“Sam took that after one of our sets.”
I stiffened at the mention of Sam Yimara, abruptly reminded of the sex tape. I looked at Brett, my hands shaking so hard I had to put the photo down. “Do you know about . . . ?”
I couldn’t even finish the sentence. Turned out, it wasn’t necessary for me to.
Brett’s jaw tensed, his forehead and upper lip beaded with sweat from the summer heat. He nodded. “I’ve seen it.”
“Oh my God.” I recoiled from the table, my mind filled with all the possibilities of what was captured on video. I had been desperate to win Brett’s attention, with a complete lack of self-respect that shamed me now.
“Eva.” He reached for me. “It’s not what you think. Whatever Cross told you about the video, I promise it isn’t bad. A little raw sometimes, but that’s the way it was between us.”
No . . . Raw was what I had with Gideon. What I’d had with Brett was something much darker and unhealthy.
I clasped my trembling hands together. “How many people have seen it? Have you shown it to— Has the band watched it?”
He didn’t have to answer; I saw it on his face.
“Jesus.” I felt sick. “What do you want from me, Brett?”
“I want—” Shoving up his sunglasses, he rubbed at his eyes. “Hell. I want you. I want us to be together. I don’t think we’re over yet.”
“We never got started.”
“I know that’s my fault. I want you to give me a chance to fix it.”
I gaped. “I’m married!”
“He’s no good, Eva. You don’t know him like you think you do.”
My legs quivered with the urge to get up and leave. “I know he’d never show footage of us to anyone! He respects me too much.”
“The whole point was to document the rise of the band, Eva. We had to sort through it all.”
“You could’ve watched it alone first,” I said tightly, horribly aware of the people sitting not too far away. “You could’ve cut us out before the others saw it.”
“We’re not the only ones Sam got on video. The other guys had stuff, too.”
“Oh God.” I watched as he shifted restlessly. Suspicion bloomed. “And there were other girls with you,” I guessed, my nausea worsening. “What did it matter when I was just one of many.”
“It mattered.” He leaned forward. “It was different with you, Eva. I was different with you. I was just too young and full of myself to appreciate it at the time. You need to see, Eva. Then you’ll understand.”
I shook my head violently. “I don’t want to see it. Ever. Are you crazy?”
That was a lie. What was in the video? How bad was it?
“Goddamn it.” He yanked off his shades, throwing them on the table. “I didn’t want to talk about the f**king video.”
But there was a defensiveness to his posture that made me doubt him. His shoulders were high and tight, his mouth a hard line.
Whatever Cross told you . . .
He knew Gideon was aware of the tape. He had to know Gideon was fighting to keep it buried. Sam would’ve told him.
“What do you want?” I asked again. “What was so damned urgent you had to come out to New York?”
I waited for him to answer, my heart pounding. It was hot as hell and humid, but my skin felt chilled and clammy. He couldn’t tell me he loved me, not after I’d caught him with Brittany. He couldn’t warn me away from Gideon; I was already married. Brett was in Manhattan midtour, something the band had to agree with. And Vidal. Why would they do that? What would they get out of interrupting their schedule?
When Brett just sat there, his jaw working, I stood and turned blindly away, hurrying across the grass toward the nearest gate in the wrought-iron fence.
He called after me, but I kept my head down, achingly aware of the number of people in the park whose heads turned in my direction. I was making a scene, but I couldn’t stop. I left my bag behind and didn’t care.
Get away. Get somewhere safe. Get to Gideon.
The sound of my husband’s voice made me stumble. I turned my head. He rose from a chair near the piano by Bryant Park Grill. Cool and elegant, seemingly impervious to the sultry heat.
The concern in his eyes, the gentle way he enfolded me in a hug, gave me strength. He’d known this meeting with Brett wouldn’t go well. That I would be upset and needy. That I would need him.
And he was there. I didn’t know how, and I didn’t care.
My fingers dug into his back, practically clawing at him.
“Shh.” His lips brushed against my ear. “I’ve got you.”
Raúl appeared beside us with my bag in hand, his stance conveying a protectiveness that added to the shield Gideon’s body gave me. The riotous panic inside me began to ease. I wasn’t freefalling anymore. Gideon was my net, always prepared to catch me.
He led me down the steps to where the Bentley waited, with Angus standing ready to open the back door. I slid inside and Gideon joined me, his arm wrapping around me when I curled into him.
We were right back to where we’d started that morning. But in a matter of hours, everything had changed.
“I’ve got this,” he murmured. “Trust me.”
I lifted my nose to his throat. “They want to use the footage, don’t they?”