The Sixth Chukker is the third book in my Polo Series. It continues three years after Ride-Off and fans of the first two novels will be in for a treat as the entire cast of characters—plus one sexy new addition—reunite in this ongoing saga of the Fawkes-Schnell clan. Reading the first two novels, Fire Horse and Ride-Off, will give you a better appreciation of the family dynamics. I hope you’ll come along for the ride as retired polo players Preston and Konrad deal with former lovers, demanding children, and old enemies.
I’d like to thank Kathy at Book Reviews and More for giving me an opportunity to appear on this wonderful blog and share an exclusive excerpt of The Sixth Chukker. A special shout-out to my publicist J for her consistent good work in organizing all my blog tours. As usual, I bring a few giveaways, which you’ll find in the Rafflecopter widget.
Title: The Sixth Chukker by Mickie B. Ashling
Polo Series Book Three
Publisher: Dreamspinnner Press
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Romance
Length: 200 pages
Sequel to Ride-Off
Polo: Book Three
Retired polo players Preston Fawkes and Konrad Schnell have finally found the happiness that eluded them for years. Their stud farm is a big success, and their marriage couldn’t be healthier. Unfortunately, this idyllic life is disrupted by several unexpected sources.
Paloma, Preston’s twenty-one-year-old daughter, is determined to be a 10 goal player before she turns thirty. Bandi, Konrad’s son, dreams of starting a family with his husband, Ned Temple. Paloma offers to surrogate if her father and stepfather come out of retirement and team up with her for one season.
Preston and Konrad would do anything to make their children happy, but they’re confronted with a stumbling block. Trauma specialist Dr. Rayne Carlisle refuses to sign off on the necessary paperwork unless Preston agrees to be his submissive for one week.
Caught between the proverbial rock and hard place, Preston and Konrad deal with disgruntled former lovers, demanding children, and old enemies in this sequel to Ride-Off.
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Paloma’s mood was somber when they got into the car and left the estate. “I should have stayed,” she said. “It feels wrong to leave them right now.”
“Your father asked you to go,” Sergio reminded her.
“I know, but this is all my fault,” she said. “If I hadn’t pushed Papi to come out of retirement, then Dr. Carlisle wouldn’t be in the hospital.”
“You don’t know that for sure,” Sergio argued. “There seems to be a lot more going on behind the scenes. Can you tell me a little bit about Konrad and his son?”
“I can try,” Paloma said.
Once they were settled in a comfortable booth at the Spring Tavern, a popular pub on London Road in Epsom, they ordered a cheese appetizer to share while they waited for their main course of steak pie and mash. In keeping with tradition, two tankards of beer were the drink of choice, and Paloma slowly explained the dynamics of the Texas side of her family while they drank and nibbled on the delicious Camembert. Sergio was fascinated by the fact that Preston had fathered children during the time of Konrad’s disappearance.
“I don’t know any men who are bisexual,” he remarked.
“Now you do,” Paloma said. “Sometimes I wonder if he was so lonely any warm body would have worked to cover the gaping wound in his heart left by Uncle Konrad’s absence. He couldn’t possibly have loved my mother or Sasha’s mother, for that matter, if he so easily fell back into his relationship with a man.”
“He certainly fooled a lot of folks back home. People were shocked to find out he was gay after remembering all the women he’d dated in Buenos Aires.”
“Most of those gossips are a bunch of hypocrites anyway,” Paloma said. “The guys pretend to be faithful husbands, and the minute they get a chance, they’re lifting skirts and sniffing around new blood like stallions. At least Papi is honest about his needs.”
“I’m not criticizing him, muñeca, just making an observation.”
“You’re okay with gay men, right?”
“As long as they don’t hit on me.”
Paloma’s expression hardened. “Straight men can be so stupid sometimes.”
Sergio frowned. “What do you mean?”
“As long as they don’t hit on me,” Paloma said with a sneer. “Do you think gay men are so desperate they’d hit on someone obviously straight?”
Sergio opened his mouth to answer but then seemed to decide it was more prudent to keep quiet and listen.
“Would you flirt with a woman just because she’s straight and you can? No. It doesn’t work that way, does it? There has to be some common interests and good chemistry on both sides to make it feel right. Gay men are no different than you or me. They don’t go around forcing guys to hook up if the feeling isn’t mutual. That’s called rape.”
“Whoa. I must have hit a nerve.”
“It irritates me to hear unrealistic blanket statements about gay men and women.”
“You heard wrong, Sergio. Don’t buy into old-fashioned ideas that have no place in this century we live in. Sex between two people, regardless of gender, should be consensual. If a person wants to experiment with the same gender for whatever reason, they usually make it clear from the beginning. There’s no harm in spreading your wings if you haven’t found the right match. I would never judge anyone in that regard,” she said pointedly.
“Are you trying to tell me something? Did you inherit more from your father than his beautiful eyes? Are you bisexual, muñeca?”
She scrutinized him, trying to decide what to say. Was he open-minded enough to accept her proclivities as well as her riding skills, or was he going to be one of those men whose machismo would be threatened by a woman who had few boundaries when it came to sexual partners?
Making her decision, she asked, “What if I am?”
His eyes flickered with surprise, but he covered it up quickly. “Is it because you haven’t found the right connection?”
“Whatever I’ve done or haven’t done felt right at the moment. Are you okay with it?”
“I have no right to object.”
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.
Four lucky blog tour participants will win a $15 Dreamspinner Press gift certificate OR one ecopy of The Sixth Chukker, Ride-Off, or Fire Horse. Contest open internationally. Must be 18 or older to enter.
Follow the rest of the tour:
April 4 – On Top Down Under Book Reviews
April 5 – Diverse Reader
April 7 – The Novel Approach
April 7 – MM Good Book Reviews
April 8 – Sinfully
April 11 – 3 Chicks After Dark
April 12 – Love Bytes
April 13 – Book Reviews & More by Kathy
April 14 – Words of Wisdom….from The Scarf Princess
April 15 – Prism Book Alliance