We are delighted to share with you an Exclusive Excerpt for Open Seating, the latest novel from Mickie B. Ashling, go check it out and don’t forget to enter the fabulous giveaway.
I’d like to thank Sinfully for giving me the opportunity to share an exclusive excerpt from Open Seating, the first book in a planned trilogy. Those of you who follow me know I love to travel, and my favorite way to see the world is on a cruise ship. A story with a luxury liner as a backdrop was bound to come out of my muse eventually; I’m just surprised that it took this long.
As the blurb mentions, my main characters are nothing alike and have been thrown together on this voyage under the worst of circumstances. Fate has presented their itinerary, and now it’s up to them to make it work. Or not.
I bring some fun giveaways and several opportunities to win a freebie by following along on the tour. Before I close, I’d like to mention and thank my publicist J for her excellent work in organizing all my blog tours and anything else I might need in terms of promotion.
Mickie B. Ashling
Series ~ Open Trilogy #1
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 10th June 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Seth Wilder lost his partner of twenty years to suicide two weeks before a long-anticipated cruise. Cancellation insurance was never purchased, and Seth can’t get a refund. Bryce McFarland, his late partner’s gym buddy, appreciates his predicament, and when asked, agrees to accompany him on the trip. This way, Seth recoups the money and doesn’t have to cancel his plans. The gesture is unexpected but accepted gratefully.
The two men have nothing in common. Seth is a reclusive romance writer, and Bryce is a hard-core Grindr user with major commitment issues. Out of necessity and despite the seemingly insurmountable differences in personality, they develop a tentative rapport. As they begin their journey through the UK, Bryce helps Seth come to terms with his partner’s sudden death while Seth, in turn, discovers the root cause of Bryce’s phobia.
Shipboard romances rarely work. Sensible men resist, sexual tension notwithstanding. But a full moon and late summer breezes lend itself to the impossible situation, barriers are crossed, and a love affair is kindled.
“What in the hell are we looking at?” Bryce asked.
They were at Harrods standing in front of the small shrine to Princess Diana and her lover, Dodi Fayed. A champagne glass—smudged with her lipstick—and an engagement ring, purchased the day before the fatal accident in Paris, were in a Plexiglas pyramid surrounded by flowers and candles.
Seth gave Bryce an incredulous look. “Don’t you recognize Diana?”
“Of course I do, but why is this tucked away under the stairs like a dirty secret?” Bryce whispered.
Leaning in, Seth explained in a low voice. “Dodi’s father used to own Harrods and erected the memorial to honor the couple. There’s a bronze statue of them dancing on another floor. Perhaps he wanted this one close to the Egyptian memorabilia because he was from that country originally.”
“I read somewhere that he didn’t buy into the accident theory, convinced there was a sinister plot to off the couple.”
“That’s true,” Seth replied. “Mr. Fayed was positive the Duke of Edinburgh had something to do with it. The very notion that the mother of the future king of England was involved with a foreigner, especially one of color, didn’t sit well with a lot of people. Unfortunately, blue bloods have a long history of resorting to violence to get their way.”
“Ya think?” Bryce commented ruefully, “Nothing was ever proven, though.”
“No,” Seth agreed, “but this is a case where rumors had lasting damage. The royal family stopped patronizing the store and had all the Royal Warrants stripped.”
“It doesn’t seem to have hurt his business.”
“He sold the store for billions a few years ago to the Qatari royal family, purportedly the store’s best customers. Part of the deal was keeping the memorials, which continue to draw crowds,” Seth said.
“Diana’s ginger boy is hot as hell,” Bryce said. “You think we’ll bump into Prince Harry anywhere?”
Seth gave him a withering look. “I doubt it.”
“Perhaps we’ll see some other rich and famous person. Daniel Craig lives in London.”
Seth rolled his eyes. “The guy who played James Bond in Skyfall.”
“What if we run into Hugh Bonneville or Brendan Coyle? Would you ignore them because they’re too old?”
“Of course not,” Bryce said. “I told you I was a big fan of Downton.”
“Your hang-up with age is quite selective,” Seth teased.
“I don’t plan on hooking up with either of those two,” Bryce said. “But I wouldn’t mind shaking their hands.”
“It would definitely be exciting,” Seth admitted. “I’m a big fan of Brits in general. Why do you think I picked this tour? Mark was more interested in exploring Italy and Spain, but I persuaded him to see things my way.”
Bryce snorted. “Not surprised. He spoiled you rotten.”
“Did not,” Seth protested.
“Don’t bother denying it,” Bryce said. “It was my ear he bent whenever you came up with one of your outlandish requests. The guy was crazy in love with you and would have moved mountains if you asked.”
Meet Mickie B. Ashling
Mickie B. Ashling is the pseudonym of a multifaceted woman who is a product of her upbringing in multiple cultures, having lived in Japan, the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East. Fluent in three languages, she’s a citizen of the world and an interesting mixture of East and West. A little bit of this and a lot of that have brought a unique touch to her literary voice she could never learn from textbooks.
By the time Mickie discovered her talent for writing, real life got in the way, and the business of raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing—and the inevitable emptying nest—dreams of becoming a published writer were resurrected and she’s never looked back.
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 currently resides in a suburb outside Chicago.
Win a $10 Dreamspinner Press gift certificate, an audio code for a Mickie Ashling audiobook, or an ecopy of one of Mickie’s backlist titles. Three winners! Contest open internationally. Must be 18 or older to enter.
FOLLOW THE TOUR
June 9 - The Novel Approach
June 10 - MM Good Book Reviews
June 11 - Mickie Ashling's Blog
June 14 - Sinfully
June 16 - Prism Book Alliance
June 20 - Diverse Reader
June 22 - Love Bytes
June 24 - On Top Down Under Book Reviews
June 28 - Bayou Book Junkie
June 29 - Multitaskingmommas