Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Mickie B. Ashling for stopping by today.
Author: Mickie B. Ashling
Publisher: DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Genre: Gay, Historical, M/M Romance
The Philippines, 1946
After being discharged from the Marines, John Buchanan is offered a position as overseer for plantation owner Ignacio Saenz. The offer is unexpected, considering he knows nothing about coconut farming, but the presence of Mount Mayon, an active volcano within sight of the property, tips the scales in Ignacio’s favor. Finally John has a chance to put his lifelong passion for vulcanology into practice.
Gregorio Delgado, the current overseer, takes exception to this turn of events. He views John as an interloper and Ignacio’s offer as a thinly disguised excuse to marry off one of his six daughters. What neither of them expects is the powerful physical attraction that simmers between them. Could John be a kindred spirit, or is he just using Gregorio for his knowledge of farming to ingratiate himself with his potential father-in-law?
As John and Gregorio begin a tour of the haciendas, John discovers he has far more in common with his new acquaintance than he thought possible. Torn between honor and desire, John struggles to define who he is and what Gregorio could mean to him. Like the unpredictable volcano, equal parts beauty and danger, Gregorio becomes an obsession that could erupt at any minute and destroy them both.
I’d like to thank Prism Book Alliance for giving me the opportunity to share an exclusive excerpt of my latest release, Mayon. This historical novel was originally published by Dreamspinner Press in 2012. In this second edition, published under the imprint of DSP Publications, you can expect some additional content in the form of a prologue as well as a thorough reedit. The year is 1946 and the setting is the Philippines, a country I called my home for thirty years. The beautiful new cover was created by Catt Ford. Kudos to J for the consistent good work in organizing all my blog tours.
John sputtered and coughed, scrubbing away the grains of sand before one of the girls spotted him. He knew he’d blown it after witnessing Greg’s shattered composure after the unexpected insult. John could see his lover was struggling to keep his temper in check but failing miserably. The veins along the side of Greg’s head stood out in relief as he angrily worked his jaw, clenching so hard John was sure he’d fracture a molar. The sultry green eyes that had gazed at him so passionately the day before were now blazing with anger, yet he couldn’t bring himself to apologize. Greg had to stop assuming they had any sort of relationship other than a sexual one. Granted, he could have been more considerate; after all, he’d been whispering sweet nothings this morning and groping the guy on their way here, but there was no room for jealousy in a forbidden relationship. Greg had to understand the reality of their situation if he hoped to continue their illicit affair.
John’s physical reaction to Daisy’s touch had been unexpected, more likely a physical response he couldn’t prevent any more than he could monitor his breathing. Christ, this was all his fault. If he didn’t have such capricious needs, he wouldn’t be sitting there worrying about Greg’s next move.
As it turned out, Greg’s revenge was subtle but just as infuriating; John was blocked at every turn when it came to Daisy or any of her sisters. The minute he tried to engage in a conversation, Greg would interrupt him or send the girls off to help the servants lay out the meal. They treated Greg like an older brother and afforded him the same respect. John found it incongruous, given the rest of the circumstances. Greg was Ignacio’s employee, his servant in many ways, but he acted and was treated like a valued member of the family. If that were the case, why couldn’t Ignacio consider the man as a potential suitor for one of the girls? He certainly had the smarts and was attractive as hell, John thought ruefully, so why not solve at least one problem by making him a son-in-law?
It would take him a while to figure it out, but he had no doubt that eventually he would. There was one thing he knew about himself—he was as tenacious as a bloodhound and just as inquisitive. And fortunately for him, so was Daisy. She kept ending up by his side, despite Greg’s interference, and when they’d finally sat down to partake of the picnic lunch the maids had laid out on the long wooden tables, he was able to finish a conversation that gave him a little more insight into Daisy and her amusing flights of fancy. “Have some more shrimp,” she offered, throwing a handful of pink crustaceans on his plate. They’d been purchased in town, along with a small bag of ice, when the group had stopped at the local fish market. Street vendors had wandered up to their jeepney, quick to smell a sale, and pressed the daily catch closer to the women for inspection. John hadn’t paid much attention to Rosa and Dahlia as they picked through, smelled, and discarded the offerings, all the while haggling in Bicol. They ended up purchasing a large bag of shrimp that had been boiled in their shells and were ready to eat.
Daisy showed him how to peel off the skin, dipping the sweet flesh into a sauce made of vinegar and hot chilies to enhance the flavor. They used this pungent, clear sauce for everything, including the grilled pork chops they’d brought from home. There was also a red sauce called bagoong, which was made from fermented shrimp. It smelled like a roomful of unwashed prostitutes and was salty as hell, but everyone seemed to love it. They piled it on slices of green mango by the spoonful, chewing with great relish. John had to wonder if he’d ever get past the smell so he could enjoy the flavor.
He’d been expecting a typical American-style picnic when they’d first broached the subject—hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, and maybe even potato salad. He should have known better. When he saw the table covered in bright green banana leaves, groaning with an assortment of food, he was speechless. In the center of the table was a round tin container they called a fiambrera. It was about two feet high and divided into sections that came apart. Fluffy white rice was crammed into the top two layers, a staple they obviously couldn’t live without. The third layer housed the pork chops. A small white bowl brimmed with a salad made of cucumbers, tomatoes, diced shallots, and what looked like hard-boiled eggs, although they were a little odd-looking. The yolks were bright orange and the whites were tinged red. Daisy assured him they were quite edible. He came to find out that they were duck eggs that had been boiled in brine and buried in salt for weeks to create the unique flavor. He scooped some onto his plate and had to admit they weren’t half-bad, although, again, salty as hell.
“I’m surprised you haven’t all died from heart disease,” he observed. “Everything I’ve eaten so far is loaded with salt or vinegar.”
“Really?” Daisy shrugged. “I don’t pay attention to those things.”
“Don’t you cook?”
“I’m sure Mamá would prefer that I devote long hours to the kitchen, but frankly, it bores me to death. I eat to live, unlike some people who live to eat.”
John followed Daisy’s gaze, which had settled on Petunia. She was stuffing herself with food and looked like a slimmer version of Carmen. “I guess she comes by her appetite quite naturally,” John said under his breath.
Nodding, Daisy commented, “I suppose when you’re a nun, it doesn’t matter what you look like underneath the habit.”
“Didn’t you know? Pet wants to become a nun, but Papá needs more convincing. He’s afraid she’ll be throwing her life away.”
“What does she have to say about that?”
“She says it’s her calling.”
John snorted. “I have to agree with Ignacio. Surely there are other ways she can serve God without imprisoning herself in a nunnery?”
“Can we change the subject?” Daisy asked. “Tell me about Chicago. Are there really gangsters and speakeasies?”
Laughing, John shook his head. “You can’t believe everything you see in the movies, Daisy. There haven’t been any massacres lately, and speakeasies disappeared after Prohibition was lifted.”
“I was born too late,” Daisy sighed. “All the fun times are over.”
“Trust me, there are still good times to be had, but they don’t involve machine guns and mob connections.”
“I want to move.”
“I doubt your father will let you go anywhere.”
“This is why we have to get married, John,” Daisy explained, lowering her voice conspiratorially. “Then you can take me to America on the pretext of visiting your family. In Hollywood, I’ll audition for a role, and once I’m hired, you can leave me. Get an annulment when you go back home and no one will think the worst of you. Marry someone who really wants to be a wife and mother.”
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About the Author
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.
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Feb. 22 – The Novel Approach
Feb. 23 – Multitaskingmommas
Feb. 24 – Love Bytes
Feb. 25 – On Top Down Under Book Reviews
Feb. 26 – Prism Book Alliance
Feb. 29 – MM Good Book Reviews
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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