Gideon was still tense, but he was listening attentively.

“In many cases,” the doctor continued, “the abuser works hard to isolate the victim to help conceal their crime and make the victim dependent. The victims themselves very often withdraw from friends and family. Everyone else’s lives seem so ordinary and the troubles of others so insignificant next to the terrible secret they feel forced to hide.”


I slid back into place against Gideon’s side, pulling my knees up to hug him with the whole of my body. His arm came tight around me once more, his other hand reaching for mine.

Dr. Petersen’s face softened as he watched us. “That deep loneliness was alleviated when you both opened up to each other, but being starved of true intimacy for so long leaves a mark. I urge you to consider alternative ways to achieve the closeness you crave, Eva. Create signals and rituals that are unique to your relationship, that don’t threaten either one of you and bring you both a sense of connection.”

Sighing, I nodded.

“We’ll work on it,” he said. “And your nightmares, Gideon, are likely to continue to lessen in quantity and severity as we do. But this is just the beginning. We’ve taken some first steps in a long journey.”

Tilting my head back, I looked up at Gideon. “A lifetime,” I vowed.

Gideon touched my cheek with gentle fingers. He didn’t say the words, but I saw them in his gaze, felt them in his caress.

We had love. The rest would come.


“I’ve been communicating with Benjamin Clancy,” Raúl said, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees. “You and Mrs. Cross will be heading toward the airport at the same time, so you can travel together, if you like.”

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“Of course.” I needed that time with Eva before we went our separate ways. The hours in the workday were too long to be away from her. A weekend was going to be torture. “I’ll call her and let her know we’ll be picking her up. We’ll need the limo.”

A professional to the core, Raúl showed no reaction. It would make more sense to use the limo for Eva’s friends, instead of us, but neither the Bentley nor the Benz offered the privacy I required.

Sitting on the couch in my office, I faced both Angus and Raúl, who’d settled into the two club chairs. We’d decided that Angus should stay behind while Raúl headed the security team accompanying me to Brazil.

Angus would be heading to Austin to dig into the background of Lauren Kittrie.

Raúl nodded his understanding. “We’ll make separate transportation arrangements for her friends and yours.”

“How is Eva getting to Ibiza?”

“Private jet,” he replied, “chartered by Richard Stanton. I suggested they stay at the Hotel Vientos Cruzados Ibiza and Clancy agreed. It took some doing, as the resort is fully booked for the summer season, but the property manager was able to make it happen. They’ve stepped up security in anticipation of Mrs. Cross’s arrival.”

“Good.” Having Eva stay in a Cross Industries resort gave me added peace of mind. We had two well-known nightclubs in Ibiza as well, one in Ibiza Town and one in Sant Antoni. I knew without asking that both had been pointed out to Clancy in advance. I expected he’d use the information. He was a smart man and would appreciate the added support provided by their security and staff.

“As we discussed previously,” he went on, “we’ll have our own team in place at the airport, and they’ll follow Mrs. Cross over the weekend. They’ve been instructed to stay in plainclothes and blend in, providing backup for Clancy’s team and interceding only when absolutely necessary.”

I nodded. Clancy was good, but he had both Monica and Eva under his watch, and they considered Cary family, so Clancy would be watching him closely, too. His focus would be divided three ways, with Monica taking precedence as the wife of his employer. Eva wasn’t the priority for anyone else that she was for me. I wanted dedicated eyes on her every moment she was out of the hotel.

Thank God this weekend was a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Raúl stood. “I’ll touch base with Clancy to discuss the protocol for getting to the airport.”

“Thanks, Raúl.”

With a nod, he left.

Angus rose to his feet. “I’ll be hieing off to take Lucky to your sister. She’s texting me every hour to see if I’ve left yet.”

That almost made me smile. Ireland had been excited when I asked if she would watch the dog for me. I figured Lucky would like that better than boarding, and Ireland could use a distraction from our mother’s depression over the divorce.

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