I gave chase. I caught her as she passed through the doors, grabbing her around the waist and hauling her off her feet. She struggled, growling.
I sank my teeth into her shoulder and she squealed, drawing a dozen pairs of eyes our way. Including Megumi’s as she rounded the corner at just the right moment.
“Kiss me good-bye,” I demanded.
“You don’t want my mouth anywhere near you right now!”
Tossing her up, I spun her in midair and brought her down facing me, catching her mouth in a hard kiss. It was sloppy, graceless. Our noses bumped. But the feel of her mouth under mine, her warm skin beneath my hands, was just what I needed.
She nipped my bottom lip with her teeth. She could’ve hurt me, drawn blood. Instead the bite was a gentle scold, as was the tug of my hair in her fists.
“You’re crazy,” she complained. “What the hell is the matter with you?”
“Don’t leave without kissing me good-bye.”
“Are you for real?” She glared at me. “I did kiss you.”
“The first time. Not the second or third.”
“Well, fuck me sideways,” she breathed. Tightening her grip on my neck, she pulled herself up and wrapped her legs around my waist. “Why didn’t you just ask?”
“I won’t beg.”
“You never do.” She touched my face. “You give orders. Don’t stop now.”
“The stuff you get away with when you’re the boss,” Megumi said to Scott, who sat at his desk with his gaze studiously fixed on his monitor.
Scott wisely said nothing.
Arash, however, wasn’t as circumspect. “Temporary insanity caused by prewedding jitters, right, Scott?” He came up beside me. “Diminished capacity. An epic brain fart of some kind.”
I shot him a warning look. “Shut up.”
“Be nice.” Eva kissed me lightly. “We’re going to talk about this later.”
“Your place or ours?”
She smiled, her temper gone. “Ours.”
Her legs unwound and I set her down.
I could let her go now. I still didn’t like it, but the knot in my stomach had eased. Eva was no worse for wear. Her temper always hit like a sudden storm and dissipated as swiftly, washing the slate clean.
“Hello, Megumi.” I extended my hand.
She took it, showing off glittering nude nails. Megumi was an attractive woman, with jaw-length black hair and almond-shaped eyes.
Eva’s friend and former co-worker looked stronger than she had the last time I’d seen her, which pleased me, because I knew how much my wife worried about her. I knew her only in passing prior to the sexual assault that had recently changed her life. I regretted that. The woman who stood before me now had a wounded look in her dark brown eyes and an air of bravado that betrayed vulnerability.
Experience had taught me she had a long road ahead of her. And she would never again be the person she’d been before.
I glanced at Eva. My wife had come so far, from both the girl she’d been long ago and the young woman I had first met. She was stronger now, too. I was happy to see that and wouldn’t change it for anything.
I could only pray that strength wouldn’t eventually take her away from me.
I left James Cho’s studio exactly the way I expected—with my ass handed to me. Still, I’d managed to redeem myself at the end, taking the former champion fighter down in our last sparring match.
Angus was waiting for me outside, standing beside the Bentley. He opened the door and took my duffel bag but didn’t smile. On the backseat, Lucky barked in his carrier, his excited face peering from behind the bars.
Pausing before sliding into the back, I held Angus’s gaze.
“I have some information,” he said grimly.
Considering the search for Hugh’s files, I’d been braced for bad news. “We’ll talk when we get to the penthouse.”
“Your office would be better.”
“All right.” I slid into the back, frowning. Either location was private. I’d suggested home so that Eva could be with me, supporting me, when he relayed whatever information he had. Angus’s preference for the office could only mean he didn’t want Eva nearby.
What would he have to tell me that was best kept from my wife?
Lucky pawed at the carrier door, whining softly. Absently, I opened it and he tumbled out, climbing into my lap and rearing up to lick my jaw.
“Okay, okay.” I held him so he wouldn’t fall in his frenzy, tilting my head back to avoid getting licked on the mouth. “It’s nice to see you, too.”
Rubbing his warm, soft body with one hand, I looked out at the city as we drove through it. New York was an entirely different landscape at night, a fusion of dark alleys and twinkling high-rises, garish neon storefronts and intimate sidewalk dining.