“But you won’t. I miss you.”
My breath caught. He tossed that out there nonchalantly, the way some men would say I’ll call you. But Gideon wasn’t the type of man to say anything he didn’t mean.
Still, I craved to feel the emotion behind the words. “You’re too busy to miss me.”
“It’s not the same,” he said. There was a pause. “It doesn’t feel right not having you here in the Crossfire.”
I was glad he couldn’t see me smile. There was an unmistakable trace of perplexity in his voice. It shouldn’t make a difference to him that I wasn’t working floors below his office, where he couldn’t see me. But it did.
“What are you wearing?” I asked.
“Duh. A three-piece suit?”
“Is there any other kind?”
Not for him, there wasn’t. “What color?”
“It makes me hot thinking about it.” Which was true, but not why I was asking. “What color tie?”
Closing my eyes, I pictured him. I remembered that combination. “Pinstripes.”
He’d go with a pinstriped suit to keep the business look with that shirt and tie combination.
“Yes. Eva …” His voice lowered. “I have no idea why this conversation is making me hard, but it is.”
“Because you know I’m seeing you in my head. All dark and dangerous and sexy as hell. You know how much it turns me on to look at you, even if it’s only by memory.”
“Meet me here. Early. Come now.”
I laughed. “Good things come to those who wait, Mr. Cross. I’ll be cutting it close as it is.”
“I love you.” I hung up and faced myself squarely in the mirror. With the picture of Gideon freshly in my mind, I found the sleepy mess looking back at me totally insufficient. I’d changed my look when I’d thought Gideon had left me for Corinne. I had dubbed the result “New Eva.” In the time since, my hair had grown past its former shoulder length and my highlights had grown out with it.
“You decent?” Cary called from the bedroom.
“Yes.” I faced him when he strolled into the bathroom with my coffee in hand. “Change of plan.”
“Oh?” He leaned into the counter and crossed his arms.
“I’m hopping in the shower. You’re going to find me a fabulous hair salon that can fit me in about thirty minutes from now.”
“Then I’m going to lunch and you’re going to make a few calls for me. In return, I’m taking you out to dinner tonight. You pick the place.”
“I know that look you’ve got,” he said. “You’re on a mission.”
I showered quickly, since I didn’t wash my hair. Then I hurried over to my closet, having spent the time in the bathroom thinking about what I wanted to wear. It took a few minutes to locate the right dress. Bright white, with a built-in bra and fitted tulip skirt, it draped beautifully across the bust and thighs. The color and cotton fabric kept it casual, while the fit was both elegant and sexy.
It took a little longer to find the right pair of shoes. I considered nude for a long time. In the end, I went with a pair of strappy heeled sandals in aqua blue that matched Gideon’s eyes. I had a clutch that matched, and a set of opal earrings that had the same bright blue fire.
I laid it all out on the bed to make sure it worked, standing back in my bathrobe to eye the ensemble carefully.
“Nice,” Cary said, as he came up behind me.
“I bought those shoes,” I reminded him. “And the clutch and jewelry.”
He laughed and tossed an arm around my shoulders. “Yeah, yeah. Your hairstylist is here. I told the desk to send him up.”
“I can’t see you going into any old salon without making a scene. You’ll have to find someone you trust to style you in private appointments. In the meantime, Mario can rock a haircut.”
“How about color?”
“Color?” His arm dropped and he faced me. “What are you thinking?”
I caught his hand and started out of the room. “Stick with me, kid.”
Mario was a compact bundle of energy with a stylish flop of purple-tipped curls. Shorter than me and hard with muscle, he set up shop in my bathroom while gossiping with Cary about people they knew, dropping names I sometimes recognized.
“A natural blonde,” he gushed when he first got his hands on my hair. “You, my dear, are a rare breed.”
“Make me blonder,” I told him.
Taking a step back, he stroked his goatee thoughtfully. “How much blonder?”
“What’s the opposite of black?”
Mario sifted my hair through his fingers. “You’ve already got platinum highlights.”
“Let’s take it up a notch. I want to keep the length, but let’s do something edgy. More layers. A little spiky on the tips. Maybe some bangs to frame my eyes.” I sat up straighter. “I’m sassy, sexy, and smart enough to flaunt it.”
He glanced at Cary. “I like her.”