He kissed the tip of my nose as the plane began to move. “Not much. First, I just wanted to take his measure, to see if he was worthy of someone as stalwart as Lana. And if he is, I’m only going to tell him that he needs to man up. A man in love has to make the first move. It’s the least he can do.”
I smiled at him. I could feel how soft that smile was. “So you’re the matchmaking type?” It reminded me so much of Stephan. “Are you going to be setting up all of our friends?”
He returned my soft smile in spades. “Love is like that. It’s like a wildfire in my blood, and now that I know what it feels like, it’s made me generous. I feel like the world should get the privilege. And if I can help someone I care about find it, then certainly I’ll try.”
“That’s so sweet,” I told him sincerely.
He smiled into my eyes, and his smile wasn’t sweet at all. “You won’t think I’m sweet in about ten minutes, when I tie you to my bed and fuck the sense out of you.”
I felt parts low in my body clench. “You’re in such a romantic mood. Aren’t you going to call it making love today?”
“How about we call it lovingly fucking your brains out?”
I laughed. That did sound more apt, I thought.
James wore me out for hours before he let up enough for me to catch a little nap. The man redefined the word insatiable. It felt like I’d barely caught a moment’s sleep when he was waking me up again.
We stopped by the Middleton Resort to freshen up before our lunch with Akira. James changed into his version of vacation casual, which consisted of a soft white V-neck that set off both his muscles and his golden skin to perfection. He wore low-slung, pale-gray cargo shorts, and loafers with no socks. I studied his ankles with singular fascination.
“If anyone had told me that ankles could be sexy before I met you, I would have said they’d lost it.”
He grinned. “I’ve always thought yours were sexy. The first milestone on my way up from the ground and up to paradise, Love.”
I laughed. Of course he took it there.
I changed into a silky pink tank and dark gray shorts that were borderline too skimpy. I wore white flip-flops entirely for comfort.
James eyed up my legs. He traced my collar absently. “Even without heels, you have the sexiest legs on the planet.”
He had worked me over hard, but I still felt that drugging feeling of wanting that only he could inspire move through my system.
We met Akira at the Middleton Resort’s cantina. The instant I saw Akira, I understood the appeal. He was a huge man. I’d never seen James standing side by side with anyone taller than himself before Akira, I realized, as he shook hands with the other man, who stood a good two inches taller than James. He was an intimidating man, but God, was he a sight.
He had classic Hawaiian features, with thick dark brows over handsome brown eyes, and a generous mouth with a mean twist. He had wavy black hair, and everything about him was big, but it was all muscle. The man took good care of himself, going by the bulky muscles moving restlessly under his suit.
He treated me with marked deference right from the start. James, not so much. He had no qualms about going after the other man right from the get go.
“You went out with Lana. I saw you with her in the papers once.” Akira’s tone could not be mistaken for friendly or indifferent.
James grinned. Perversely, I thought that James saw Akira’s hostility as a good sign. And perversely, I thought he might be right. “We’ve been friends for years. We’ve accompanied each other to a few social events.”
“What does that mean, exactly? I read a piece that said you had dated.”
James studied the other man. “Why do you ask? Is it idle curiosity, or are you jealous?”
Akira didn’t answer, just stared at James like he wanted to strangle him.
James was far from intimidated. “I want to know because of Lana. I’d like to know how you feel about her.”
Akira silently fumed. It was easy to see that he was a volatile man, but I could also see that he was one that had spent time working on controlling his temper.
James sighed. “You’re difficult. Leave it to Lana. She has such a soothing way about her, so of course she would be in love with a walking powder keg of a man. Life is funny that way.”
I would have sworn that Akira’s dark skin was turning red.
“I’ll level with you, Akira. Lana doesn’t date; she never has, so she certainly never dated me. She’s been hung up on you for so long, and so badly, that she’s never even wanted to date. She’s been pining for you for years. I’ve checked up on you. You’re single, you’re straight, so what the fuck is your problem? Don’t you care about her?”
Akira flushed. Very carefully, he set clenched fists on top of the table. “Why the fuck is it your business?” he growled.
James leaned forward, undeterred. “Because I care about Lana, and because I know she’ll never come to you herself. It’s time to man up, Akira. If you love her, it is your job to show her.”
Akira tapped a giant fist to the table. The table bounced a little, because a tap from a man his size was like a full on punch from another man. “How do you propose I do that? I doubt she’d take my calls, and she hasn’t been back to the island even once since she left.”
“Call her dad. She’s a workaholic. Get him to send her here on business. If you can’t get her to stay, that’s your own fault.”
Akira took this better than I would have expected, just setting his mouth into a hard line and nodding thoughtfully. “You swear you never touched her?”
James threw his hands up. “I never even tried. I swear it! It’s probably the reason we’ve stayed such close friends.”
We had lunch and took our leave of Akira. He was severe but polite as we parted. He was an unreadable sort of guy, but I thought that he had warmed to James at least a little by the time we left. With me, he was perfectly polite, though of course I’d never been romantically connected to Lana in the media, as James had.
The next leg of the flight was longer, though sharing a spacious private jet with James for eight more hours was no hardship.
The private jet wasn’t designed with a normal galley, or a normal anything, really. The flight attendant and our security had their own enclosed space between us and the flight deck, where they could both have privacy, and give us some. James took advantage of this to the fullest.
The plane had barely reached ten thousand feet when he was kneeling in front of my seat, bending down to kiss my thighs, nuzzling his way between, spreading them wider as buried his face against my sex. I was still wearing my shorts as he teased my clit with his nose.
He had gone from buckled up and innocently sitting next to me to making me pant for him in seconds flat. He stripped my shorts and panties off and I gripped his hair into my fists as he set to work on me bare.
“You’re insatiable,” I gasped as he licked at me like he would never stop.
“Yes,” he murmured against my skin. “I’ll never have my fill of you, and I’ll never let you forget it, but you’re hardly one to talk, Love.”
The Cavendish property was located in the Ginza district in Tokyo. I had gotten every tourist booklet that I could get my hands on about the city, but James had a wealth of information, as well, since he had apparently spent plenty of time in Tokyo himself. According to my tourist booklet, and James, Ginza was one of the main shopping districts in the city.
We were given the royal treatment from the moment we walked in the door. I was growing accustomed to it, though the Japanese took the royal treatment to a whole new level. I was still growing accustomed to the Japanese way of bowing in deference to one another. I found their manners charming, and tried to emulate them quickly, wanting to blend into the culture as much as possible, though of course it was impossible for me to blend in there. Still, I badly wanted to avoid standing out as a rude foreigner.
James had his manners down perfectly, as though he visited often. For all I knew, he did. He even spoke a convenient amount of the language. I had studied it, but I was hopelessly outclassed. One sentence of Japanese out of his mouth and I was lost, just watching him in awe and not understanding a word of it. The locals seemed to have no trouble, though.
We’d been discussing for weeks just what kind of a trip I had envisioned when I thought about visiting Tokyo. James seemed to find it charming that I’d only been thinking of a tourist type tour of the city. I wanted to use the subway, visit every temple, shrine and park, and all of the popular attractions. Basically, I wanted to see as much of the quirky city as humanly possible. The plan was for nine days around the city, then another four in the areas surrounding Mount Fuji, and then one day on top of the mountain itself. I had even talked James into camping out on top for a night. He had been easy to convince, considering that he’d never actually been camping before. I wasn’t an expert on camping myself, but I was an expert on roughing it, and a night in a tent on top of a famous mountain just sounded like fun to me. I got the idea in my head, and James didn’t even try to dissuade me.
“Of course, I’ll arrange for supplies,” was all he’d said, giving me his indulgent smile.
We started our first sightseeing day in Tokyo at the crack of dawn. We wore shorts, T-shirts, and comfortable shoes like the tourists we were, and set off on foot for our first destination. Kyokyo, the Imperial Palace, was only twenty minutes from our hotel, so we went there first. Our security trailed us at a somewhat discreet distance, and I almost forgot they were there for most of the day. The palace grounds alone took up most of our morning.
We encountered the scenic jogging trail that surrounded the palace grounds first. I had been reading aloud about the trail from a tour guidebook the night before, so James grinned as he pointed it out to me. “Wanna go for a jog?” he asked me.
I nodded and smiled. I wasn’t a big jogger. Even when I did work out, it was usually lower impact cardio than an actual run, but it sounded perfect just then.
We jogged for maybe ten minutes, James keeping pace beside me, before I slowed to a brisk walk.
I grimaced at him. “I know this won’t be a shocker, but you’re in much better shape than I am.”
He gave me a rather lascivious once-over. “I disagree. I like your shape much better, Love.”
I laughed. The man could turn anything suggestive.
We spent hours walking the trail around the grounds and covering every inch of the scenic gardens inside. It was a romantic setting and James, being a romantic soul, used every bit of it to his advantage, clasping my hand and smiling into my eyes. If I wasn’t already hopelessly in love with him, just one morning like this one and I swore he would have changed that.
We took our time exploring the palace, and when we were done, we found another charming park just a few blocks away. Children played some version of soccer in a shaded dirt field. The people we had encountered had been the epitome of polite so far, not even staring at us, though we must have seemed out of place to everyone there. The only difference were kids under fifteen. They stared unabashedly at us, their game coming to a halt as we strolled by. As we drew even with them, all of the young teenage boys raised their hands in the air, as though they had planned it, and began to cheer. I giggled at the strange reaction, looking at James. “What was that?” I asked him.