Thank you for inviting me to talk about my upcoming release Fractured. As an avid reader of the m/m genre, I've come across every sort of character imaginable: shape-shifters, vampires, doctors, firemen, cops, teachers, you name it, we've done it. The one thing I rarely come across is a story about dentists. The previous two that I've read are those I've written, Impacted! and Bonds of Love. I know most people would rather face a tax audit than deal with anything dental, but hey, dentists aren't all bad! The majority of them are pretty cool, and some are even hot as hell. You just need to keep an open mind. What are the odds of falling in love at first sight in a dental chair? Stranger things have happened, and they're usually happening in my world.
Like the previous novels in this series, Fractured is set in San Francisco. Characters from Impacted and Bonds of Love make guest appearances but Fractured can be read as a stand-alone. My latest dentist is Lance Roberts, new to the Bay Area and hoping to find the perfect sub to complete his Dominant nature. Roque Celdran is a struggling Mexican-American who's just suffered some facial trauma due to an unfortunate encounter at a BDSM club. Neither man expects to find romance in this incongruous setting, but they do. Here's the official blurb and an excerpt from the book which takes place at their first meet and greet.
Roque “Ro” Celdran dreams of a better life, far away from the hand-to-mouth existence of his migrant worker family. He moves to San Francisco to study Landscape Design but finds himself short of cash. Tony, Ro’s identical twin, comes up with a plan to help Ro make ends meet.
The BDSM club Tony frequents is looking for gay men to act as submissives to the Dommes-in-training. Ro reluctantly takes the job and falls headfirst into a world he neither understands nor desires.
Lance Roberts is the new doctor at the dental practice started by Scott Gregory and Robin Kennedy. On the surface, he seems to have it all: the Mensa IQ, blond and blue-eyed good looks, and the determination to make it in his competitive field. Underneath lies a frustrated Dom in search of the perfect sub who can handle his obsessive behavior and debilitating need for control.
When Ro ends up in Lance’s dental chair, the last thing either one expects is a physical and mental connection. Ro’s attraction to “White Bread” never pans out, and Lance’s weakness for Latinos always leads to a dead end. Could this time be different? What happens between the two alphas leads to a lot of soul-searching and some surprising conclusions.
There were few things in life Roque could count on, and his good looks had always been one of them. Now he barely recognized himself when he looked in the mirror. All because of an asshole who’d made the wrong assumption. If he ever laid eyes on that hijo de puta again, he’d make him swallow his own damn teeth! His anger festered because he’d had no way of exacting revenge. Club security had hustled him out the back door with a warning to stay away or they’d report him to immigration and his green card wouldn’t be able to save his sorry ass. The ironic part in all of this was he didn’t have a green card; he was an American citizen. Born at the height of tomato-picking season in the Sacramento Valley, he’d been thrown in a cardboard box alongside his twin brother and the bright red vegetables vying for a spot in his father’s truck. His parents had put off the requisite visit to register their birth, and by the time the harvest was over, that one important technicality had been all but forgotten—until it was time for the boys to go to school. Trying to prove citizenship had been a long and convoluted ordeal, but school authorities had let them enroll on the word of his parents’ employer, one of the most respected farmers in the state. And a good thing, because they were almost fourteen by the time they finally received copies of their birth certificates proving they were indeed citizens of the United States. They would have grown up illiterate, like many other children of migrant workers, if the rules hadn’t been bent in their favor.
Roque paused when he got to the office and stood at the gate trying to psyche himself into walking through the door. He’d never needed the services of a dentist before, thanks to his oldest sister, Blanca. She’d taught him the importance of proper oral hygiene so he wouldn’t suffer the same toothless fate as his abuelita. Blanca made it her mission to teach her five younger siblings the necessary steps to avoid tooth loss, threatening them with a visit to the dreaded “dentista” who’d become the ghoulish monster featured in childhood nightmares.
Bracing for the worst, Roque pushed the door open and stepped into a quietly elegant waiting room exuding warmth and comfort. The smiling receptionist helped to put him further at ease, and he settled down to fill out the requisite paperwork. Perhaps this wouldn’t be as bad as he’d imagined.
Ten minutes after he handed over the clipboard with his pertinent information, a young woman in bright pink led him down a hallway to a small cubicle. She placed a paper bib around his neck and asked him to remove his cap so the doctor could see the full extent of the damage without bumping into the extended bill.
“I’ll keep it right over here,” she said, handling the beat-up cap as if it was a jewel-encrusted crown. “My name is Leigh, and I’ll be assisting Dr. Roberts today.”
“Nice to meet you,” Roque managed. He covered his mouth and winced in embarrassment at his attempt to communicate. His tongue felt like it was two sizes too big, and he knew he sounded funny.
“Don’t you worry about a thing, sugar,” Leigh assured him. “We’ll take good care of you.”
Roque nodded mutely. Now that his meeting with the dreaded doctor was imminent, old fears surged like brackish liquid from the backed-up sink in his small apartment. That thought, and the one following right after—paying his rent without the usual means of supplementing his meager income—left him sweating and jittery. Great. He could add body odor to his list of things to be anxious about.
Roque looked up from the spot on his lap he’d been worrying with his thumb and blinked in pleasant surprise when an attractive guy in a navy blue jacket walked in.
“Hello,” the doctor greeted, reaching for the box on the counter and pulling out a pair of rubber gloves. “I’m Lance Roberts.”
Roque acknowledged the greeting with a quick nod but continued to cover his mouth in embarrassment. Sympathy registered in the iris-shaded eyes. Roque wasn’t used to that kind of reaction. Most men and women looked at him with interest, not pity. He concluded that he really must look awful.
The doctor continued to observe him while snapping on his gloves. “You’re not allergic to latex, are you?”
Heat flared behind the appraising gaze but disappeared just as quickly. Roque didn’t know if he’d imagined it or what had caused the reaction, but it humanized the doctor, and he began to relax.
“It’s not indicated on your chart, but I always ask before I do an exam. You’d be amazed how often people forget to write it down.”
“What would happen if I were allergic?”
“There’s no telling. You could get a mild rash or end up with a full-blown anaphylactic crisis. It’s always best to be cautious.”
“I’ve never had a problem with it.”
“That’s good,” the doc replied. He rolled his chair a little closer and gently pulled Roque’s hand away. “I’ll try not to hurt you, but I have to see what we’re dealing with.”
Roque braced for pain but relaxed when the doctor simply cupped his cheek and turned his face left and right to peer at the exterior. “I hope the other guy looks worse.”
Angry tears burned his eyes before Roque had time to slide his cool mask back into place. When he’d tamped down the emotions, he replied gruffly, “Unfortunately, I only got in a glancing blow to his jaw. He walked away in one piece.”
“Too bad,” Lance commented.
“Next time he won’t be so lucky,” Roque threatened.
“I’m not fixing you up so he can tear you down again.”
“Don’t worry,” Roque assured him. “He won’t.”
“Can you open your mouth wide enough for me to get this instrument inside?”
Ro grimaced when his lips stretched uncomfortably but opened up to allow the inspection.
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.
Fractured is available for pre-order here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/upcoming_products.php
You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment on her website at http://mickieashling.com or her blog http://mickiebashling.blogspot.com.