My fingers went to the lapels of my coat. I’d partially buttoned up on the cab ride over, not wanting to flash anyone by accident. Now the trench was sweltering, my skin damp with perspiration.
Gideon lunged and caught my wrists, squeezing them too hard. “Don’t.”
“You don’t think I can handle you? After all we’ve done together? All we’ve talked about and plan on doing?”
God. His entire body was straining, tense, every muscle thick and hard. And his eyes, so bright against his tanned skin, so agonized. My Dark and Dangerous.
He gripped my elbow and started walking.
“What—?” I stumbled.
He dragged me toward the elevator. “You have to go.”
“No!” I struggled, kicking off my flip-flops and digging my feet in.
“Damn it.” He rounded on me and yanked me up, facing me nose to nose. “I can’t promise to stop. If I take you too far and you safe word, I might not stop and this—us—will all go to hell!”
“Gideon! For chrissakes, don’t be afraid to want me too much!”
“I want to punish you,” he snarled, gripping my face in both hands. “You did this! You brought this on. Pushing people . . . pushing me. Look what you’ve done!”
I smelled the liquor on him then, the rich vapor of some expensive spirit. I’d never seen him truly drunk—he valued his control too much to completely dull his senses—but he was drunk now.
The first hint of wariness rippled through me.
“Yes,” I said shakily, “this is my fault. I love you too much. Will you punish me for that?”
“God.” He closed his eyes. His hot, damp forehead touched mine, nuzzling hard. His sweat coated my skin, imprinting me with the lushly masculine scent that was his alone.
I felt him soften, relaxing infinitesimally. I turned my head and pressed my lips to his feverish cheek.
He stiffened. “No.”
Gideon pulled me toward the elevator, yanking me into the foyer and kicking the scattered contents of my purse out of the way.
“Stop it!” I yelled, trying to tug my arm free.
But he wouldn’t listen. His finger stabbed at the call button. The car doors opened instantly, the private elevator always waiting to take him down. He threw me in and I stumbled into the rear wall.
Desperate, I yanked at the belt of my coat, my urgency giving me strength. I tore at the buttons, sending them rolling in every direction. The doors were closing when I spun to face him, holding the lapels of my coat wide open so he could see what I was wearing beneath.
His arm shot out, blocking the door from closing. He shoved it open. The teddy I’d worn was bloodred—our color—and had scarcely any material to it at all. Sheer mesh exposed my br**sts and sex, while bandagelike cutouts caged my waist.
“Bitch,” he hissed, stalking into the confined space, shrinking it too small. “You can’t stop pushing.”
“I’m your bitch,” I shot back, feeling the tears well and fall. It was painful to have him so angry with me, even though I understood. He needed an outlet and I’d positioned myself as the target. He’d warned me . . . tried to protect me . . . “I can take you, Gideon Cross. I can take whatever you’ve got.”
He tackled me back into the wall so hard the impact knocked the breath from me. His mouth covered mine, his tongue plunging deep. His hands squeezed my br**sts roughly, his knee pressing hard between my legs.
I arched into him, fighting to shrug off my coat. I was too hot, sweat sliding down my back and belly. Gideon wrenched the trench off, tossing it aside, his mouth sealed to mine. A moan of gratitude escaped me, my arms wrapping around his neck, my heart swelling with the relief of holding him. My fingers pushed into his hair, my grip tightening to give me leverage to crawl up him.
Gideon tore his mouth away, then my hands. “Don’t touch me.”
“Fuck you,” I snapped, too hurt to hold the words back. Just to spite him, I broke free of his grip and let my hands roam over his rock-hard shoulders and biceps.
He pushed me back, holding me to the wall with a single hand against the middle of my chest. No matter how I shoved or scratched at his steely arm, I couldn’t budge him. I could only watch as he yanked the drawstring free of his sweats.
Desire and apprehension twisted together inside me. “Gideon . . . ?”
His gaze met mine, so dark and haunted. “Can you keep your hands off me?”
“No. I don’t want to.”
With a nod, he released me, only to spin me around to face the rear of the car. Caged by his body, I had little room to maneuver.
“Don’t fight me,” he ordered, his lips to my ear.
Then he tied my wrists to the handrail.
I froze, startled that he was actually restraining me. So surprised and disbelieving that I barely struggled. It was only after I watched him knot the thin cord that I realized he was serious.
Gripping my hips, he nuzzled my hair aside and sank his teeth into my shoulder. “I say when.”
I gasped, tugging at my hands. “What are you doing?”
He didn’t answer me.
He just left.
Twisting around as much as I was able, I caught him walking into the living room just as the doors slid shut.
“Oh my God,” I breathed. “You wouldn’t.”
I couldn’t believe he’d send me away like this . . . tied up in the elevator in only lingerie. He was presently screwed up in the head, yes, but I couldn’t believe my wildly jealous husband would expose me that way, to whoever might be in the lobby, just to get rid of me.