Authors: Imari Jade
In Deep Kimchi
Copyright © December 2010, Imari Jade
Cover art by Anastasia Rabiyah © January 2010
This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this novel are fictitious or used fictitiously. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form.
Sugar and Spice Press
North Carolina, USA
“You want me to do what?”
“Go to Tokyo,” Harper Kehoe, Shaundra Morrison’s publisher, replied.
“You mean get on an airplane and fly halfway around the world?” The adrenaline rushed through her as she panicked. “Are you crazy? You know I don’t fly.”
Harper ignored her breakdown. “Shaundra, dear, it’s for the opening of my new publishing company.” He straightened out the cuffs of his expensive designer suit before staring at her with mesmerizing hazel eyes and bestowing a glorious smile her way. Any other time that might have worked on her…not today.
“So what does that have to do with me?”
Harper looked down on her. At five-eleven he posed a threat just being alive. Add swarthy, handsome, and a tight muscular body and you had the total package.
Shaundra gulped, trying not to look into his eyes. She had this thing for odd-colored eyes.
“You are one of our best authors. Who else would we chose to represent us?”
His cologne nearly stole her breath away. It had an earthy aroma. His natural male scent wasn’t bad either. “I can think of several other authors who are better than me. Lopez, Brown or Hymel.”
Harper straightened his stance but continued to watch her. “They have already agreed to be a part of the promotion.”
Rat finks. And she thought they were her friends.
Harper lifted her chin with his manicured finger so he could stare into her eyes.
Shaundra gulped again. She bet anything he knew what that did to her.
“Just say yes.”
Shaundra moved her chin out of his hand and scooted away from him. “I can’t. I have a family and responsibilities. I just can’t go flying off to Tokyo on a whim.”
Harper walked over to his dark brown, maple executive desk and sat down in a matching brown chair. “Your kids are grown with kids of their own.”
“Exactly. I can’t go off to Japan and leave my grandbabies to the mercy of their parents. They need me.”
“I need you.”
“For God’s sake, let them grow up. You’re a beautiful, desirable woman. It’s time for you to live a little.”
Shaundra’s head lifted.
Huh? Did he say beautiful
? Harper was hot and an unscrupulous bastard using sweet words to woo her into doing what he wanted. His turning forty just improved him like cheese and wine. There wasn’t anything about him she didn’t find sexy. She gazed over at him, taking in his thick, dark brown hair, that handsome chiseled face and that muscular body. Class reeked from his pores. Damn, it was so tempting just to say yes and get it over with.
True, time had been kind to her too…on the outside. Inside, especially emotionally, she had some serious issues. “Flying terrifies the hell out of me.”
“There’s nothing to it and you won’t be alone. I’ll sit right beside you holding your hand.”
Shaundra raised an eyebrow. “Hmm.” She liked the visual. She shook her head to clear that fantasy. “I’m sorry, but you’re not close enough to God to save me if the plane crashes.”
Harper laughed. “Your words wound me. That man up above and I have an understanding. He pilots the plane when I fly and I don’t sacrifice virgins.”
Shaundra managed a weak smile. “That’s good to know, but I’m still not going. There’s nothing that can be offered in this world to get me on a plane.”
Harper rose, unloosened his tie and removed it. He unbuttoned a couple of buttons and revealed a very masculine chest. “Oh no?”
Shaundra frowned. “That is so unfair.” Leave it to him to play the sexy male card. The offer was so tempting. “It’s going to take more than that
.” Ooh, I can’t believe I just turned down this sexy white man
Harper didn’t seem offended. He sat down again. “I know this doctor who can help you.”
“You mean drugs.”
“Prescription, not street. I’ll find out if he can see you. He can probably sedate you.”
Shaundra frowned. “For how long?”
“For the duration of the trip.”
“How long is that?” Shaundra asked. She also had a poor sense of direction.
“Twenty-five or twenty-six hours.”
“I’ll be a damn junkie by then. I can’t stay sedated for an entire day. There must be another way.”
Harper chuckled deep. The sound went straight down to her crotch. “I can think of one other thing we can do to suppress that anxiety of yours.”
“What?” Shaundra asked curiously.
“We can become members of the mile high club.”
She wondered if she was blushing. Twenty-six hours of non-stop sex with Harper aboard a jet heading for Japan
. “What the doctor’s name?”
* * * *
“I think Harper’s lost his mind this time,” Shaundra said to her best friend, Charlotte Martin, when she left Harper’s office a couple of minutes later. Charlotte was not only her best friend, but also the editor of her last novel at Kehoe Publishing. They’d been friends since she signed her first contract with Harper. Charlotte was a short, honey blonde-haired female with big blue eyes and voluptuous curves. At forty-five she still maintained a youthful appearance on the outside because she pampered herself and stayed active at the gym a couple days a week.
“Oh you mean about the trip to Japan?”
“Yes, you know about it?” Shaundra sat down in a comfortable red and gold brocade winged chair across from Charlotte’s glass modular desk.
Charlotte sat in a black leather chair unconsciously tapping a pencil against the desk.
“You know I don’t fly.”
Charlotte put the pencil down on the desk. “But you know this is a wonderful opportunity for you and Kehoe Publishing? Just think of all the interesting people you will meet, and Japan is a superb place to meet men.”
“I don’t date short men,” Shaundra replied. She stood five-eight, and she liked to look up at her dates. It was better on the neck.
“It’s also a great place for sight-seeing.”
“So is New Orleans,” Shaundra argued. “I haven’t been home in a while. Maybe I’ll go visit my mother while the rest of the group goes off to Japan.”
Charlotte rolled the chair back and stretched. “Shaundra, girl, you’re just looking for an excuse. Your latest book is the hottest thing on the market and, by going there, you’re bound to take the International market by storm. It’ll make you rich.”
“Not everything is about money.”
“Shush,” Charlotte teased. “Don’t let Harper hear you say that.” She sat back down. “Sales are everything.”
“I understand that, but I don’t think I can be on a plane for twenty-five hours. I could die from a heart attack up there. I get nervous just going down south on the train.”
Charlotte smirked. “There are medications that can help with your anxiety. Valium can take the edge off or render you unconscious…depending on the dosage.”
“Why does everyone want to get me fucked up? Harper already suggested that I visit a doctor friend of his.”
“We don’t want to get you fucked up, as you say. Go see the doctor and take your ass to Japan. You’ve run out of excuses.”
“I can see the headlines now. Erotic romance writer, Shaundra Love Morrison, dies from an overdose of Valium while on a plane headed for the Orient.”
“Your books will fly off the shelves,” Charlotte said with a little laugh.
“Unfunny, best friend.”
“Harper will be there. He won’t let anything happen to you.”
“Is that supposed to be a selling point?”
“You really need to loosen up about him. He does like you.”
“And you like him.”
“He’s gorgeous and rich,” Charlotte replied. “What’s not to like?”
“Both admirable qualities,” Shaundra replied, “if I was in the market for a new love interest, which I’m not.”
“Why not? It’s not like you’re in love with Donald.”
She would have to go there. She had been in an on/off relationship with Donald Frantz for ten years. Shaundra frowned. The sparks had long since died in their relationship. “He just doesn’t do it for me anymore.” She wouldn’t admit this to anyone but Charlotte.
“Then why are you still with him?”
“Because I’m stupid and I don’t want to hurt his feelings.” She sighed. “We’re the same age, yet he can’t keep up with me in the sex department anymore. He uses that little blue pill, which just makes things worse.”
“It’s supposed to keep men erect for four hours.”
“We’re in our fifties. I don’t know about you, but four hours is a long time to have someone huffing, puffing and sweating on top of you with no ejaculation in sight. It’s pathetic.”
Charlotte nearly choked on laughter. “You’re just fifty years old.”
“It’s not funny. I get pissed because I’m sore and it never ends. He still thinks he’s some kind of stud, and then when it finally ends, he just rolls over and goes to sleep.”
“So what do you want?”
“For time to turn back. Sex was much better when we were in our twenties.”
Charlotte picked the pencil back up. “I know what your problem is. You have the forty-year itch. You’re still sexually overactive and you need a mate who can keep up with you…probably a younger man.”