Bared to You
Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness...
He was beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I'd never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily...
Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other's most private wounds... and desires.
The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn't tear us apart...
- The idea for Bared to You came to me shortly after writing Seven Years to Sin, which also deals with a couple recovering from difficult pasts. In some ways, Bared to You feels like an extension of Seven Years to Sin to me, even though they're set 200 years apart and aren't connected in any way.
- Bared to You was #4 on Amazon's Top Ten Best-Selling Books for 2012 (overall - print and Kindle combined), #5 on iTune Top Ten Books of the Year, and #7 on Bookscan's Top 10 Print Book Sales of 2012 (Adult Fiction).
- Check out the frequently asked questions about the series »
- Check out the Crossfire Series Wiki for in-depth analysis »
- Read all of Chapter One on Goodreads »
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- Enjoy the Bared to You music playlist on YouTube »
- Crossfire buttons, magnets, and clothing for women and babies at the Crossfire CafePress shop »
- Bared to You was originally self-published on April 3, 2012. (the original cover is in the sidebar below) Penguin Group acquired the English-language rights to the series in May and reissued the book in the U.S. and Canada on May 24, 2012 (ebook) and June 12, 2012 (print) with a new cover. Penguin reissued the book in the UK, Ireland, and Australia on May 28, 2012 (ebook) and July 19, 2012 (print).
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This excerpt starts mid-way though Chapter One and contains adult material. It is intended for readers 18 years of age or older.
Stepping out from under the modern glass entrance overhang that somehow meshed with the age of the building and its neighbors, I enjoyed the relative quiet of my tree-lined street before I reached the bustle and flow of traffic on Broadway. One day soon, I hoped to blend right in, but for now I still felt like a fraudulent New Yorker. I had the address and the job, but I was still wary of the subway and had trouble hailing cabs. I tried not to walk around wide-eyed and distracted, but it was hard. There was just so much to see and experience.
The sensory input was astonishing—the smell of vehicle exhaust mixed with food from vendor carts, the shouts of hawkers blended with music from street entertainers, the awe-inspiring range of faces and styles and accents, the gorgeous architectural wonders . . . And the cars. Jesus Christ. The frenetic flow of tightly packed cars was unlike anything I’d ever seen anywhere.
There was always an ambulance, patrol car, or fire engine trying to part the flood of yellow taxis with the electronic wail of earsplitting sirens. I was in awe of the lumbering garbage trucks that navigated tiny one-way streets and the package delivery drivers who braved the bumper-to-bumper traffic while facing rigid deadlines.
Real New Yorkers cruised right through it all, their love for the city as comfortable and familiar as a favorite pair of shoes. They didn’t view the steam billowing from potholes and vents in the sidewalks with romantic delight. They didn’t blink an eye when the ground vibrated beneath their feet as the subway roared by below, while I grinned like an idiot and flexed my toes. New York was a brand-new love affair for me. I was starry-eyed and it showed.
So I had to really work at playing it cool as I made my way over to the building where I would be working. As far as my job went, at least, I’d gotten my way. I wanted to make a living by my own merits and that meant an entry-level position. Starting the next morning, I would be the assistant to Mark Garrity at Waters Field & Leaman, one of the preeminent advertising agencies in the United States. My stepfather, megafinancier Richard Stanton, had been annoyed when I took the job, pointing out that if I’d been less prideful I could’ve worked for a friend of his instead and reaped the benefits of that connection.
“You’re as stubborn as your father,” he’d said. “It’ll take him forever to pay off your student loans on a cop’s salary.”
That had been a major fight, with my dad unwilling to back down. “Hell if another man’s gonna pay for my daughter’s education,” Victor Reyes had said when Stanton made the offer. I respected that. I suspected Stanton did, too, although he would never admit it. I understood both men’s sides, because I’d fought to pay off the loans myself . . . and lost. It was a point of pride for my father. My mother had refused to marry him, but he’d never wavered from his determination to be my dad in every way possible.
Knowing it was pointless to get riled up over old frustrations, I focused on getting to work as quickly as possible. I’d deliberately chosen to clock the short trip during a busy time on a Monday, so I was pleased when I reached the Crossfire Building, which housed Waters Field & Leaman, in less than thirty minutes.
I tipped my head back and followed the line of the building all the way up to the slender ribbon of sky. The Crossfire was seriously impressive, a sleek spire of gleaming sapphire that pierced the clouds. I knew from my previous interviews that the interior on the other side of the ornate copper-framed revolving doors was just as awe-inspiring, with golden-veined marble floors and walls and brushed-aluminum security desk and turnstiles.
As I entered the building, I pulled my new ID card out of the inner pocket of my pants and held it up for the two guards in black business suits at the desk. They stopped me anyway, no doubt because I was majorly underdressed, but then they cleared me through. After I completed an elevator ride up to the twentieth floor, I’d have general time frame for the whole route from door to door. Score.
I was walking toward the bank of elevators when a svelte, beautifully groomed brunette caught her purse on a turnstile and upended it, spilling a deluge of change. Coins rained onto the marble and rolled merrily away, and I watched people dodge the chaos and keep going as if they didn’t see it. I winced in sympathy and crouched to help the woman collect her money, as did one of the guards.
“Thank you,” she said, shooting me a quick, harried smile.
I smiled back. “No problem. I’ve been there.”
I’d just squatted to reach a nickel lying near the entrance when I ran into a pair of luxurious black oxfords draped in tailored black slacks. I waited a beat for the man to move out of my way and when he didn’t, I arched my neck back to allow my line of sight to rise. The custom three-piece suit hit more than a few of my hot buttons, but it was the tall, powerfully lean body inside it that made it sensational. Still, as impressive as all that magnificent maleness was, it wasn’t until I reached the man’s face that I went down for the count.
Wow. Just . . . wow.
He sank into an elegant crouch directly in front of me. Hit with all that exquisite masculinity at eye level, I could only stare. Stunned.
Then something shifted in the air between us.
As he stared back, he altered . . . as if a shield slid away from his eyes, revealing a scorching force of will that sucked the air from my lungs. The intense magnetism he exuded grew in strength, becoming a near-tangible impression of vibrant and unrelenting power.
Reacting purely on instinct, I shifted backward. And sprawled flat on my ass.
My elbows throbbed from the violent contact with the marble floor, but I scarcely registered the pain. I was too preoccupied with staring, riveted by the man in front of me. Inky black hair framed a breathtaking face. His bone structure would make a sculptor weep with joy, while a firmly etched mouth, a blade of a nose, and intensely blue eyes made him savagely gorgeous. Those eyes narrowed slightly, his features otherwise schooled into impassivity.
His dress shirt and suit were both black, but his tie perfectly matched those brilliant irises. His eyes were shrewd and assessing, and they bored into me. My heartbeat quickened; my lips parted to accommodate faster breaths. He smelled sinfully good. Not cologne. Body wash, maybe. Or shampoo. Whatever it was, it was mouthwatering, as was he.
He held out a hand to me, exposing onyx cuff links and a very expensive-looking watch.
With a shaky inhalation, I placed my hand in his. My pulse leaped when his grip tightened. His touch was electric, sending a shock up my arm that raised the hairs on my nape. He didn’t move for a moment, a frown line marring the space between arrogantly slashed brows.
“Are you all right?”
His voice was cultured and smooth, with a rasp that made my stomach flutter. It brought sex to mind. Extraordinary sex. I thought for a moment that he might be able to make me orgasm just by talking long enough.
My lips were dry, so I licked them before answering. “I’m fine.”
He stood with economical grace, pulling me up with him. We maintained eye contact because I was unable to look away. He was younger than I’d assumed at first. Younger than thirty would be my guess, but his eyes were much worldlier. Hard and sharply intelligent.
I felt drawn to him, as if a rope bound my waist and he were slowly, inexorably pulling it.
Blinking out of my semidaze, I released him. He wasn’t just beautiful; he was . . . enthralling. He was the kind of guy that made a woman want to rip his shirt open and watch the buttons scatter along with her inhibitions. I looked at him in his civilized, urbane, outrageously expensive suit and thought of raw, primal, sheet-clawing fucking.
He bent down and retrieved the ID card I hadn’t realized I’d dropped, freeing me from that provocative gaze. My brain stuttered back into gear.
I was irritated with myself for feeling so awkward while he was so completely self-possessed. And why? Because I was dazzled, damn it.
He glanced up at me and the pose—him nearly kneeling before me—skewed my equilibrium again. He held my gaze as he rose. “Are you sure you’re all right? You should sit down for a minute.”
My face heated. How lovely to appear awkward and clumsy in front of the most self-assured and graceful man I’d ever met. “I just lost my balance. I’m okay.”
Looking away, I caught sight of the woman who’d dumped the contents of her purse. She thanked the guard who’d helped her; then turned to approach me, apologizing profusely. I faced her and held out the handful of coins I’d collected, but her gaze snagged on the god in the suit and she promptly forgot me altogether. After a beat, I just reached over and dumped the change into the woman’s bag. Then I risked a glance at the man again, finding him watching me even as the brunette gushed thank-yous. To him. Not to me, of course, the one who’d actually helped.
He offered it back to me. Although I made an effort to retrieve it without touching him, his fingers brushed mine, sending that charge of awareness into me all over again.
“Thank you,” I muttered before skirting him and pushing out to the street through the revolving door. I paused on the sidewalk, gulping in a breath of New York air redolent with a million different things, some good and some toxic.
There was a sleek black Bentley SUV in front of the building and I saw my reflection in the limo’s spotless tinted windows. I was flushed and my gray eyes were overly bright. I’d seen that look on my face before—in the bathroom mirror just before I went to bed with a man. It was my I’m-ready-to-fuck look and it had absolutely no business being on my face now.
Bared to You is a Book 1 in The Crossfire Series. The full series reading order is as follows:
- Bookspan’s Book Clubs Top 12 Books Of 2012 Bared to You makes Bookspan’s Book Clubs list of Top 12 Books of 2012!
- iTunes Top Ten Bestsellers of 2012 iTunes announces their Top 10 best-selling books of 2012, with both Bared to You and Reflected in You making the list.
- Nielsen Top 10 of 2012 Nielsen releases their Top 10 print book sales of 2012 in Adult Fiction list, with Bared to You hitting the list at lucky #7!
- Amazon Top Ten Bestsellers of 2012 Amazon.com announces their Top 10 best-selling books of 2012 overall (print and Kindle combined), with both Bared to You and Reflected in You making the list.
- Amazon 2012 Best Books of the Year Amazon recommends Bared to You as one of the 2012 Best Books of the Year in Romance! — November 2012
- RT Reviewers Choice Award Nominee RT Book Reviews magazine has nominated Bared to You for the Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Erotic Romance! — November 2012
- Tantalizing Trio Reflected in You debuts on the New York Times paperback bestsellers list at #1 and returns to the #2 spot on the USA Today list! Seven Years to Sin debuts on the New York Times printed list and Bared to You remains on both lists for the 28th week!
- Bared to You – Bestseller Lists Bared to You remains on both the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists for the 19th week in a row!
- Washington Post Bared to You debuts at #6 on the Washington Post fiction bestsellers list!
- Amazon’s Best Books of the Year Bared to You tops Amazon’s Best Books of the Year So Far in Romance list, as selected by Amazon’s editors!
- Carly Phillips:
“I love the writing, the sexual tension, and the intricate dance the characters do as they get together.” — June 2012
- Andrea Cremer:
“The rush of erotic fiction into the hands of mainstream readers invites consideration of whether 21st-century society is flirting with a new normative sexual epoch. Day’s novel explores this issue unflinchingly and compellingly by pairing her narrative of sexual temptation and emotional risk with character studies that mirror divisive social and cultural issues of identity, trauma, repression and liberation.” — August 2012
- Kirkus Reviews:
“Day is a talented, prolific erotic romance writer and puts together a highly charged story that flows and hits the mark...” — December 2012
- Dear Author:
“It is full of emotional angst, scorching love scenes, and a compelling storyline.” — April 2012
- FIRST for Women:
“I read this story over a sweltering weekend. And I was glad I had the air conditioner on full blast since this book cranked up the heat even more! Reaching the last page in this lusty, earthy book was sweet yet sad. I wanted more time with these fascinating characters.” — August 2012
- Shelf Awareness:
“Day writes indulgent fantasy at its most enjoyable, in a story populated by high-society beauties and rakes, all of them hiding dark passions and darker secrets behind their glittering facades. Filled with catty socialite drama, dysfunctional personalities and deliciously explicit love scenes, Bared to You takes a sensual look at a darker side of love.” — June 2012
- RT Book Reviews:
“Filled with equal amounts of emotion and heat, Bared to You can easily be devoured in one evening. Day creates two multidimensional characters in heroine Eva and hero Gideon, whose successful and attractive exteriors hide traumatized pasts. These layers will help readers connect with the pair, and make this a story that sticks in the mind. Especially notable is Day's portrayal of Eva. The heroine is a rape survivor who is able to independently overcome her abuse and find a full and fulfilling sex life. Furthermore, this read is filled with exceptional secondary characters, especially Eva's dysfunctional, yet lovable best friend Cary — here's hoping he gets his own story soon!” — July 2012
- Amuse magazine:
“So hot it practically sizzles, Bared to You charts the life of Manhattan newbie, Eva, and her steamy romance with the unspeakably dashing Gideon. Move over Danielle Steele and Jackie Collins, this is the dawn of a new Day.” — July 2012
- Joyfully Reviewed:
Recommended Read! “Bared to You obliterates the competition with its real, emotionally intense characters that deal with pain and pleasure with honesty. I felt these characters bare their hearts and souls in this story. Sometimes it was so intense it was painful to watch as they hurt themselves and each other with actions or words. Yet, this is what makes the story unique and unforgettable. I became so attached to Eva and Gideon that I actually hurt for them. I shared their pain and their joy as they fought to keep each other.” — May 2012
- Night Owl Reviews:
Top Pick! "This was about the hottest, most sensual erotic book I've ever read. My heartbeat sped up, my breath became choppy; and that was just with the physical descriptions of Gideon. This was truly a class A work of erotic fiction that I can't stop thinking about." — May 2012
- Midwest Book Review:
“An intriguing twist and turns on the ideas of love and romance and the bonds that are formed, Bared to You is a must for fans of romance with a bit of psychology rolled into it.” — April 2012
- The Romance Reviews:
Top Pick! "Sylvia Day has nearly blown my head off with her latest erotic romance, Bared to You. With the sexual tension gripping me from literally the first chapter right up until the very end, I was enthralled, intrigued, and utterly at the mercy of the story unfolding on my kindle. I can honestly say, that I was blown away in such an unexpected way, that I had to wait a few days to write my review so that I could process what I had just experienced. Bared to You is definitely going to be one of those books that I have to re-read just to make sure I didn't make up how good it was in my head!" — May 2012
- Just Erotic Romance Reviews:
"The sexual tension in Bared to You is at a rolling boil throughout the story. It was virtually impossible to put it down, despite my other responsibilities. Eva is a fascinating narrator and with Gideon's dialog, we know enough of what he is thinking. I loved that Eva was not helpless, she gives as good as she gets and she makes Gideon Cross work for every bit of her he wins. Gideon is an enigma with his powerful public persona, which was so at odds with the man he is with Eva, and I can’t wait for Eva to peel back more of his layers in the next installment, Deeper In You.” — May 2012
- Romance Novel News:
“This is an erotic romance that should not be missed. It will make readers fall in love.” — April 2012
- Romance Junkies:
“The secondary characters are just as flawed as Eva and Gideon which makes Bared to You richer and more real to me than many of the contemporary books I've read in a while.” — April 2012
- Indie Book Spot:
“...great writing, strong characterisation and some very well-written sex scenes.” — May 2012
Blogger and Reader Reviews
- ""Bared to You" is one of the most popular cures according to ABC News." — Suffering from Fifty Shades of Grey withdrawal?
- "Sylvia Day's erotic romance Bared to You... has been in the top 10 for 10 weeks this summer. It has sold almost 1.4 million copies — print and digit..." — Publishing world is turned on by 'Fifty Shades of Grey'
- "Like Shades, Day's novel was self-published. A few weeks later, word of mouth catapulted the tale of two troubled souls in glitzy New York City to a p..." — Sexy Romance Novels - Steamy Reads - Good Housekeeping