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 Bayou Book Junkie for hosting today’s visit, and my wonderful publicist J 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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In the years he’d known Seth’s late partner, contact had been confined to the gym. There had been no invitations for Monday Night Football or Sunday barbecues. He figured the guy didn’t really have much time for fun due to his long hours as a pharmacist for a national chain. Early on, Mark had mentioned he had a partner who was a published author, but didn’t offer details other than Seth’s name.
Bryce didn’t tell Mark that he not only recognized the writer but had actually read a few of Seth’s books. As the sole owner of a thriving construction company and with a degree in mechanical engineering, Bryce should be more comfortable thumbing through the pages of city building codes and technical manuals rather than a novel. His progression from required reading to reading for entertainment had been gradual and fueled by loneliness. A dog-eared paperback someone had tossed aside in his dorm had a photo of a shirtless guy on the cover, piquing Bryce’s interest. It was cheesy as hell, but it managed to distract him for a couple of hours. Little by little he navigated the library shelves, keeping himself busy so he wouldn’t go out and fall for another loser on the rebound. His genres of choice back then were sci-fi, murder mysteries, and an occasional romance.
He had his favorite writers, the talented wordsmiths who could transport him from the congested streets of Chicago to faraway galaxies where loving and living in general were far more challenging than anything Bryce had to face in real life. When Bryce learned Seth was a homegrown Chicagoan and practically a neighbor, he decided they should meet. Unfortunately, Mark’s invitation hadn’t been forthcoming. He brushed off Bryce’s hints for a meet and greet, telling him Seth wasn’t very sociable. Refusing to give up and more intrigued than ever, Bryce found out that Mark and Seth had breakfast every Sunday at Ann Sather’s restaurant on Broadway. This popular Swedish eatery was famous for its to-die-for cinnamon rolls, among other things, and Bryce had no problem orchestrating a “chance” meeting.
Physically, Seth had fit Bryce’s mental image of a writer. He’d been wearing an old-fashioned herringbone blazer over a pair of black slacks, and his blond hair was long and disheveled. On the slim side and sort of pale, he wore glasses in those days and kept jotting things down in a leather-bound notebook. After his insipid hello and lukewarm handshake, Seth stayed out of the conversation. He had a spacey look on his face that Bryce assumed was drug induced. He’d read stories of creative individuals addicted to booze, drugs, and sex and surmised that Seth fell into that category. It might have been the main reason Mark didn’t want him to meet his partner. Seth was whiny and petulant when he joined the conversation. He practically ignored Bryce and focused solely on Mark. Bryce’s first impression of the bestselling writer hadn’t been good. He’d run into the couple a few more times over the years, and each time he’d been underwhelmed. What he did do was purchase every single one of Seth’s novels in the hopes of getting to know him better; however, Bryce had a hard time matching the writer to the writing.
When Seth had approached him about the cruise following Mark’s suicide, he’d been astonished. They weren’t friends, barely acquaintances, and the last thing he wanted to do was babysit a grieving man in close quarters. Nonetheless, after listening to Seth’s pitiful story about losing all the money they’d paid for Mark’s portion of the cruise, he decided to go. Why not help Mark’s partner by handing over the cash and taking his place? He’d get to see new cities and pay karma forward with his good deed.
What happened next was completely unexpected. For one thing, Seth looked different. He’d ditched the glasses in favor of contacts and cut his hair. He was still pale and sort of fragile, but he was far less disagreeable than Bryce recalled, and didn’t appear addicted to anything. Bryce begrudgingly admitted he might have misjudged Seth at their first meeting all those years ago. Had Mark fabricated the story about Seth’s reclusiveness?
Bryce and Seth are back from their cruise and are starting the next step of their new life together. Step one: move Seth in. Step two: figure out what needs to be done to sell Seth and Mark's home. But, as always, nothing can be that easy. It turns out that there is a lot more work to be done to the Lincoln Park home than Bryce knew. On top of that Seth is faced with the fact that Mark's suicide is being called into question. Just when they think it couldn't get any worse, someone from Bryce's past reappears and may just destroy everything they have. I enjoyed Open House and it was great catching back up with Seth and Bryce now that they are getting back to their routines and everyday lives. We see a completely different Bryce this time around. You'd have no clue he was anti- monogamy before Seth. I liked the way he embraced being a boyfriend/partner not to mention how he really stepped up to help Seth even though at times it may have been difficult. In turn, Seth was there for Bryce as well. He didn't let his grieving take over his life, he felt it and talked about it but he also was able to put his all into his relationship with Bryce. He was strong when Bryce needed him to be and he shouldered as much as he could so that they could start building a future together. The main conflict of the story isn't set around the couple's relationship which made me happy. Instead, they are faced with someone from Bryce's past whose intentions towards the men are far from good. Now the guys are confronted by a sociopath all while dealing with revelations about Mark's illness and suicide. I definitely recommend Open House, especially if you were a fan of Open Seating. Now I just have to wait for book 3 to be released. 5 Stars! *Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author/publisher for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*
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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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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