Michael Holden and Shintaro Kawakami have put Shintaro’s yakuza past behind them and started a new life together in Tokyo. For Michael, the relationship is the joyous reunion he dreamed of. The love he traveled through time for is his again, and this time it’s for good.
But echoes from that summer long ago are never far away—and for the two men, winter is on the horizon.
From the past to the present and as the seasons turn—love always comes around again when the cherry blossoms bloom.
Sequel to Kaminishi
THE FIRST thing he saw when he awoke was Shinjirō’s beautiful face hovering over him.
Michael gazed into the daimyō’s dark eyes, which crinkled at the edges with a smile. A few tendrils of Shinjirō’s long black hair fell into his face, sweeping across his cheek as he lay naked beneath the silk cover on the futon.
“Ohayō, Shinjirō-sama.” He smiled up at his lover.
The hot late-summer days in the Kaminishi Han west of Kyoto made Michael sleepy, so after his gardening work with Kanosuke in the mornings, he would return to Shinjirō’s room and take a nap.
The best thing was that sometimes Shinjirō would join him there.
He reached up and touched Shinjirō’s face, the skin warm and soft against his fingers. Shinjirō was ten years older than Michael, but his face was like pale smooth porcelain.
Shinjirō leaned down and kissed him. The warm, wet sensations of his tongue and lips invaded Michael’s mouth, the taste of him intoxicating. Michael’s body rose to meet his.
A gentle breeze drifted in from the courtyard, bringing a scent of bamboo and grass. Michael’s hands roamed over Shinjirō’s back, slipping over the silk kimono, relishing the muscles underneath.
Shinjirō gave a wicked smile, and Michael felt the cover being swept aside. He lay naked before Shinjirō. The sliding door to the courtyard was wide open.
He tried to pull the cover back up, but Shinjirō stopped him, laughing.
A woman’s voice sounded from the hallway. The door slid open, and the elderly woman entered, bringing in a tray.
Michael blushed and glared at Shinjirō, who barely hid his laughter. The woman didn’t look in their direction but merely arranged the teapot and cups and small plates of food on the tray before backing out, still on her knees, to the hallway.
The door slid shut.
He scowled at Shinjirō again before getting up to retrieve the tray, feeling the daimyō’s hot gaze on his naked form.
He returned to the futon, and as he set the tray down, a hand gently lifted his chin and he looked into the daimyō’s amused face. “You are a beautiful man,” Shinjirō said. “There is no need to hide yourself.”
His tone was gentle, and Michael was ashamed at his reaction.
Shinjirō chuckled, leaning forward and kissing him.
“Please,” Michael said, handing him his cup.
He lifted one of the small round manjū—pounded rice with sweetened red bean paste inside—to the daimyō’s lips. Shinjirō, amused at being fed, bit into it.
“Shinjirō-sama, I would like to cook for you sometime,” Michael said suddenly.
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Jan Suzukawa started out as a science fiction fan, and discovered slash fan fiction while in her teens, which was several eons before the invention of the Internet. Her tastes turned to yaoi when she became a freelance editor of manga and anime-related books for Digital Manga Publishing, Tokyopop, and other publishers. As an M/M romance author she has combined her slash roots with her love of yaoi, and she is delighted that M/M stories are now considered quite acceptable in polite company these days.