Please welcome my fellow Dreamspinner Press author, Mickie B. Ashling, to talk about her new release.
And when you read where it’s set, you’ll realise how VERY apt it is for me, after the tooth-saga-beset year I’m currently experiencing! Ah well, what doesn’t kill us, and all that … :).
Now over to Mickie …
Thank you for inviting me to share an excerpt from my latest release Fractured. As an avid reader, I’ve come across every sort of character imaginable: firemen, vampires, shape-shifters, doctors, polo players, cops, teachers, you name it, I’ve seen it. The one thing I rarely find are stories featuring dentists. Let’s face it, almost everyone agrees on one thing—dentists rank up there with morticians and tax collectors. Most people associate them with pain and financial ruin, when they’re only trying to make things better, not worse. Imagine what your life would be like without teeth. Pretty grim if you ask me. Nowadays, you can get replacements with a lot less pain and trauma than in years past. But enough with the PSA. What I’m trying to say is we need dentists as much as we need our cops, firemen, and teachers. Let’s take them out of the Dark Ages and try to see them in a better light. The majority of them are pretty cool, and some are even drool worthy. 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 a San Francisco dental clinic. 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 a short excerpt.
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.
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 now available in paperback or e-book format at Dreamspinner Press HERE.
Dr. Roberts walked in before Ro turned on the music, and he removed one earbud so he could hear the doctor talk. He exuded the same confidence that had set Roque at ease when they’d first met, and this morning he was a welcome sight. An easy smile creased Lance’s face as he greeted him. The light-blue gown made of some papery fabric made him look like one of the surgeons on his grandmother’s favorite telenovela. Dr. Roberts epitomized everything Roque ever dreamed of in a man, although he was just as unattainable as the proverbial stars he longed to reach. He could only imagine Tony’s caustic remarks about his attraction for “white bread.” Was it the blond hair and blue eyes that yanked his chain, or was it everything else the man symbolized? Now wasn’t the time to psychoanalyze his feelings for the good doctor. There would be more time in the future to figure out what, if anything, was drawing him toward the guy. Hell, he probably had a wife and two kids waiting at home.
“How are you holding up?” Lance asked, drawing on the latex gloves. “The swelling appears to have gone down somewhat. How’s the pain?”
Roque nodded. “It’s manageable.”
Lance sat down and rolled a little closer. “Have you ever had a shot in your mouth?”
“It’ll sting for a second, but the minute the anesthetic gets into your bloodstream you won’t feel a thing. Your face will feel different, but it’s an illusion. The tissue won’t grow even if you think it’s expanding. Your nose might go numb as well, so don’t freak out. Our nerves are an intricate network, like the roots of a tree. They branch out in all directions and hitting a spot in your mouth could affect parts of your face temporarily. This is nothing unusual, and I don’t want you to worry.”
“What you will feel is some pressure when I’m extracting the root tips that are still buried underneath the gum. Do you want me to talk you through the process, or would you rather I keep my mouth shut?”
“I’d rather not know what you’re doing if that’s okay.”
“Suits me fine,” Lance commented. “Some patients like a running commentary, and others believe in the old adage that ignorance is bliss.”
“That,” Roque concurred. “The less I know the better.”
“If you want me to stop, for whatever reason, raise your hand. Don’t jerk or push me away. I may end up drilling your tongue or cheek if that happens.”
“Shit,” Roque murmured.
“Don’t worry, buddy. It’s never happened on my watch, but there’s always a first time.”
“I’d rather not be your first.”
“That makes two of us.”
“Do you have the false teeth ready?”
“Sure do,” Lance said, looking exceedingly pleased with his efforts. “It took a couple of tries, but I’m very happy with the end result. Here, let me show you,” he said, reaching for a small plastic box. He withdrew the temporary bridge and showed it to Roque. “What do you think?”
“Looks like teeth to me.”
“It’ll look even better once it’s in your mouth. Now, remember. This is made of acrylic, so don’t try and crack walnuts or even bite into an apple or a burger. You have to cut your food or you’ll end up with problems I may not be able to fix.”
“What if it breaks and you’re not around?”
“It’s unlikely to happen so long as you’re careful.”
“I’ll be good.”
Lance smiled. “Did you take your antibiotic this morning?”
“Have you had any breakfast?”
“I was too nervous to eat.”
“You’re not going to be able to eat anything for several hours.”
“Don’t usually have time for breakfast, Doc.”
“Alright,” Lance said. “There is one last thing.”
“Your heart might start to race when I give you the shot. There’s epinephrine in the solution, and it’s been known to turn a steady heartbeat into a livelier conga line.”
“I’m a good dancer,” Roque quipped. “Bring it on, Doc.”
Lance looked at Susie and nodded. “Let’s get going.”
Roque put the earbud back in place and turned on the iPod. He put it on shuffle mode and closed his eyes, bracing for the shot. It did sting for a few seconds, but then it faded away, and soon he didn’t feel much of anything. There was a moment of panic when his heart began to race, but he remembered what the doc had said about the stimulant, and he took a deep breath to ride out the jumpy feeling. It passed in a few minutes, and he slowly began to relax.
Since he’d never sat in a dental chair before, he had no basis for comparison, but he could tell that the doc had a very light touch. He was so gentle that Ro almost fell asleep a couple of times. Who knew this could be so relaxing? Susie was no slouch either. She handled the steady exchange of instruments with a confidence born of years of practice. Neither partner in this intricate healing dance ever paused or pondered the next move. There was a reassuring synchronicity to their movements. Before he realized it, they were done. Susie wiped his mouth with a water-soaked piece of gauze to remove any blood and dabbed his lips with some Vaseline to help the dryness.
Lance pulled out one of Ro’s earbuds and passed over a hand mirror. “Tell me what you think.”
Ro brought up the mirror and stared at his face. He was still black and blue from the original beating and a little swollen around the mouth, but when he smiled, he saw perfect-looking teeth.
His eyes filled with grateful tears, and he whispered, “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” Lance said in the same soft tone. “Everything went as expected. I wasn’t able to place the implants, but I cleaned out the area and did some bone grafting to prepare the site. We’ll place the implants in a couple of months. In the meantime, you’re no worse for wear. You’ll be just fine.”