Publisher: Ai Press
Genre: LGBT; Contemporary
Series: White Tigers #5
Release Date: April 30, 2015
A weekend of passionate sex with a master White Tiger changes the course of Hiru’s life forever…
Since an injury cut short his career as a champion martial artist, Hiru has lived a quiet dutiful life consumed mostly by his job and his ever-unsuccessful attempts to meet a woman. When his best friend and co-worker, Koji, finds love and happiness…with a man…and leaves the firm to pursue a new life, Hiru misses Koji so much he begins to suspect his difficulty with women is something other than he thought.
Maybe…just maybe…he wants men too? Well, there’s only one way to find out – stay at the White Tiger, Tokyo’s most luxurious love-hotel for gay men and be massaged, caressed and…more by Quan Chan, one of Koji’s incredibly handsome fellow White Tigers.
Quan Chan is still nursing a broken heart when he’s asked to attend to Koji’s friend Hiru. So he’s completely unprepared for his sudden intense attraction to Hiru’s boyish good looks and incredible brawny physique. Hiru is like a human supply of catnip to the White Tiger inside him. All Quan Chan wants to do is purr and rub up against the other man. In spite of the temptation that awaits him back in Shanghai, Quan Chan spends an incredible weekend with Hiru, an encounter that launches him into ecstasy for the first time in what feels like forever.
However, when circumstances force Quan Chan back to Shanghai without the promise of return, the connection between him and Hiru proves stronger than a simple weekend of pleasurable exploration and Quan Chan finds himself suspended between Hiru and Wu Li, the most alluring and sensuous young man in Shanghai, a Golden Dragon, said to launch a man into bliss by a mere glance.
Back in Tokyo, Hiru feels Quan Chan slipping away from him. All he can do is follow his heart and hope it’s not too late…
Note: This book has previously been published elsewhere.
The Beautiful Samurai Books
They don’t have to be read in order.
Book #1: HIS BEAUTIFUL SAMURAI
Book #2: BEAUTIFUL SAMURAI, WHITE TIGER
The White Tigers Books
Book #1: MEN OF TOKYO: SUDDEN BLISS
Book #2: MEN OF TOKYO: SUDDEN SURENDER
Book #3: YING YANG (in the “Fabulous Brits” anthology as well as stand-alone)
Book #4: MEN OF PHUKET: TONGUE-THAI’D
Book #5: MEN OF TOKOYO: SUDDEN HEAT
Book #6: MEN OF PHUKET: THAI’ING THE KNOT
Book #7 (Prequel): MEN OF TOKYO: FORBIDDEN CRAVINGS
Read an Excerpt
I can’t believe I’m doing this. Hiru stared at the glass doors of the ryokan where his best friend Koji now lived. The two leaping tigers etched into each door reminded Hiru of the activities that went on inside. Men on men—and all the images such a phrase brought to mind.
A light shiver travelled over the tops of his thighs to concentrate, of all places, in his—what was Koji’s delicate word for that part of him?—oh, yes, his dragon.
Hiru sighed and tightened his hold on the handles of his overnight bag. Apart from the kinky glass doors, The White Tiger, in the middle of Ni Chome, a busy, swanky area of gay bars and clubs, looked like the typical nondescript inn.
Except that The White Tiger was anything but typical.
On the cab ride over from work, he’d told himself a million times that this was just a weekend break to visit his old friend Koji. After all, for years he saw Koji every day at work and they often went out for beers afterward. They’d become good friends, really, helping each other with personal things too, like moving, when it was needed. Hiru had gone to Koji’s stepmother’s funeral. And, yeah, he’d seen Koji a bunch of times since Koji had come here and fallen in love with Naoto, the long-haired muscle man of his dreams, but it wasn’t the same. Toshio Systems was an even more boring, tortuous place to be without his friend there. Life itself was more boring and tortuous without Koji around.
And Koji seemed so…happy.
Hiru’s heartbeat sped up slightly. Who was he kidding? This was more than a friendly visit. He needed to…see…if his complete ineptitude with women was, well, the kind of problem he thought it was. He’d loved Megumi so much but since her…there’d been no one, unless you counted brief interactions…and disasters…with women in hostess clubs. He pushed those painful thoughts away. In any case, it had been more than ten years without another serious girlfriend. And then there was the way he’d begun to look at Koji.
He’d often wondered at how easily he’d accepted Koji’s confession about being gay. And then, he’d often wondered why he always preferred to hang out with Koji more than anyone else. Why he’d missed his friend so much it depressed him.
Not that he was going to do anything with Koji. Koji was practically married to Naoto. But there were other guys there whose job it was to…um…help him.
Before he could take another step, the left glass door opened. In the next second, Koji emerged, a wide grin on his face. “Hey, Hiru-chan!” Koji was wearing that uniform the guys here wore—white vest with nothing underneath and small white shorts, his feet covered in tabi socks and zori sandals. In the warmer weather, he went barefoot. Koji had told him all about his life here. “Welcome.” Koji’s smile deepened as he gestured Hiru to the door.
There was no backing out now. Nor did he want to. Koji’s presence drew him like a magnet to clasp his friend’s hand and shake it even as they bowed to each other. The change in his friend since coming here and meeting Naoto was nothing short of miraculous. The dark circles Koji’d had under his eyes since Hiru knew him were gone. Koji’s skin and hair glowed with health, and his eyes, previously sad and haunted all the time, had light in them.
Hiru found himself smiling in spite of the way his heart beat faster and his stomach flipped over. “Hey to you, too.”
Before he knew it, Koji had slipped his bag from his hand and was ushering him inside. “I’m so glad you’re here,” Koji said as the door floated shut behind them. He gestured to the shoe rack and put down a pair of slippers with the White Tiger’s emblem on them so that Hiru could push his feet into them after slipping off his shoes.
“Thanks, Koji-chan. Same with you.” He was barely halfway down to pick up his shoes when Koji snatched them up and slipped them into one of the cubby holes.
When Hiru straightened, he noticed a second man standing behind Koji. When had he come in? It wasn’t Naoto, he knew, from having met Koji’s lover. Naoto was broad and beefy with long hair and a rugged face. This man, though muscular, was narrower in build and smooth-looking, his hair merely a dark shadow over his scalp, shaved as closely as a Zen monk’s hair.
Hiru bowed to him while a strange feeling curled suddenly in his gut.
When Koji lifted to his feet, he saw their gazes meeting. “Hiru-chan, I’d like you to meet Quan Chan.” The way he said the man’s name made it sound like Chwan Chan.
Quan Chan. Koji had mentioned him in past weeks the way he spoke of all his new friends and didn’t seem to think anything of the fact that the man was Chinese. Hiru had never known any Chinese personally, but his grandfather had fought in the Second Sino-Japanese War and had been captured and tortured. Ironically it had been Hiru’s father who’d shown the anger for what had happened to his father. Don’t trust the Chinese, Hiru-chan, Dad had said so often while Hiru was growing up. They’ll take advantage of you every way they can. Hungry dogs is what they are. After Hiru’s accident almost eleven years ago, his father had suddenly completely stopped saying these things, yet, the memories were there, burned into Hiru’s mind.
Hiru caught himself staring at the other man, his father’s words spiralling in his mind and making him hesitate. He’d grown up watching his grandfather limp from the tortures he’d suffered, and yet, here, in the face of Koji’s warmth and enthusiasm, he felt suddenly like a backward racist. Koji wasn’t the kind of person who’d use history to keep up walls to anyone. Koji gave everyone a chance. And Koji was the happy one now of the two of them. Maybe Koji was also the smarter one.
Hiru pulled himself forcibly out of his state. “Hello,” he said to Quan Chan. “Nice to meet you.” He gave another quick bow while his cheeks tingled. Briefly he saw Quan Chan return the gesture. When the man straightened, he was wearing a small, kind of shy smile that Hiru found very similar to Koji’s smile. Quan Chan certainly didn’t look like a hungry dog who’d ever, under any circumstances, torture a man. He also hadn’t seemed to pick up on Hiru’s little mental foray into prejudice.
“Quan Chan will be looking after you while you’re here,” Koji went on. He still wore a smile but Hiru noticed a slight blush in his friend’s cheeks.
Hiru nodded, though his stomach did a flip. He bowed, partly in an attempt to dispel the feeling. “Ah, thank you.” His heart thudded much harder now. Did ‘looking after’ him mean having sex the way the website explained the White Tiger Path? All that oral stuff. Now Hiru was wishing he hadn’t been so reluctant all this time to ask Koji more about the specifics of what he might experience while staying there. Moments like this, being painfully hung up about sex had its sharp drawbacks.
“Now,” Koji went on, “I’ll show you to your room and Quan Chan will bring up some saké. How’s that?”
Hmm, saké. Probably would be good to calm his nerves a bit. He nodded. “Perfect.”
“Great.” Koji clapped his shoulder in a friendly way and slid back a soji screen which obviously led to the inn’s interior. “This way.”
Hiru bowed quickly to Quan Chan and followed Koji, not even knowing whether the other man bowed in return. His breathing grew quicker as he followed Koji down a hall of highly polished dark wood, the walkway surrounding a centre garden of raked stones and a small fountain. The décor was that of a traditional Japanese home—simple, clean lines, and peaceful. “This place is beautiful,” he murmured.
Koji nodded. “Yes, it is. That was the first thing I noticed about it when I came here.” He hesitated. “Well, the second.”
Hiru managed a smile through his nervousness. Koji had told him about his first encounter with Naoto, and how immediately enchanted he’d been with him. Yet, Koji had been such a nervous wreck, he’d drunk too much saké and managed to put his foot in his mouth a bunch of times within the first ten minutes. Hiru made a mental note not to have more than one cup. All he needed was to get drunk and let something slip about the terrible things his father had often said about the Chinese.
Koji led him into an elevator then down the hallway where he stopped and slid back the soji screen to a room. “I hope you’ll like it here.” He gestured to the room’s interior.
“I’m sure I will.” Hiru stepped into the room. It felt strange to have Koji hosting him this way, considering their friendship had always been that of two office guys, co-workers who went for beers and watched sumo wrestling matches on TV together.
Behind him, he heard Koji slide the screen closed then saw him cross over to the closet where he set the bag down on a rack. “Make yourself comfortable, Hiru-chan,” he said.
Obediently, Hiru went over to the seating area where a low table had room for four to sit, two on each side. On the other side of the room, a black-covered futon rested on a redwood platform with pillows arranged luxuriously at the head. A potted plant and some…Hiru cleared his throat and wiped his palms on his pants…erotic drawings of naked men entwined in various poses finished the décor. Hiru turned quickly away from the largest drawing which hung on the wall above the bed.
Koji came over, lowered himself into a chair across from Hiru and smiled at him again, making Hiru vividly aware of Koji’s bare chest. Koji had put on a few pounds since living here and his physique was like that of a toned swimmer. Suddenly Hiru was aware of all the times in the past they’d gone on weekends to a nearby onsen with co-workers and Hiru had caught himself staring at Koji while they soaked in the baths or washed in the shower. Koji had been much thinner then and Hiru had told himself he’d been concerned about his friend’s health as well as upset about the scars on Koji’s ass cheeks. But there had been more to it, he saw now. Much more.
Hiru felt the awkward moment pass between them. This setting was a far cry from the couch in front of Koji’s TV and coffee table covered with beer bottles and bags of seaweed chips.
“I can’t believe you’re here,” Koji said softly. “I’m so glad.”
“Me too.” Hiru clasped his hands together. His large body felt suddenly way too damn big for this elegant chair and his hands, resting on his lap, appeared to him as a pair of giant meat hooks. On the judo mat, his size and broadness had been an advantage, but here, he simply felt like an oaf. Actually, in front of Koji, he felt that way. Which had been the main clue as to why he needed to…explore.
Koji’s brow furrowed. “I’m sorry I haven’t seen you as often since I moved in here. I feel as if I’ve abandoned you somehow.”
Hiru sighed and felt his shoulders sag a bit, as if Koji’s honesty had released some kind of tension. “Don’t worry, Ko-chan. You did no such thing.” He gestured to the room, meaning to encompass the entire place. “This is so much better for you. You weren’t well. I’d rather you were happy.” The sadness in Koji’s eyes made him distinctly uncomfortable and he hated feeling as if he had caused it. “Hey,” he said, changing the subject, “how’s Naoto?”
Koji’s face immediately brightened and a dreamy look slipped into his eyes. “Very well. He’s working right now but you’ll see him later. I was hoping you’d join us all for supper. We always have a great time together and Basho and Yuzo are the best chefs in Tokyo.”
Hiru smiled even though his stomach did another flip. He wasn’t very good at meeting people, but didn’t want to disappoint Koji. “I’d love to. Thanks.”
Another friendly moment of quiet passed between them before Koji spoke again. “I hope you’ll like Quan Chan,” he said. “We call him Chan Chan. He’s a wonderful person, considerate, gentle and very sweet.” Koji’s cheeks coloured a bit and he leaned forward as if someone might be eavesdropping. “And he’s a master White Tiger.” The pointed tone in Koji’s voice conveyed his meaning. “That’s why he has the tiger tattoo on his front. It denotes a very high level of practice. To get the tattoo, a person must be able to meditate himself into ecstasy.” A mischievous look came into Koji’s eyes, a side of his friend Hiru had never seen. Koji put his hand to the side of his mouth, the way one does when telling a secret in someone’s ear. “That means without using his hand.” Koji winked.
Hiru felt his cheeks burn and stared at the other man. This place had brought out a more different Koji than he’d ever imagined. He and Koji had seen each other naked in the baths a million times over the years, but never, not once, had they discussed sex, beyond the occasional brief conversation about dating women.
Clearing his throat, Hiru pulled a bit at the knot of his tie, loosening it to let some air cool the sudden heat around his collar. “He seems to be all you’ve said he is.”
Koji smiled at him and the corners of his eyes crinkled. Hiru caught himself staring again, this time realising how much he’d always liked Koji’s smile, much less rare now than it had always been. Koji had hardly ever smiled over the years. “Kiku-sensei has tried to make this a place where men can come from everywhere and be together, regardless of their race or nationality,” Koji went on, as if he’d intuitively understood some of his friend’s thoughts. He looked at Hiru. “You don’t mind, right? I mean, you’re an accepting person but I know about your grandfather. It’s hard not to have certain feelings and we’ve never discussed it. I apologise for not asking you before you got here.” Koji frowned.
Hiru stared at his friend. Koji was sensitive like that, often when you least expected it. One of the qualities that had always struck him was how perceptive Koji was even when he appeared completely distracted or upset. Bowing his head, Hiru sighed. “I have felt prejudice in the past, but it’s the wrong way to live,” he said softly. “I’m nervous enough. I don’t want to have such feelings guide me.” A gentle hand on his arm made him look up.
Koji’s eyes radiated compassion and he smiled.
A strange jolt of energy went through Hiru at the look, followed by that sense of regret he’d been plagued with since Koji had left Toshio Systems as a full-time employee to consult from home. Why had it taken so damn long to realise the truth? Why couldn’t he have discovered it before it was too late and Koji was completely in love with someone else?
“It’s all right, Hiru-chan.”
There wasn’t time to say more. Just then a knock sounded on the soji screen and the door slid open at Koji’s call.
Hiru’s stomach tightened. It was Quan Chan, bearing a tray with a saké decanter and three cups. Hiru watched him kneel and set the tray down, then turn and slide the screen closed before rising again bringing the tray over to them. Quan Chan’s gaze met briefly with Hiru’s and he smiled.
Hiru felt his cheeks burn. He returned the smile but Quan Chan was already setting the cups on the low table and pouring the saké. A sense of relief filled him that Quan Chan would have a cup too.
Koji lifted his cup and Hiru followed his friend’s lead. Having Koji here helped soothe his nerves a bit, but what about when Koji left him alone with Quan Chan? Best not to think about that.
“Kampai,” Koji toasted and sipped from his cup. Again, Hiru followed, glancing at Quan Chan as if to make sure the other man would also drink. He did and Hiru couldn’t help glancing at Quan Chan’s throat as he swallowed. The man’s Adam’s apple slid up and down and other tiny muscles in his neck worked. That led Hiru to notice Quan Chan’s skin, a rich golden colour and flawlessly smooth, like Koji’s. Hiru had spent a lot of time studying Koji’s skin and so the comparison came to his mind.
Hiru tipped his head back and gulped the saké. As large as he was, the tiny cup was a mere sip. The clear liquid burned pleasantly in his throat and he instantly felt the relaxing tingle it brought to his limbs and brain. Carefully he set the cup down, politely refusing the offer of a refill.
Koji, too, set his cup down and smiled at Hiru. “I must go for now, Hiru-chan,” he said. “I’ll see you a little later, okay?”
Tension clenched Hiru’s back and shoulders and his heart immediately pounded. Not wanting to be impolite, he nodded, standing to offer a handshake to Koji.
Koji took his hand warmly but then used it to pull him into an embrace. “I’m so glad you’re here,” he said again.
“Me too.” Hiru hugged him as closely as he dared, unable to ignore the warm press of Koji’s bare chest against his front. Koji smelled really good too. Hiru hadn’t ever really gotten this close to him before and hadn’t known his friend smelled like clean laundry hanging to dry in fresh air. He was both relieved and disappointed when Koji pulled gently away. “See you at supper.”
Koji nodded. “Definitely.” He waved to Quan Chan and slipped out of the room.
Hiru cleared his throat. Heat flared again around his neck, wherever his collar touched his skin, and more heat made his armpits feel like small infernos. He looked at Quan Chan who had also stood when Koji was leaving. As Hiru had noticed before, Quan Chan had a very attractive face, finely arched brows, high cheekbones and beautifully-shaped eyes, like very large almonds with long lashes. His lips, too, were really nice, full and soft-looking. Hiru caught himself starting to look lower but then stopped, remembering suddenly what Koji had said about the tiger tattoo. He cleared his throat again and found his hand once more on the knot of his tie.
“Here, allow me.” Before he realised what was happening, Quan Chan had stepped up to him and put a hand over his.
Hiru froze. Suddenly, Quan Chan’s nationality wasn’t even remotely an issue. Quan Chan was a man and was about to help him…undress. Among other things. For one brief moment, Hiru almost backed away, claiming he’d made a mistake. But then what would he do? Leave and go home to his lonely apartment? Go to a hostess club and upset another woman with his ineptitude? Or maybe, spend another night in front of the television set with a beer in his hand, missing Koji.
No. As frightened as he was, the alternative was nightmarish. He’d lived so long in fearful seclusion. It had already cost him an opportunity with the first person in over a decade he’d felt he could love since Megumi. At thirty-three, he wasn’t getting any younger. Simply getting older wasn’t going to make his life better.
“Yes,” he said, nearly in a whisper, “thank you.” He allowed Quan Chan to draw his hand back down to his side and then begin to work the knot open with both hands. The gentle tugging on his neck as the tie loosened turned out to be quite pleasant, as was the brush of the other man’s fingertips against his chest, even through the material of his shirt.
“I’ll do everything I can to make your stay pleasant for you, Hiru-san.” Quan Chan’s low tone echoed the soothing movement of his fingertips. His expression looked sincere as he slid the tie out from under Hiru’s collar and hung it over his own shoulder before reaching out again, his fingertips landing on the top button of Hiru’s shirt. He paused and peered into Hiru’s eyes, a concerned look on his face. “You don’t mind my touching you, do you? If you feel at all uncomfortable, you’re under no obligation to me.” He smiled gently. Like his face and mannerisms, Quan Chan’s voice was also agreeable, a smooth tenor that was as refined as his appearance.
Hiru stared a moment, sensing a hidden message in Quan Chan’s words. Was the other man so sensitive he picked up on the Chinese issue? Shit, that would simply be the worst. He’d never truly, deep down believed his father and realised with a flash that whatever prejudice he’d harboured had been inherited, not organic to his nature. Quickly he shook his head. “No, not at all. You’re…I mean, I don’t mind at all. You’re a good…toucher.” Toucher? What the hell kind of word was that he’d just made up? What the hell was happening to his tongue, getting so loose all of a sudden? His cheeks flared again with heat and he watched Quan Chan for a response.
The other man’s smile widened. “Thank you very much, Hiru-san.” He worked open the top button then pulled away, bowing politely to him and gesturing to the bed. “Please make yourself comfortable,” he said kindly. “I need a moment to prepare the room for your relaxation.”
With his stomach flopping like a landed fish, Hiru obeyed, going to the edge of the bed and sitting. He watched Quan Chan drape the tie over the back of a chair, light a stick of incense which he set delicately on the bedside table then turn a knob in the wall. The gentle sound of traditional bamboo flute and shamisen music floated into the air. The elegant room, already inviting and warm in its traditional Japanese simplicity, became even more peaceful and soothing.
Which was good, because Hiru felt a trembling inside him, a tremor that emanated from his bones and made him feel shaken deep down in a place he was usually unaware of. His awareness now, however, was sharp, as sharp as when he’d been on the judo mat, facing an opponent. He heard every footfall loud and clear as Quan Chan approached the bed and knelt down before him.
“Are you all right, Hiru-san?” he asked. “May I call you that?”
Hiru nodded without hesitation. He didn’t think he could bear having Quan Chan address him by his last name, especially if they were going to be doing…well, the things they were probably about to do.
Read the Reviews
SUDDEN HEAT is the newest addition to Sedonia Guillone’s White Tiger series. Quan Chan and Hiru, whom we met in previous books, sizzle in their own story. All the men from the White Tiger are present to help the two men when needed as well as giving the reader a glimpse of what has been going on in their own lives. This series has become one of my favorites and I hope there will be more to come.
Ms. Guillone has continued her incredible series with this story that takes the reader from ecstasy to despair through the lives of the men of the White Tiger. Quan Chan is an interesting combination of intelligence, sensuality, pragmatism with a dash of innocence mixed in. Hiro on the surface is a very quiet and repressed man, but hidden inside is a tiger needing to be set free. Together Hiro and Quan Chan unveil their inner yearnings and complete each other in ways that they never expected. I loved learning the ways of the White Tiger path and how it freed the inner needs of the men who found their way to the path. It was interesting to see how Quan Chan’s old master influenced him in both positive and negative ways to make him the man that he is today. I will be waiting for the next book in the Men of Tokyo series.