I had no idea what I’d find when I went through an old chest belonging to Lady Carlton, the heroine in my Spice novel, “The Blonde Samurai.” A chest decorated in makie or sprinkled pictures, a process using gold and silver flakes and powder captured in lacquer to present narrative imagery.
As if the words were written yesterday instead of the late 1870s.
She decided to find out.
By asking him.
During the late afternoons when a titillating breeze cooled the day and the passing of time stopped for the drinking of tea, Katie and Shintaro sat under the flowering cherry blossoms and warmed their hands around tiny tea cups and talked about their first encounter at the Imperial Palace.
Sip your tea slowly.
You’re in for a treat.
Lord Shintaro speaks of the first time he saw Katie outside the emperor’s Imperial Palace in Tokyo (spelled Tokio at that time).
He was a man condemned.
Not by the barbarians from faraway lands trying to influence his beloved emperor, a boy not yet a man, to outlaw the way of the samurai, but by a woman.
An Englishwoman, no less.
In a red hat. With a long black ribbon tied in a big bow under her chin. A chin raised in defiance of him, a samurai lord and the master of his clan. Racing past him as if she couldn’t wait to meet her lover.
There, look at her. She was as wanton as the tayû, the highest paid courtesan, to a daimyo, lord, from times past who could turn away a customer if it so pleased her.
He envied the man meeting her, whoever he was, for her great beauty reminded him of the perfect cherry blossom. Always stunning, always elusive. Fleeing on the wind before he could capture it in his palm.
Clenching and unclenching his fists, Shintaro barely contained himself from grabbing her and holding her close to him. Smelling her strange scent that reminded him of cut lavender. Fresh and laden with a sweet fragrance, yet spiced with the perfume of her desire.
Aroused by her, he breathed in deeply. A raging burn erupted in his groin, disturbing his harmony. Something he never allowed to invade his mind. He could do nothing but look at her. Want her. Think of spreading her thighs and setting his mouth upon the moist folds of her lower lips, nibbling on her, imagining her taste upon his tongue.
He also enjoyed the custom of sampling a woman’s elixir as it dripped from between her bare thighs and into a sake cup he held in one hand, while fingering her with the other. A custom he enjoyed often with the courtesans in the Green Houses of Yoshiwara.
He grunted. This woman possessed the same tempting lure as the courtesan and must be put in her proper place.
He yearned to strip off her petticoats and whatever godless garments she wore underneath and let her passion rule her. He’d find her nude and wanting as he pressed his lips against the swell of her breasts.
He cocked an eyebrow. An interesting idea, though another problem faced him. He had never undressed a gaijin, foreigner. It presented a challenge to him. His usual move was to slip his hand under the kimono of a beautiful courtesan to fondle her bare breasts. A favor he enjoyed when the woman bade him sit on her right side. A way of showing her interest without words, since her kimono crossed left over right.
This Englishwoman gave him no such invitation. It only made him want her more. He sneered at her. He knew of but one way to bare her flesh to him.
Slice off her clothing. With his sword.
Piece by piece.
He reached for his weapon.
To be continued…