“Umm . . .”
I looked at her again and found her blushing.
“I’m sore,” she said, inserting a coffee pod into the machine. “Deep inside.”
I grinned. The swing had positioned her perfectly, allowing for optimal penetration. I’d never been as deep in her before. I had been thinking about it all morning and decided that I would be speaking to Ash about his plans for the renovations. One of the bedrooms would need to have two closets—one for clothes, the other for the swing.
“Jeez,” she muttered, “Look at that cocky smirk. Men are pigs.”
“And here I am, slaving over a hot stove for you.”
“Yeah, yeah.” She swatted my ass as she passed me with a steaming cup of coffee in hand.
I caught her by the waist before she got too far, giving her a quick hard kiss on the cheek. “You were amazing last night.”
I’d felt something click into place between us so strongly that the change had been as tangible as the rings I wore on my fingers, and I cherished it as dearly.
She flashed me a dazzling smile, then opened the fridge to pull out the carton of half-and-half. While she took care of that, I plated the finished French toast.
“I’ve been wanting to talk to you about something,” she said, joining me at the island and wriggling onto a bar stool.
My brows lifted. “Okay.”
“I’d like to become involved with the Crossroads Foundation—financially and administratively.”
“That could encompass a lot of things, angel. Tell me what you have in mind.”
Shrugging, she picked up her fork. “I’ve been thinking about the settlement money I got from Nathan’s dad. It’s just sitting in the bank, and after what Megumi has been through . . . I’ve realized that I need to put that money to work and I don’t want to wait. I’d like to help fund the programs offered by Crossroads and help brainstorm ways to expand them.”
I smiled inwardly, pleased to see her moving in the right direction. “All right. We’ll work something out.”
“Yeah?” She brightened like the sun, the shining light in my world.
“Of course. I’d like to commit more time to it, too.”
“We can work together!” She bounced up and down. “I’m excited about this, Gideon.”
I let the smile show. “I can tell.”
“It just feels like a natural progression for us. An extension of us, really.” She cut into her food and forked a bite to her mouth. She hummed her appreciation. “Yummy,” she mumbled.
“I’m glad you like it.”
“You’re hot and you can cook. I’m a lucky girl.”
I decided not to tell her I’d just downloaded the recipe that morning. Instead, I considered what she’d said.
Had I made a tactical error by moving too quickly with Mark? It was possible that if I’d left it alone just a little longer, Eva might have come around to working at Cross Industries on her own.
But did I have the luxury of giving her more time with Landon closing in? Even now, I didn’t think so.
Seeking to mitigate any possible fallout, I debated the merits of broaching the topic of Mark’s move to Cross Industries now versus later. Eva had opened the door by talking about us working together. If I didn’t walk through it, I ran the risk of her finding out another way.
I had taken that chance on Saturday, knowing Eva and Mark were friends who talked outside work. He could’ve called her at any time, but I’d banked on him thinking it over first, discussing it with his partner, and coming to peace with leaving Waters Field & Leaman.
“I have to talk to you about something, too, angel.”
“I’m all ears.”
Shooting for nonchalance, I grabbed the maple syrup and poured some onto my plate. “I offered Mark Garrity a job.”
There was a moment of stunned silence, and then, “You did what?”
The tone of her voice confirmed that I’d been right to be up front sooner rather than later. I looked at her. She was staring at me.
“I’ve asked Mark to work for Cross Industries,” I repeated.
Her face paled. “When?”
“Friday,” she parroted. “It’s Sunday. You’re just bringing this up now?”
Since the question was rhetorical, I didn’t reply, choosing to wait for a clearer assessment of the situation before possibly making things worse.
I took the same tack I’d used with Mark—I told the parts of the truth most likely to be accepted. “He’s a solid employee. He’ll bring a lot to the team.”
“Bullshit.” The color came back into her face in an angry rush. “Don’t patronize me. You’re putting me out of a job and you didn’t think that was something you should discuss with me first?”
I switched tactics. “LanCorp asked for Mark directly, didn’t they?”
She was silent a minute. “That’s what this is about? The PhazeOne system? Are you f**king serious?”
I’d wondered what product Ryan Landon would use as an excuse to approach Eva. I was surprised he’d gone with a product so vital to his bottom line, then chastised myself for not expecting it. “You didn’t answer my question, Eva.”
“What the hell does it matter?” she snapped. “Yeah, they asked for Mark. So what? You don’t want your competitors using him? Are you trying to say this was a business decision?”