Hi everyone! Thank you for stopping by to help me celebrate the release of Open House. I’m here to share an exclusive excerpt and give you a chance to win a few giveaways. Open House is the direct sequel to Open Seating. These books should be read in order to be fully enjoyed.
As always, I’d like to thank Diverse Reader for hosting today’s visit, and my wonderful publicist for her excellent help in organizing my blog tour.
ABOUT OPEN HOUSE
Author: Mickie B. Ashling
Series: Open Trilogy #2
Release Date: October 24, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance
Length: 200 pages
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
By the time Seth and Bryce return to Chicago, they’re halfway in love. They decide to move in together to see if their feelings can survive in the real world.
Seth receives word that a mandatory autopsy was performed on his late partner because his death was a suicide. The medical examiner’s findings are disturbing and leave some doubt as to the underlying cause of death.
Because of the suicide clause, life insurance benefits had been denied, but in light of these new findings, Seth’s lawyer advises him to appeal. The insurance investigator turns out to be the man who broke Bryce’s heart twenty-five years ago. The guy has fallen on hard times, and when he sees how successful Bryce has become—and how large Seth’s potential payout might be—he decides he wants a piece of the pie. Bryce and Seth’s new relationship is severely tested in this second novel in the Open Series.
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Seth powered down his laptop and pushed away from the desk. His neck and shoulders ached from hunching over in one position, but it was a good, productive pain. He hadn’t done this much writing in ages, and he was relieved his muse could draw inspiration in this new environment. Of course it had more to do with his state of mind than his location, but it was a great feeling nonetheless. He stretched; working out the kinks with the usual exercises he performed to relax his stiff muscles. After spending so much time with Bryce, a big proponent of regular workouts, he had to concede he’d felt physically better on vacation. Bryce had talked him into jogging and lifting weights while on board the cruise ship, and he missed it. Perhaps it was time to rearrange his schedule so they could do one thing together consistently. He didn’t plan on turning into a gym rat, but he knew that cardio and weight-bearing exercises were beneficial to his mental and physical well-being and Bryce was a great motivator. What could be more inspiring than having his gorgeous lover spotting him on the bench or running beside him on a treadmill?
He reached for his phone and called Laurie. She’d be grateful to hear from him after weeks of silence. They were usually tethered electronically, but everything had stopped that terrible morning he’d discovered Mark’s body. Seth had taken the coward’s way out and informed her of the suicide by leaving a terse message on her voice mail. After that, he’d ignored her calls and hadn’t replied to a single e-mail. He knew she’d be upset, but he couldn’t deal with her questions or her pity. Now, he was ready to face her wrath.
“Hi, Lazarus,” she greeted. “’Bout time you surfaced.”
Seth groaned dramatically. “Do you hate me?”
“No, you fool! I was worried sick.”
“I’m sorry, Laurie. It was a bad time.”
“A good reason to have a friend by your side, Seth. It’s not like we’re strangers or something,” she reminded him.
“I know, and you’re absolutely right, but I had a major meltdown and could only deal with one person’s yammering—my grief counselor. Then I went on the cruise, and between one thing and another, it slipped my mind.”
“You went after all?” Laurie asked, sounding surprised.
“I would have lost the money if I stayed home.”
“But the cruise line would have given you a refund considering the circumstances.”
“They don’t give a shit,” Seth said. “Here’s your lesson for the day. Always take out cancellation insurance, or you’re in for a rude awakening if something goes wrong and you can’t make it.”
“Seriously? Are you saying you were obligated to go in your state of mind? That’s awful!” she cried indignantly.
“Calm down, my little pit bull. At first I was pissed as hell by their attitude, but one of Mark’s gym buddies offered to come along for the ride. He paid his way, which meant I got back Mark’s portion of the trip. It all worked out in the end. In more ways than one,” Seth added mysteriously.
“Wait—what? You went on the trip with another guy?”
“Shared the same cabin?” she asked, sounding more excited with each question.
“Is he gay?”
“Oh my God,” she squealed. “Tell me what you’re not telling me.”
Seth thought about massaging the truth, but in the end, he decided Laurie had a right to know. She’d been his agent for years and had stuck by him through good and bad times. “Don’t let this leak out, but I’ve moved in with him.”
“Already? Holy crap, Seth. Who is this guy?”
“Do I have to google him to get more info?” she asked.
“No,” he said emphatically.
“What does he look like?” she prompted. “Where does he live? Is he rich or poor? Does he even read? Tall or short? Buff and hairy or wispy and delicate? Christ, Seth, you’re no fun. What’s the point in having a gay friend if you leave out the details?”
“Laurie, stop it! You need to calm down or you’ll get nothing out of me,” Seth warned.
“Sorry, hon. I promise not to interrupt, but you’ve got to give me something.”
“Okay,” Seth said slowly. “He’s my age and owns his own construction company. He’s also a voracious reader, likes to work out, and he’s smart, gorgeous, and generous to a fault.”
Seth and Bryce are back home after their long cruise. Seth went because he and his partner had planned the trip and after his partner's death he went anyway taking Bryce, a friend of his partners.
So much happened in book one and the emotions were high and they don't take much of a break in this story. Seth is embarking on a new romance with Bryce while still mourning Mark's death. With insurance woes, exes coming out of the woodwork, and Seth and Bryce trying to figure out if their relationship was left on the ship... It's an intense ride.
These boys really don't have it easy. Owen is a class A super jerk. Like OMG I wanted to light him on fire and roast marshmallows over his burning corpse. Too much? Oh well. You'll hate him too.
Now I feel compelled to tell you it's a cliffhanger. Book 3 is desperately needed! I'm not a fan of cliffys and I really get frustrated with them. But I get why the author had to do it. This series is an emotional roller coaster that's for sure. But you'll find yourself extremely invested.
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.
CONNECT WITH MICKIE
Win a $20 Dreamspinner Press gift certificate or an ecopy of Open Seating by Mickie B. Ashling. Two winners! Contest open internationally. Must be 18 or older to enter.
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FOLLOW THE TOUR
Oct. 24 - The Novel Approach
Oct. 25 - Love Bytes
Oct. 28 - Bayou Book Junkie
Oct. 31 - Prism Book Alliance
Nov. 2 - Sinfully
Nov. 4 - Diverse Reader
Nov. 8 - Two Chicks Obsessed
Nov. 10 - On Top Down Under Book Reviews
Nov. 11 - MM Good Book Reviews