His hand slid through my hair to my nape. “Angel.” His forehead touched mine.

I caressed his back, feeling the warm hard muscle beneath his shirt. “Grieve if you have to, but don’t close up and blame yourself. I won’t let you.”


“No, you won’t.” He nudged my head back and kissed the tip of my nose. “Thank you.”

“You don’t have to thank me for anything.”

“You were right. I needed to get it out and confront her. I never would have, if not for you.”

“You don’t know that.”

Gideon looked at me with such love, my breath caught. “Yes, I do.”

His smartphone chimed with an incoming text. He pressed his lips to my forehead, then moved to the dresser to read the message. “Raúl’s on his way with Cary.”

“I better get dressed, then. I need you to fasten me up.”

“Always my pleasure.”

Pulling the gown off its hanger, I stepped into it and slid my arms into the heavily beaded straps. My husband made quick work of the hook-and-eye fastening that rested just above the small of my back. I watched in the full-length mirror, biting my lower lip as the bodice tightened and settled into place where I’d thought it would. The neckline plunged to a spot halfway between my cleavage and my navel.

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It was outrageously sexy, the kind of revealing style smaller-breasted women pulled off easily. On me, it was risqué, although the rest of the gown covered everything except my back and arms. I’d decided against jewelry to tone down the effect as much as I could. Still, it was a beautiful dress and we were a young couple. We could pull it off.

Gideon’s gaze met mine in the mirror. I gave him my best innocent look and waited for him to see how much of my assets he’d put on display.

The storm started brewing with a faint line between his brows. That quickly progressed into a full-on scowl. He tugged at the straps from the back.

“Is there a problem?” I asked sweetly.

His gaze narrowed. Reaching around with both hands, he slid his fingers into my cleavage and tried pushing my breasts apart to hide the curves beneath the thick straps.

I hummed and leaned against him.

Taking my shoulders, he straightened me up so he could study the fit. “It didn’t look like that in the photo.”

Deliberately misunderstanding him, I told him, “I haven’t put my heels on yet. It won’t drag on the ground when I do.”

“I’m not worried about the bottom,” he said tightly. “We need to put something in that middle part.”

“Why would we do that?”

“You know damned well why.” He prowled over to the dresser and yanked a drawer open. A moment later, he came back and thrust a white handkerchief toward me. “Put that in there.”

I laughed. “Oh my God. You’re kidding.”

But he wasn’t. Reaching around from behind me, he shoved the unfolded cloth into my bodice, tucking it into either side.

“No,” I told him crossly. “That looks ridiculous.”

When his hands fell away, I gave him a second to see how stupid it looked. “Forget it. I’ll wear something else.”

“Yeah,” he agreed, nodding and shoving his hands in his pockets.

I tugged the handkerchief out.

“Something like this,” he murmured.

Sparks of fire shot out of his hands as he reached over my head and wrapped a dazzling diamond choker around my neck. At least two inches wide, it hugged the base of my throat and glittered as if lit from within.

“Gideon.” I touched it with trembling fingers as he fastened it securely. “It’s … gorgeous.”

His arms wrapped around my waist, his lips touching my temple. “You’re gorgeous. The necklace is just pretty.”

I turned in his embrace and looked up at him. “Thank you.”

The quick flash of his smile made my toes curl into the carpet.

Smiling back, I said, “I thought you were serious about my boobs.”

“Angel, I take your tits very seriously. So tonight, when someone ogles them, they’ll realize you’re much too expensive and they couldn’t possibly afford you.”

I smacked his shoulder. “Shut up.”

He grabbed my hand and pulled me to the dresser. He reached into the open drawer and pulled out a diamond cuff. I watched, stunned, as he slid it around my wrist. That was followed by a velvet box, which he opened to show me the diamond teardrop earrings inside. “You should put these on yourself.”

I gaped at them, then at him.

Gideon just smiled. “You’re priceless. The necklace alone wasn’t going to get the message across.”

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