One with You

Page 38

My best friend crossed his arms and nodded. “Me, too.”

Stepping back from the mirror, I took in the full effect. I loved what Mario had done with my hair. It fell in piecey, choppy layers around my shoulders and face. He’d heavily foiled my crown and around my face, creating an overall look of lighter hair without altering the dark gold strands underneath. Then he’d teased the roots just enough to give me some sexy volume.

My weekend tan only made my hair look lighter. I’d gone a little wild with a smoky-eye look, using grays and blacks to play up my gray irises. To balance that, I’d kept the rest of my makeup neutral, including my lips, which were glossed in a nude tint. When I juxtaposed my reflection with the image of Gideon in my mind, I saw just the result I was looking for.

My husband was the definition of tall, dark, and gorgeous. His hair was pure black, as dark as ink and just as lustrous. He wore dark colors more often than not, which focused attention on the chiseled planes of his face and the striking color of his eyes. I’d pulled off being a complementary opposite. The yang to his yin.

Bam. I looked good.

“Whoa. Hotness.” Cary raked me with an appreciative glance as I rushed through the living room. “What kind of lunch is this that you’re going to?”

I glanced at my phone, cursing silently to see that ten minutes had passed since Raúl texted that he was waiting downstairs. “I don’t know. Something to do with business, Gideon said.”

“Well, you’re spectacular arm candy.”

“Thanks.” But I wanted to be more than that. I wanted to be a weapon in Gideon’s arsenal. I’d have to earn it, though, and I relished the challenge. If I could manage to contribute something—anything—to the conversation today, I’d be happy. If I was out of my depth, though, I could at least make him proud to be seen with me.

“He’s going to be hobbled by his blue balls by the time the wedding comes around,” he called after me. “You can only prime a pump so many times before it has to blow.”

“Gross, Cary.” I opened the front door. “I’ll text you the numbers of the designer and wedding planner. And I’ll be back in a couple hours.”

I was lucky to catch the elevator without a wait. When I stepped out onto the sidewalk outside the lobby and Raúl climbed out from behind the wheel of the Benz, I knew I was on the right track when he gave me the once-over. He kept it professional, but I could tell he liked what he saw.

“Sorry I lagged,” I told him as he opened the rear door for me. “I wasn’t quite ready when you texted.”

There was almost a hint of a smile on his stern face. “I don’t think he’ll mind.”

During the ride, I texted Cary the phone numbers of Blaire Ash, the interior designer working on the penthouse renovations, and Kristin Washington, the wedding planner, and asked him to arrange meetings with them. By the time I was done and glanced out the window, I realized we weren’t headed to the Crossfire.

When we arrived at Tableau One, I wasn’t totally surprised. The popular restaurant was a co-venture between Gideon and his friend Arnoldo Ricci. Arnoldo had been unknown when Gideon discovered him in Italy. Now, he was a celebrity chef.

As Raúl pulled into the valet area, I scooted forward in the seat. “Could you do me a favor while we’re having lunch?”

He turned his head to look at me.

“Can you find out where Anne Lucas is right now? Today’s as good a day as any for me to rattle her.” I was dressed to impress. Might as well get as much mileage out of that as possible.

“It’s possible,” he said carefully. “I’ll have to discuss it with Mr. Cross.”

I almost backed off. Then I remembered that Raúl technically worked for me, too. If I wanted to step up my game, wasn’t it best to start at home? “No, I have to. And I will. Just find her for me. I’ll take care of the rest.”

“All right.” He still sounded reluctant. “You ready? They’re going to take your picture as soon as they see you.” He jerked his chin forward and I followed the gesture to where a half-dozen paparazzi stood outside the entrance.

“Oh boy.” I took a deep breath. “Got it.”

Raúl got out and rounded the car to open my door. The moment I straightened, camera flashes lit up the already bright day. I kept my face straight and walked briskly into the restaurant.

The place was packed and buzzing with the multitude of loud conversations taking place. Still, I found Gideon almost immediately. He spotted me, too. Whatever he’d been saying before I arrived died on his lips.

The hostess said something to me, but I didn’t hear her. I was too focused on Gideon, whose stunning face took my breath away—as it always did—but gave me no clue to his thoughts.

Tip: You can use left and right keyboard keys to browse between pages.