Thursday, January 30, 2020

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Finding Our Morning by Mickie B. Ashling

Title: Finding Our Morning
Author: Mickie B. Ashling
Publication Date: January 28th 2020

Print Length: 270 pages
Genres: Adult, Historical, Mystery, Romance

May 1977
Ginny Tate bides her time on the family stud farm in San Antonio, Texas, waiting to start veterinarian school in the fall. Bullied as an adolescent, she’s finally shed her old skin, but the emerging beauty still harbors insecurities and would rather hang out with horses than people.

Sponsored by his uncle, the Shah of Iran, Dariush—David—Akbari, a twenty-five-year-old NYU grad with a degree in International Law, is also a skilled polo player. He joins the royal traveling team for a tournament in Plano, Texas.

A decade in America has gradually altered David’s views on certain aspects of his culture. Torn between familial obligations and his adopted country, David resists the idea of returning to Iran so soon after graduation.

At the traditional after-party, David strikes up a conversation with Ginny, who is refreshingly honest. He receives an invitation to visit Tate Stud Farm and, on the pretext of buying another polo pony, persuades the shah to make a detour.

Great horsemanship coupled with self-effacing charm sets David apart from the entitled braggarts who normally populate the sport, and Ginny falls hard. His visit turns into a life-changing week that neither can foresee. Will they walk away unscathed or live to regret their impulsive behavior?

Inspired by events preceding the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty, Finding Our Morning is a love story that catapults us from Texas Hill Country to the epicenter of a monarchy on the brink of collapse.

Her mother raised an eyebrow but didn’t say a word when she showed up for breakfast wearing foundation and eye makeup.

Ray gave her a thumbs-up. “What’s on your agenda today?”

“The usual,” Ginny muttered, grabbing a bowl and filling it with milk and cereal. She sat down at the kitchen table and shoved in a mouthful.

“Not with a visitor trailing behind you,” Ray remarked. “Tell us something about David we don’t already know. What does he do when he’s not playing polo?”

“He’s a lawyer.”

“Back in his country?” Margery interjected.

“I’m not sure where he’ll be practicing,” Ginny admitted. “He just passed the bar.”

Margery buttered her toast and commented, “Don’t you think his family will want him back home.”

Ginny shrugged. “Probably.”

“You’ll keep that in mind, won’t you, sugar?” Ray asked, reaching across the table for Ginny’s hand. He gave her a gentle squeeze. “There’s no need to be mooning after a man who ain’t planning to stick around.”

Ginny sighed loudly. “Will you please let up?”

“You’ve never been this excited about a local boy,” Ray continued to caution. “I don’t want you to get hurt.”

Ginny turned to Margery. “Go ahead and add your two bits, Mom. Let’s get this over with before David shows up. Then I don’t want to hear another word.”

Margery pretended to zip her lips with a hand gesture.

Unappeased, Ginny blurted, “I’m shocked you have nothing to add.”

“He seems like a gentleman, and I’m going to rely on your good judgment. Enough said.”

“He is a gentleman,” Ginny assured her mother. “And I’m old enough to decide how I want to handle our friendship going forward.”

Margery visibly stiffened. “Don’t make me regret this, young lady.”

Ginny burst out laughing, startling her parents. After a few minutes, Ginny remarked, “You can’t keep me locked up in a paddock forever. I have to venture out on my own at some point. What’ll you do when I start college in the fall?”

“One of the hands will drive you and hang around till you’re done for the day,” Ray teased.

Ginny rolled her eyes in exasperation. “You guys are too much.”

Her parents exchanged a knowing look and Ginny waited for some new pronouncement, but none came. Done with her cereal, she left the empty bowl in the sink and headed outdoors.
At only eight in the morning, heat pressed down on Ginny as she walked toward the closest stable. The next three months were going to be scorchers, and native-born or not, residents of San Antonio seemed to droop in the summertime. Ginny often wished that they had a swimming pool in the backyard, but her parents consistently denied her request. The next best thing was Canyon Lake, where locals camped, picnicked, or boated. She wondered if David could swim. Wasn’t Iran a landlocked nation? Did they have lakes and swimming pools back where he came from? She was ashamed to admit she knew nothing about the country. Hopefully David could provide more details during his stay.

Two hours later, after she’d completed her morning chores, her shirt clung to her back and sweat dripped down the side of her face. She’d tied her hair back earlier, but she was certain her makeup was ruined. Ginny grabbed the hand towel that she carried in her back pocket and sopped up the perspiration. As luck would have it, David’s car was speeding up the long driveway.

Great. He’s going to get his first glimpse of sweaty me and make a U-turn.

Except it was Ginny whose mouth dropped when David got out of the vehicle gingerly and sagged against the door. After she got close enough to get a good look, she gasped. His left eye had a nasty shiner, and his lower lip, the one she’d sucked on last night, was cut and swollen.

“What in the hell happened to you?”

David shook his head. “I don’t want to talk about it right now. Is there any place I can clean up? Your parents mustn’t see me like this. If you have aspirin or something to chase away a massive headache, I’d appreciate it.”

“Follow me,” Ginny ordered succinctly.

She led him to one of three guest cottages they kept on the property for prospective buyers. The simple A-frame structure had a double bed, two nightstands, and a dresser. There was also a bathroom with a shower. A hot plate and coffee paraphernalia were stacked on a utility table near the entrance. Earlier, the Tates had decided that David could bunk in one of these units.

Ginny pushed open the door and was glad she’d thought to turn on the ceiling fan after she’d made the bed and stocked the bathroom with fresh towels. David sank down on the mattress, resting his elbows on his thighs, and buried his face in his hands.

“I’ll be right back with something refreshing and your pills,” Ginny stated.

He didn’t respond, and she hurried across the lawn to the main house. Ginny returned to the cottage in under ten minutes with a blue tin containing first aid supplies. She also held a tall, ice-filled glass of lemonade in her other hand. Her parents were nowhere in sight, which was a good thing because she couldn’t provide any answers if pressed.

David looked up when he heard the door and attempted a lopsided smile. “Sorry to be so much trouble.”

“Don’t be silly,” she said, handing him the drink and two aspirin.

She rinsed out a washcloth in the bathroom sink, and paused in the doorway after finding him lying in bed with his eyes closed.

“Do you mind if I administer first aid.”

“Go ahead.”

There wasn’t much she could do for the shiner, except lay an ice cube wrapped in the damp washcloth over the orbital rim to try to reduce the swelling. His lip was still crusted with dried blood, and she cleaned it with a cotton ball drenched in hydrogen peroxide. She noticed the slight gash had already closed up. The blood must have seeped out the moment he’d taken the hit. After drying the area with a piece of gauze, she placed some antibiotic cream on a cotton swab and dabbed it on the split lip.

“How’s your head?” she asked in a low voice. If he was asleep, she didn’t want to startle him.

“It’s better,” David replied. “Thank you for taking care of me.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“Not right now.”

“I’ll let you get some rest,” Ginny said, standing to go.

David pulled her back by the wrist. “Please, stay.”

“Are you sure?”

“If it’s not inconvenient.”

“I’m done with my chores.”

“Wake me up in thirty minutes if I fall asleep.”

“Were you in an accident, David?”


Ginny frowned. “Did someone jump you in the parking lot?”

David opened his good eye. “I’ll tell you when I wake up.”

“Sorry,” Ginny said quickly. “Get some rest.”

“I will.”

He was asleep within minutes.

Mickie B. Ashling is the pseudonym of a multi-published author who resides in a suburb outside Chicago. She is a product of her upbringing in various 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.

Since 2009, Mickie has written several dozen novels in the LGBTQ+ genre—which have been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, and German. Lately, her muse has been nudging her in a different direction, and she’s learned through past experience to pay attention to creative sparks that show up unexpectedly. Her pen name is a part of her now, and will travel along on this exciting new journey, wherever it might lead. She promises to be very specific in her book blurbs and cover art to avoid any confusion.

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  1. The storyline and excerpt have caught my attention. Looking forward to reading. Thanks for bringing to my attemtion!

  2. What was your favourite book as a kid?

  3. Like the excerpt and the cover. I can’t wait to read. Thanks for being an author and sharing your gifts with the world.

  4. I like the horses that are the cover of the book. Congrats on the release of your book.

  5. This looks like a interesting read. Thanks for the chance!

  6. I really love the cover! Thank you for sharing with us!

  7. sounds like a fun one

  8. This sounds really interesting! I enjoy books that are set in Texas. Love the cover! ❤

  9. This sounds really good and I love the cover!