TWO 4.5 and ONE 4 Stars for Forged in Trust (Bay Area Professionals #4) by Mickie B. Ashling #MM #BDSM @dreamspinners

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Title: Forged in Trust (Bay Area Professionals #4)
Author Name & Publisher: Mickie B. Ashling (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: September 4, 2015 – 215 pgs

Synopsis

Dr. Ethan Marshall is the young medical student on call the night Tessa Duran murders her husband for abusing her twelve-year-old-son, Rino. Ethan stays in the cubicle while the rape kit is performed and is surprised when the boy resorts to prayers instead of tears.

Despite compelling evidence, Tessa is sent to jail for life. To avoid placing Rino in foster care, their parish priest agrees to raise him. Ethan is touched by Rino’s plight and visits whenever possible, but the connection is broken when the priest and young boy leave the area months later.

Raised by the Dominicans in California, Rino considers joining the order until a romance blossoms with a fellow student. After much soul-searching, he turns his back on everything familiar, and chooses his orientation over his perceived vocation. Upon graduating dental hygiene school, Rino takes a job at the office of Scott Gregory and Robin Kennedy.

Seventeen years have passed since that horrible night in the emergency room. Forty-three-year-old Ethan is now a Dominant in search of a full-time submissive. Twenty-nine-year-old Rino is adrift, longing for someone or something to help him find the serenity he’s lost along the way. As they rekindle their friendship, they realize they might be perfect for each other.

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Review

FourandHalfStars

Triggers: Child Abuse, Rape

Rino’s character has a hard start to life. I really loved his mom and despite her somewhat questionable judgment with husbands, he was protected and loved.  When he first meets Ethan, their connection is one of compassion, understanding and trust.  I really liked how Ashling told this part of the story.  Rino’s beginning was somewhat rigid and Ethan allowed some difference of opinion and education to be instilled in Rino without the churches influence.
Ethan’s character was somewhat stunted for me.  He was a great resident and an even more dedicated doctor, however, we only get glimpses of his life.  I didn’t feel like Ashling gave the same amount of time and development to Ethan’s character.
When they meet again, it is this whirlwind meet and greet, then right back in to friendship.  Now, despite my not liking the insta-feeling this story took, I do understand being able to jump back in to a friendship with someone you really trusted and felt like you knew.
As far as the sex went, they had kind of lukewarm heat for me.  While they had good intellectual chemistry, which is not something you often see, their physical chemistry was just ho-hum for me.
Then you have Brad – I wished this had been played out differently.  I don’t know if I wanted more of this story line or less, but it just felt unfinished for me.
This is one where I have not read the previous books, but did not feel that I was missing anything.  I did not have a hard time following the characters and felt that not knowing the backstory was probably an asset since I didn’t have any preconceived ideas of how characters should behave.
I look forward to the rest of these books.
AvidReader

FourandHalfStarsI’m amazed. I have bought several books by this author but they continue to sit on my Kindle unread. Why I have no clue because I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing was excellent and the story well thought out and very compelling. This is the fourth book in the series but can be read as a stand-alone. It has made me decide to go back and finally read the first three books in the series.

I was captivated by Rino from the first time saw him as a young boy of 6 when his mother was working to get them out of their country. We then meet Rino as a child of 12 when his mother was killed her husband for raping Rino, where Rino first meets Ethan. Then we finally meet Rino as an adult when he again meets Ethan. Rino is clearly a complex individual and clearly has many issues. Ethan is also a complex individual who can’t seem to find a sub. The BDSM in this book is very light. I would have rated it 5 stars but the ending was just too abrupt. I want more details about their ending. I think if the author would have included an epilogue I probably would have given it the full 5 stars.

~Lynn

 FourStarsI absolutely loved the start of this book.  Rino’s childhood is chilling and the author had me loving both main characters within the first ten pages.  I enjoy the way the backstory flips between Rino and Ethan’s stories up until their lives collide in the A&E and again until they meet again in Ethan’s club.
I’m usually not a fan of the May-December romance, and initially I was squirming at the idea of the twelve-year old rape victim and his doctor ever having a relationship.  Both time and careful writing had me believing in the relationship between the 29 year old hygienist and the 40 something doctor.
I loved Rino’s struggles with his religion, his mother’s actions and his own orientation and life choices.  Rino is deeply conflicted, but the author refuses to use his experiences as a way to preach to her audience or to create stock good and evil characters.  Each character is complex and Rino feels very real as a result.
I enjoyed Ethan most of the time.  As the junior doctor caring for his rape victim, he won my heart.  As the older, more accomplished surgeon, he comes across as slightly arrogant and materialistic.  I’m not a huge BDSM fan but I enjoyed the very mild kink in this story.
I hesitate to give this five stars only because it didn’t end as convincingly as it started.  After all of the build-up, time lapses and character development, Rino and Ethan fall into a very complicated relationship far too quickly and far too easily.  Rino seems to overcome his difficult past and complex fears instantly.  Ethan’s need for a full-time sub is discussed, but readers never really see the two men establishing the life Ethan wants for them.
I really enjoyed this book.  Rino especially is a brilliant character.

~Sarah

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AuthorBio

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 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.

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Filed under 4 Star, 4.5 Stars, AvidReader, Lynn, M/M, New Release, Review, Sarah

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