Gideon Black was an obsession. He was six feet of solid muscle with blond hair, eerily gray eyes, and sexiness dripping from his pores.
Desire and pure hunger gnawed at Skylar’s insides whenever he was nearby. It was unhealthy and she didn’t care. She wanted to climb him like a mountain, make him moan her name and, most of all, she wanted to eat a fucking candy bar because it would never happen. People like Gideon didn’t happen to people like her. He was a professional fighter while she was a sometimes-workout-to-burn-off-
extra-five-pounds-in-order-to- eat-more-chocolate kind of gym member. It wasn’t that she lacked in confidence or anything like that. It was more that Gideon was extreme perfection. He was the kind of man she could never see with a girl over the age of twenty-three or one who possessed an ounce of fat on her perfect youthful body. None of those things could be used to describe Skylar.
Chances were good that Gideon would never have known that she even went to the same gym, much less glanced her way. That is, until she hit him with her car.
There weren’t many employment opportunities available for an ex-guardian angel. That was how Gideon Black ended up a professional fighter. It had been a natural progression. It was the same basic concept; train hard all day and kick ass all night. He had that covered, no problems save one, Skylar Jones.
Skylar was a thirty-four-year-old restaurant owner and a semi-regular member at Re’Vone Fitness. The reason he knew any of that was due to her snagging his attention one night. He caught her staring at a neon-green “Eat Healthy” poster near the elliptical she’d been using. Her look of pure hatred caused Gideon to let out a bark of surprised laughter. At the sound, her eyes shot in his direction and she blushed to the tips of her strawberry-blonde hair before looking away.
He’d been hooked and unable to rest until he learned every detail of her life.
However, no matter what he did, he couldn’t seem to catch her attention again. That is, until he stepped off the sidewalk and allowed her to hit him with her car. Yep, she’d noticed that.
It was eight o’clock at night and Skylar was sweating in places that couldn’t be healthy, while silently cursing whoever thought it had been a good idea to build a Frank’s Burgers in the parking lot of a gym. The smell filled the air, and she inhaled it deep into her lungs, before realizing that one sniff probably contained all the calories she just burned. That settled it. She was going through the drive-thru and getting the biggest cheeseburger they had on the menu. After all, she reasoned, she deserved it. She ran through her night’s workout routine in her mind.
“And a chocolate shake too,” she tacked on as she backed out her parking space. Keeping her eyes locked on the neon green sign of the restaurant, she pointed her car in its direction while giving little heed to the speed bumps littering the lot. A flash of movement at the corner of her vision caught her eye at the last second, and she tried slamming on the brakes, but it was too late. The sound of crunching metal was lost beneath the bang of the large figure landing on the hood of her 2004 Chevy Malibu, before sliding off again, and onto the ground. Throwing the car in park and the door open wide, Skylar shot from the car. She came to a skittering halt on her knees at the man’s side. Lying face up and staring at the sky, he blinked owlishly as if confused as to why he was seeing it.
Of all the things she should have been thinking about in that moment, the thing that pushed its way to the front of her mind was, “Of course he’s still hot even after getting hit by a two-ton piece of shit. Shit don’t stick to Gideon,” she sang out in her mind.
An inappropriate and hysterical bubble of laughter escaped past her lips and she tried coughing to cover the sound.
He groaned and moved to sit up. Throwing her hand out, she tried to stop him, but in her enthusiasm, she ended up cold cocking him between the eyes.
Another laugh burst from her chest at the stunned look on his face, and she slapped her hand over her mouth.
Gideon rubbed his forehead. “It’s a good thing I’m not a suing man, since you just hit me with your car, punched me in the face, and now you’re laughing about it.”
“I’m so sorry,” she choked out as she wrapped her arms around his shoulders, offering her support. “Should I call 911?” she asked, suddenly horrified that she’d not done that first. She knew there was a reason she’d never gone into nursing.
He shook his head and her shoulders sagged in relief. At least he didn’t think she’d done the wrong thing. That made one of them.
“I’ll be okay,” he said.
Rolling to his side, he braced his hands against the pavement, and pushed himself off the ground. On his feet, he straightened until his spine popped and Skylar winced at the sound as she jumped to her feet.
The white t-shirt that strained against his huge muscles was now covered in dirt and she brushed at the stains.
“Once again, I’m so sorry. Just tell me what you need me to do and I’m on it.” She knew that she was rambling, but her nerves were shot and her hands were beginning to shake.
Reaching up, Gideon placed his hand over hers where she’d been attempting to brush off the dirt on his chest, stopping the motion.
She tried to pull away when she realized what she was doing, but he kept her hand trapped. She blushed hotly as a surge of badly timed lust hit her. No matter how hard she tried, she could not ignore the hard lines of his muscles beneath her hand.
“Skylar, I’m fine,” he said, reassuring her and causing her eyes to snap to his as she realized she was staring at said chest.
Another bubble of nervous laughter escaped and she wanted to punch herself in the face. “I swear I’m not an idiot,” she promised before realizing he’d called her “Skylar.” “How do you know my name?”
He swayed on his feet and she forgot her question. “Oh my God! You’re not okay. Get in the car,” she ordered. “I’m taking you to the hospital.”
Showing amazing dexterity for a man who’d just been weak on his feet, he circled her car and jumped into the passenger seat. Skylar blinked at the spot where he’d been standing a moment earlier, wondering what had happened. There was no telling how long she would have continued to stand there if some dick didn’t start blaring his horn behind her. Humanity was dead, she decided as she flipped the guy a bird and got back behind the wheel.
She glanced over at Gideon to find him smiling as if she was taking him to the zoo instead of the hospital. The dude behind her blew his horn again.
“And the horse you rode in on, buddy!” she screamed at the top of her lungs when her nerves snapped at the sound. Shifting the car into drive, she slowly eased off the brake, driving as unhurriedly as possible just to annoy him further.
Gideon chuckled, reminding her of her situation. She felt another blush creep up her cheeks. “Um, sorry.”
“I think we’ve established that you’re sorry,” he said and she winced at his dry tone.
“Sor—” she began before pressing her lips together in an exaggerated motion.
Another deep masculine chuckle sounded from the passenger seat and her stomach tightened in response. What in the hell was wrong with her? She’d hit the man with her car, she reminded herself sternly.
“Which hospital do you want to go to?” she asked in an attempt to bring herself back to reality. “Tulane is the closest, but I hear that Ochsner has better care.” She knew that she was babbling, but even injured, his presence was overwhelming.
“I think that I’m going to be okay,” he admitted. “Maybe you can run me home?”
“You shouldn’t be alone,” she said, horrified by the idea. “What if you have a concussion and you die? I could never live with myself.”
“You can hardly make me go to the hospital.”
“I’ll pay for it, so you don’t have to worry about it,” she offered.
Gideon snarled as if she’d insulted him. “That is not acceptable.”
The formality of his words took her by surprise, but he softened his tone and fell back into his normal manner. “If you have some Tylenol or something, and maybe an ice pack, I’ll be fine.”
Switching lanes, she headed toward her house, and tilted her chin in acknowledgment. “Sure, I can do that.”
As the words left her mouth, Skylar wondered what she’d just done. Wasn’t this how Ted Bundy got his victims into the car? She shook her head as soon as the thought entered her mind. Someone who looked like Gideon wouldn’t need to trick anyone. All he’d have to do was leave his car door open too long and he’d have three women inside while he tried to figure out where in the hell they came from.