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.
Darryl squeezed the accelerator on the four-wheeler and leaned right. The machine whipped through the turn. Gravel spit up from beneath the tires. Auntie had a lot of nerve questioning his loyalty after all he’d done for the Traditionalists Society. Couldn’t she understand Emery’s friendship had nothing to do with the group? The same went for Clayton, who’d spent the day tracking down Darryl.
One thing about the reserve—everyone stuck their noses where they didn’t belong. He should put a roll of super soft on his desk so the reserve knew what toilet paper brand he used.
Thick brush and trees peppered the shoreline at the Grassy district. The interior consisted of long, wispy grass and rolling dips. Long ago, Auntie had said the trees were cut to make the first log homes on the reserve.
Once he crested the swell, the big white church and rectory appeared. Emery stood at the end of the driveway. He’d saved Darryl a ring of the buzzer since someone else couldn’t wait to start their evening. He wants this as much as I do.
Before the four-wheeler rolled to a stop, Emery attempted to throw his long leg over the seat.
“What’s the rush?” This was like old times.
“Let’s go.” Emery climbed on the back.
When his warm thighs spooned Darryl’s hips, he squeezed his fingers and hit the accelerator. Since he’d hadn’t shifted gears, the machine jumped at the same time as his heart.
Emery slammed into Darryl’s back.
He sucked in a big breath and pressed his foot on the clutch. He’s studying to become a priest. He asked for friendship and nothing else.
“Sorry.” Darryl made a U-turn.
“No problem.” Emery cleared his throat. “Where should I put my hands?”
What an insane question to ask. How about where you used to put them? Where you were always putting them? Darryl stifled his chuckle. “Wherever you want.”
Emery chortled. “Um… sure.” He slid his palms over Darryl’s shoulders.
Now the joke was on Darryl. He gritted his teeth. Talk about too close for comfort. Dammit, he’d prove Auntie wrong. There was more to their relationship than a good time in bed. They’d always enjoyed summer. The grass was as green as Emery’s eyes.
“You still fish?” Darryl raised his voice over the machine’s engine.
“Yes. When I have time.”
The words tickled Darryl’s left ear. Everything happening tonight was reminiscent of the past because Emery had always leaned in to Darryl to speak. He’d better concentrate on the wind in his face, the warm air, and the ever-present smell of the lake, instead of the hot breath that had steamed his skin moments ago.
He inhaled. The gasoline’s potent stench cleared his nostrils. There was another scent—Emery’s familiar aroma. In the past, he’d never worn cologne or used odorous soap and still didn’t. Fresh and clean as nature.
Darryl guided the four-wheeler through the Central and Rockhead districts. The older people sat on the steps of their box-shaped houses while children played in the overgrown ditches. Many stared at the four-wheeler. Tongues were probably already wagging, calling him a traitor to the Traditionalists Society.
Once they were clear of the houses and thick brush, the narrow road leading to the Treaty Grounds greeted them. Alone. At last.