by Barbara Sheridan & Anne Cain
In feudal Japan, war and famine tear through the countryside, and demons lurk in the darkness. Two young men struggle together on the outskirts of a ravaged village: the strong yet kind Liu Sakurai and his beloved gentle hearted Kiyoshi. And as their friendship endures the endless hardships, their bond grows into something more.
When the summer night brings a mysterious stranger to their door, the most dangerous desires of their dreams and nightmares are awakened. Blood now binds Kiyoshi and Sakurai together where once love did, but can this tie last an eternity?
Excerpt (heat warning: sensual):
Sakurai stood in the doorway, blinking until his eyes adjusted from the late afternoon sunlight to the dimness of the house.
He kicked off his zori sandals as he stepped up to the narrow wooden porch off to the side of the entryway and moved across the worn tatami mat inside. Kiyoshi lay curled in a tight ball under the window, facing away from the view of the rice field outside.
“Look at you.” Sakurai clicked his tongue and knelt beside Kiyoshi. He brushed the sweaty tangles of hair out of Kiyoshi’s pale face, who looked so much younger than his nineteen years. Sakurai moved his fingers to caress Kiyoshi’s cheek and pulled the blanket away from the young man’s shoulders. “You know better than to bundle up this way on a day like today.”
He let the heavy cloth drop and ran his hands over Kiyoshi’s arms and shoulders. The short sleeve kosode was soaked with perspiration and Sakurai reached up to the collar, slowly parting the tunic. Kiyoshi shivered as a warm breeze blew through the room and over his skin. Sakurai let the material fall and settle around his friend’s small waist. He frowned as he touched Kiyoshi’s neck.
“You’ll give yourself a fever,” Sakurai whispered. The skin burned underneath his fingertips, and he sucked in his breath. Sakurai slid his hand over his companion’s bare flesh, feeling the heat radiating off his body. Sakurai felt his own cheeks flush and his pulse quicken.
“Kiyoshi-kun,” he breathed. He leaned close, letting his lips brush over his friend’s collarbone, his tongue flicking out to taste the beads of sweat that formed on the skin. His hands glided across Kiyoshi’s chest and down past the waist, stopping only when the bundle of cloth impeded his wandering touch.
“You need to take better care.” Sakurai traced the side of Kiyoshi’s neck with his lips before covering his hot cheek with moist kisses. He tugged open the ties at the boy’s waist and slid his hand down the smooth abdomen. “Don’t you know how sad I’ll be if you leave me?”
“I know,” Kiyoshi muttered. He shivered when Sakurai moved the cloth lower between his parted knees. Kiyoshi trembled again when the cool dampness touched him there...
Copyright © 2006 Barbara Sheridan and Anne Cain
All rights reserved ~ a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication.