Eve looked around the modest yet neatly appointed house. “Are you sure
it’s safe to talk here?”
Julian closed the door and pocketed the key. “Yes. It’s one of many lesser known properties owned by the Cranes.”
She brushed her finger along the fireplace mantle, nary a dust particle in sight. “It’s very clean.”
“Someone comes in once a week to keep the place up.” Julian tilted his head. His eyes narrowed. “I don’t understand why you wanted to come. What, you didn’t want to incite a crowd at the park when you laid into me with both barrels?”
Eve sucked in a breath. The short drive to the house was hardly enough time to process everything he’d said. First the news about their son, and then his disclosure that he tried to kill Sheridan and is turning himself in to the authorities. This was all too much to fathom.
“You hate me. I know you do.”
She groaned. “Oh, Julian, I don’t hate you.” The self-loathing he felt was clear in his sad eyes. “Am I disappointed?” Eve released a drawn out sigh. “God yes,” she answered, “but I don’t hate you. Even all those years ago when I thought I hated you, I didn’t. I love you way too much.”
“I tried to kill my sister, Eve. Of course I couldn’t do it myself, but if the people I hired hadn’t botched the job, Sheridan would be dead, by my orders.”
“No, by Alistair’s orders. You would never come up with the idea to kill anyone, especially not your own sister. That’s not who you are.” She chuckled, lightly. “You’re a lover, not a killer.” Eve dropped her purse on the coffee table and sat on the couch in the middle of the small room. “Me, on the other hand….”
Julian joined her on the couch. “Look, even as much as Liz is a thorn in your side, I know you would never go so far as to kill her. Your family is too important to you. All of it.”
“You’re right. My family is very important to me, and in order to protect them I would do anything. And I have done many things. Things I am not proud of.”
His eyes full of questions stared back at her. “Eve?”
She had never shared this with anyone, but he was the one person she knew she could. “You remember Orville?”
“Yes, the old man with the bird statue.”
She nodded. “I set fire to his apartment.”
Julian jaw dropped. “What?”
“Yes. I would have killed him to keep those pictures of us from getting into the wrong hands. And I’ve done things I never would have because of Ivy’s blackmail. Pressure of any sort can make you do things you normally would never do. I can’t stand in judgment of you for doing something you were cornered into doing.”
“But I could have….”
Shaking her head, Eve pressed her forefinger to his lips. “I know Alistair would have never taken no for an answer, so you had no choice. What you did was wrong, Julian, there’s no getting around that, but I’ve done my share of terrible, and illegal things, too.” She gave his lips a kiss and wrapped her arms around him. “There’s no way in hell I’ll let you go to jail for this. I won’t let you do it.”
Julian tightened his arms around her. Eve could feel the burden he carried fall from his shoulders. “You’ll never what this means to me.”
Pulling back, she looked into his eyes. “I’m not being altruistic, Julian, just selfish. I have you in my life again, and I’ll do whatever it takes to keep you in it.”
He nuzzled the back of his hand against her cheek. Desire eclipsed the sadness that once filled his eyes. “Do you have any idea how much I love you?”
Eve’s heart raced, and her stomach flip-flopped. The fire he stirred deep in her belly raged out of control. “If it’s one tenth of how much I love you, I’m a very lucky woman.”
The words were barely off her tongue when Julian’s lips came crashing against hers. She opened herself to him, enjoying the feel of his tongue as it tangled with hers. His hand moved to the front of her blouse, slipping inside the V-neck opening. Finding her breasts, his nimble fingers coaxed her unpronounced tips to distended awareness. Her shirt buttons loosened, he pushed the lacy material of her bra away from her fleshy globes, exposing them to his hungry eyes. Electricity shot through her body as he took one chocolate capped mound into his mouth.
Eve’s moans mingled with his. Julian’s teeth and tongue mercilessly teased as he suckled her breasts like a newborn. She ached to be filled with him. To have him love her the way he used to.
She combed her fingers through the back of his hair, “Julian,” she managed through her cries of pleasure. He paused his delicious assault, his eyes reflecting her unspoken need; their shared need for each other. “Make love to me.”
Adhering to Eve’s bidding, Julian covered her mouth with his and they
fell against the couch…..