Weekend Read: First Swallow of Spring by Asta Idonea

A swallow alighting on a branch in a marsh.
Photo of a European swallow by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash.

I first read Asta Idonea’s short story “First Swallow of Spring” in April 2016, when the story was published by Torquere Press. When Torquere folded in December, “First Swallow of Spring” went out of print. Thankfully, it was rereleased in April alongside one of my short stories in Sexy to Go Gay RomanceSo I thought I’d resurrect my original review from a year ago to celebrate!

This review originally appeared on my Tumblr blog. I’ve deleted links to the previous edition that no longer work.

Book Review and Excerpt: First Swallow of Spring

Wherever I go in the romance world, I keep bumping into Asta Idonea. We’ve contributed to several of the same anthologies, and I love reading her stories.

Her most recent release is the short story “First Swallow of Spring,” an M/M erotic fantasy set in a modern-day Ireland where the fae are still very real. Here’s the summary: 

The first swallow of spring draws Seanán back to the fae circle each year. There he dances with the handsome fae lord, Iorweth. He knows the rules he must follow if he wishes to be free to leave at the end of the night; however, Iorweth is growing ever more inventive in his attempts to trick Seanán into breaking them.

I had a blast reading”First Swallow of Spring” (and yes, it is a double entendre). Her writing was as seductive as Lord Iorweth, and let me tell you, that’s pretty damn seductive.

“First Swallow of Spring” had just the right amount of worldbuilding for a short story—enough to make me feel transported, but not so much that it slowed the pace. But my favorite thing about the story is that I thought I knew how it would resolve, and I was wrong. I do love when authors surprise me. The story shows there is more than one path to happiness and fulfillment, and sometimes the best isn’t the most obvious.


“Seanán will be dancing with none but me.” The words were softly spoken, yet the tone brooked no argument, and at this utterance, the others scurried away and a new figure stepped into view.

A wave of contentment flooded through Seanán. “Iorweth.” He accepted Iorweth’s proffered hand, and Iorweth pulled him to his feet as if he weighed nothing. He gazed up at the regal figure. “I have missed you.”

“And I you. Shall we dance?”

Iorweth swept Seanán into his arms and they spun toward the edge of the clearing. The others made room for them and they joined the chain, circling the stone in a dance of pure delight. The music came from no discernible source, but it filled the air, bright and bell-like, and between its magical refrains, the fae laughed, clapped, and cavorted in the moonlight.

Seanán followed Iorweth’s lead. The rest of the world melted away as he lost himself in the fae lord’s glimmering, emerald eyes. This was the time of year he felt most alive. In the long months between these meetings he survived on memories and dreams. They kept him going, but nothing compared to being here in Iorweth’s arms. The press of his hand on Seanán’s back—that was the brilliant reality. The rest of his life was colorless.

Iorweth pulled him closer until their bodies met. Warmth spread through Seanán and he sighed and rested his head against Iorweth’s chest. Surely they had danced for long enough. Surely Iorweth would soon take him to the stone. Yet, on and on they danced. They twirled and dipped and swayed, never breaking from the circle. Seanán should have felt dizzy. At the very least he should have grown weary. But when he was with Iorweth, he always had boundless energy. So long as their hands touched, Seanán believed he could go on dancing without pause, forever.

About Asta Idonea

Asta Idonea (aka Nicki J Markus) was born in England, but now lives in Adelaide, South Australia. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.

Asta launched her writing career in 2011 and divides her efforts not only between MM and mainstream works but also between traditional and indie publishing. Her works span the genres, from paranormal to historical and from contemporary to fantasy. It just depends what story and which characters spring into her mind!

As a day job, Asta works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and in her spare time she enjoys music, theatre, cinema, photography, and sketching. She also loves history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel; all of which have provided plenty of inspiration for her writing.

Where to Find Asta Idonea

You can buy Sexy to Go Gay Romance wherever ebooks are sold.

Sexy to Go Gay Romance book cover

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