And the ebook giveaway goes to: lisa_thecat
About Mickie B. Ashling: 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 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.
Horizons-Book One in the Horizons Series
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Twenty-three-year-old Clark Stevens, a popular wide receiver with a potential NFL contract, has a few problems. He's got a jealous girlfriend, a narrow-minded and controlling father, an attention problem, and an unexpected and powerful attraction to the trauma doctor—the male trauma doctor—who treats him for a broken bone.
Dr. Jody Williams is getting some really mixed signals. He can't ignore how much he wants Clark, because it's obvious Clark feels the same way. For the out and proud doctor, the solution seems very simple. For Clark, it's not! His world is not gay-friendly, and the obstacles he's faced have led him to deny his sexuality for years.
It's the Super Bowl of disasters, no matter how you look at it. In the end, Clark has to decide if he's going to stick with the only life he's ever known or take a chance on a new one with Jody.
2nd edition (1st Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, April 2009)
I SPED up I-80, heading out to Folsom. I’d been in a miserable mood since I left Jody last night.
We’d sat for an hour, attempting to read through a few chapters, but the dynamic between us had changed after the close body contact. We were like two prizefighters, tiptoeing around each other, afraid to meet in the center of the ring for fear of the explosion that would occur. He must have been able to tell I was at my breaking point, as I clenched and unclenched my jaw the entire time we were reading. I couldn’t bear to look at him, and when his hand accidentally brushed mine, we both jumped in shock.
It was torture in the most erotic, mind-bending way. I would have probably disgraced myself if he touched me again, and so I just stood up, kicked back the chair, and told him I had to go. He sat there and nodded, looking the other way. I knew he was as affected as I was because his hands were trembling when he held the book and his eyes were shimmering.
I pulled into my parents’ driveway, completely unaware of the distance I’d traveled. The house seemed unoccupied, and I yelled out for Mom, getting no response.
Hunger seized me suddenly. I couldn’t remember when I’d last eaten, so I pulled open the refrigerator door and grabbed the essentials of a sandwich—the cold cuts, the mayo and mustard—and a bottle of Corona, balancing everything like a circus juggler. By the time I’d polished off my lunch, the troops were starting to arrive.
“Dude, when’d you get in?” Zach grunted out, looking like he’d been through a war.
“What’s with you?”
“I’ve been out helping Robby lay carpet in the baby’s room.”
“Talk about last minute.”
“Did you get it done?”
“It’s all good. Are you staying the night?”
“May as well.”
“Is Nikki with you?”
“We’re not joined at the hip, you know.”
“You’re lucky to have her, dude. She’s hot as fuck!”
“We’re just friends.”
“What a dumbass!”
“Don’t call me that!” I spat out, just itching for a fight. I hoped he’d say it again, because I was in the mood to break something, and his face was as good as anything.
“What the hell is going on?” My dad had just walked through the door and caught my end of the conversation.
“Tell Zach to mind his own business.”
“Why are you in such a foul mood?”
“I’m just tired of people telling me what I should and shouldn’t do.”
“Like never mind!”
I stood up and walked out of the room, making my way down the hall toward my bedroom. I threw myself on the bed and put my right arm over my eyes, willing myself to calm down. I knew I’d overreacted to Zach’s few questions. I knew why I was in such a state, and it had nothing to do with anyone in this house.
After a few minutes, I heard a light knock on the door, and my mom popped her head in. “Can I come in?”
“Sure.” Why the fuck not.
She sat on the edge of the bed and rubbed her hand up and down my leg. “What’s bothering you?”
“It’s nothing, Mom.”
“Don’t tell me it’s nothing. You’re in one of your moods again, and I really don’t want any problems this weekend.”
“Then tell Zach to leave me alone. Tell everyone to leave me alone and get out of my business. You included.”
“What the hell have I done?”
“Nothing! Just go, Mom. I’m sorry.”
“Sweetie, is it Nikki? Have you two had a fight?”
“Oh, please, give me a break.”
“Nothing. Just go!”
“Fine!” She stood and walked out the door, slamming it in a childish fit of temper.
It’s funny that she would accuse me of having a “mood.” Everyone around here was into door slamming and yelling. We were not the most peaceful household in the world, and I suppose with five sons, any gentleness in my mother was soon replaced by the need to be as tough as nails so that her boys wouldn’t ride roughshod over her. The only time she showed her gentle side was when we got sick or hurt. The rest of the time she was all business, which brought my thoughts back to something I’d questioned many times before.
Why did I have these feelings for other men? It’s not like my mother dressed me in pink or played with tea sets around me. I was handled in exactly the same manner as my other brothers, except for the special attention to my schoolwork. Maybe it had something to do with the ADD? Was that same gene the one that made me think about guys the way my brothers thought about women?
I wondered what Jody would think of my family. He already disliked my father for the mishandling of my attention deficit. I couldn’t imagine what it was like to grow up in a family as accepting as Jody’s. For a father to actively educate a gay son about safe sex was mind-boggling. Neither one of my parents had given us any sex education. They just assumed we knew what we were doing. The only time I heard anything about sex was when Magic Johnson resigned due to his HIV status and my father sat in front of our TV set and called him a fucking queer. He then turned to us and said, “See, this is what happens when you stick your dick in the wrong places.” The fact that Johnson contracted HIV from a female meant nothing to my dad. He heard HIV, and he assumed Magic was queer.
I was around ten or eleven at the time, already harboring a few man fantasies, and as soon as I heard that I shoved them so far back in the closet they were buried for years. All my efforts to be “normal” in that area of my life were successful due to the countless number of females who threw themselves at me. Every time I’d start thinking of a male body, I’d actively seek out a female or watch a girly video or read Playboy; anything to keep the visions of men out of my brain.
This brought me to the real reason why I was so angry I was vibrating in place. All my efforts to be like all the other men in my family were useless, because I wasn’t like them. I was a twenty-two-year-old jock on the brink of an NFL career, daydreaming about kissing Jody on the mouth. In truth, I wanted way more. What would he taste like? Would he let me run my hands over his chest and down his abs, and finally grip that hard-on that had pressed up against me on at least two occasions. I imagined sinking down on my knees in front of him, sliding the zipper down his khakis, and freeing his cock. I was certain it would be as perfect as the rest of him. Could I handle him without gagging? Did spunk taste sweet or salty? What about swallowing? Oh God…. I was so fucking hard I had to get off. I flipped over and pressed my monster cock against the mattress, knowing this would never happen because I was too chickenshit to do anything about it.
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