A mixed-blood Catholic seminarian struggles to discern his true calling: the priesthood or his ex-lover, a proud but damaged Ojibway man.
Blurb: It’s been ten years since Emery Matawapit sinned, having succumbed to temptation for the one thing in his life that felt right, another man. In six months he’ll make a life-changing decision that will bar him from sexual relationships for the rest of his life.
Darryl Keejik has a decade-long chip on his shoulder, and he holds Emery’s father, the church deacon, responsible for what he’s suffered: the loss of his family and a chance at true love with Emery. No longer a powerless kid, Darryl has influence within the community—maybe more than the deacon, and he intends on using his new-found power to destroy Deacon Matawapit and the church.
Hoping to save the church, Emery races home. But stopping Darryl is harder than expected when their sizzling chemistry threatens to consume Emery. Now he is faced with the toughest decision of his life: please his devout parents and fulfill his call to the priesthood, or remain true to his heart and marry the man created for him.
Clayton stood behind the counter. He grasped the coffee pot. “Want some?”
“Sure.” Darryl flipped over his mug.
Once Clayton poured, he sat. “I’m not surprised the deacon’s looking for another hand out. I bet he wants to drum up more support for his church. He’s scared we’ll yank the monthly donation now that you’re part of the leadership. He should be scared. The Society’s numbers are growing while the church’s are shrinking.”
Darryl shifted on the stool. He couldn’t fault Clayton’s frigid words. The guy was twelve years older and had served on band council three times, which meant voters supported him, and so did Auntie. “I assume you have something in mind.”
Clayton stared straight ahead at the cluttered shelves behind the back counter. “We have to reject their request at the meeting on Monday and—”
“I agree.” The reserve shouldn’t keep forking out money to the church. The diocese was responsible for their parishes. Darryl raised his mug and sipped.
“—make a motion to stop funding the monthly hydro bill. Let the bishop and his lapdog deacon figure out what to do about their money pit. If they make the rules, something we don’t have a say in, then they can pay for their church.”
The coffee stuck somewhere in Darryl’s throat. He coughed. “A motion was passed five years ago, stating chief and council agreed to cover the cost indefinitely. I don’t think it’s possible to dissolve the motion.”
Clayton shook back his hair. The feather he’d woven into a thin side-braid bobbed. “We owe it to our people. The church has no right hosting healing workshops. Not after what it did to the Anishinaabeg.” He turned in his seat. “What about you? Look what it did to your family.”
Darryl lowered his head and hunched over the counter. Clayton was right. The pain and shame Mom and Dad endured at the residential school had destroyed them. A bottle helped Auntie dull her bitter anger and grief. Her health was precarious now because of the Catholic Church.
Too many people still suffered, thanks to those schools. Not only the people who’d been forced to attend them, but their children and grandchildren who’d grown up in an environment of agony, disgrace, and rage. “Okay, I’m in.”
Clayton patted Darryl’s shoulder. “I knew I could count on you. People are afraid to stand up for their beliefs, scared they’ll be pegged as troublemakers.”