His hand at my lower back slid over farther, cupping my waist. “Don’t be.”

“It’s got to be frustrating for you to deal with my stubbornness.”


“You’re great in bed, and you’re not stubborn there, so …”

I laughed as he tossed my words back at me. I was happy. Spending the evening with him and Arash, watching how relaxed and easy he was with his friend, being able to move around the penthouse as if it were my home …

“I feel married,” I murmured, realizing that I hadn’t truly felt that way before. We had the rings and the vows, but those were the trappings of marriage, not the reality of it.

“You should,” he replied, with a familiar note of arrogance, “since you are and will be for the rest of your life.”

I looked at him as we settled on the sofa. “Do you?”

His gaze went to the playpen by the fireplace where Lucky slept. “Are you asking if I feel domesticated?”

“That will never happen,” I said dryly.

Gideon looked at me, searching. “Do you want me to be?”

I ran my hand down his thigh, because I couldn’t help myself. “No.”

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“Tonight … You liked having Arash here.”

I shot him a look. “You’re not jealous of your lawyer, are you? That would be ridiculous.”

“I don’t like it, either.” He scowled. “But that’s not what I meant. You like having people over.”

“Yes.” I frowned. “Don’t you?”

He looked away, his lips pursed. “It’s fine.”

I stilled. Gideon’s home was his sanctuary. Before me, he’d never brought any women here. I’d assumed he had entertained his guy friends, but maybe not …? Maybe the penthouse was where he retreated from everyone.

I reached for his hand. “I’m sorry, Gideon. I should’ve asked you first. I didn’t think about it and I should have. It’s your home—”

“Our home,” he corrected, focusing back on me. “What are you apologizing for? You have every right to do whatever you like here. You don’t have to ask me for permission for anything.”

“And you shouldn’t feel invaded in your own home.”

“Our home,” he snapped. “You need to grasp that concept, Eva. Quickly.”

I jerked back from his sudden flare of temper. “You’re mad.”

He stood and rounded the coffee table, his body vibrating with tension. “You went from feeling married to acting like you’re a guest in my house.”

“Our house,” I corrected. “Which means we share it and you have the right to say you’d rather we didn’t entertain here.”

Gideon shoved a hand through his hair, a sure sign of his increasing agitation. “I don’t give a shit about that.”

“You’re certainly acting like you do,” I said evenly.

“For fuck’s sake.” He faced me, his hands on his lean hips. “Arash is my friend. Why would I care if you cook him dinner?”

Were we circling back to jealousy? “I cooked dinner for you, and invited him to join us.”

“Fine. Whatever.”

“It doesn’t seem fine, ’cuz you’re pissed.”

“I’m not.”

“Well, I’m confused and that’s starting to make me pissed.”

His jaw tightened. He turned away, walking to the fireplace and looking at the family photos I’d placed on the mantel.

I suddenly regretted doing that. I would be the first to admit that I pushed him into change faster than I should, but I understood the need for a haven, a quiet place to let your guard down. I wanted to be that for him, wanted our home to be that for him. If I made it a place he wanted to avoid—if he ever found it easier to avoid me—then I would effectively be jeopardizing the very marriage I valued more than anything.

“Gideon. Please talk to me.” Maybe I’d made that difficult, too. “If I’ve crossed a line, you have to tell me.”

He faced me again, frowning. “What the hell are you talking about?”

“I don’t know. I don’t understand why you’re upset with me. Help me understand.”

Gideon heaved a sigh of frustration, then focused on me with the laserlike precision that had exposed every secret I’d had. “If there weren’t anyone else on earth, just you and me, I’d be okay with that. But that wouldn’t be enough for you.”

I sat back, startled. His mind was a labyrinth I would never map. “You would be okay with just me and no one else—indefinitely? No competitors to squash? No global domination to plan?” I snorted. “You’d be bored out of your mind.”

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