We’re so pleased to welcome author Mickie B. Ashling back to TNA today, on the tour for her new novel Forged in Trust. Enjoy the excerpt she’s selected to share, and then be sure to check out the details on the Giveaway below.
Many thanks to The Novel Approach for inviting me to share an exclusive excerpt of my latest novel Forged in Trust, which releases September 4th from Dreamspinner. This is the fourth novel in the Bay Area Professionals universe. Characters from the first three books will weave in and out of this story; however, you can read this as a stand-alone if you wish.
I also bring some goodies you can win by throwing your name into Rafflecopter.
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.
Excerpt: “MR. DURAN?”
Rino took his eyes off the People magazine he’d been leafing through and was surprised to see a guy holding a clipboard, instead of the female office manager he’d been expecting. He found him attractive—oddly enough, considering he’d never looked twice at gingers—and noticed his scrubs were the exact shade of blue as the eyes peering down at him with interest.
“You’re here for the interview?”
Rino nodded. “Is there a problem?”
“Not at all,” the redhead said quickly. “I’m Robin Kennedy, please follow me.”
Tossing the magazine aside, Rino reached for the folder containing his resume and stood to follow Robin down a long hallway. He zeroed in on the guy’s ass and immediately scolded himself for being swayed by such a tempting sight. Tearing his eyes away, he glanced through the open arches on either side and saw two dentists and their assistants hard at work. The familiar sound of drilling reassured him that perhaps this practice wasn’t on the brink of bankruptcy, and that his paycheck, if they hired him, wouldn’t bounce.
Thinking back on last week’s phone call from his bank informing him of the state of his account, which was overdrawn by six hundred dollars due to his paycheck having been returned marked “Insufficient Funds,” put him in a black mood all over again. That’s what happens when you work for friends, he thought bleakly. He’d been swept up by David’s excitement and hadn’t bothered to check his financials, assuming his friend had the wherewithal to sustain the small dental practice he’d started a year ago. Rino should have known something was up as the staff dwindled from five to four and most recently three. The “oopsie” explanation he received, instead of cold cash to bail out his account, had been the last straw. He’d walked out thinking that finding another job would be a slam dunk, but so far, he’d been unsuccessful. Who knew there was such a glut of hygienists?
Being a guy in a predominantly female field didn’t help. He always felt like the odd man out whenever he mentioned his profession. The standard question was usually who in the heck wanted to spend all day cleaning other people’s teeth. It was gross and almost as bad as being a garbage collector, some tactless soul had pointed out. Maybe, Rino admitted, but it was a hell of a lot better than being a washed-up seminarian. Hygiene had fallen into his lap when he’d met David at a party and listened to him expound on the benefits of a career in health care. Dental hygiene was a booming field and didn’t involve years of study or a huge monetary commitment. Other industries had floundered during the California recession, but people in health care had managed to keep their heads above water. Encouraged, Rino had explored the costs and decided to invest in a career that might improve his life.
Rino was so caught up in his thoughts he hadn’t noticed they’d stopped, and he crashed into Robin, eliciting a soft oomph.
“Shit, I’m sorry,” he sputtered, feeling like such a klutz.
“No worries.” Robin pushed open the oak door, and they stepped into a private office. It had two desks butting up against each other, an unusual arrangement Rino had never seen before. Each desk had a computer monitor and several patient charts piled in a neat stack. Against one wall, there were file cabinets, a combination copy and fax machine, and what looked like a brand-new Keurig coffeemaker with a stainless-steel display tree holding an assortment of coffee pods. The sugar and creamer packets were overflowing in a ceramic white bowl, and there was a tiny fridge squeezed into a slot underneath.
“Would you like a cup of coffee?” Robin asked.
“Have a seat.” Robin pointed at one of the two leather visitor’s chairs across from the desks. He pulled a rolling chair out from underneath one desk, sat down, and looked at the resume Rino had e-mailed in response to the want ad.
“So, Rino,” Robin said. “Is this a typo or do you really spell your name with an I instead of an E?”
“It’s short for Quirino.”
“That’s an unusual name.”
Rino shrugged. “I’m part Filipino and named after one of our presidents. My mother started calling me Rino from an early age and it stuck.”
“Makes sense,” the redhead said with a nod. “I also spell my name, Robin, with an I.”
“Some people use a Y. Did your entire family move here from the Philippines?”
Rino shook his head. “It’s just my mom and me.”
“I see. Was your father in the service?”
“No,” Rino said impatiently. “Is the doctor going to interview me or what?”
Robin took his eyes off the paper and responded in a withering tone. “Do you have something more important going on?”
Rino cringed, realizing his mistake. Shit, maybe he’s the doctor, and I just pissed him off, he thought in a panic. Robin waited with a quiet air of authority that made Rino want to slide off the chair, get down on his knees, and beg his forgiveness. The man was a study in contrasts with his milky white skin covered with an even dusting of pale freckles and his fiery curls. They were sort of clownish, but there was nothing funny about the piercing blue eyes, framed by auburn lashes, gazing at Rino confidently. Robin wasn’t handsome in the traditional sense, but he oozed sex and power, two qualities Rino found irresistible. He was also ripped, and the nipple ring clearly outlined against the soft cotton fabric of his pale blue scrubs was a sign that there was more to this guy than dentistry.
“Not at all,” he said, “I apologize for being rude. Anxiety about my future is making me forget my good manners. I really need the job.”
“Then let’s try and concentrate, shall we? Now, tell me something about Rino with an I.”
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.
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.
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