Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Free-For-All with Mickie B. Ashling

Many thanks to Cup o’ Porn for giving me another opportunity to share an excerpt of Cutting Out.  This is the fourth novel in the Cutting Cords series and a direct sequel to Cleave. Following my post on Wednesday about Freddie, Cole’s beloved guide dog, I thought I’d include him in this final excerpt of my blog tour.  

An e-book copy of Cutting Out will be offered to one lucky commenter as part of the deal so make sure to leave your contact information.


Worrying about Trent hadn’t really given me time to work out a viable plan, and in truth, I never expected Cole to listen to me. Ideas had been flitting in and out of my subconscious ever since I learned about the kidnapping, though, and since he was being so decent, I thought he deserved the truth. 
“Honestly, Cole, I haven’t worked it out in my head yet, but I have some ideas. I’d like to run them by you when they become clearer.” 
He nodded.  “That sounds good, Sloan. Would you mind asking the people at the info desk if there’s a pet relief area at O’Hare?  Freddie’s okay for now, but he’ll need to go when we get to Chicago.  He’s not a pup anymore and can’t hold his bladder like he used to.” 
Freddie lifted his head and rewarded us with a soft woof when he heard his name.  His tail wagged back and forth like a metronome.  “Did you hear him, buddy?  Your daddy just called you an old man.” 
Freddie slobbered all over my hand, blissfully unaware that he was fast approaching his ninth birthday.  He’d had a long and useful run as Cole’s guide dog, but he’d have to be retired soon, spending the rest of his days playing with the twins or sleeping in the sun.  A younger dog was needed to keep up with the grueling task of being Cole’s eyes and ears.  This was a conversation neither Cole nor I could deal with right now.  Training a new service dog was a long and tedious business, and Cole would need a clear mind and some time off to find the right pup.  It was almost as hard as finding the perfect husband.  I ruffled Freddie’s fur and bent down to give him a hug.  He was the one constant in our long and convoluted relationship, and Cole knew I loved his dog as fiercely as he did.  I stood, welcoming the chance to walk around a bit.  “I’ll be back in a sec,” I said, heading toward the airline counter. 
It turned out there were two pet relief areas at O’Hare airport, aside from the one at the airport Hilton Hotel I was familiar with.  One outside Terminal 1, and one at Terminal 5 where we were taking off.  They were both on the lower level near the baggage claim areas, which meant I’d have to exit security, but it would be worth it.  Freddie could do his business before the long ass flight to Tokyo without a problem. 

“Would you make sure we have some sort of transport between concourses when we land?  I have a service dog that’ll need to pee, and his blind master could really use the extra help finding his way while I’m occupied with the dog.” 
“We’ll have everything ready when you arrive.” 
“I’d like a golf cart, if that’s available. Professor Fujiwara won’t use a wheelchair.”  Hell, I’d be lucky if Cole used anything at all.  He hated calling attention to his disability, but sometimes it was inevitable.  
“The cart and attendant will be at the gate when you land.  They can drop you and the dog off at the baggage claim exit before they head over to the Admirals Club with the Professor.” 
“Thank you.” 
I looked over at Cole and Freddie and recognized how easily I’d slipped back into my role as caretaker.  I’d done it for five years before our breakup, and I suppose it was like any other learned skill.  You didn’t forget; you only had to jog a few memories.  
Cole had stubbornly tried to hide his impending blindness when we’d first met. It took a while for me to figure out what the hell was going on, but after I realized he was on the verge of losing his eyesight, I studied up on his disease, learned Braille, worked with his psychologist, John Butterman, and familiarized myself with every necessary way to make Cole’s life easier without treating him like an invalid.  I’d walked around our apartment blindfolded, noting whenever I’d bump into something, to make sure the object in question was either repositioned or discarded.  Everything was done behind Cole’s back so he wouldn’t feel diminished in any way.   I’d made it my mission to treat him as normally as possible, and he appreciated my attitude without actually coming out and saying it.  It galled him to ask for favors, but he’d become comfortable again with me by his side. We were falling back into our old routine, like this business of Freddie’s needs. Cole would have never allowed anyone else to make arrangements for his dog, but he was clearly comfortable having me do it.   
“Everything is set,” I said when I sat down beside him.  
“Thank you,” he replied, rewarding me with one of his rare smiles.  The change in his appearance was dramatic.  The stormy cloud that had hovered over him for so long moved away, brightening the landscape of his striking face.  I hadn’t seen that smile in a long time, and it felt good to know I’d put it there.  
When Cole asked me to go to Tokyo, I was sure we’d have some weird moments.  We hadn’t been together as a couple in over three years, and a lot of horrid shit had gone down during that time.  I’d been a little concerned that he’d dredge up the past or bicker over nonesense, but he’d either mellowed out, or I’d grown up, or both.  In any case, it was a huge relief that it was easy between us, and I had no intention of rocking the boat by asking him what was different.   

Hours after stepping off the yacht where they had their mock wedding, real life intrudes, and arguments arise between Sloan Driscoll and Trent Hamilton.  Seeking relief at his BDSM club, Trent bumps into an old army buddy who tells him things are different now that DADT has been repealed. 

 Meanwhile, Sloan receives a frantic call from ex-lover, Cole Fujiwara, who tells him that his twins and ex-wife have been kidnapped. Cole asks Sloan for help but makes him promise not to include Trent in the rescue attempt.

Trent considers the opportunity to resume a career cut short, and despite Sloan's threat to postpone the wedding, he leaves for the Middle East as an independent mercenary while Sloan rushes to aid Cole.

Description: Tokyo, disturbing revelations draw the former couple together, and old feelings are rekindled. Despite this new understanding, neither man makes a move.  Sloan is focused on rescuing Cole’s family without jeopardizing his relationship with Trent, while Cole must prepare himself to survive disappointment if Sloan chooses to segue into married life as a military spouse.  

Buy Links
Dreamspinner | Amazon | ARe  

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.


A special thank you to PAS Promotions for their expert handling of my blog tour.


  1. I commented on Wednesday, but if that doesn't count, here I am again. My father wanted to raise guide dogs, so they have a special place in my heart.

  2. This is a new to me author! This book sounds so amazing. I will have to check out the back-list. Thank you for the chance at the giveaway!


  3. This sounds amazing, I'll have to check out both books.


  4. This sounds like a great book.
    sstrode at scrtc dot com

  5. I love the Cutting Cord series. I so looking forward the continuation of their story. I'm excited. on my TBR list of course.

  6. I'd love to read this!

    Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com

  7. Thank you for another chance to win a copy of this book, fingers crossed for the last post of the tour :) slholland22 {at} hotmail {dot} com

  8. I love books with animals as characters as well, it makes it seem much more like real life. Thanks for the chance.
    jasdarts at hotmail dot com

  9. Love the excerpt. Just goes to show how important it is to take the considerations of the hearing or visually impaired into account when looking at something as simple as pet relief areas. Waxapplelover (at) gmail (dot) com