It was also Anne Lucas. Something about the way she was standing, with her face averted, spurred a familiar sickness in my gut.
I looked up at Raúl. “She wasn’t on the guest list?”
“Not officially, but she was on the red carpet, so I’m thinking she had to have been someone’s plus-one. I don’t know who her escort was yet, but I’m on it.”
Restless, I stood, shoving my chair back. “She went after Eva. You need to keep her away from my wife.”
“Angus and I are developing new protocols for event security.”
Turning, I retrieved my jacket from its hook. “You’ll tell me if you need more men.”
“I’ll let you know.” He scooped up the photos and started toward me. “She’s at her office today,” he said, accurately gauging my intention. “Was still there when I headed up to see you.”
“Good. Let’s go.”
“EXCUSE me.” The petite brunette behind the desk stood in a rush as I walked by. “You can’t go in there. Dr. Lucas is with a patient now.”
I grabbed the knob and opened the door, walking into Anne’s office without breaking stride.
Her head snapped up, her green eyes widening the instant before her red mouth curved in a satisfied smile. The woman on the couch across from her blinked at me in confusion, swallowing whatever she’d been about to say.
“I’m so sorry, Dr. Lucas,” the brunette said breathlessly. “I tried to stop him.”
Anne slithered to her feet, her eyes on me. “An impossible task, Michelle. Don’t worry, you can go.”
The receptionist backed out. Anne glanced at her patient. “We’ll have to cut today’s appointment short. I apologize for this incredibly rude interruption”—she glared at me—“and of course I won’t charge you. Please talk to Michelle about rescheduling.”
I waited in the open door as the flustered woman gathered her stuff, and then I moved aside as she stepped out.
“I could’ve called security,” Anne said, leaning back against the front of her desk and crossing her arms.
“After going to all the trouble of luring me here? You wouldn’t.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Regardless, it’s good to see you.” She dropped her arms and gripped the edge of her desk in a deliberately provocative pose, exposing her bare thigh as the slit in her blue wrap dress slid open.
“I can’t say the same.”
Her smile tightened. “Break your toys, then throw them away. Does Eva know her days are numbered?”
Unease dimmed her bright eyes and shook her smile. “Is that a threat, Gideon?”
“You’d like for it to be.” I stepped closer, watched her pupils dilate. She was becoming aroused and that revolted me as much as the smell of her perfume. “Might make your game more interesting.”
She straightened and came toward me, her h*ps swaying, her red-soled black stilettos sinking into the plush carpet.
“You like to play, too, lover,” she purred. “Tell me, have you tied up your pretty fiancée? Flogged her into a frenzy? Shoved one of your extensive array of dildos into her ass, so that it f**ked her while you pounded her pu**y for hours? Does she know you, Gideon, the way I do?”
“Hundreds of women know me the way you do, Anne. Do you think you were special? The only thing memorable about you is your husband and how it eats at him that I’ve had you.”
Her hand swung up to slap me and I didn’t stop her, taking the hit unflinchingly.
I wish what I’d said were true, but I had been particularly depraved with her, seeing ghosts of her brother in the curve of her smile, her mannerisms—
I caught her wrist when she made a grab for my cock. “Leave Eva alone. I won’t tell you twice.”
“She’s the chink in your armor, you heartless piece of shit. You’ve got ice in your veins, but she bleeds.”
“Is that a threat, Anne?” I asked, calmly tossing her words back to her.
“Absolutely.” She yanked free of my grip. “It’s time to pay, and your billions won’t cover the debt.”
“Raising the stakes with a declaration of war? Are you that stupid? Or don’t you care what this will cost you? Your career . . . your marriage . . . everything.”
I moved toward the door, my stride leisurely even as fury burned through me. I’d brought this down on Eva. I had to clean it up.
“Just watch me, Gideon,” she called after me. “See what happens.”
“Have it your way.” I paused with my hand on the doorknob. “You’ve started this, but make no mistake, the final move will be mine.”
“HAVE you had any nightmares since we last saw each other?” Dr. Petersen asked, his demeanor laid back and quietly interested, the requisite tablet in his lap.
“How often would you say you have them?”
I sat as comfortably as the easygoing doctor but was irritably restless inside. I had too much to deal with to waste an hour of my time. “Lately, once a week. Sometimes a little longer in between.”
“What do you mean by lately?”
“Since I met Eva.”
He jotted something down with his stylus. “You’re facing unfamiliar pressures as you work on your relationship with Eva, but the frequency of your nightmares is lessening—at least for now. Do you have any thoughts as to why?”