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Amery stroked his cheek. “I’m so proud of you. I’ll support you in whatever you decide to do.” She smirked. “But I’m sort of hoping your new teacher lives in Hawaii. I could hang out there for two and a half months while you’re training.”

Ronin kissed her forehead. “Maybe we should test it out first and see if you like it. How about if we take another week before we go home and hop around the Hawaiian Islands? We have to refuel in Honolulu anyway.”


“Unless you need to get back to work?”

“Let me think . . . No. I’ll take another week in the surf and the sand with my man, thank you.”

Chapter Seven

“Am I showing too much skin?” Amery tugged the silvery blue cocktail dress down to cover her ass but it made her cleavage pop out. “I am showing too much skin. I have to change.”

Ronin clamped his hands on her shoulders, and his eyes connected with hers in the mirror. “Baby. Relax. This dress is fine. You look beautiful.”

“I look like a bedazzler experiment gone horribly wrong.” She adjusted the cap sleeves but the strands of beads kept tickling her arm. “Alls I’m missing is a rhinestone headpiece and I’d be right at home at a stripper’s revue in Vegas.”

He chuckled against the nape of her neck. “I love that you’re funny when you’re nervous.”

“Glad that you see the humor in this. Unzip me.”


“Seriously, Ronin. I cannot wear this dress to meet your grandfather.”

His fingers moved to the zipper. “You will look amazing in whatever you wear. But since this is the third dress you’ve tried on and discarded in the last hour . . . pretty soon you’ll run out of clothes.” His rough-tipped finger trailed up her spine, causing her to shiver. “Then you’re back to being naked, which is how I like you best anyway.”

Amery sidestepped him. “Not helping.” She stared at the two dresses remaining in the closet. Both were demure. One was almost girlish with its floral pattern and the layers of flowing ruffles. The other was just a simple little black dress. Acceptable but boring.

Ronin crowded beside her. He snagged her dark gray pencil skirt from the hanger, her ivory lace camisole and her peach chiffon blouse. “You are smoking hot in this outfit. It’s sexy and yet professional enough to wear to work. Wear those black stiletto heels with the ankle strap.”

She kissed his smooth cheek. “Thank you.” After dressing, she was in the bathroom applying her last coat of mascara when Ronin moved in behind her. “Almost ready, I swear.”

He grabbed a handful of her hair and tugged until she angled her neck to his liking. His eyes stayed intent on hers in the mirror as he pressed his lips to the side of her throat.

As much as she’d loved his tenderness last night, Amery also needed this. Ronin reminding her of his dominant nature. “Close your eyes, baby,” he murmured against her skin.

The instant she did, he slipped something around her neck.

“Now you can look.”

Amery opened her eyes. Then she leaned closer to the mirror. The necklace, weighted in the middle with a gold curlicue twist, fell below the hollow of her throat. Centered on either side of the charm were colored stones, anchored by two chains, one in rose gold and one in black that were twisted together to create the single chain. “Ronin. This is stunning.”

“It’s an infinity symbol. A reminder we’re entwined together forever. The stones are peach sapphires, which signify eternal passion. I chose rose gold for the finish because it reminds me of your hair.” He kissed the back of her head. “The black chain—”

“Looks like rope,” she finished. “And it’s black because our last name is Black.”

“Yes.” He ran his finger down the twisted chain. “Do you like it?”

God. It took all of her self-control not to burst into tears because it was just so damn perfect. “Well, it’s no kanji carved into your skin, but it’ll do for now.”

He chuckled. “Glad you approve.”

“It’s . . . I don’t know if there are any words for how special this is to me. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. Since you rarely let me buy you gifts I knew I had to make it count.”

“You planned this?”

“As soon as I knew we’d be coming to Tokyo.”

Amery wreathed her arms around his neck, pulling him down for a kiss. Her eyes were a little misty when she eased back. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” He rested his forehead to hers. “Thanks for last night.”

It might be trite to say thanks for needing me, so rather than speaking she kissed him again. “My ears are always open.”

“Good to know. Let’s go.”

Ronin held her hand as they exited the apartment and headed to the elevator. Once inside he used a keycard and punched in an access code for the penthouse.

“I see you learned your love of security measures from your grandfather.”

“He’s way worse than I am. The top floor is only accessible by his private elevator.”

Amery frowned at the lighted panel. “The fifty-first floor isn’t the top floor?”

“Nope. This building has fifty-two floors. We’ll have to go through security and then take the stairs.”

“I checked your sister’s apartment like she asked me to.” Shiori’s place was twice as big as Ronin’s, but that wasn’t the surprise. The surprise was the cozy, English-cottage décor, so feminine and welcoming. The apartment Shiori rented in Denver defined austere.