Entwined with You

211

1

NEW YORK CABBIES were a unique breed. Fearless to a fault, they sped and swerved through crowded streets with unnatural calm. To save my sanity, I’d learned to focus on the screen of my smartphone instead of the cars rushing by only inches away. Whenever I made the mistake of paying attention, I’d find my right foot pushing hard into the floorboard, my body instinctively trying to hit the brakes.

But for once, I didn’t need any distractions. I was sticky with sweat from an intense Krav Maga class, and my mind was spinning with thoughts of what the man I loved had done.

Gideon Cross. Just thinking of his name sent a heated flare of longing through my tightly strung body. From the moment I first saw him—saw through his stunning and impossibly gorgeous exterior to the dark and dangerous man inside—I’d felt the pull that came from finding the other half of myself. I needed him like I needed my heart to beat, and he’d put himself in great jeopardy, risking everything—for me.

The blare of a horn snapped me back to the present.

Through the windshield, I saw my roommate’s million-dollar smile flashing at me from the billboard on the side of a bus. Cary Taylor’s lips had a come-hither curve and his long, lean frame was blocking the intersection. The taxi driver was hitting his horn repeatedly, as if that would clear the way.

Not a chance. Cary wasn’t moving and neither was I. He lounged on his side, bare-chested and barefooted, his jeans unbuttoned to show both the waistband of his underwear and the sleek lines of his ripped abs. His dark brown hair was sexily mussed and his emerald eyes were bright with mischief.

I was suddenly struck with the knowledge that I would have to keep a dreadful secret from my best friend.

Cary was my touchstone, my voice of reason, my favorite shoulder to lean on—and a brother to me in every way that mattered. I hated the thought of having to hold back what Gideon had done for me.

I wanted desperately to talk about it, to get help working it out in my head, but I’d never be able to tell anyone. Even our therapist could be ethically and legally bound to break our confidence.

A burly, neon-vested traffic cop appeared and urged the bus into its lane with an authoritative white-gloved hand and a holler that meant business. He waved us through the intersection just before the light changed. I sat back, my arms around my waist, rocking.

The ride from Gideon’s Fifth Avenue penthouse to my apartment on the Upper West Side was a short one, but somehow it felt like an eternity. The information that NYPD detective Shelley Graves had shared with me just a few hours earlier had changed my life.

It had also forced me to abandon the one person I needed to be with.

I’d left Gideon alone because I couldn’t trust Graves’s motives. I couldn’t take the chance that she’d told me her suspicions just to see if I’d run to him and prove that his breakup with me was a well-crafted lie.

God. The riot of emotions I felt had my heart racing. Gideon needed me now—as much as, if not more than, I needed him—yet I’d walked away.

The desolation in his eyes as the doors to his private elevator separated us had ripped me open inside.

Gideon.

The cab turned the corner and pulled up in front of my apartment building. The night doorman opened the car door before I could tell the driver to turn around and take me back, and the sticky August air rushed