Konnichiwa Cowboy
Chapter One
    Osaka, Japan
    “Incredible! I can’t believe it’s really me under all
this makeup. You’re a master with a makeup brush.” Sakura Nakamura
looked closely in the mirror at the elaborate makeup Molly, her
best friend, had taken hours to apply.
    Her entire face, neck, and a small portion of her
chest were covered in a thick matte white paste. In contrast, a
stark, kohl black liner outlined her eyes and formed dramatic
eyebrows. The final touch, a bright red dot painted on the center
of both her upper and lower lips, left her with an exotic, pursed
appearance. Men around the world found the geisha look erotic, and
she could see why.
    It had been her decision to answer Matt’s request
personally. She had used the expected image to hide her identity,
and put on solid black contact lenses to take it a step further.
She wanted to be with the man, intimately, yet not allow him to
recognize her. That took a great deal of work and she left nothing
out, including the outlandish hairdo. All of her straight, shoulder
black hair, with long extensions added, had been manipulated into
three exaggerated buns. Molly secured each with plenty of products
and special ornate combs to keep them in place. One of the hair
ornaments had delightful bells that tinkled with her every
movement. The other two had sprigs of her favorite flower,
honeysuckle, dangling from them, which emitted a wonderful
fragrance whenever they moved. The combs were the only things she
wore that pointed to her as an individual.
    Excitement and anticipation of what was to happen
caused her heart to race wildly. The night promised to bring her
most heated dreams to life, and she couldn’t wait for it to start.
Unlike how she lived each day, always doing what her parents
planned for her, tonight would be all about what she wanted.
    Sakura knew she was a dutiful daughter, although she
lived a lie. She hadn’t wanted to rebel against her parents—they’d
never meant to hurt her. They loved her and only wanted her to have
the very best. Unfortunately, their own expectations encouraged
them to raise her under strict rules, offering her no chance to be
unique.
    There had been bright spots here and there, like her
first taste of independence found at college, but graduation
brought her back under their control. For as long as she could
remember, she’d done whatever they wanted, even when it hadn’t felt
right inside her heart and mind. With Matt Wilson came a chance for
her to be true to herself, free, and with someone she wanted. She’d
take their one night together and revel in being a woman. She
didn’t want to hurt anyone, just make some memories to help her
find a way to live as her parents wished.
    With the complicated makeup and hair finished, she
moved on to getting dressed.
    The bright red silk kimono with cherry blossoms all
over it and the green obi were hers, a gift to honor her coming of
age. Not someone to do something halfway, she’d followed through
with the image she chose to portray that evening and would wear
both geta and tabi, the traditional wooden sandals and split toed
socks. Even though she owned the odd footwear, she found them
uncomfortable. She pushed the discomfort they caused to the back of
her mind and, again, looked in the mirror.
    “Is that really me?” Sakura whispered, shock
permeating her voice.
    “It’s definitely you.” Laughing, Molly circled her
and checked over the changes she’d helped her friend make while
assuring her no one would see who was behind the makeup.
    “I could swear I’m wearing a mask. There’s nothing
familiar about the woman I see looking back at me.” The moment
Sakura decided to do something for herself, she felt whole, body
and soul moving together on the same path. However, there was no
future for her and Matt, even if Matt felt for her half as much as
she felt for him. Besides the distance between Montana and Japan,
they were locked into a working relationship. She’d never shame

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