It hurt me to have him make love to me, then leave my bed. It took something beautiful and magical and turned it into something else. And if he stayed until I slept, then woke before me to return, he would suffer from lack of sleep. As tireless as he so often seemed, he was still human. He worked hard, worked out harder, and had to deal with tons of stress day after day. Being short on sleep couldn’t become routine.

But his fears for my safety weren’t going to be dismissed in a single conversation. We would have to go step-by-step.


“Okay,” I conceded. “Let’s agree to this: Blaire will drop off his concepts and we’ll look them over together later. In the meantime, we’ll agree not to knock down any walls in the guest room. I think that’s going too far, Gideon.”

“You didn’t think so before.”

“It’s a stopgap that may become permanent and we don’t want that. I mean, you don’t want that, do you? You want to work on sleeping together, right?”

He unfolded his arms and rounded the bed, taking a seat on the edge. Taking my hand in his, he lifted it to his lips. “Yes, I want that. It kills me that I can’t give you something so basic in our marriage. And knowing you’re unhappy about it … I’m sorry, angel. I can’t tell you how much.”

Leaning forward, I cupped his cheek. “We’ll work on it. I should’ve started by talking it out. Guess I pulled a Gideon on you—act first, explain later.”

His mouth twisted ruefully. “Touché.” He gave me a quick, hard kiss. “Watch out for Blaire. He wants you.”

I sat back. “He finds me attractive,” I corrected. “And he’s a natural-born flirt.”

Gideon’s eyes took on a dangerous gleam. “Has he been hitting on you?”

“Nothing unprofessional. If he crossed a line I’d fire him myself, but I think he probably finesses all his female clients. I bet it’s good for business.” I smiled. “He cooled his jets when I told him I was getting used to your stamina and didn’t feel like I needed a separate bed for sleep anymore.”

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His brows shot up. “You didn’t.”

“I totally did. I can sleep when I’m dead, I told him. In the meantime, if my husband wants to hit it with me a half-dozen times every night and he’s as skilled as he is at doing it, who am I to complain?”

The first time we’d consulted with Blaire, I hadn’t considered what the designer would think about Gideon marrying a woman he didn’t intend to sleep with. When Blaire’s subtle flirtation registered, I realized why he might think I’d be receptive—and understood how awkward the whole situation was for my husband. Yet Gideon had never complained about how it might look to an outsider. His concern was for me, not his reputation as a world-class player.

I’d enjoyed setting Blaire straight.

I fluffed my messy hair. “I’m a blonde with big tits. Throw a giggle in there and I can usually get away with saying anything.”

“Christ.” Gideon feigned a long-suffering sigh but was clearly amused. “Is it a compulsion of yours to share the details of our sex life with everyone?”

“No.” I winked. “But it’s certainly fun.”

I didn’t go to sleep after Gideon left for work. Instead, I picked up the phone and called my trainer, Parker Smith. Since it was early, he wasn’t working yet and picked up.

“Hey, Parker. It’s Eva Tramell. How are you?”

“I’m good. You coming in today? You’re slacking lately.”

I wrinkled my nose. “I know. And yes, I’m coming in. That’s why I’m calling. I want to work on something with you.”

“Yeah? What’s on your mind?”

“We’ve gone over situational awareness and what to do if you’re cornered, how to get away. But what if I’m completely taken off guard, like when I’m sleeping?”

He absorbed that. “A hard knee shot in the balls will lay any man out. Gives you the opening you need.”

I’d done that before to Gideon, to snap him out of a vicious nightmare. I would do it again, if it came to that, but I’d prefer to break his hold and get away without hurting him. He was already hurting so much in his dreams. I didn’t want him to wake up to pain, too.

“But what if … How would you knee someone when they’re lying on top of you?”

“We can work it out. Choreograph some different scenarios.” He paused. “Everything all right?”

“Everything’s great,” I assured him, and then I lied. “It just came up on a TV show I was watching last night and I realized that no matter how prepared you are, you can’t be situationally aware when you’re sleeping.”

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