I brushed my hair and teeth; then washed my face. "So...did you have a sex pad for the rare occasions some lucky bitch got you in bed?"

His gaze caught my soapy reflection in the mirror. "I've always used the hotel."

"That's the only place you've had sex? Before me?"

"The only place I've had consensual sex," he said quietly, "before you."

"Oh." My heart broke.

I walked over to him, hugging him from behind. I rubbed my cheek against his back.

We went to bed and wrapped ourselves around each other. I buried my face in his neck and breathed him in, snuggling. His body was hard, yet it was wonderfully comfortable against mine. He was so warm and strong, so powerfully male. I only had to think of him to want him.

I slid my leg over his h*ps and rose above him, my hands splayed atop the ridges of his abdomen. It was dark, I couldn't see him, but I didn't need to. As much as I loved that face of his - the one he resented at times - it was the way he touched me and murmured to me that really got to me. As if there was no one else in the world for him, nothing he wanted more.

"Gideon." I didn't need to say anything else.

Sitting up, he wrapped his arms around me and kissed me deeply. Then he rolled me beneath him and made love to me with a tender possessiveness that rocked me to the soul.

I woke with a jolt of surprise. A heavy weight crushed me and a harsh voice spit ugly, nasty words into my ear. Panic gripped me, cutting off my air.

Not again. No...Please, no...

My stepbrother's hand covered my mouth and he yanked my legs apart. I felt the hard thing between his legs poking blindly, trying to push into my body. My scream was muffled by his palm smashed over my lips and I cringed away, my heart pounding so hard I thought it would burst. Nathan was so heavy. So heavy and strong. I couldn't buck him off. I couldn't shove him away.

Stop it! Get off me. Don't touch me. Oh, God...please don't do that to me...not again...

Where was Mama? Ma-ma!

I screamed, but Nathan's hand covered my mouth. It pressed down on me, squashing my head into the pillow. The more I fought, the more excited he became. Panting like a dog, he rammed against me over and over...trying to shove himself inside me...

"You're going to know what it feels like."

I froze. I knew that voice. I knew it wasn't Nathan's.

Not a dream. Still a nightmare.

God, no. Blinking madly in the darkness, I struggled to see. The blood was roaring through my ears. I couldn't hear.

But I knew the smell of his skin. Knew his touch, even when it was cruel. Knew the feel of his body on mine, even as it tried to invade me.

Gideon's erection battered into the crease of my thigh. Panicked, I heaved upward with all my strength. His hand on my face dislodged.

Sucking air into my lungs, I screamed.

His chest heaved as he growled, "Not so neat and tidy when you're the one getting f**ked."

"Crossfire," I gasped.

A flash of light from the hallway blinded me, followed by the blessed removal of Gideon's smothering weight. Rolling to my side, I sobbed, my eyes streaming tears that blurred my view of Cary shoving Gideon across the room and into the wall, denting the drywall.

"Eva! Are you okay?" Cary turned on the bedside light, cursing when he saw me curled in a fetal position, rocking violently.

When Gideon straightened, Cary rounded on him. "Move one f**king muscle before the cops get here and I'll beat you to a bloody pulp!"

Swallowing past my burning throat, I pushed up to a seated position. My gaze locked with Gideon's and I watched the haze of sleep leave his eyes, replaced by a dawning horror.

"Dream," I choked out, catching Cary's arm as he reached for the phone. "He's d-dreaming."

Cary glanced at where Gideon crouched na**d on the floor like a wild animal. Cary's arm dropped back to his side. "Jesus Christ," he breathed. "And I thought I was f**ked up."

Sliding off the bed, I stood on shaky legs, sick with lingering fear. My knees gave out and Cary caught me, lowering to the floor with me and holding me as I cried.

"I'm gonna crash on the couch." Cary ran a hand through his sleep-mussed hair and leaned into the hallway wall. The door to my bedroom was open behind me and Gideon was inside, looking pale and haunted. "I'll set out some blankets and pillows for him, too. I don't think he should go home alone. He's shredded."

"Thanks, Cary." The arms I had wrapped around my middle tightened. "Is Tatiana still here?"

"Hell, no. It's not like that. We just f**k."

"What about Trey?" I asked quietly, my mind already drifting back to Gideon.

"I love Trey. I think he's the best person I've ever met aside from you." He bent forward and kissed my forehead. "And what he doesn't know won't hurt him. Stop worrying about me and take care of you."

I looked up at him, my eyes swimming in tears. "I don't know what to do."

Cary sighed, his green eyes dark and serious. "I think you need to decide if you're in over your head, baby girl. Some people can't be fixed. Look at me. I've got a great guy and I'm giving it to a girl I can't stand."

"Cary..." Reaching out, I touched his shoulder.

He caught my hand and squeezed it. "I'm here if you need me."

Gideon was zipping up his duffel bag when I returned to my room. He looked at me and fear slithered in my gut. Not for me, but for him. I'd never seen anyone look so desolate, so utterly broken. The bleakness in his beautiful eyes frightened me. There was no life in him. He was gray as death with deep shadows in all the angles and planes of his breathtaking face.

"What are you doing?" I whispered.

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