Blog Tour // Third Son by Mickie B. Ashling

Posted October 3, 2017 by abbeyneilclark in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

Title:  Third Son
Author: Mickie B. Ashling
Publisher:  NineStar Press
Release Date: October 2, 2017
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 75000
Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, mystery, action, family-drama, gay, crime, suspense, explicit, criminals, bodyguard

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Synopsis

American Niall Monroe returns to Hong
Kong—a city he calls home—after being away for eight years. He hopes to finally
find happiness with Peter Wei, his closeted lover of fourteen years, but is
disappointed to find Peter has been put in an untenable position. He must marry
and produce the long-awaited grandchild or get cut off by his millionaire
father.
Gerard Sun, a talented artist, bursts
back into Niall’s life after a one-night stand in Las Vegas. Circumstances
force the men to deal with their attraction, especially when Niall’s firm
considers Gerard to help promote tourism in the People’s Republic of China.
James, Peter’s younger brother, has been
Niall’s best friend since they were schoolmates. He encourages Niall to ditch
his brother and move on. He encourages Niall to ditch his brother until he
finds out Niall is thinking of dating Gerard Sun, a talented artist.
Coming home seemed like a great idea
until it wasn’t. Niall finds himself a stranger in a familiar landscape,
slammed on multiple fronts by broken promises, jealousy, intrigue, unimaginable
deceit, and undercurrents of evil. As his dreams quickly turn into nightmares,
Niall reaches out to new allies for support.

 

Excerpt

Third Son
Mickie B. Ashling © 2017
All Rights Reserved
Chapter One
“I’ve heard rumors you’re in denial,” the guy from Chatty Man commented.
Leaning forward, I waited to hear Adam Lambert’s response. I’d been ignoring the interview so far, but now I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the flat-screen, not after hearing that accusation.
Warily, the superstar asked, “About what?”
“Being a ging.”
Adam smiled, showing off those gorgeous white teeth. “I’m not in denial, just quiet about it.”
“What was it like for you at school being a ginger?” Alan Carr asked.
“Unremarkable. You know,” the stud confided in a mock whisper. “We’re said to have a lot of secret powers.”
“Really?”
“We can go for hours,” Adam replied, bursting into laughter.
“Yeah, right,” I slurred, flipping him the bird. Disgusted, I got off the couch and went to refill my drink. Super
powers, my ass. If that were true, then how come the guy dyed his hair black? Because it’s a myth, I concluded scornfully. Like the correlation between fingers and dick sizes.
“A face without freckles is like a night without stars,” someone in the audience commented.
God…give me a fucking break.
My knee-jerk reaction to that old cliché was another shot of tequila. I was on day two of a monumental bender. Thank God, the weekend was almost over. Tomorrow, I’d be back to normal—innovative, focused, and coolly competent—despite this setback. Dealing with clients in my current state of mind wasn’t an option and could end up a financial disaster. A large part of my success as a top-tier exec at one of the most successful advertising agencies in the world was my inscrutable façade. It would have been the kiss of death to show any sort of weakness among Hong Kong’s movers and shakers. The majority of my clients were from the PRC. They asked to work with me, because I was born and raised here. Even though I looked like your average American, I spoke fluent Mandarin and Cantonese and knew the drill. Emotions, good or bad, were viewed as a character flaw. Men who allowed feelings to
interfere with business were usually dumped like yesterday’s pork bun.
I tried making out my reflection in the glass cabinets above the bar and only saw a reddish blur where my head was
supposed to be.
“If you’ve dated a redhead, raise your glass, if not…raise your standards.”
What in the ever-loving fuck was this guy yammering about? I turned my attention back to the TV screen and muttered,
“Piss off!”
To my surprise, Adam looked me right in the eyes, with a sly grin plastered on his gorgeous face, and purred, “Make
me.”
Whoa…
Blinking rapidly, I stared at the flat-screen. Was I hallucinating or what? Had the overpriced tequila finally
destroyed my few remaining brain cells?
I staggered toward the sofa and threw myself backward, hoping the cushions would catch me, so I wouldn’t end up on the floor with a mild concussion. They did, thankfully. Never losing sight of the flat-screen, I took another shot of the aged Patrón and shuddered as it went down my gullet.
TV Adam snickered.
“Are you making fun of me?” I grumbled.
“You started it, honey.”
Grabbing the remote, I pointed it at the TV and made stupid pew-pew noises, hoping it would blow up. The room was plunged into darkness, and the abrupt silence was a much-needed reprieve. I waited a few minutes to see if Adam would goad me again, but nothing happened. All I heard was the soft hum of the central air. Good. I could chalk this up to an overactive imagination and some wormy tequila.
When I woke up on Monday morning, daylight seeped in through the vertical blinds. The noises in my head had been
replaced by a relentless pulse of pain. I gritted my teeth, forcing myself to focus on my goals. Aspirin, shower, change, meet with the client, close the deal, and send them on their merry way. Now was not the time to dwell on my
love life or lack thereof. Glancing at the digital clock on the nightstand, I saw that I had two hours to get my shit together and walk into my meeting with a studied look that oozed calm and confidence. It would be a stretch given my current condition, but I knew I’d pull this off. I had to. There was no one else on staff who could deal with Minister Xiang Guo. She was a formidable negotiator and set in her ways. It was my job to open her eyes and help her understand that, if the Chinese hoped to improve their status abroad and lure
in more tourists, they needed a serious makeover.
Fucking hell…
I sat up and swung my legs off the bed, immediately regretting the sudden move. My head was spinning and I cradled it between my hands, hoping that would help. When the room stopped tilting, I
inched my way toward the bathroom, grabbing on to the wall whenever I found myself lurching. My earlier assessment would need a hard edit. This hangover was going to be a bitch. I reached for the bottle of aspirin, shook two in my hand, and used the shower water to chase them down. Under the stinging spray of
oscillating heads, I recalled how this binge had started.

Blog Tour Exclusive.

Many thanks for giving me the opportunity to share an exclusive excerpt from my latest release,

. The idea for this novel appeared out of the blue like all my other stories, and I jumped on the chance to explore the mind of a character whose outward appearance and psyche are completely at odds. Having grown up in a country where I was a minority—the Philippines—it was easy to relate to Niall. Although he speaks the language, and understands the prevailing mindset, a blue-eyed ginger in China sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb. This story is a departure from most of the romances I’ve written in the past and I’m happy it found a home at NineStar Press.

—–

There was a Starbucks on the ground floor of my building, and I stopped on my way out to get a large black coffee with an extra shot of espresso. The aspirins had helped to control the headache, as had the shower, but I was a little sluggish and had to be on point for my meeting. Trying to convince the PRC that their antiquated opinions on gay rights didn’t measure up to the changing landscape would be a challenge. The queer community had as much, if not more, disposable income at their fingertips, but they balked at visiting countries renowned for their hard line against our tribe. Even when they did venture into parts of mainland China, they were paranoid and reluctant to walk about outside of the arranged tour.

After paying for my drink, I murmured

—thank you—in perfectly accented Mandarin. The barista’s eyes rounded in surprise upon hearing the polite words coming from a blue-eyed ginger in a bespoke three-piece suit. In the days of British Rule, it was common to find Westerners who spoke the language, but since 1997, when China took back Hong Kong, many of the expats had returned home. The majority of Caucasians who now resided on the rock were transient businessmen and didn’t have the time or inclination to learn the difficult language. It was second nature to me, so much a part of my persona I never realized when I shifted language as needed. Winking playfully, I left her a nice tip.

I had time to walk to the escalator that would take me to the central part of town, so I could catch a cab to my office at the AIA Kowloon Tower in Kwun Tong. If I decided to stay beyond this assignment, I’d have to look into purchasing a car and possibly selling my place on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to invest in something local. Having been away for so long, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to live in Hong Kong permanently. I’d made that clear to the higher-ups when I accepted this campaign. Peter had a lot to do with my decision. Given his connections, it would be impossible to have any sort of personal life in this town if our relationship didn’t pan out. I knew he wasn’t the only attractive man in my immediate vicinity, but he was the one I wanted. If I couldn’t have him, then I’d rather be on the other side of the world.

Having just arrived a week ago, it would take my olfactory senses a few more days to acclimate to the combination of fetid and flowery aromas that were so much a part of this city. Bins overflowed with rubbish until the garbage collectors made their rounds. As I got closer to the harbor, smells changed. The briny tang of the ocean mingled with diesel fuel, masking everything else. The Star Ferry shuffled people back and forth from Hong Kong to Kowloon all day, and car and bus exhaust hung heavily in the air.

People prattled into their cell phones as they rushed about, shoes skidded across walkways leading to the ferry, double-decker buses rumbled, bicycle and tricycle riders didn’t hesitate to squeeze their annoying bells to warn pedestrians to get out of the way, while car and bus drivers utilized their horns haphazardly. I was keenly aware that people around here didn’t talk in low murmurs. Voices caterwauled from all directions. As one got deeper into the areas of commerce and open food markets, shop owners hawked goods from doorways, haggled over prices in strident tones, cackled in amusement when they made the deal, brayed in anger if they were blocked, shouted at potential pickpockets, and waved off nefarious lookie-loos.

I’d lived in big cities all over the world, but nothing could compare to Hong Kong’s energy. This was a city of commerce, centuries old, and the smell of money was as redolent as the stink of fish. It felt great to be back in my element, but on the other hand, not much had changed in my personal life. I was still the freckle-faced

—red-haired foreigner, a step up from the more derogatory

—looking for a meaningful relationship with an unattainable man.

James, Peter’s younger brother, had invited me for dinner tonight. We were both twenty-nine, had bonded at twelve after ending up on the same basketball team, and stayed friends despite our distance. I was certain he’d pump me for information regarding my visit with Peter. To this day, he felt personally responsible for our disastrous pairing. Every time Peter hurt my feelings, James would know. Apparently, my cool mask slipped when it came to love.

I wasn’t in the mood for another lecture, but I really wanted to see James in person. He’d married a year ago and was working on his first child to keep his parents happy. Banking on Peter to propagate the Wei dynasty was a losing proposition. Now, all eyes turned to James, hoping he’d be the one to produce the grandchild.

When I got to the office a little before nine, Minister Guo was already waiting in the reception area. I caught a glimpse of her in a severe black suit, gray hair pulled back in a tight bun, sitting like a soldier, hands folded in her lap without a magazine or phone to distract her. I hoped our watches were in sync, and she didn’t think I was late. By my clock, I still had five minutes. I ducked into my office through a side door and headed for the restroom. I used the extra time to take a leak, wash my hands, and straighten my tie. At my desk, I buzzed my secretary to let her know I was ready to take on the Dragon Lady, as she was called behind fingers.

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Meet 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.

 

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