As my pulse began to race, I felt Eva stiffen. She’d said as much to me before, but I knew hearing it from a shrink would validate that worry for her. I pulled her closer, breathing her in to calm myself. The hatred I felt for Hugh and Nathan in that moment was vicious. They were both dead and buried, but they were still fucking up our lives.

“We’re not going to let them win,” Eva whispered.


I pressed a kiss to the top of her head, fiercely grateful for her. Her thoughts were like mine and that filled me with a sense of wonder.

Her head tilted back, her fingertips drifting along my jaw, her gray eyes soft and tender. “I can’t hold out against you, you know. It hurts too much to stay away. Just because you cross the battle lines first doesn’t mean I’m less invested. It just means I’m more stubborn.”

“I don’t want to fight with you.”

“So let’s not,” she said simply. “We started something new today—you talking, me quitting. Let’s stick with it for a while and see where it takes us.”

“I can do that.”

I’d originally planned to take Eva someplace quiet and tucked away for dinner, but I changed the venue to the Crosby Street Hotel instead. The restaurant was popular and the hotel was known to often have paparazzi nearby. I wasn’t prepared to go to any extremes, but as we’d discussed with Dr. Petersen, I was open to meeting her halfway. We would find our middle ground.

“How pretty,” she said, as we followed the hostess to our seats, her gaze taking in the pale blue walls and subdued pendant lighting.

When we reached our table, I scanned the space as I pulled the chair out for her. She was attracting attention, as she always did. Eva was a stunner by any measure, but her sex appeal was something you had to witness firsthand. It was there in the way she moved, the way she carried herself, in the curve of her smile.

And she was mine. The glance I spared the other diners made that patently clear.

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I took the seat opposite her, admiring the way the light of the candle on the table gilded her golden skin and hair. The gloss on her lips invited long, deep kisses, as did the look in her eyes. No one had ever looked at me the way she did, with total acceptance and understanding blended in with the love and desire.

I could tell her anything and she would believe me. Such a simple gift, but so rare and precious. Only my silence could push her away, never the truth.

“Angel.” I took her hand. “I’m going to ask you again, and then I’ll let it go. Are you sure you want to quit your job? You won’t hold it against me twenty years from now? There’s nothing we can’t fix or undo, if you just say the word.”

“Twenty years from now, you might be working for me, ace.” Her husky laugh floated through the air and stirred my hunger for her. “Don’t worry, okay? It was actually kind of a relief. I’ve got a lot on my plate: packing, moving, planning. When that’s all behind us, I’ll figure out what’s next.”

I knew her well. If she’d had doubts, I would have sensed them. What I picked up on instead was something different. Something new.

There was a fire inside her.

I couldn’t take my eyes off her, even as I ordered wine.

After the server walked away, I lounged back, enjoying the simple pleasure of staring at my gorgeous wife.

Eva wet her lips with a teasing swipe of her tongue and leaned forward. “You are so insanely hot.”

My mouth quirked. “Am I now?”

Her calf rubbed mine. “You are—by far—the hottest man in the room, which makes this really fun. I like showing you off.”

I gave an exaggerated sigh. “You still just want me for my body.”

“Totally. Who cares about your billions? You’ve got better assets.”

I trapped her wandering leg between my ankles. “Like my wife. She’s the most valuable thing I own.”

Her brows rose with amusement. “Own, huh?”

She smiled at the server when he returned with our bottle. As he poured, Eva’s foot drifted up to tease me, her eyes heavy-lidded and hot. I pushed the glass toward her, watched her swirl the dark red wine, lift the glass to her nose, then take a swallow. The hum of pleasure she made as she approved my choice sent a surge of heat through me, which was certainly her intent. The slow stroking along my leg was maddening. I grew harder by the minute, already more than primed by days of deprivation.

I hadn’t known sex could quench a deeper thirst, until Eva.

Taking a sip out of my freshly poured glass, I waited until the server walked away. “Have you changed your mind about waiting?”

“No. Just keeping things interesting.”