sorry, angel.”
Then he snapped my garter on the other side.