Many thanks to The Novel Approach for hosting my Chyna Doll blog tour visit. This is the fourth novel in the Horizons series. We’ve jumped ahead several years since Daddio ended. Luca has just started high school, Lil and Grier are in Italy, and Clark and Jody are the official “babysitters” for a month. Here’s an exclusive excerpt for you. I’ve also brought along some goodies to give away: a $20 Dreamspinner gift certificate, one of five ecopies of Chyna Doll, any two ebooks from Mickie’s backlist, or a signed paperback of Chyna Doll!
Blurb: Lil Lampert’s forty-fifth birthday turns the effervescent architect into a brooding mess, and his partner, Grier Dilorio, takes him to Italy to help him regain his zest for life. The timing is bad—almost-fifteen-year-old Luca has just started high school, and his mother and stepfather are also traveling. Luca is left in the care of Chicago Bear, Clark Stevens, and his partner, Dr. Jody Williams.
Growing up with two dads and two gay uncles has given Luca a unique perspective on gender roles, but not all the answers. He’s had a secret crush on his straight best friend, Chip, for years. Suddenly, Luca finds himself attracted to Chyna, Chip’s twin sister. Now he’s wondering if this means he’s bisexual.
Born with a sexual development disorder, Chyna should have been raised as a male, but due to an epic parenting fail, is being raised as female. Hiding the truth becomes more difficult when Chyna hits puberty, and crushing over Luca adds another element to Chyna’s struggle to fit in.
Is Luca’s moral compass strong enough to guide him successfully through this period of discovery or will he succumb to peer pressure and shatter Chyna’s dreams for happiness?
Excerpt: Clark got out of the car gingerly, putting most of his weight on the cane he was still using to hobble around. His fracture had healed, but he was being cautious and hadn’t been given clearance to rejoin his team yet; the unwanted hiatus had taken its toll on his normally good humor. Luca hoped he’d be able to get back to the sport before the season ended, or he’d turn into a cranky old bear over the winter. “Put your gear away and come back to help with the dogs.”
“Okay,” Luca said, happy for the reprieve. He took the stairs two at a time and threw his gear into the bedroom they’d assigned him. It was the same room he’d stayed in since he was a youngster, except it had been redecorated recently. The Disney wallpaper had been removed, replaced with posters of popular singers like Taylor Swift, OneRepublic, and his current favorite, Macklemore. The first time he’d heard “Same Love” by the thirty-year-old rapper, he knew he’d have to add him to his playlist. The ode to same sex love had become a national anthem to many in the LGBT community, and Luca was very vocal about gay rights and alternative families. Ironically, he hadn’t made a public stand on his own orientation. In fact, none of his friends knew for sure if he liked boys or girls, and they didn’t dare ask. In truth, Luca wasn’t sure either. He was attracted to both sexes, and flattered when they flirted with him, but once in a while, Chip would look at him in a certain way, and he’d get this feeling deep in the pit of his stomach that made him wonder if he could be bisexual.
It seemed like his body was developing much faster than his brain, and he was plagued by inconvenient boners that were a part of growing up, according to his dads, and nothing to be ashamed of. Every guy gets them, they’d said reassuringly. I’m sure you know how to deal with them, right? Right—what? How awkward was that? Did he even want to say the word? It sounded so dirty when he said it out loud, but it felt so good in the privacy of his room. How could anything that was so awesome be wrong? Wouldn’t it feel that much better with a partner? Why did he have to choose sides? Or did he? Didn’t most people automatically know if they were attracted to men or women?
Two guys kissing was nothing unusual to Luca, likewise, the affectionate nuzzling that went on between his mother and Tito Ali. One didn’t seem more normal than the other. Because of the nine year age difference between him and his half-sister, Gemma, girls remained somewhat of a mystery. He had a tendency to treat them like they were precious Christmas ornaments that might shatter at any minute. Chip wasn’t too far off the mark when he’d accused Luca of handling the girls in school with extreme care. The few he’d been around had been very sweet, and he didn’t see the horns that supposedly lurked beneath their bouncy curls. Perhaps his best friend was jealous. Did that mean Chip was gay and jonesing for him? Christ, growing up was such a pain sometimes. He wished he were eighteen so all his doubts could be put to rest.
Author Bio: 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.
THE GIVEAWAY (*Contest open internationally/Must be 18 or older to enter*):
March 2 – The Novel Approach
March 3 – Cup o’ Porn
March 4 – Hearts On Fire
March 5 – WoW…from The Scarf Princess
March 6 – MM Good Book Reviews
March 7 – Book Reviews & More by Kathy
March 9 – Prism Book Alliance
March 10 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
March 11 – On Top Down Under Book Reviews
March 12 – Sinfully…Addicted to All Male Romance
Tour and materials organized by PAS Promotions