Wasabi Heat

By: Raelynn Blue

Chapter One

“The day you decide to do it is your lucky day.”

--Japanese Proverb

“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.