Her smile faded but her eyes lit up, putting me further on edge. “That’s a shame. I thought we might go together.”
I still couldn’t get a read on her, which was driving me a little nuts. She’d seemed nice enough when I met her the first time, but then she had been quiet, letting her husband and the rest of the LanCorp team do all the talking. Would she say outright that her husband had a hatred for mine? Neither she nor Landon had given me any clue there was animosity with Gideon. But then again, it wasn’t something that would come up during a request-for-proposal meeting.
Or maybe she didn’t know …? Maybe Landon’s drive for vengeance was something he kept to himself.
“Not this time,” I said. I deliberately kept the door open because I might be able to use it. She could be as clueless and innocuous as she seemed or she could be more cunning. Either way, I wouldn’t be making friends with anyone whose husband wished Gideon harm, but Keep your enemies closer was an adage for a reason.
She dried her hands quickly and walked with me the rest of the way to the exit. “Maybe some other time.”
After the relative quiet of the bathroom, the restaurant was boisterous and noisy, filled with the sounds of voices and clinking silverware atop background music.
We’d just stepped out of the hallway into the main dining room when Ryan Landon climbed out of his booth and stood in front of us. There really wasn’t a bad seat in the house, but Landon’s wasn’t great. Had Gideon known he would be dining at Tableau One? I wouldn’t be surprised. After all, my husband had once tracked me down via a credit card I used at one of his nightclubs.
Landon was tall, though not as tall as Gideon. Six feet, maybe, with wavy brown hair and eyes the color of amber. He was alpha-fit and attractive, with an easy smile and quick laugh. I’d found him charming when I met him and attentive to his wife.
“Eva,” he said in greeting, his gaze briefly sliding past me to where his wife stood at my back. “What a pleasant surprise.”
“Hello, Ryan.” I wished I could’ve caught the look that passed between them. If they were colluding against me, I really needed to know.
“I was just talking about you earlier today. Heard that you’ve left Waters Field and Leaman.”
The warning tingles that hit me in the bathroom intensified. I wasn’t prepared to play these dangerous social games. Gideon had the skill to take on anyone—hell, he ruled the playing field—but I didn’t. It took a lot of effort not to look over and see if he was watching us.
On new ground, I winged it. “I miss it already, but then Gideon and I are attached to Mark.”
“Yes, I’ve heard great things about him.”
“He really knows his stuff. It was while Mark was working on the Kingsman Vodka campaign that I met Gideon.”
Landon’s brows shot up. “I wouldn’t have guessed that.”
I smiled. “You’re in great hands. Mark is the best. I’d be more sad about leaving if I didn’t know that we’ll be working with him again.”
He visibly regrouped. “Well … We’ve decided to let LanCorp’s in-house team run with it. They really felt like they could knock it out of the park and since that’s what I hired them to do, I figured I better let them do it.”
“Ah. I look forward to seeing what they come up with.” I took a step away. “It was great seeing you both again. Enjoy your lunch.”
They wished me good-bye and I turned toward my table, noting that Gideon was deep in conversation with the board members. I thought he wasn’t aware of me approaching, but he stood just before I reached the table without even looking.
We said farewell and left the restaurant, with Gideon’s hand at the small of my back. I loved when he touched me there, the pressure steady and guiding. Possessive.
Angus waited at the curb with the Bentley. So did the paparazzi, who took the opportunity to get plenty of shots of us. It was a relief to settle in the backseat and blend into traffic.
The rough timbre of Gideon’s voice sent goose bumps racing across my skin. I glanced at him, saw the fire in his eyes. Then his hands were cupping my face and his lips were slanting across mine. I gasped, startled by his sudden hunger. His tongue stroked deep into my mouth, stirring the need for him that always simmered in my blood.
“You’re beautiful,” he said, his hands pushing into my hair. “You’re always changing. I never know who I’m going to have from one day to the next.”
I laughed, leaning into him and kissing him back with everything I had. I adored the feel of his mouth, the sensual lines softened from their usual sternness when he surrendered to me, making him even more gorgeous. “Gotta keep you on your toes, ace.”
Gideon pulled me into his lap, his hands sliding all over me. “I want you.”