Mickie B. Ashling: Forged in Trust Blog Tour & Giveaway
Thank you for inviting me to share an exclusive excerpt of my latest release, Forged in Trust, which releases September 4th from Dreamspinner. Like the previous three novels in the Bay Area Professionals Series, this story is populated by doctors and dentists who participate in the BDSM lifestyle. It can be read as a stand-alone as I’ve added enough back story on the characters from the previous novels to make it enjoyable for a first time reader. I’ve a few goodies to share as well. Enjoy!
You can check out Cindi’s review of Forged in Trust here.
About Forged in Trust
Dr. Ethan Marshall is the young medical student on call the night Tessa Duran murders her husband for abusing her twelve-year-old-son, Rino. Ethan stays in the cubicle while the rape kit is performed and is surprised when the boy resorts to prayers instead of tears.
Despite compelling evidence, Tessa is sent to jail for life. To avoid placing Rino in foster care, their parish priest agrees to raise him. Ethan is touched by Rino’s plight and visits whenever possible, but the connection is broken when the priest and young boy leave the area months later.
Raised by the Dominicans in California, Rino considers joining the order until a romance blossoms with a fellow student. After much soul-searching, he turns his back on everything familiar, and chooses his orientation over his perceived vocation. Upon graduating dental hygiene school, Rino takes a job at the office of Scott Gregory and Robin Kennedy.
Seventeen years have passed since that horrible night in the emergency room. Forty-three-year-old Ethan is now a Dominant in search of a full-time submissive. Twenty-nine-year-old Rino is adrift, longing for someone or something to help him find the serenity he’s lost along the way. As they rekindle their friendship, they realize they might be perfect for each other.
“May I help you?” the man asked, checking out Rino from head to toe.
“Is there any way I can get in there to see if I’d like to apply for a membership?”
“Normally people are referred; they don’t walk in.”
“Perhaps you can make an exception?” Rino asked, turning on the charm with his incandescent smile. He batted his lashes and stepped closer so the guy could get a good look at him. He’d worn one of his better shirts that night and was confident he’d pass muster. “I promise to behave.”
“Now what fun would that be?” the stranger teased. “If you step through this door, you have to leave your inhibitions behind. That’s the only way you’ll appreciate the tour.”
Rino grinned, caught up in the banter. “Whatever it takes.”
“What’s your name?”
“Sorry?” the looker said sharply. “Could you repeat that?”
“Here’s my driver’s license,” Rino said, handing it to the guy.
He glanced at it briefly, handed it to the bouncer, and said, “Wait here.” After murmuring something in the man’s ear, he turned around and walked away.
“Hey,” Rino shouted to get his attention, but the guy had disappeared around a corner.
“Relax,” the bouncer said. “You’ll get in as soon as Brad shows up.”
“One of our members who’ll happily give you a tour of the premises.”
“What about the guy who just left?”
“He’s one of the owners and doesn’t bother with stuff like this.”
“What’s his name?” Rino asked. He was sure he’d seen the guy before, and now he was dying of curiosity. Had they ever hooked up? Why the fuck couldn’t he place the face? Granted the lights in this entry were for shit, but he gathered it was on purpose to keep away the curious.
“We’re not allowed to give out names.”
“He knows mine.”
“The club rules are very specific.”
“It seems a bit lopsided to me,” Rino grumbled. He was about to turn away when another hunk showed up. Christ, where did these people come from?
“My name is Brad, and I’ll be showing you around,” he said loudly. He was also dressed in a three-piece suit but, upon closer inspection, wasn’t nearly as sexy as the other guy, Rino thought disappointedly.
“Follow me,” Brad commanded.
They stepped into a large entry that branched off into several hallways. Brad turned down one of them and stopped in front of a door. “You can check your clothes in here.”
“I’m not taking off my clothes,” Rino protested.
“You look like an out-of-place dweeb. We can lend you a few things so you’ll blend in.”
“You’re in a suit,” Rino pointed out. “That’s more corporate than my outfit.”
“They know who I am, and we’re not discussing me—you’re the tourist.”
“How about a sneak peek so I know what you have in mind?”
Rino stood up to the disapproval in the flinty eyes boring into him, and seconds before he was about to blink, Brad took him by the hand and led him down the opposite hallway. Disposable income was a necessary requirement to being the consummate party boy, and Rino had never had that luxury, so his experience with clubs in general was very limited. Nonetheless, he’d been around enough to know this wasn’t your typical gay club. The music was subdued, the lights weren’t colored or flashing, the clientele was better groomed, but the most striking thing about this place was the attire, or lack of it. He was used to seeing half-naked bodies writhing on a dance floor, and partial nudity was to be expected, but in this setting, most of the younger guys were either naked or covered with bits of leather, leaving little to the imagination. Black leather to be exact. The rest of the men, who appeared to be the ones in charge, limited their display to the upper body. They wore skintight pants or assless chaps, but their bulges remained under wraps. Too bad, Rino mused. It would have been nice to see if the prize lived up to the outstanding presentation.
Rino turned to Brad, who’d been watching him the entire time. “Are you expecting me to walk around naked?”
“You have a beautiful face,” Brad said. “But most Dominants are interested in the overall package.”
Brad’s face registered surprise. “That is why you’re here, isn’t it? To find a Master?”
Rino flushed, feeling all kinds of stupid. “Umm… actually, no. I was bored out of my mind and intrigued by your member’s-only policy. I wanted to know what was so special about your club.”
“I see,” Brad said disapprovingly. “You’re obviously in the wrong place. This isn’t a freak show.”
“Please,” Rino said, reaching out to hold Brad in place. “I’m not here to pass judgment or anything like that. Simply to observe. Are you a Dominant?”
“Are you in a relationship or looking to hook up?”
“There’s more to this than hooking up,” Brad said with a slow smile.
“Will you hurt me?”
“Our lifestyle isn’t about hurting people.”
“Do I have to walk around naked?”
“Only if you want to.” Brad moved a little closer. He seemed attracted by Rino’s curiosity.
“Yeah?” Brad’s smile was ear to ear.
Rino clarified. “I’m willing to go topless.”
About the Author
Mickie B. Ashling is the alter-ego of a multifaceted woman raised by a single mother who preferred reading over other forms of entertainment. She found a kindred spirit in her oldest child and encouraged her with a steady supply of dog-eared paperbacks. Romance was the preferred genre, and historical romances topped her favorites list.
By the time Mickie discovered her own talent for writing, real life had intruded, and the business of earning a living and raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing and the inevitable emptying nest, dreams were resurrected, and the storyteller was reborn.
She stumbled into the world of men who love men in 2002 and continues to draw inspiration from their ongoing struggle to find equality and happiness in this oftentimes skewed and intolerant world. Her award-winning novels have been called “gut wrenching, daring, and thought provoking.” She admits to being an angst queen and making her men work damn hard for their happy endings.
Mickie loves to travel and has lived in the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East but currently resides in a suburb outside Chicago.
Connect with Mickie
Enter to win a $20 DSP gift certificate or one of three ecopies of Forged in Trust. Contest open internationally. Must be 18 or older to enter.
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Follow the Tour
Sept. 1 – The Novel Approach
Sept. 2 – On Top Down Under Book Reviews
Sept. 3 – Charlie Cochet
Sept. 4 – Love Bytes
Sept. 4 – Sinfully…Addicted to All Male Romance
Sept. 7 – Hearts On Fire
Sept. 8 – Prism Book Alliance
Sept. 9 – MM Good Book Reviews
Sept. 11 – WoW…from The Scarf Princess
Tour and materials organized by PAS Promotions