Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Mickie B. Ashling for stopping by today.
Title: Forged in Trust
Author: Mickie B. Ashling
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Genre: BDSM, Contemporary, M/M Romance
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.
Many thanks to Prism Book Alliance for hosting my blog tour visit today. Forged in Trust is the fourth novel in the Bay Area Professionals series, which features doctors and dentists who participate in the BDSM scene. Many of the characters from the first three books (Impacted, Bonds of Love, and Fractured) make an appearance in this novel, but it can be read as a standalone. Don’t forget to click on the Rafflecopter widget for a chance to win a giveaway. The beautiful cover was designed by Catt Ford. Below is an exclusive excerpt of Forged in Trust.
ON MONDAY, Robin greeted him warmly and accepted the employment papers Rino had filled out diligently. He scanned them for errors and nodded his approval when they were all in order.
“I’m glad you thought to wear your own set of scrubs,” Robin said. “We don’t provide them for our employees.”
“I figured as much,” Rino said. He’d worn the beige set today, making a conscious decision to try and blend in. He wasn’t prepared to stir up more trouble with Dr. Gregory by calling attention to himself.
“You’re going to shadow me this morning,” Robin said. “By noon you should have my routine down pat, and I’ll let you see my afternoon patients.”
“Sounds good,” Rino said with a nod. “Won’t they mind a new face if they’re expecting you?”
“It should be fine,” Robin assured him. “Providing you do everything right.”
Rino clenched his teeth, irritated by Robin’s attitude. Once he got past his thirty-day probation, he was going to tell everyone that he had a degree in religion. He was tired of being treated like a mindless grunt.
The morning dragged. Standing around and looking over someone’s shoulder wasn’t exactly mental gymnastics. In truth, after the first two patients, he’d figured out Robin’s routine, down to his friendly banter. Aside from being a very capable clinician, Robin was charming as hell. His patients loved him. Mentioning family members, pets, recent vacations, and throwing in a personal tidbit about Scott and him was very much appreciated, and Rino could see that being a good hygienist was more than going through the motions. Half the battle was won by being a friend. Nine-tenths of the population would rather have a baby, or in a man’s case a vasectomy, than sit down in a dental chair. He’d always approached each appointment with a businesslike zeal, but it would do him and his patients good if he turned on the engaging side of his personality while they were in his chair.
In retrospect, Rino should have thought harder about his second career choice. His feelings of self-worth had taken a severe hit when he’d abandoned the priesthood, and it would have been better to move on to a profession providing constant mental stimulation. Dental hygiene wasn’t doing it. Once past the learning curve, it became mechanical, a repetitive task no harder than changing tires. There was a definite bias to his opinion, he admitted. He’d been let down after David’s disastrous financial planning, and the lure of easy money to be made in health care had been tainted by his insolvency. Additionally, Rino was completely lacking in the fire that Robin seemed to exude when he spoke about dentistry and helping patients. He didn’t feel any sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. Had he made any kind of difference to a patient’s quality of life? Hardly. Anyone could clean teeth, but how many people could mold a young person’s mind and help them find the true meaning of life? It was too late to change now, he realized, but maybe in a year or two he’d rethink his options. He wanted to go back to teaching, but again, that would involve living a lie if he returned to the Catholic educational system. He knew there were other schools and colleges that were much more tolerant of one’s orientation, but his degree was in religion, and he couldn’t figure out how to reconcile the two.
Once in a while, he thought about moving back to Texas. Tessa would certainly appreciate seeing him more often than his current schedule allowed. It had become a ritual for him to visit on Mother’s Day and Christmas, spending some time with the woman who continued to serve her life sentence and hadn’t been a part of his since he was twelve. They didn’t have much to talk about other than his career, and he didn’t have the heart to tell her he’d left the seminary. She had pinned all her hopes on his becoming a priest, seeming to think that a life dedicated to God would bring him the peace and happiness she’d never achieved. If she only knew half of what he’d endured since leaving Texas, she would tell him to go work at McDonald’s rather than stay in an institution ass-deep in corruption. The sexual repression prevalent among the Catholic religious would be its undoing unless something changed soon. There was talk that the new Pope was a lot more sympathetic to gays, but Rino was dubious. Even if the guy was the most liberal Pope to sit in the Chair of St. Peter in recent history, he was still hamstrung by dogma and old-school cardinals who would shoot down whatever innovation he proposed.
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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
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
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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