A MelanieM Review: Danny’s Dragon (Tao of Love #1) by Sedonia Guillone

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Rating:     3.75 stars out of 5

Danny's DragonA rugged, muscular cop.

A sexy computer genius.

Secret desires.

Brought together by a crime committed on a cold dark night.

From the moment they meet, their lives can never be the same again…

Wild and rugged Dave Pearce is haunted by the demons of his past. He’s done his best to make a life for himself after the devastation of his lover’s suicide years earlier, but the trauma has left its mark on his soul.

Danny Wong is what Dave considers a “nerdy Bruce Lee.” Handsome, refined, out of his league.

But that doesn’t matter.

Dave believes himself to be dangerous for any man who would love him. So he stays back in the shadows, letting the desire he harbors for the hot grad student remain unrequited.

Danny has demons of his own. Duty-bound to his family’s goals for him, he remains shy and closeted, contenting himself with his secret fantasies about the sexy Irish cop who patrols the campus building where Danny does his graduate work.

Until one freezing winter night…

Leaving the building, fate steps in and their paths cross in a new…deeper way. Neither man can turn back. Danny and Dave must face the demons rearing their heads with full force, or lose their chance at an epic love…

Years  ago I found Sedonia Guillone and read as many books of hers as I could find at the time.  Whether it was the Yakuzas of her White Tigers series or the Samurai in her historic m/m Flying Fish (Sword and Silk Trilogy 1), her stories, steeped in Japanese culture and lore, always enraptured me as did the complicated men and their romances.   Then recently, I was asked to be a part of a tour for a new book of hers and I was thrilled to see a novel of hers back in release.  Turns out there are several.  Long story short, I found Danny’s Dragon, the first story that Guillone wrote in 2006 in the m/m genre.  I wondered how it would hold up against the stories I remembered and the recent book just released.

The answer is surprisingly well.

Each chapter starts with a quotation from The Way of Life According to Lao Tzu, an important focus or thread that runs through the story.  Danny uses the poems as a way to center his life and as a shelter from his mother, someone we might call a “Tiger mom”, controlling, cold, who sees only one path for Danny, hers.  His father, who Danny loves, is sick and while not standing up for Danny directly, does so by redirection and other methods of bending but not yielding, a family trait he has passed on to his son.  Each new quotation points towards a new path to growth for David and Danny, if one or both choose to take it.

I have to admit, that for some readers, they might find the philosophy behind the Tao a bit obtuse at times (or like Dave sometimes just going “huh?”) but the quotations as well as the format grows on you as does the relationship between these two unlikely men.  Dave Pearce does have a haunted past, part of which is very much alive in his abusive drunk of a father.  But even more differently is their approach to life.  One has been taught to battle it out with his fists, the other to give and bend, seeing other paths.  How that disparity in outlook is handled fascinated me because I found it believable, even as Dave was giving voice to his frustrations and inability to understand Danny’s actions and perspective at the time (I got that perfectly).  But the beauty of the quotations and philosophy is such an integral part of their relationship and story that I found myself looking for more quotations after the story was done.  I’ll share a few of what I found at the end.

There are a few issues here, I have a hard time with insta love, although I could see these two men needing each other and fitting together perfectly.  I just wished it had been more of a HFN, it seemed to resolve a little too smoothly considering all their issues.  But for a first m/m  novel, the rough edges are much smoother than some I’ve seen and that storyline and all the surrounding elements (which come to be a trademark of hers) pulled me in and kept me glued to the story until it was completed.

It was also fascinating to see the love/relationships of abused, haunted men and Japanese themes get their start in an author’s career, to be able to trace back the men of ‘Acts of Passion’ and ‘Flying Fish’ back to ‘Danny’s Dragon’, their foundation couple in a narrative manner.  Its a great start.

I highly recommend this author and yes, this story.  Seek out her other books, especially if you are a fan of Japanese culture, the Yakuza or Samurai in love.   I am a fan of all three and will be revisiting those stories and the new ones coming out.

 

Cover Art by: Jay Aheer: Covers by Design.  Jay Aheer did a great job with the design.  Danny’s Dragon is an important part of the story, the tattoo and the face are terrific elements.  Great job.

Sales Links:  Wayward Ink Publishing | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

Published August 7th 2015 by Wayward Ink Publishing (first published July 2006)
Original TitleTao of Love 1 : Danny’s Dragon

SeriesTao of Love #1
CharactersDanny Wong, Dave Pearce settingCambridge, Massachusetts (United States)
Massachusetts (United States)
each book in the series is a standalone.

Lao Tzu poemLao Tzu

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