Authors: Raelynn Blue
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Erotica, #Romantic Erotica
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright© 2010 RaeLynn Blue Cover Artist: Shara Azod Editor: Novellette Whyte
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews. This is a work of fiction. All references to real places, people, or events are coincidental, and if not coincidental, are used fictitiously. All trademarks, service marks, registered trademarks, and registered service marks are the property of their respective owners and are used herein for identification purposes only.
“The day you decide to do it is your lucky day.”
“She‟s here again,” Zen Su Chow said to his niece, Asuka above the soft strings and somber notes of an oboe wafting through the restaurant‟s surround sound system.
Standing behind the bank of three flat screened registers, Zen stared in the direction of the foyer. On either side of the foyer doors were large, floor to ceiling tinted glass. The heavily treated glass couldn‟t fully obscure the luscious woman coming in. The woman he had longed to have for months.
With her back to the entranceway, Asuka looked over her shoulder, the spill of her ink-black hair sounded like the rustle of dry leaves. Her back straightened.
“Nadia-san. Again,” Asuka said, with a thread of apathy.
He ignored the boredom in Asuka‟s tone. Zen‟s brother, chef, and Asuka‟s father, Ichiro, didn‟t understand Zen‟s affection with Nadia, but Zen paid them no mind. Nadia came often to the restaurant and each time she did, Zen learned more about her. The more he learned, the more he hungered. Insatiable, he couldn‟t get enough of conversations with her. Time spent in her company felt like small bursts of sunlight on his face—warm, comforting, and arousing. You could tell a great deal about people from the way they spoke, their diction, their mannerisms, and their little stories. Nadia‟s life unfolded for him like perfectly crafted origami.
Zen knew he wanted Nadia to be his lover. Period. He couldn‟t stop thinking about her long after she‟d left the restaurant. Even now his mind conjured images of her long legs wrapped around his waist, her short, ebony hair that would curl around his fingers, trapping them in their woolly softness. Her bright, warm smile rivaled the sun. Despite these finer attributes, Nadia‟s eyes sealed his fate. He lost himself in them. They held a certain heat, a passion for life she kept contained.
He couldn‟t help himself. He wanted to tear through her emotional gates and set that passion free.
Nadia reminded him of wasabi. Beautiful and soft in appearance, but once coupled with the tongue, it exploded in fiery heat, making everything intensify in flavor. Set the taste buds aflame with the sheer ferociousness of its essence.
Nadia stood outside in the foyer, talking to someone else. Asuka turned to face him with dislike wrinkling her youthful face.
“She is not Japanese.”
Zen ignored her statement. Obviously, Nadia‟s ethnicity didn‟t hail from Japan. But he wouldn‟t rise up to Asuka‟s bait. Beauty and sensuality hailed from all types of women, not only Japanese women. Nadia‟s attractiveness went deeper than her physical appearance—much deeper than Asuka could discern, of that Zen was sure.
“When she comes in, you are her server,” he said instead, making Asuka stiffen.
“Is that wise, oji?”
“That was not a request,” Zen said coldly.
His eyes were still on the shadowy outline of Nadia‟s curvy shadow cast against the glass. Her breasts rode high on her chest, full about the size of his palms. Imagining how they would feel in his hands, Zen blew out a sigh—the way people who‟ve tasted wasabi for the first time did. He held no doubt. Once he tasted Nadia, they‟d both explode in searing heat. Possibly a flame that would burn forever, Nadia would give him what he so needed in his life—completeness. He just had to get a tiny bit of her wasabi on his tongue.
He smiled at the thought. A flush inched up his neck and made him hot.
Why does she not come in? Is she going to change her mind? Did she get an emergency call that will take her away from here?
Finally, she came through the door. Relief washed over him. And Nadia had only walked into the establishment.
“Oji, there are other women. Midori‟s father came in earlier in the day...” Asuka was saying.
“I am old enough to select my own wife, Asuka.” Besides, Midori wasn‟t as gorgeous and kind and smart and strong as Nadia. Few women he had met were.
“As father would say, a man in love mistakes a pimple for a dimple.” Zen shot her a warning look. “He would know.”
Asuka gasped, and lowered her eyes. “You disrespect my mother!”
“Asuka!” His sharp rebuke made her eyes snapped back up to his. He gave her his full attention now. “It was you who first disrespected your oji.”
“Gomenasai, oji.” Asuka said. Her expression still held anger, despite her apology.
“I think your customers at table 10 need you,” he said, wanting her away from him. Asuka only parroted what her father said. Her prejudice wasn‟t really her fault, but at 22, he believed his niece needed to develop some independent thought.
She nodded and bowed, leaving the registers to go see about her customers.
Through the darkly-tinted glass walls of the foyer, he watched the African-American woman stroll into his restaurant‟s double maple doors. Dressed in a light gray suit jacket, pencil skirt that skimmed her sexy pear-shaped body and lush thighs, Nadia Crammer held the door for another woman, someone Zen hadn‟t seen before. That was common. Nadia entertained clients here. Sometimes she stayed after her clients had left, and they discussed the pros and cons of running a business. Smart, sexy, and seductive, Nadia had him hooked, and Zen knew it.
“Asuka looks upset,” came Ichiro‟s accusing Japanese from behind him. He wore his white chef hat and a relatively clean apron. Only in the bright revealing light of the kitchen could you make out the watery pink stains of fresh fish. His Japanese came fast with fury.
“I see your black friend is here again.”
“African-American,” Zen corrected in English. Then in Japanese, over his shoulder, he continued. “She has a name. It is Nadia. Besides, you should get back to making sushi. We are getting busy.”
Ichiro scowled, his eyes disappearing into the meaty folds of his flushed face.
“My daughter is upset and she said you disrespected Haruna.”
Zen turned to face his brother. He didn‟t want to get into this tonight, but obviously Asuka hadn‟t conveyed the entire tale. She‟d somehow circumvented her route to table 10 and went in the back to rant to her father. If he didn‟t disarm Ichiro‟s attitude, they‟d spend too much time here arguing instead of getting the sushi to the patrons.
He sighed and explained in Japanese.
“Asuka forgot that I am her uncle and spoke out of turn.” “You called Haruna a pimple.”
“No, you did.”
His brother folded his beefy arms over his chest. “I did?”
“Asuka recited the old proverb about a man in love…” So, in English, Zen said, “She said it. I reminded her that you would know.”
Ichiro‟s eyes lit up in understanding and nodded, chuckling, his anger spent as fast as it had
“About a man being in love? Yes, I would know about love.” Ichiro nodded, putting his hands on
his hips. He looked across the seating areas. “She is beautiful, yes, Zen, but she is not one of us.”
“It is a new time, a new country,” Zen said, looking at Nadia as well. “The world is smaller. Love is bigger, wider. The president is an African-American man—something many did not think would ever happen.”
“Our culture would be lost on her. She‟d be an
,” Ichiro said, his voice softened by what Zen heard as fear. “Even if she agreed to date you, you will be outcasts among our community and hers. Never fitting into any real place. Would she be able to handle that?”
“Yes.” Zen had no doubt. She‟d have
He would have
. They‟d form their own community. Zen wasn‟t interested in dating the community or living with the community or having children with the community.
“Will you?” “Absolutely.”
“Think, brother, of what you are saying? For what? To satisfy a curiosity? There are other beautiful women. Midori…”
“Nadia is NOT a curiosity! She is a
. Damn you!”
Zen rounded on him so fast, it took him a few seconds to register he had his hand around his brother‟s throat.
Ichiro‟s eyes widened and he grabbed Zen‟s wrist to snatch Zen‟s hand away. “You are insane!” “No…” Zen croaked, swallowing down the rush of rage. He‟d never reacted that way before, so he
stepped back from Ichiro. He straightened his shirt to give his hands something to do. “Gomenasai.”
Ichiro put his hand on Zen‟s shoulder. “Accepted. I did not know the depths of your love for her. It shimmers from you like rain on your face. You
in love with her, Zen.”
“Yes.” Zen confessed aloud what he had held inside for months. “I am.”
Ichiro nodded and squeeze Zen‟s shoulder. “I see.” Zen grinned. Finally, so did he.
Tonight. He‟d make his move. Tonight he‟d tell Nadia his feelings. “Carpe diem,” Zen said softly, lifting his head to Ichiro‟s concerned face.
“It is night, not day, Zen.” Ichiro laughed as he headed back into the kitchen.
Virtue is not knowing but doing
The tangy scent caught Nadia first, just after a single step in the restaurant. Soy. Soy sauce. It hung heavily in the air, battling back the aromas of ginger and fish—raw fish. Nadia noticed with a soft smile the absence of another smell that usually accompanied fish—oil. Like the fried fish odor that saturated her grandmama‟s church on Friday nights when she was young.
Not tonight. Only raw fish came on the menu here at Wasabi‟s Sushi. The lights were dim and the drinks were flowing at most tables around her. Nadia sighed in delight against the soft music swirling around her. The Japanese lyrics washed over her, bringing her out of her musings and memories. Funny how this place felt more like home than her apartment overlooking Lake Jeanette. She looked up to the overhead, maple polished wood beams of the restaurant‟s ceiling. Scarlet Japanese paper lanterns dotted the vertical beams. Chocolate, contemporary leather booths lined in neat rows spoke to the elegance of Wasabi Sushi Restaurant. She followed the hostess, a rail-thin, dark-haired woman dressed in the restaurant‟s uniform of ebony slacks, a crisp ivory blouse, and heels, to one of the artful booths Nadia had spied from the foyer.
“This place is freaking sweet!” Kiki Morrison said.
Nadia nodded, casting a sideways glance at her best friend. She brought clients here for working lunches and dinners, but today was bff day. Kiki kept glancing around at the décor. Nadia didn‟t know what Kiki thought a sushi restaurant would look like, but she certainly hadn‟t expected this—if her behavior was any indication.
“Look, you ready to do this thing?” Nadia asked. “I promise. The food here is so good.” “Yes, I mean, I guess. Uncooked food doesn‟t equal good taste.”
Nadia slid into the booth‟s cool, smooth leather seat. “I come here almost every day. You don‟t get fresher sushi then here.”
Across the glossy table, Kiki shrugged. “Being that this is my first time. How would I know?” Nadia laughed. “Touché.”
“You come here every day?”
How could she put it in terms Kiki would understand? Nadia came here to relax. It had become like a second home, well, a first home. If they had a shower and a bed, Nadia may be tempted to move in. She smiled at that.
“Something about this place takes my stress away,” Nadia said. Kiki‟s left, pierced eyebrow rose above her sparkling green eye.
“Food that damn good? Raw fish? Yeah, see I‟m going to have to taste it to see for sure cuz that don‟t make any damn sense.”
Nadia grinned, and then she saw
Zen Su Chow emerged from the area behind the registers up toward the hostess stand like an emperor coming out from behind his throne. Ebony hair tied at the nap of his neck in a ponytail, the crimson button down shirt, and ebony slacks made him look like a fixture of his restaurant—a gorgeous statue, impeccable and wholly male. Silver stripes in the sea of velvety-rich ebony hair made him look more dynamic, powerful, but something in his eyes, those liquid pools of dark chocolate made Nadia‟s stomach tighten in ways no other man had. Beneath the booth‟s table, she crossed her legs. Already her clit hummed at the very sound of his smooth tenor drifting through the din to her.
“Yeah,” Nadia said, her eyes pinned to Zen, watching him as he walked casually through the patrons, nodding and asking them about their meals. If he saw her, he‟d come to her table. “The food is fabulous.”
Just like the owner.
She watched him smile at one of the female patrons, and she flinched. Those lips belonged to her! Why would he waste it on someone who only came once or twice?