On display in a brothel window, Hannah Connolly captures the eye of samurai Sanada Katsuhiro, who plans to sue her to capture an opium smuggler in the foreign settlement of Yokohama. But will Katsu be able to let go of the woman who threatens to capture his heart?
(This title was previously published and has been revised and re-edited.)
Moments later the madam came in and hurriedly closed the shutter-like doors over the front window. She seemed quite pleased by the profits the little display had brought. They had more men than the girls could handle for the rest of the night. She grabbed Hannah by the arm and tugged her to her feet.
Hannah’s pleasure-numbed mind struggled to translate the Japanese words the woman was rambling.
“You go. Someone buy you. Lots and lots of gold he pay. Go now.”
Hannah jerked away. “No! I’m not going to screw one of your men! I won’t do it!”
The house boss boxed her ears. In retaliation, Hannah tried to kick him in the balls, only to be sent flying to the rice-straw tatami mat by a vicious shove. He shouted to one of the young servants, and she ran upstairs then back down again carrying Hannah’s things. The boss threw her only belongings—her torn and mended British dress and shoes at her.
“Get dressed. You go like the filthy foreign pig you are!”
Hannah’s further refusal was met with a sturdy bamboo cane across the shoulders and arse. She was near tears from the stinging pain by the time she got her things on and was unceremoniously shoved outside. She stumbled, falling face first to the ground in front of two servants sent to fetch her.
Picking herself up, she brushed the dirt from her knees while glaring at the men sent to carry her to their master in a norimono; an enclosed palanquin. “Fuck you.” She broke into a run. Around the corner of the whorehouse three doors down, a man stepped from the shadows and grabbed her from behind. Hannah struggled, but was no match for the grip of his strong arms.
“You belong to me,” he said in accented English before tossing her over his shoulder with enough force to momentarily knock the wind out of her.
Recovering, she struggled again, this time crying out to those in the streets entering and leaving the various brothels and teahouses. Though they all stopped and stared, no one bothered to come to her aid. Her captor was a samurai, a warrior of the upper class, no one dared to affront.
He tossed her into his norimono and sat half on top of her to prevent her from trying to escape. She caught glimpses of his face in the bobbing light of the lanterns outside the man-powered carriage. He had striking high cheekbones unlike so many of the other men here. He looked directly at her. Hannah looked away from those piercing black eyes of his that seemed to stare straight through her. She gasped and tried in vain to pull away when he roughly cupped her chin and made her face him once more. “Let go of me.”
“I own you.”
“The hell you say,” Hannah muttered. Still, she couldn’t deny the little pulsing tingle hitting her low and hard at the sound of his deep, accented voice claiming ownership of her. He was the one. He was the one who’d diddled her so thoroughly through the whorehouse window. “Why did you buy me?” Hannah said in halting Japanese.
“Many reasons,” he answered in English.
Barbara Sheridan has been published in various sub-genres of romance since 1998 and has over two dozen books currently available in both electronic and print form. Barbara has been inspired by everything from the original Dark Shadows and cheesy S/F and horror flicks to loads of old TV westerns, cowboy movies, and Asian film and music.