Today I am so pleased to welcome Mickie B. Ashling to Joyfully Jay. Mickie has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, A Tangled Legacy. She has also brought along a great tour wide giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Hi all! Mickie B. Ashling here. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to stop by and share an exclusive excerpt of my newest release, A Tangled Legacy. The idea for this novel started after I finished the prequel, Once Upon A Mattress, which was included in the Once Upon A Rainbow Anthology, Volume I. It was my first foray into the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre, and I had so much fun I decided to write a longer piece. Although A Tangled Legacy is technically a sequel, I consider it to be a spinoff, and it can definitely be read as a standalone. The good news for those who are interested in reading the short story is that my wonderful publisher has decided to include it as bonus content if you purchase the paperback of A Tangled Legacy.
Colin’s grandmother, the Dowager Princess Alexandra, enlists help to break up the developing relationship. We’re in her POV.
With a heavy heart and impending sense of doom, I was back on the train with Fiona, my lady-in-waiting and loyal companion of thirty years. Colin’s so-called friendship with de Gris went beyond my worst nightmare. My grandson appeared bewitched, and I had to call in reinforcements if there was any hope of averting a crisis. My two remaining sisters, Maura and Brigid, agreed to meet in a neutral location, and the City of Lights was far enough from prying eyes and ears to satisfy their request.
Most people who lived past their sixties had a few regrets, and I was no different. Despite my long and happy marriage to Emile, I’d given up a part of myself to make it work. My family felt betrayed after I turned my back on witchcraft, and, by extension, the entire coven. I’d been a newlywed then, and working to fulfill my duties as wife and mother had influenced my decision. Ours was a good marriage, and I would have done anything to make Emile happy, but his prejudice against magic had created an insurmountable rift between me and the coven that I’d never tried to repair.
Having lived under different circumstances, my sisters, only a few years older than me, looked their age. I felt a pang of guilt at seeing their unfashionable clothes, gnarled hands, and wrinkled faces. Fiona was shocked to learn that Maura and I were only eleven months apart, and Brigid, who was seventy-two, looked like a woman in her eighties. We studied each other warily, and I tried not to judge, but I was clearly unable to keep the surprise off my face. My shallow reaction to their appearance must have been obvious because Brigid lashed out.
“We can’t all be Coco Chanel, sister.”
“I wasn’t expecting that,” I said lamely.
“Then stop gawking.”
I averted my eyes and nodded.
“What can we do for you that money can’t buy?” Maura coldly inquired.
Rattled by the hostility, I reverted to good manners instead of engaging in a sisterly battle, inappropriate given our age and the long list of transgressions I’d accumulated through years of neglect. Unable to participate in family functions, I’d become one of those people who sent monetary gifts during the holidays but rarely asked about their daily hardships. I knew next to nothing about the family dynamics and swore to do better going forward.
Ignoring Maura’s question, I suggested, “Why don’t we have some refreshments first?”
I signaled for Fiona, and she rang room service, asking them to deliver the high tea I’d preordered. The mood improved exponentially as we enjoyed the lavish array of French pastries and delicate cucumber-and-cream-cheese sandwiches. I ordered a pot of coffee for myself, and one of black tea in case my sisters preferred the latter. After the food was consumed and the tray wheeled away, I dove into the heart of the matter.
“My grandson, the heir apparent, is in trouble.”
Brigid’s expression softened after she realized this meeting was about Colin and not me. As far as I knew, she had no children, but I could have been wrong. Nonetheless, I was encouraged by her body language.
“Go on,” she prompted.
“I should have said something the minute I realized Colin had magic in his blood, but I was too intimidated by Emile and his irrational distrust of witchcraft.”
Maura grimaced. “I never liked that man.”
“I’m sorry I let things get so out of hand,” I said softly. “Can we try to move on?”
“Does the current prince share his late father’s views?”
“The last time Sebastian was subjected to magic of any kind, and it was two decades ago, things worked out rather well.”
“How so?” Maura asked curiously.
I reminded them of the time Sebastian was in need of a consort and my sisters had given me pointers on using magic to guarantee the right choice. Errol’s reaction after it was revealed he’d been selected through witchcraft elicited genuine laughter for the first time since we’d sat down to converse.
“After their marriage, I was ordered to put away the grimoire.”
Brigid scoffed. “You were a fool to listen to your idiotic husband.”
I shrugged. A spinster would never understand the concessions one made to sustain a good marriage.
“Continue your story,” Brigid said.
“I tried to school Colin in a craft I’d never perfected, but it was a mistake. A little bit of knowledge is worse than none at all.”
“You’re finally starting to talk sense,” Maura said tersely. “Go on.”
“Colin has started dating Alain de Gris, Isabelle Simon’s son.”
The collective gasp was reassuring. “He’s no match for Alain, but telling Bash and Errol that we’re dealing with a powerful witch will only result in a battle of epic proportions. Colin has threatened to reveal my secret if I tell his fathers about Alain’s connection to Isabelle Simon.”
Prince Colin of Sendorra would have been the spare instead of the heir if fate hadn’t intervened. Like his father and forefathers, Colin is expected to marry and father a child or his principality reverts to Spain at the time of his death. Filling the royal nursery with healthy babies seems easy enough until Princess Charlotte—his childhood friend and intended bride—breaks off their engagement.
Nobel Prize winner—and powerful gray witch—Alain de Gris isn’t looking for love. Science and research have taken center stage for years until he walks into a club and lays eyes on Colin, thirteen years his junior.
Bisexual by nature, Colin seeks to avoid another engagement repeat by shying away from a same-sex relationship. There are no acceptable alternatives to provide legitimate offspring if he follows his heart.
But Colin can’t stay away from Alain and the witch finds him irresistible. Ignoring the absolutes isn’t easy when a legacy is in jeopardy. And while magic may offer a solution, it could also create more problems.
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 fulfilled in April 2009.
Mickie discovered gay romance in 2002 and continues to draw inspiration from the LGBTQA community and 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 characters work damn hard for their happy endings.
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