Friday, November 7, 2014

Book Tour for Cutting Out by Mickie B. Ashling (Review & GIVEAWAY)

As a fan of m/m reads I consider Ms. Ashling an author to count on for emotionally intense stories with bits of steam.  Her latest release is no exception and I'm introducing you to Cutting Out, the fourth installment in her Cutting Cords series.  Keep reading to get an in-depth look at this book and then leave a comment about what draws you to m/m books for the chance to win an e-copy of this book too!

Many thanks to The Scarf Princess (Jody) for hosting my Cutting Out blog tour. This is the fourth novel in the Cutting Cords series and a direct sequel to Cleave. I’m going to be sharing excerpts in a serial fashion.  You can expect to read something different at each stop as I move forward in the novel.  An e-book copy of Cutting Out will be offered to one lucky commenter as part of the deal so make sure to leave your contact information when you comment. Jody gets to pick the winner.

Hours after stepping off the yacht where they had their mock wedding, real life intrudes, and arguments arise between Sloan Driscoll and Trent Hamilton.  Seeking relief at his BDSM club, Trent bumps into an old army buddy who tells him things are different now that DADT has been repealed.   Meanwhile, Sloan receives a frantic call from ex-lover, Cole Fujiwara, who tells him that his twins and ex-wife have been kidnapped. Cole asks Sloan for help but makes him promise not to include Trent in the rescue attempt.
Trent considers the opportunity to resume a career cut short, and despite Sloan's threat to postpone the wedding, he leaves for the Middle East as an independent mercenary while Sloan rushes to aid Cole.
In Tokyo, disturbing revelations draw the former couple together, and old feelings are rekindled. Despite this new understanding, neither man makes a move.  Sloan is focused on rescuing Cole’s family without jeopardizing his relationship with Trent, while Cole must prepare himself to survive disappointment if Sloan chooses to segue into married life as a military spouse.


“Do you think this guy has been following us since we left New York?”
“I would if I were in their shoes,” Cole replied.  He reached for Freddie’s harness and drew him a little closer.  The animal hadn’t settled to his normal watchful gaze.  He still seemed agitated, and Cole kept petting him as if he too sensed the atmosphere of danger.
I might have been overreacting, but I was convinced this entire expedition would turn to shit since we didn’t have a clue what we were doing.  Neither one of us had a gun, or even knew how to fire a weapon if we stumbled upon one by accident.  Martial arts was something I watched on TV to ogle the hot guys.  If ever I needed Trent’s combat experience, it was now.
“Why in hell didn’t you let me tell Trent?  He’s much better at this sort of thing than we’ll ever be.”
“We can handle this, Sloan.  Stay focused and don’t panic.”
“Easy for you to say; you didn’t see that goon.  Creep factor times ten.”
“Let me know if he’s on the plane.”
“Don’t worry.  Freddie will go nuts if he sees him again.”
“That’s so odd, isn’t it?” Cole asked.
“It’s creepy, Cole.  Freddie has never shown any signs of aggression toward anything.   He must sense some danger.”
“Seeing Eye Dogs are trained to protect their owners.”
“I get that, but this is a side of your dog that’s been dormant.”
“We’ve never had to deal with Yakuza before,” Cole said.
“This is really happening, isn’t it?”
“Did you think I was making this up?”
“No, but seeing a criminal is much worse than reading threats on a piece of paper.”
Cole snorted.  “They have a reputation for a reason.  Everyone in the organization is intimidating as hell and they’ll stop at nothing to achieve their goal.  Failure is unacceptable, and they pay for their transgressions with body parts, or worse yet, their lives.  The Yakuza is successful because their members would rather die on the job than face the shame of failure.  Like the Kamikaze pilots of World War II.  Honor above anything else.”
“Christ, if Dad only knew what he was getting our family into, he would have thought twice.”
“Don’t get me started on your dad and his epic fail.”
“Enough,” Cole pleaded. “I’m too tired to dredge up old wounds.”
“You brought it up.”
“I know, I’m sorry.”
“How long are we staying in Tokyo?”
“Overnight at the Imperial Hotel to catch up on our sleep, and then we head for Kyoto.  That’s where we’ll do the exchange.”
“Are you planning on visiting the old crones at the geisha house?”
“Not unless I have to.”
“Good to know.  I doubt I could be civil.”
“Try and keep your aggression to a minimum, Sloan.  The one person who started this isn’t around to hear or see it, and there’s no point in acting like an Ugly American if you can help it.”
“God forbid I should dishonor you.”
Cole turned toward me and frowned.  “Are we going to spend this entire trip bickering?”
I sighed and leaned against him.  “I’m being a prick ‘cause I’m freaking the fuck out.”
“I’m just as scared.”
“Probably so, but you have that inscrutable Asian face that hides everything.”
He slipped his hand into mine.  “Let’s call a truce.  We’ll have to support each other as best as we can.”
Since we were in First Class, we boarded first, which gave me an opportunity to scrutinize all the people who trotted down the aisle toward coach.  Our gangster never showed up, which was a huge relief.  Freddie finally put his head down on his paws and fell asleep.  It was obvious our pup had better instincts than the two of us combined, and if he felt comfortable enough to snooze than I assumed the coast was clear.

BUY LINKS:  Dreamspinner | Amazon | ARe


Just when a HEA seemed possible for Sloan and Trent life threw numerous choices in their way to put their future in doubt in this final (?) installment in the Cutting Cords series.  From the very first book emotions have run high and in this book those emotions come to a head as suspenseful twists and turns complicate things further, not only between Sloan and Trent but between Sloan and Cole as well.  To fully appreciate the enormity of this storyline though it's best to have read the other installments as the past comes into play in very big ways with the evolution of Sloan and Cole, and the history they have with each other, greatly influencing the action.

Sloan and Trent are planning their wedding but things don't go smoothly as Trent decides to return to the service after the appeal of DADT without taking Sloan's feelings into consideration.  He's also still going to the club to play with willing subs.  These acts put a dent in their commitment and leave Sloan confused and frustrated as he doesn't want his husband's life constantly in jeopardy.  He can't dwell on these concerns too long with the return of Cole creating even more chaos as he needs Sloan's help in rescuing the twins from kidnappers who have taken them to Japan.  The two former lovers have only each other to count on and it leads to edge of your seat action, as well as old feelings resurfacing, amongst life or death circumstances coming from surprising villains.  Their time together reignites their old feelings and the comfort they had with each other but their future isn't clear with one danger after another being thrown at them.  They've both grown during their time apart, particularly Sloan.  They now talk to each other about their thoughts and feelings and Sloan's interactions with the twins shows a man quite comfortable in being a family man.  The intensity of Trent is always present though and still compels Sloan which keeps readers guessing as to who will get their HEA.  

Ms. Ashling puts readers through the emotional wringer as the outcome of the story is never quite clear until the satisfying and hard fought conclusion.  It's an intense story focusing more on internal struggles and feelings and less about sex.  That's not to say it's lacking in sex but rather that sex means something for these men.  It's not just there for entertainment....although it is steamy.  The story pulls you in with its vivid imagery of both here and abroad and the suspense keeps you on edge turning the pages faster to discover the outcome.  Ms. Ashling captivates readers with a story that's unexpected in many ways and will leave fans of this series satisfied with a conclusion that feels just right.  She once again proves why she's a master of the genre and I recommend this to all fans of the m/m genre.

My rating for this is an A.

*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.


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.



-To be entered, please leave a comment about why you love reading m/m books, along with your email addy. (NO EMAIL=NO ENTRY)
-Giveaway is open to everyone.
-Winner will be chosen using and contacted via email.
-Giveaway ends at 11:59pm CST on 11/14.


  1. Thank for for hosting my tour and the fabulous review. I'm so pleased you enjoyed the novel.

    1. Thank YOU for being here and for crafting such a gut-wrenching read! I always look forward to your books and am excited for where you'll take us next!

      The Scarf Princess

  2. They give me a different kind of read. I love that.


  3. I'd love to read Cutting Out. Thanks for the giveaway. ardent(dot)ereader(at)gmail(dot)com


  5. I like m/m romance because I think that the charters show more of them self. The (some) writers put (I think) more emotion in the character's

  6. I love reading and more recently I read more MM books than not, I cannot actually pinpoint why, its just that I enjoy reading them and I like men :)

    Thank you for a chance to win a copy of Cutting Out slholland22 {at) hotmail {dot} com