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Bound (Mastered #1)(9)

By:Lorelei James

"Your clients?"

Emmylou pointed to the door to her massage studio. "I'm a masseuse. With my background in sports medicine I deal mostly with professional athletes. That's how Amery and I met."

"I'm sure Master Black isn't interested in how we met." Amery gave him a cool once-over, trying to gain some equilibrium. "What do you want?"

He moved with alarming speed, stopping directly in front of her. "You forgot your jeans at my place last night."

He'd phrased that so intimately her cheeks burned.

"Then you left so abruptly after . . . well, afterward."

Making it sound as if they'd had a fuck-and-run encounter. He seemed to enjoy flustering her.

He turned and pointed to the plywood. "Did that have something to do with your rapid departure?"

"Yeah, I tend to drop everything when the cops call and tell me about a break-in."

His eyes narrowed. "Has this happened before?"

"No. We weren't robbed either. It seems to be just a random act of vandalism. But it's shaken us all up, as you can imagine."


Chaz sashayed over and offered his hand. "Chaz Graylind. Nice to meet you, Master Black."

He shook Chaz's hand. "Please call me Ronin."

Ronin. The sexy, mysterious name fit him perfectly.

Then he returned that laser focus to her again.

Amery was acutely aware how awful she looked. She fought the urge to smooth the wrinkles from her shirt, the same one she'd worn to class last night. In fact, she still wore the black pants he'd forced her to change into.

"Is there anything I can do to help?" he asked.

"Not unless you own a glass company and can have this fixed in the next hour."

"I can make some calls, if you like. See if I can speed up the process."

"Why would you do that?"

"Because you're a beautiful woman in distress and it's in the samurai code of honor that I help you."

Her friends scattered. Traitors. But they probably assumed given the sparks flying between her and Master Black that she wanted to be alone with him.

Don't you?

Amery backed up. "Are you so concerned with all your new students that you stop in to check on them?"

"Only you, apparently."

She found her back against the brick wall. He hadn't caged her in with his arms or blocked her in with his body. He even kept a respectable distance, not touching her at all, but something about him held her in place. "What do you want from me, Master Black?"

"Ronin," he corrected. "When we're outside the dojo like this, you can call me Ronin. As for what I want from you . . ."

Butterflies danced in her stomach as she waited for him to answer his own question.

Those sun-warmed topaz eyes locked on to hers. "Guess."

"Ah, you want your pants back?" Brilliant comeback, Amery.

"I want much more than that from you, and I think you know it."

Gulp. She feared her swallow was audible.

He smiled.

Holy crap. Ronin Black smiled and she swore the heavens opened up and a chorus of angels started singing. Oddly enough, she worried they were humming "The Strip."

Man, she was punchy when she was sleep-deprived.

"But getting you out of those pants is a good place to start." 

Amery glanced down. "You want them off right now?"

"I didn't bring your jeans with me, so we'll wait to swap. Time and place to be determined."

Her eyes met his. "Not before class next week?"

He shook his head.

"You are freaking me out."

"But you're not scared of me, are you?"

"No." It came out of her mouth before the logic center of her brain weighed in with a solid hell yes.


"Is that why you singled me out last night?"


"Then why?" she pressed.

"You were out of uniform."

"But if I'd been in proper clothing . . . ?"

"I still would've singled you out."

His cryptic answers were sort of pissing her off. "Why?" she asked, slightly exasperated.

Ronin reached out to stroke the edge of her cheek. "Your attitude . . . intrigues me."

"What attitude?"

"Defiance. Especially since I don't think that's a natural reaction for you."

She raised an eyebrow. "Or maybe you're intrigued by the fact that I took my pants off within a few minutes of meeting you?"

"Which you did by your own choice, so you can understand my interest in a woman who blushes as she's tossing her jeans at me."

Amery blinked at him. This had to be the most bizarre conversation she'd ever had. Wait, maybe this was a dream.