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.
Title: 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
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.
Before we start, I’d like to thank Two Chicks Obsessed for hosting today’s visit, and my wonderful publicist J for her excellent help in organizing my blog tour.
Those of you who’ve read my Horizons Series (Horizons, Taste, Daddio, and Chyna Doll) will recognize two of the characters who appear in this excerpt. Grier and Lil make several guest appearances in Open House.
As Bryce predicted, there was hardly any traffic on Sunday when they drove to Barrington. They’d also lucked out weather-wise. The sun was shining and temps were in the high fifties, unusual for Chicago at this time of year. Seth turned down the music, taking advantage of the long drive to learn more about Bryce’s friends.
“Tell me about this couple,” Seth asked.
“Are you anxious?” Bryce laid a hand on Seth’s thigh and looked at him sideways.
“No, I’m fine.”
“That’s good,” Bryce said, eyes back on the road. “There’s no need to be nervous. I’ve worked with these guys for years. They’re surprisingly down-to-earth despite their money and prestigious credentials. Lil Lampert is about our age, and his partner, Grier Dilorio, is a dozen years younger. From what I understand, they met at the Taste of Chicago and it was love at first sight.”
“Sounds like one of my novels,” Seth joked. “And have they lived happily ever after?”
“I’m sure they’ve had their ups and downs like everyone else. The point is, they’re still together, and I believe they’re happy.”
“You said they have a kid?”
“Luca was a child when they met. Now he’s nineteen and in college somewhere in New York State.”
“Who’s the biological father?”
“I bet there’s a good story behind that conception,” Seth said.
“Ask him,” Bryce said. “He’ll tell you.”
“There’s no need to pry,” Seth said. “Some things are best kept private.”
“Just saying that he’s open about his past if your curiosity gets the better of you.”
“Good to know,” Seth said. “Tell me more.”
“Lil’s a fantastic architect, originally from San Francisco, where he still has a branch office in the Transatlantic Building. You know the one that looks like a pyramid?”
Seth nodded. “How long has he lived in Chicago?”
“At least ten years. Maybe more. He moved shortly after he and Grier hooked up. I began doing work for them about five years ago. Mostly houses,” Bryce amended. “I stay away from skyscrapers.”
“My company isn’t big enough to take on those huge projects. Plus, they last months, years even. I don’t have that kind of money or manpower.”
“I’m sure you could expand if you really wanted to move up to that level,” Seth said. “But I have a feeling you prefer to be in control of every aspect of your business, which would be difficult on such a huge scale.”
“Bingo.” Bryce squeezed Seth’s thigh playfully. “When did you get so smart?”
Ignoring the question, Seth remarked, “Lil must have really fallen hard to exchange California sunshine for our unpredictable weather. That was a gutsy move.”
“He’s a pretty ballsy guy, as you’ll soon find out.”
“Who’s the kinky one?” Seth asked, recalling the mirrored ceiling above the bed in their bedroom.
Bryce grinned. “They both are.”
“Can you tell me more about that?”
Laughing, Bryce shook his head. “Some things are best kept private,” he said, echoing Seth. “You might have a heart attack if you hear what they’re really up to.”
“You beast,” Seth said. “Now I’ll be curious all afternoon.”
“It’ll come out eventually,” Bryce assured him. “Like I said, they’re good, honest people.”
Bryce exited on Barrington Road and, after a few turns, entered a quiet subdivision. Most of the properties were an acre or more, judging by the distance between homes. No two houses looked alike, and Seth admired the clean lines of Lil and Grier’s home when Bryce pulled into their driveway. It reminded him a little of a Frank Lloyd Wright home he’d seen featured in a magazine long ago. The façade was unfinished river rocks and glass, and the multiple layers of the large home flowed together to create a structure that seemed part of the landscape rather than an intrusive eyesore. Many of the trees surrounding the property had already changed color and were beginning to drop their leaves in a brilliant kaleidoscope of orange, red, and brown. There were a few pine trees and evergreen shrubs in strategic locations to provide the greenery needed during the long winter months ahead. All in all, it was a gorgeous home and a breathtaking endorsement for Lil’s architectural firm.
“Did you help build this?” Seth asked, soaking up the view.
“Sure did,” Bryce said, killing the engine. “They moved here a year ago, about the time Luca went off to college.
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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