"Eva." His fingers caressed the length of my silk-clad arm. "I can't stand you being unhappy. Talk to me."

"I don't know what to say. I thought we were finally coming to a point where things would smooth out between us." I hugged the pillow tighter.

"Don't tense up, Eva. It hurts when you pull away from me."

I felt like he was pushing me away.

Rolling, I shoved him to his back; then I mounted him, my robe parting as I straddled his hips. I ran the palms of my hands over his powerful chest and raked the tanned flesh with my nails. My h*ps undulated over him, stroking my bare cleft over his cock. Through the thin silk of his pants, I could feel every ridge and thick vein. From the way his eyes darkened and his sculpted mouth parted on quickened breaths, I knew he could feel the outline and damp heat of me as well.

"Is this so awful for you?" I asked, rocking my hips. "Are you lying there thinking you're not giving me what I want because I'm in charge?"

Gideon set his hands on my thighs. Even that innocuous touch seemed dominating.

The edginess and sharpened focus I'd detected not long ago abruptly made sense to me - he wasn't restraining his force of will anymore.

The tremendous power coiled inside him was now directed at me like a blast of heat.

"I've told you before," he said huskily. "I'll take you however I can get you."

"Whatever. Don't think I don't know you're topping from the bottom."

His mouth curved with unapologetic amusement.

Sliding down, I teased the flat disk of his nipple with the tip of my tongue. I blanketed him as he'd done to me in the past, stretching my body over his h*ps and legs, my hands shoving beneath his gorgeous ass to squeeze the firm flesh and hold him tight against me. His c**k was a thick column against my belly, renewing my fierce appetite for him.

"Are you going to punish me with pleasure?" he asked quietly. "Because you can. You can bring me to my knees, Eva."

My forehead dropped to his chest and the air left my lungs in an audible rush. "I wish."

"Please don't be so worried. We'll get through this along with everything else."

"You're so positive you're right." My gaze narrowed. "You're trying to prove a point."

"And you might prove yours." Gideon licked his lower lip and my sex clenched in silent demand.

There was a brilliant depth of emotion in his eyes. Whatever else was going on in our relationship, there was no doubt we were seriously twisted up over each other.

And I was about to demonstrate that in the flesh.

Gideon's neck arched as my mouth moved over his torso. "Oh, Eva."

"Your world's about to be rocked, Mr. Cross."

It was. I made sure of it.

Feeling goofy with feminine triumph, I sat at Gideon's dining table and remembered him as he'd been just a short time ago - damp with sweat and panting, cursing as I took my time savoring his luscious body.

He swallowed a bite of his steak, which had been kept hot courtesy of a warming drawer, and said calmly, "You're insatiable."

"Well, duh. You're gorgeous, sexy, and very well-hung."

"I'm glad you approve. I'm also extremely wealthy."

I waved one hand carelessly, encompassing the whole of what had to be a fifty-million-dollar apartment. "Who cares about that?"

"Well, I do, actually." His mouth curved.

I stabbed my fork into a German fried potato, thinking that Peter Luger food was almost as good as sex. Almost. "I'm interested in your money only if it means you can afford to stop working in favor of lounging around na**d as my sex slave."

"I could afford to financially, yes. But you'd get bored and dump me, then where would I be?" His look was warmly amused. "Think you proved your point, do you?"

I chewed, and then said, "Should I prove it again?"

"The fact that you're still horny enough to want to proves my point."

"Hmm." I drank my wine. "Are you projecting?"

He shot me a look and casually chewed another bite of the tenderest steak I'd ever had.

Restless and worried, I took a deep breath and asked, "Would you tell me if our sex life didn't satisfy you?"

"Don't be ridiculous, Eva."

What else could have prompted him to bring this up after our four-day breakup? "I'm sure it doesn't help that I'm not the type you usually go for. And we haven't used any of those toys you had in the hotel - "

"Stop talking."

"Excuse me?"

Gideon set his utensils down. "I'm not going to listen to you shred your self-esteem."

"What? You're the only one who gets to do all the talking?"

"You can pick a fight with me, Eva, but it's still not going to get you f**ked."

"Who said - " I shut up when he glared. He was right. I still wanted him. I wanted him on top of me, explosively lustful, completely in control of both my pleasure and his.

Pushing away from the table, he said curtly, "Wait here."

When he returned a moment later, he set a black leather ring box beside my plate and resumed his seat. The sight of it hit me like a physical blow. Fear struck me first, icy cold. Followed swiftly by a longing that was white-hot.

My hands shook in my lap. I clasped my fingers together and realized my whole body was shaking. Lost, I lifted my gaze to Gideon's face.

The feel of his fingertips brushing down my cheek soothed much of the vibrating anxiety inside me, leaving behind the terrible yearning.

"It's not that ring," he murmured gently. "Not yet. You're not ready."

Something inside me wilted. Then relief flooded me. It was too soon. Neither of us was ready. But if I'd ever wondered how deeply I had fallen in love with Gideon, now I knew.

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