"Just a kiss for now," I murmured, bending forward to take his mouth. With my hands on his shoulders for balance, I licked across his parted lips; then slipped inside and teased him with gentleness.

Groaning, he deepened the kiss, eating at my mouth in a way that made me achy and wet.

"One day soon," I repeated against his lips, "I'm going to kneel beneath this desk and suck you off. Maybe while you're on the phone playing with your millions like Monopoly. You, Mr. Cross, will pass Go and collect your two hundred dollars."

His mouth curved against mine. "I can see how this is going to go. You're going to make me lose my mind coming everywhere I can in your tight, sexy body."

"Are you complaining?"

"Angel, I'm salivating."

I was bemused by the endearment, although I liked its sweetness. "Angel?"

He hummed a soft assent and kissed me.

I couldn't believe what a difference an hour made. I left Gideon's office in a completely different frame of mind than when I'd entered it. The feel of his hand at the small of my back made my body hum with anticipation rather than the misery I'd felt on the way in.

I waved bye to Scott and smiled brightly at the unsmiling receptionist.

"I don't think she likes me," I told Gideon, as we waited for the elevator.


"Your receptionist."

He glanced over that way and the redhead beamed at him.

"Well," I murmured. "She likes you."

"I guarantee her paychecks."

My mouth curved. "Yes, I'm sure that's what it is. It couldn't possibly have anything to do with you being the sexiest man alive."

"Am I now?" He caged me to the wall and burned me with a searing gaze.

I set my hands against his abdomen, licking my lower lip when I felt the hard ridges of muscle tighten under my touch. "Just an observation."

"I like you." With his palms pressed flat to the wall on either side of my head, he lowered his mouth to mine and kissed me softly.

"I like you back. You do realize you're at work, don't you?"

"What good is being the boss if you can't do what you want?"


When a car arrived, I ducked under Gideon's arm and slid into it. He prowled in after me; then circled me like a predator, sliding up behind me to pull me back against him. His hands pushed into my front pockets and splayed against my hipbones, keeping me tucked close. The warmth of his touch so close to where I ached for him was a special brand of torture. In retaliation, I wriggled my butt against him and smiled when he hissed out a breath and hardened.

"Behave," he admonished gruffly. "I have a meeting in fifteen minutes."

"Will you think of me while you're sitting at your desk?"

"Undoubtedly. You'll definitely think about me while you're sitting at yours. That's an order, Miss Tramell."

My head fell back against his chest, loving the bite of command in his voice. "I don't see how I couldn't, Mr. Cross, considering how I think of you everywhere else I go."

He stepped out with me when we reached the twentieth floor. "Thank you for lunch."

"I think that's my line." I backed away. "See you later, Dark and Dangerous."

His brows rose at my nickname for him. "Five o'clock. Don't make me wait."

One of the cars in the left bank of elevators arrived. Megumi stepped out and Gideon stepped in, his gaze locked with mine until the doors closed.

"Whew," she said. "You scored. I'm pea green with envy."

I couldn't think of anything to say to that. It was all still too new and I was afraid to jinx it. In the back of my mind, I knew these feelings of happiness couldn't last. Everything was going too well.

I rushed to my desk and got to work.

"Eva." I looked up to see Mark standing in the threshold of his office. "Could I talk to you a minute?"

"Of course." I grabbed my tablet, even though his grim face and tone warned me they might not be needed. When Mark shut the door behind me, my apprehension increased. "Is everything all right?"

"Yes." He waited until I was seated; then took the chair beside me rather than the one behind his desk. "I don't know how to say this..."

"Just say it. I'll figure it out."

He looked at me with compassionate eyes and a cringe of embarrassment. "It's not my place to interfere. I'm just your boss and there's a line that comes with that, but I'm going to cross it because I like you, Eva, and I want you to work here for a long time."

My stomach tightened. "That's great. I really love my job."

"Good. Good, I'm glad." He shot me a quick smile. "Just...be careful with Cross, okay?"

I blinked, startled by the direction of the conversation. "Okay."

"He's brilliant, rich, and sexy, so I understand the appeal. As much as I love Steven, I get a little flustered around Cross myself. He's just got that kind of pull." Mark talked fast and shifted with obvious embarrassment. "And I can totally see why he's interested in you. You're beautiful, smart, honest, considerate...I could go on, because you're great."

"Thanks," I said quietly, hoping I didn't look as ill as I felt. This sort of warning from a friend, and knowing that others would think of me as just another babe-of-the-week, was exactly the sort of thing that preyed on my insecurities.

"I just don't want to see you get hurt," he muttered, looking as miserable as I felt. "Part of that's selfish, I'll admit. I don't want to lose a great assistant because she doesn't want to work in a building owned by an ex."

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