A MelanieM Release Day Review: Flying Fish (Sword and Silk Trilogy #1) by Sedonia Guillone

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

FlyingFish_postcard_front_DSPSword and Silk: Book One

In eighteenth century Japan, during the golden age of samurai and of the Kabuki theater, young actors known as “flying fish” traveled the countryside, performing for audiences by day and giving their bodies to their samurai patrons at night.

Genji Sakura is one such flying fish, yet he dreams of finding the man he can give his heart to and leave the loneliness of his itinerant life behind. Though he loves theater, he doesn’t love every part of his profession, especially some of the patrons. So when a handsome ronin comes upon him stealing some solitude for a bath in a hot spring and their encounter turns passionate, Genji’s surprised and delighted.

Daisuke Minamoto’s past fills his life with a bitterness that grips his soul and makes him dangerous. Yet passion takes him when he spies on a graceful young man bathing naked in a hot spring. He has always loved women, but he can’t deny the call of his heart.

After an afternoon of sexual bliss, his heart and soul are tormented and torn. Keeping this miraculous lover will require giving up the one thing that has kept him alive for years: his hatred for the lord who murdered his wife. If he loves another, how will he go on and who will he become?

I found author Sedonia Guillone years ago and then lost track of her and her magical stories.  Now once more Sedonia and her lyrical and sometimes violent tales of love are back and I couldn’t be more delighted.  In Flying Fish (Sword and Silk Trilogy #1) by Sedonia Guillone, a story of  81 pages seems to carry us back into 18th century Japan where a ronin Samurai and a traveling young actor known as flying fish or tobiko can meet on a trail near a stream and fall gently in love. But like all Japanese tales, there’s darkness the hovers over the characters, following one, and soon the other.  You are pulled effortlessly into the era, by language, location, and the sheer gentleness of Genji Sakura, the flying fish and main character here.  He’s sweetness, with the lightness of being of a sakura petal, and just as soft.  Guillone has painted a full portrait of the actor here and you can’t quite get enough of Genji.

Daisuke Minamoto is a portrait of a man covered in darkness and despair. He’s the sharpness of a blade and the roughness of a lordless life.  He’s had one goal all this time and has returned to carry it out.  Until he meets Genji Sakura and is shown a light he thought was lost.

There is a beauty to the language and flow of the story and it moves with a pace of its own staying true to the characters and time.  I just adored it and them.

As Genji says:

Love is the transformative power of the universe. The only real thing in existence, it can change the course of a human being’s life if that person is open to its healing power. From the highest emperor to the lowest peasant in the field, love is the only great leveler aside from death.

— From Tale of the Loyal Samurai by Sakura Genji (1659-1768), performed for the opening of the Great Kabuki Theater in 1685

This is a tale of hope, and of love and even a future that neither thought possible.  Such joy in 81 pages.  Pick it up and discover both the author and Flying Fish for yourself.

Cover art by Reese Dante.  I like the cover but I’m just not sure that’s the characters of the story.  Read it and let me know your opinion.

Sales Links

        

Book Details:

Release Date Aug 17, 2016
Type Novellas
Words 27,707
Pages 81
ISBN-13 978-1-63477-542-7
File Formats epub, mobi, pdf

 

Cover Reveal for Flying Fish (Sword and Silk Trilogy #1) by Sedonia Guillone (excerpt)

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FlyingFish_postcard_front_DSP

Flying Fish (Sword and Silk Trilogy #1) by Sedonia Guillone
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Buy Link:  Dreamspinner Press

 

Hi everyone! Thank you so much for coming out today to check out the incredible cover for my upcoming release at Dreamspinner Press. Flying Fish is my first release at DSP so I’m especially excited. Reese Dante is an awesome artist and I am in love with this cover. I love writing M/M romance set in feudal Japan. The way of the samurai lends itself very well the M/M stories and my imagination always gets away with me. The hero, Daisuke Minamoto was inspired by the real life ronin Kansuke Yamamoto, one of the great swordsmen of the samurai age. There are a few parallels between what I know of Yamamoto’s life and the character of Daisuke but which are mixed in with what I have created in my particular world. I hope you will enjoy it! Hugs, Sedonia

 

Blurb

In eighteenth century Japan, during the golden age of samurai and of the Kabuki theater, young actors known as “flying fish” traveled the countryside, performing for audiences by day and giving their bodies to their samurai patrons at night.

 

Genji Sakura is one such flying fish, yet he dreams of finding the man he can give his heart to and leave the loneliness of his itinerant life behind. Though he loves theater, he doesn’t love every part of his profession, especially some of the patrons. So when a handsome ronin comes upon him stealing some solitude for a bath in a hot spring and their encounter turns passionate, Genji’s surprised and delighted.

 

Daisuke Minamoto’s past fills his life with a bitterness that grips his soul and makes him dangerous. Yet passion takes him when he spies on a graceful young man bathing naked in a hot spring. He has always loved women, but he can’t deny the call of his heart.

 

About the Author

Multi-published, award-nominated author, Sedonia Guillone lives on a river in Maine with a Renaissance man who paints, writes poetry and tells her she’s the sweetest nymph he’s ever met. When she’s not writing erotic romance, she loves watching spaghetti westerns, Jet Li and samurai flicks, cuddling, and eating chocolate.

 

– Buy Link(s) –

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/flying-fish-by-sedonia-guillone-7363-b

 

 

 

Excerpt

Chapter One

Kai Province, Edo Period, Japan

During the Tokugawa Shogunate

 

Ah, finally, the hot spring! A sunny summer afternoon to himself to enjoy a soak and not another soul in sight with whom he’d be forced to share. Who’d have thought such an oasis of luxury awaited a lowly traveling Kabuki actor, a flying fish who jumped from town to town with his troupe, entertaining merchants, peasants, and samurai? Unimaginable. Except that it had happened. And might not last long.

Genji stared a moment into the placid water of the small pond, surrounded by large rocks between which one could slip to reach the water. Steam rose invitingly from its surface. Even the twittering birds in the trees surrounding the small enclave of rocks seemed to be ordering him in quickly. A hot spring like this would probably not remain undiscovered for long. Once he went back to the troupe’s quarters, only the Buddha might know when he’d have this chance at solitude again.

That was all the encouragement he needed. Genji pulled open the sash of his kimono and let the article slip to the rock below his feet. On top of that, he dropped the small knife he carried, which when sheathed appeared to be a woman’s fan. A mistake probably, leaving it there, considering there were bandits in the countryside who could assail a lone person. But the briefness of time made him throw caution aside.

He stepped out of his wooden sandals, not bothering to fold his clothes neatly. The tie in his hair also landed on his discarded garments, as he fully intended to wash his hair in this hot water. Another luxury he couldn’t have dreamed of before this moment. Now he was naked, having already daringly left off the loincloth before parting from his quarters in the village. Who wanted to spare the valuable time to unwrap it in the instance that he found the legendary hot spring spoken of by the innkeeper?

He covered his knife with the folds of the kimono, left it within his reach, then stepped into the water. And immediately smiled. Delicious already and the water had barely submerged him past the ankle.

Anchoring his weight on one rock, he lowered himself in to his upper chest. Mmm, more luxurious heat penetrated his skin. The perfect relaxation. Bending forward, he soaked his long hair, then yanked his head back and scrubbed his scalp with eager fingertips. It wasn’t the same as having someone else do it for him, but it made his eyes close with pleasure all the same. Dipping down again, he rinsed his hair until he felt certain all the dust of the road had washed away, leaving the long, ebony strands gleaming.

He squeezed the excess water from the length of his hair then found a spot to sit and recline, where a rock jutted out into a natural ledge underneath the water. The sun warmed his face, and the water warmed his body. Warmth filled him. Made his soul as warm as his body. In moments like these, he could forget for a little while. Forget his childhood memories of the anguished cries of women and children as they all were forced from their homes in the aftermath of their lord’s defeat and herded onto the platforms to be sold. The sun made a reddish glow of the darkness behind his closed eyelids, a starburst of light that blocked out even the worst of his childhood visions.

A breeze passed over, blowing cool on his damp skin, rustling the leaves of the bushes and trees surrounding the tiny pool. However, when the breeze died down, the rustling of the leaves continued. Heavier, with the crunch of tiny twigs under the weight of something on top of them.

Genji’s eyes shot open. Sunlight flooded them, blinding him for a moment. The surface of his skin crackled to life. He strained to hear, and his body tensed, ready to spring from the water for his knife an arm’s length away.

Another snap of twigs.

He sat bolt upright. “Who’s there?” he growled.

Silence.

Genji might have thought it was an animal in the brush, but his inner voice told him otherwise. It whispered to him that he shared this tiny oasis with another human being. Someone who’d been spying on him, watching him wash his hair.

Genji leaned over, slipped his hand within the folds of his kimono, and wrapped a hand around the hilt of his knife, a gift from a high-ranking samurai who had patronized Genji’s talents in the past, both on and off the stage. “Answer me,” Genji said, his voice tight. Years of acting had taught him how to infuse his tone with whatever emotion was needed for effect. In this instance, he sought for threatening. “I’m armed. I know how to use this knife.” Indeed, he could follow his threat with action. That same samurai had taught him some basic swordsmanship, in between sessions of intense lovemaking.

Silence still answered him, yet the sense of another human presence remained.

Genji slid the knife from its scabbard.

“If you don’t show yourself on the count of three,” Genji went on, gaze trained on the rocks that hid part of the brush, “I will climb from this pool, seek you out, and gut you. Don’t think I won’t do it.” Though slim and narrow in build, with finely etched muscle and not the brawn of a highly trained samurai or laborer, Genji had speed and agility. As a dancer, he’d found the principles of movement were the same.

“Relax, peasant,” a voice said suddenly from behind the brush. “I’m obeying your order.”

Genji’s insides jumped. The voice, deep and male, held a hint of mockery tinged with admiration. Though the owner of the voice hadn’t threatened his safety, Genji continued to hold his knife at the ready, should the stranger indeed mean him harm.

The leaves and branches of the brush rustled and snapped, and within seconds, a figure emerged. He came to a stop at the edge of the rocks.

Genji stared, blinking, not so much because the glare of the sun made a halo of blinding light around the stranger’s broad figure, but because when the man moved so as to block the sun from Genji’s eyes, the vision before Genji was that of a wild warrior.

Darkness. The word rose in Genji’s mind as the stranger moved a few steps closer. Dark eyes, swarthy skin, jaw and cheeks covered with more than a few days’ growth. And though his abundant black hair was pulled back, much of it had escaped its tie and rioted about his rugged face.

The man, obviously a samurai of some sort, would have been handsomely imposing had his clothing not been ragged and desperately in need of washing, even his rope sandals, though Genji felt certain that the blades of his weaponry, long sword, short, and knife, were polished to perfection within their woven scabbards. The hands that handled those weapons were large, fingers thick, and his legs in their gaiters below the hem of his kimono were also thick, muscled limbs of coiled strength.

Genji’s tanto and his limited ability to use it were a mere joke in the face of this obviously skilled warrior, however ragged and dirty his state. His fear must have shown, for the stranger gave him a sudden lopsided grin and began to untie his belt, lowering his weapons to the rocks.

“I apologize for coming upon you the way I did, like a sneak thief,” the samurai said. His hands went to the tie of his kimono and worked it open. “I thought you were a woman when I saw you from a distance, washing that hair.”

Genji exhaled a tiny bit. But only a bit. He set his tanto onto the rock behind him, an excuse to avert his gaze from the thickly muscled torso being revealed. For some reason, the man’s growing nakedness made Genji feel testy. “So you would have continued to spy on me, taking advantage of my undress had you not seen I’m a man?”

The samurai didn’t answer though his dark gaze shifted away from Genji in a way that appeared guilty. He removed his gaiters, unwrapped his loincloth, dropping everything on top of his other ragged clothing, and Genji got an eyeful of the samurai’s musuko. Even in its softened state, the member hinted at delicious thickness when erect. The sac beneath it was equally abundant-looking, heavy and full.