Mickie's also offering a PRIZE today, to anyone who comments here - a free download of Tono when it releases :). We'll draw the winning name after the weekend, and post it here for you to claim.
Mickie B. Ashling began writing stories about men who love men around the time she discovered Queer as Folk in 2002. The characters on that show intrigued her, and ground-breaking writers such as Patricia Nell Warren inspired her. She began to write the kind of stories that she enjoyed reading, spurred on by her muse, who really has this thing for hunky men getting it on.
Mickie has lived in the Philippines, Spain, the Middle East, and San Francisco but currently resides in a quiet suburb outside Chicago. She's a respectable office manager by day and a proud mother of four grown men who continue to wonder where this interest in gay romance has come from. They shake their heads and scratch their chins but ultimately leave her alone. They know better than to mess with Mama's choices. Mickie's first love is writing, but traveling is a close second. Her dream is to be able to quit her day job soon so she can devote all her time and energy doing what she loves best.
Tono a sequel to Loving Edits
Blurb: In the aftermath of Mick Henley’s death, his two lovers, Paul Alcott and Tono Garat, find themselves at odds. Tono has rejected Paul on the pretext that the public will find out about their love affair, thus tarnishing Mick’s memory; the reality is that Tono fears Paul will lose interest in him because they’re not intellectual equals. Tono’s fear is compounded when Mick’s final novel, Momentos, is presented to Paul posthumously with a request to start a trust from the proceeds to aid artists and writers suffering from ALS. Mick’s only stipulation is that Tono spearhead the organization.
Paul is energized by Mick’s request, but Tono is angry and conflicted about the challenge. After a five-month separation, they reunite, rekindling their strong physical attraction—and illuminating their many differences. As always, Mick’s presence lingers, intruding at unexpected times. Are their memories preventing Paul and Tono from finding true happiness as a couple? Can there be a life for two vibrant alphas without the gentle Mick to buffer the discord?
Well, that settles it,” Paul snapped, shoving his chair back from the desk and standing. “Mohammed will just have to go to the mountain.”
“Never mind,” Paul said, picking up his briefcase on the way out. “Cancel all my appointments. I’ll be gone for a week at least. Any manuscripts waiting for edits can continue to wait. Pass out the Prozac if an author decides to have a breakdown.”
Linda smiled, knowing he was right on the mark. They would be calling every hour on the hour wanting to know what Paul Alcott thought of their story. Before she started working at Alcott Press, she had no idea that writers were so insecure and needy. “Where are you going, if you don’t mind my asking?”
“Back to Spain,” Paul replied. “If there’s anything truly pressing, you know how to get in touch. At least I know we’re living in the twenty-first century, unlike that Neanderthal who doesn’t even own a BlackBerry.”
“Oh, and call the airport. Have them get my plane ready. I want to leave in about two hours.”
“I like your suit.”
Her smile was pure sunshine, and he couldn’t help but smile back. She really was lovely, unfortunately, his libido was impervious to her charms.
And speaking of libido. What would happen if and when he finally laid eyes on the Spaniard? Would Tono continue to keep him at arm's length or would they end up having another round of mind-blowing sex? Because sex with Tono was not only mind-blowing, it was earth-shattering and out-of-this-fucking-world amazing. Paul acknowledged that despite his hurt and his bitterness at Tono’s rejection, he was unable to resist him. He’d be down on his knees in a second if Tono asked for it or said the word that always made Paul’s cock surge and his heart beat just a little faster.
“Rubio.” Spanish for blondie, in and of itself an innocuous word, but when Tono growled it in passion, or whispered it tenderly against Paul’s ear, he melted, turning into a bottom of the worst kind―out of character and completely surprising for an acknowledged top. Tono’s words were as effective as a magic potion.
He called Baxter from the car, urging his assistant to pack him a bag, and rustle up some euros so he wouldn’t have to stop at a bank. He kept a safe in his study, and he was pretty sure he had some left over from his last trip, saving him the aggravation of standing in a long line to change money. If he took off from JKF at noon, he’d be in San Sebastian at the crack of dawn, just in time to get his stubbornness out of bed. To Tono it would seem like the middle of the night, since he never hit the sheets until one or two in the morning. Fucking insane hours. Paul had bitched about it constantly when he’d been commuting, and had ended up getting used to eating at midnight and having lunch around two in the afternoon. For someone who was hung up on time management, the Spanish system threw him off completely, but there was no fighting it. The only part he really enjoyed was the forced siesta, from two to four, when the city, and probably the entire nation, paused to rest. He had many fond memories of long sessions making love to Mick and Tono. He sighed, wishing he could turn back the clock, but he knew it was impossible, and he had to move on.
Mick’s surprise novel had given him a new purpose in life. He could feel himself reviving, casting off the cloak of sorrow he’d been carrying around since November of last year. He was done being morose. No more random fucks either. They were pointless, and if he were honest, as exciting as a high school jerk-off session. Really, for a man who’d just turned forty, had more money than God, and was still able to turn heads, he was acting like a loser. Enough already.
If his meeting with Tono did not end up a “happily ever after” or even a “happy for now” he’d move on. He would accept that whatever they had was fun while it lasted, and it made Mick incredibly happy in the end, which was all that mattered. He couldn’t deny that he was still in love with the stubborn man he’d fallen for three years ago. There was something about Tono that appealed to him in a very basic way. Maybe it was because he was proud, opinionated, and all male. He wanted nothing to do with Paul’s money or anything the Alcott name could provide. He’d refused financial help, other than agreeing to split the expenses of Mick’s medical care in the last three years, which had reached astronomical proportions. He’d paid for the apartment at Alcott Terrace on his own, and in cash from what Paul had gathered. No mortgage for him, and now that he was renting it out, he was accumulating a nice monthly income in the five-figure range. Paul had no idea what kind of money Jai alai players made, but Tono had more than enough to go around, despite the fact he hadn’t played professionally in at least five years.
Paul supposed he should mentally prepare himself for the worst. It would avoid more pain; his emotional state was too fragile for another rejection. He would make this about business and stick to that agenda. Tono would follow his lead, being the reactive person that he was. Mick had called him a big marshmallow with a concrete exterior. He’d said that in a loving way, trying to explain to Paul that deep inside Tono was a tender and vulnerable man. And yes, Paul had seen that side of Tono, but only when Mick was around. He’d been fortunate to catch the overflow on occasion, but mainly, when he and Tono interacted, it was in hi-def color, 3-D all the way. They brought out the worst in each other. Primal and pulsating arguments were common, as were wild and uninhibited lovemaking sessions outside of Mick’s presence. Yet, underneath it all was a mutual respect that had grown over the years.
Tono said he needed time to think about their future. He didn’t want to tarnish Mick’s reputation by going back to New York and staying with Paul since he’d rented out the apartment he and Mick had shared. The off chance that someone would actually put two and two together had been the main reason he’d kept Paul at arm’s length, or so he said, and even though Tono had never said he didn’t love him; his decision to stay away was just as painful.
The chauffeur pulled up to the curb; Baxter was already waiting with Paul’s suitcase and a small envelope filled with cash.
“Where will you be staying?”
“At the apartment, where else?”
“Have you reached Tono?”
“Baxter, I have a key.”
“I’m aware of that, sir, but maybe he’s no longer there.”
“Where else would he be? San Sebastian is his home.”
“You’re right, of course. Well, have a safe trip and give him my best.”
“Right. Call me if you need me.”
By the time his Learjet touched down at Donostia-San Sebastian airport, Paul had eaten, taken a two-hour nap, showered and shaved. He was ready to face whatever bullshit he had to deal with. He’d worn his light blue Armani shirt, the one that Tono liked so much. He’d said it brought out the lover boy in him, whatever the hell that meant, but Paul was ready to bring out the big guns if necessary, and looking his best always helped.
He took a taxi from the airport because he didn’t want to get involved in the minutia required to rent a car. He’d deal with that tomorrow. Maybe, if things worked out, he’d get Tono to drive him around. He used to enjoy doing that when they were still together.
He found himself getting more and more nervous the closer they got to the city. The airport wasn’t that far out of town, probably twenty minutes, tops, nothing like the ride from JFK to Manhattan. Paul didn’t have a lot of time to settle down, and he willed himself to stay calm. He was acting like a virgin about to walk up the aisle, for fuck’s sake. It’s not like he didn’t know every single inch of Tono’s face or body. He knew him in and out, backwards and forwards, and oh yeah, up front and oh-so-personal. He gave the driver a huge tip, mainly because he didn’t want to wait for the change. The elevator was like a woman in labor, creaking and moaning all the way up to the ninth floor. The front door opened easily and he breathed a sigh of relief, secretly worried that Tono had changed the locks.
The house was dark and quiet as he’d expected. Tono was probably fast asleep. He made a straight line to the master bedroom to see if Tono had made any changes since he’d left. He flicked the light switch and froze in a caricature of the clichéd deer in the headlights.
Buy Tono in ebook here and Print here.
And a welcome reminder of the original story Loving Edits:
Loving Edits won an Honorable Mention at the Rainbow Awards, tying for fourth place in the in the contemporary gay romance category.
Blurb: When bestselling novelist Mick Henley contacts his editor and former lover, Paul Alcott, after a seven-year absence, hearing Mick’s voice reinforces what Paul has known all along―he still loves Mick. The possible reunion entices Paul into considering a dinner invitation, but his hopes are dashed when he learns Mick is in a loving relationship with Spanish Jai alai player Tono Garat.
Paul still accepts the invitation, and Mick asks Paul to help Tono through the final revision of a love story he’s written, inspired by his affair with Mick. When Paul refuses, Mick reveals he’s been diagnosed with a fatal disease, and the novel is Tono’s only means of coping with the eventual outcome.
Paul and Tono resent each other, but they can't deny the strong sexual attraction between them. Can the past blend with the present to ease the way for Mick’s inevitable future? Will they overcome their differences to provide the loving support necessary to sustain the man they love or will their collision destroy Mick’s final days?
“Um, I’m Paul Alcott.”
Tono glared and scrutinized him from the top of his shining head down his designer-clad body.
Paul was unfazed. He was just as curious about the man who’d replaced him in Mick’s life. He inspected him like he would any rival, noting the chestnut colored hair that curled around his neckline. His upper body was hidden behind a loose T-shirt but the finely formed muscles of his arms were a clear indication of what was underneath. Paul sized up the man who had stolen Mick’s heart. He was striking, no doubt about it. The fiery eyes were bad enough, but it was the mouth made for sucking that sent Paul’s mind straight to the gutter. He was shocked by his body’s quick response to this stranger, despite the obvious antagonism. He brought his hand down, casually covering the evidence of his growing interest with the flowers.
Finally, the Spaniard blinked, and rewarded Paul with a tentative smile. “I’m Tono Garat,” he announced in a heavily accented voice.
“Nice to meet you,” Paul nodded. “Is Mick around?”
“Yes, of course. Come in, please.”
Tono turned and Paul zeroed in on the rounded ass covered in tight white shorts. The lack of any telltale garter lines was a clear indication that Tono was naked under those shorts, and Paul couldn’t help but notice.
“Paul!” Mick called out, moving forward swiftly and hugging Paul to his chest. “God, it’s been too long.”
“I know,” Paul smiled, falling under Mick’s spell easily. It had always been so good between them, and despite the years and the distance, the sentiment remained the same. “You’re still as gorgeous as ever,” he teased.
“Oh, stop. You always were good for my ego.”
“The years have been good to you, my friend,” Paul continued, taking in every part of Mick. He did look great, trim and fit, clean-shaven. His hair was a little longer than Paul remembered, but the dark curls framed Mick’s tanned face, making the unforgettable eyes practically leap out at him.
“You don’t look half-bad either,” Mick’s voice shifted, and the words came out like a soft caress. He toyed with a lock of Paul’s silky hair, curling it around his finger. “When did you let your hair grow?”
“After my father died; no more memos about looking professional,” Paul grinned as he recalled Paul Senior's edicts.
“Shall I take the wine?” Tono interrupted, clearly uncomfortable. He knew all about Paul and Mick’s history, but seeing the chemistry was a different matter entirely. He felt the first twinge of jealousy but pushed it down quickly.
“Sure,” Paul replied, handing Tono the bottle.
“Would you like a glass of sangria? I made a pitcher,” Tono asked, never taking his eyes off Paul’s face.
“That sounds good. I’m assuming it’s authentic.”
“I made it from scratch,” Tono said indignantly.
“Come,” Mick stepped in, diffusing the situation. He took Paul by the arm and led him out to the tiny patio that had a wrought iron table for four, and several wooden planters filled with assorted vegetables growing abundantly. The tomatoes were ripe and hanging from branches held up with green sticks. The Weber grill was off to one side―a tribute to summer and warm evenings.
"This is really nice, Mick. I had no idea this was out here."
"Not too many people do. I guess the owners built this area to try and simulate a garden, so I benefit. It's what attracted me to this unit in the first place."
Paul sat down and stretched out, loving the sight of Mick after so long. "So, what have you been up to?"
"Living La Vida Loca," Mick smiled. "Doing some writing, Paul. But mostly enjoying my life."
"Sounds great. Are you still working on your sequel?"
"That, as well as something new."
"I'm helping Tono with his book."
"You're a writer?" Paul was surprised for some reason.
"I'm not," Tono replied, placing a large wine glass with bits of floating fruit and ice in front of Paul. "I'm a professional Jai alai player, but I've written a romance, loosely based on my relationship with Mick."
"A romance?" Paul scoffed. His look was a combination of surprise and ridicule. "Why?" He turned to Mick for an answer.
"Because I'm dying."
Buy Loving Edits in ebook here and in Print here.
Find my novels here.
My blog: http://mickieashling.livejournal.com
My website: http://www.mickieashling.com
GLBT bookshelf: http://bookworld.editme.com/mickiebashling
Author Page at Goodreads.
AND JUST FOR FUN, A FICTION PROMPT CALL...!!
Like to stretch your writing fingers after Christmas' excesses? Take the prompt "A NEW RESOLUTION" and write something for the visitors this month. It can be anything from a flashfic 3 sentences to a drabble of 100 or so, or even more. Any genre, any theme, any rating, any character(s). Maybe ones you already love, maybe the chance to try on a new character for size.
Depending on how many (if any!) contributions we get, I'll post them during the month or all in the last week. Just send them in to me at clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and we'll go from there :).
Follow this month with Clare - and the goodies so far:
JAN 01: A FREE short from me, revisiting Nic and Aidan from Sparks Fly.
JAN 01: Delicious m/m icons from luscious_words.
JAN 02: Why I want to be a Bond villain! by chrissymunder.
JAN 03: The world of inspiration between 'historical' and 'contemporary' with stevie_carroll.
JAN 04: Some fascinating Swedish proverbs from 1more_sickpuppy.
JAN 05: A round-up of a great year just gone from angelasstone.
JAN 06: The countryside and history that inspires author sandra_lindsey.
JAN 07: The challenge of trying to balance edits, with diannefox and anahcrow.
Check up on the original post and the Guest Schedule for January HERE.
Want to join in but missed the original call? Email me at clarelondon11 AT yahoo.co.uk and I'll happily find you a space ♥
NOTE: most pictures chosen by me and credited where known, others may be used without direct permission, please contact me with any queries/concerns.