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. Darryl intends on using his power to destroy Deacon Matawapit and his 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.

This is very erotic book about a spiritual journey.

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Cover Art by Martine Jardin
Excerpt

A meeting package bound in black spiral coils landed on the keyboard of Darryl’s laptop. Only one person possessed the audacity to toss stuff at him. He looked up.

Clayton stood in front of the desk, irritation hardening his dark eyes and a scowl twisting his thin lips into a grimace. He rapped the meeting package. “Did you read this?”

Darryl flung aside his pen. So much for getting work done. “I only got mine an hour ago. It’s ten o’clock. I have a list of stuff to do before I clock out for the weekend.”

“Read it now. It’s not good.”

Did this man live to order people about? “I have one already. Here. Take yours.” Darryl seized his copy off the to-do tray. He shucked Clayton’s package back at him. “Gimme a second. Why don’t you get a coffee or something from the staff room?”

Clayton strutted to the door. “Are there any muffins left?”

“Yeah. Fresh, too. So you’d better hurry before they’re all gone.” If Darryl didn’t do something to push this guy along, he’d have to endure another long-winded speech about the old ways and how they must preserve their culture.

Damn straight protecting the Anishinaabe traditions was important, but listening to Clayton drone on in his know-it-all tone gave Darryl ten headaches. He sank in the chair and flipped through the pages.

When the letter appeared, he sat up.

Dear Chief and Band Council,

Four years ago, Christ the King Parish hosted Healing the Spirit, a workshop developed by the diocese to reconcile First Nations and Christian communities by initiating recovery for the generations traumatized by the Indian Residential Schools the Canadian Government imposed on the Indigenous people throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Thirty people from Ottertail Lake attended. Based on the participants’ evaluations of the curriculum and facilitators, they deemed the workshop a success and commenced their spiritual healing journey.

Last year, additional members of Ottertail Lake approached the parish and requested another workshop. At the pastoral council meeting held in January, we passed a motion to host a second Healing the Spirit for this forthcoming September.

Although Christ the King Parish and the diocese can cover various expenses, we are seeking a financial contribution to offset costs, since special facilitators trained to deliver the workshop will require airplane fare to travel to our isolated First Nations community.

If Chief and Band Council could assist with a $500.00 gift, we would be most delighted.

Attached is information on the workshop. If you require a presentation, I am more than willing to meet with Ottertail Lake’s most esteemed leadership.

Yours in Christ,

Deacon Norman Matawapit, Christ the King Parish

M.Ed., M.T.S.

Darryl’s muscles constricted and then quivered. He dropped the meeting package on his desk. The request for money shouldn’t shock him. Deacon Matawapit and his precious church did nothing but take from the reserve.

Clayton leaned against the doorway. He held a mug and muffin and wore his usual smug smile. “Say it. I was right, wasn’t I? What are we going to do? It’s Friday. The meeting’s on Monday.”

Through gritted teeth, Darryl choked out, “Give me time to review this. We can meet at the diner this evening.”

“See ya then.” Clayton disappeared from the entryway. The heels of his boots clicked against the floor.

Darryl huffed across the room and kicked the door shut. The noise in the hallway vanished.

Healing the Spirit. He shook his head. This time he wasn’t running to Winnipeg to lick his wounds. He’d face the Matawapits head-on after what they’d done to him.

“Gimme one sec.” A tray of drinks rested against Raven’s flat stomach. She trudged to a back table where a group of teenaged girls huddled. They giggled and pointed at one another’s cell phone screens.

Warm fuzz coiling around Darryl’s spine cooled the raw fire that had sizzled under his skin all day. Kiss the Cook remained the same hangout for the youth to gather on Friday nights. The girls would stay put until the drum group began. They always sat in the bleachers at the Treaty Grounds and watched Darryl instruct the boys.

The girls waved, and he raised his hand. Although the Traditionalists Society’s mission was to preserve and teach the Anishinaabe ways, the reserve’s future women needed their own personal group that built character and pride. Starting a new job and concentrating on her addiction recovery left Raven little time for volunteering, but she did her best to engage the young ladies in cultural activities.

The diner door banged open. “How about the shore lunch special, sis? I’m starving.” Clayton promenaded to the counter.

“Okay. What about you?” Raven set some dirty glasses on her tray.

“Get me a ham sandwich on brown and the soup.” Darryl flipped the menu closed.

The nurses at the health station would sing his praises. Like a good boy, he’d stuck to his diabetic diet.

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.

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