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“Mr. Black?” a voice inquired behind them.

They turned to face a good-looking Hispanic man, who she guessed was around her age. “Yes?”

“I’m Nick. Your steward. The cabin is ready if you are?”

“Of course. Thank you.”

Ronin kept his hand on the small of her back as they crossed the tarmac. The wind blew like crazy, whipping her hair around her face.

Nick scaled the stairs and waited at the top. “It feels strange welcoming you aboard the plane you own, but welcome.”

Amery waited for Ronin to correct Nick—that Okada owned the plane, not him, but Ronin didn’t respond.

“May I take your coats?”

Ronin helped Amery with her long wool coat before shrugging out of his leather jacket. “I’ll give my wife a tour. We can take off as soon as they’re ready. I’ll let you know if we need anything.”

“Of course.” Nick stepped back into a small galley kitchen.

Amery turned and felt her mouth hanging open as she stared at their surroundings. This was the inside of an airplane? The interior ceiling was white tufted leather. Silver and black zigzag-patterned wallpaper covered the walls. The plush chairs—four of them—were upholstered in a dark charcoal with red leather armrests. The carpeting was gray with flecks of red. Behind the chairs was a mini conference table. Directly behind that area were two more oversized recliners that could swivel toward each other or face the red leather couch along the opposite side.

“Holy shit, Ronin. I don’t know what I was expecting—okay, I had zero expectations because I’ve never been on a private plane before, but it certainly wasn’t this.”

“It gets better.” He led her past the conference and lounging areas. He slid open a door, revealing a bathroom with a walk-in tiled shower.

“That is nothing like the tiny, cramped bathrooms on commercial airliners,” she said with awe.

“This is Okada’s transcontinental aircraft so it was retrofitted for comfort on long flights.” Ronin opened another door and brought her inside a bedroom.

A bedroom. On a plane.

Of course the decor screamed rich and classy. Plush black-and-cream-striped bedding with half a dozen fluffy pillows covered in solid black set against cream-colored sheets. The king-sized bed took up most of the space, but on each side of the headboard were built-in dressers in white and black lacquer. Heavy black curtains covered the walls. “The only thing missing is a big-screen TV.”

“Got that too.” Ronin punched a button on the wall and a TV screen that she guessed to be about forty-eight inches lowered from the ceiling. She hadn’t noticed it because the black panel had blended in with the black ceiling.

Amery gawked at the luxurious space and wondered if there’d ever come a time when she took things like this for granted.

Ronin kicked the door shut and pulled her into him so they tumbled onto the bed. Then he pinned her arms above her head and got right in her face. “Don’t.”

“Don’t what?”

“Don’t look at me like you don’t know me.”

Her eyes searched his. “But I don’t know you in this context, Ronin. I’m sorry if that makes you uncomfortable.”

“Do you want to get off this plane and fly commercial? Because I will.”

“Are you kidding me? No. Way.” She nuzzled his jaw. “I just don’t want you to get short with me when I’m overwhelmed by who you are outside of our life in Denver.”

He rested his forehead to hers. “You are my life regardless of where we are. I know I’m selfish for demanding you come with me. I can’t stand the thought of being away from you for two and a half months. But if that means you resent me—”

Amery lifted her head to gaze at him and then pressed her lips to his. The feel of his weight on her, the taste of him, his scent, those were familiar. Those things grounded her as much as they grounded him. That’s why she was going. He needed her there with him. “No resentment. But you’ll have to figure out a way to deal with my freak-out moments, because this is the first of many.”

Ronin’s lips curved into a wicked smile. “I’ve come up with a few ideas on how best to distract you, baby.”

“Do those ideas involve rope?”

He rubbed his nose to hers. “Always.”

The plane started to move. “Whoa.”

“It appears they were as ready to take off as they claimed.” Ronin kissed her quickly and pushed onto his knees.

“Do we have to go back to the main part of the cabin and buckle up?”

“Nope.” He stretched out beside her, placing his feet on the pillows. “Do this.”


“Lie beside me like this.”

She spun around. “Now what?”

He picked up her hand and kissed her knuckles. “Now have some patience.”

It was weird lying on the comfortable mattress, facing the wrong way, staring at the back of the TV screen as the plane rolled along.

After a couple of turns the plane stopped.


“Hang on. Wait for it.”

The bumps were jarring when the plane started to accelerate. When it lifted off the runway, so fast, at such a sharp angle, she felt like she was standing up. And for just a moment . . . she felt weightless, as if she’d entered a zero-gravity chamber. Despite the stomach-churning sensation, she turned her head and looked at him with a smile.