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.
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.
A single woman battles to keep her foster child from his newly-paroled father—a dangerous man she used to love.
Bridget Matawapit is an Indigenous activist, daughter of a Catholic deacon, and foster mother to Kyle, the son of an Ojibway father—the ex-fiancé she kicked to the curb after he chose alcohol over her love. With Adam out on parole and back in Thunder Bay, she is determined to stop him from obtaining custody of Kyle.
Adam Guimond is a recovering alcoholic and ex-gangbanger newly-paroled. Through counselling, reconnecting with his Ojibway culture and twelve-step meetings while in prison, Adam now understands he’s worthy of the love that frightened him enough to pick up the bottle he’d previously corked. He can’t escape the damage he caused so many others, but he longs to rise like a true warrior in the pursuit of forgiveness and a second chance. There’s nothing he isn’t willing to do to win back his son–and Bridget.
When an old cell mate’s daughter dies under mysterious circumstances in foster care, Adam begs Bridget to help him uncover the truth. Bound to the plight of the Indigenous children in care, Bridget agrees. But putting herself in contact with Adam threatens to resurrect her long-buried feelings for him, and even worse, she risks losing care of Kyle, by falling for a man who might destroy her faith in love completely this time.
After almost four years, Bridget should have gotten used to the quiet nights while Kyle slept. Alone, in the living room, glass of wine on the end table, a good book in her lap, the TV on low, she should savor these moments after a busy day.
Before Adam had screwed up not only his life but those who loved him, they’d cuddled on the couch and had watched a movie. Afterwards, they’d retire to her bedroom.
The landline rang. She reached over and grabbed the cordless. “Hello.”
“Hey. How are you?”
Bridget stiffened. They’d already spoken earlier this evening. If Adam thought to barge into her life just because she was fostering his son, he could think again. “I’m winding down for the evening. It’s late.”
“It’s only nine-thirty.”
“I have responsibilities.” Unlike you. “You know I get up at five-thirty.”
“Yeah…responsibilities. You told me a hundred times when we were engaged.” He muttered the words.
Bridget clenched the stem of the wine glass. “What do you want?”
“You watch the news?”
“They pulled a body from the McIntyre.”
“I heard about it.”
“My old cell mate thinks it’s his daughter.”
Old cell mate? Adam wasn’t supposed to contact convicts or ex-convicts during parole. This man would never change if he was already breaking the rules. “And why are you telling me this?”
“I owe him.”
“You owe him what?”
The light sound of the TV hummed in Bridget’s hot ear. Adam was thinking instead of speaking. He was probably calling her ten different expletives in his thoughts.
“I owe him my early release.” His words crunched like footsteps beneath bitter, broken glass.
“What does this have to do with me?” She had better things to do, like watch time erode her olive-colored walls.
“There’s a kid here. Just got out of ’hab. His girlfriend was Sheena Keesha.”
The wine trembled in Bridget’s hand, and she set aside the glass. For goodness sake. “How old is he?”
Bridget would have to pry more information from Adam. Why couldn’t he elaborate like everyone else on planet earth? “Sheena was sixteen, the radio said. He was seeing a minor?”
“Had his birthday a few months ago.”
“They began dating when he was a minor?”
“Was he also in the foster care system?”
“And Sheena couldn’t go to rehab unless her caregiver consented?”
“The caregiver didn’t consent?”
“Do you know why?”
“Dunno. Lemme get the kid. Hang on.”
“Wait…” Yes, Bridget was concerned about Sheena Keesha, but the police had never confirmed whose body had been pulled from the river.
“Hi… It’s me. Logan. You wanted to talk?” The boy’s introduction bubbled with excitement.
Bridget sank in the couch. This was all Mom and Dad’s fault for raising her to help others.
“Hello. I’m Bridget.”
“Adam said you have some questions for me. He said I could trust you.”
“You can. What we talk about will stay between us.” Bridget used her most compassionate voice. “Tell me about yourself.”
“Uh…yeah, sure. What’d you wanna know?”
“For starters, how did you end up in care?”
“My parents are wastes of space. Y’know? Been in care, like, forever. I left when I turned the big one-eight.”
“Are you aboriginal?”
“Métis. My dad is. My mom’s white.”
“Sheena Keesha is your girlfriend?”
“Yeah. We’ve been hanging for a couple of years. We met in high school.”
“And Sheena went missing while you were in rehab?”
“Yeah. I told her to wait for me. I told her I’d figure everything out, y’know?”
“Figure out what, exactly?”
“Get clean. Get a job. Get a place for us to have the baby.”
“The baby?” A boulder formed in Bridget’s stomach, and her lungs teetered on collapsing. She managed to choke out, “Sheena’s pregnant?”
“Yeah. It’s why she told me to go to rehab. She wanted to stop using, too.”
“Was she still involved in drugs when you last talked to her?”
“Not sure. We had it all worked out. I was gonna get her clean once I got clean. Y’know, in ’hab I’d get all the answers to get us off…stuff. Make us better. She said I’d be able to get her clean then.”
The two were so young and naïve. They had no idea of the odds stacked against them.
“Thank you for sharing, Logan. What you said will stay with me. Could I speak to Adam?”
“Uh-huh. Hang on.”
“Hello.” Bridget rubbed her brow. “You have to let Logan know we can’t do anything until the police release the news.”
“We could do something while we’re waiting.”
“Check The Gator.”
Bridget sputtered. “You can’t go there. It’s against the condition of your parole.”
“Neither can Logan.”
Did Adam mean Bridget was supposed to patronize the most notorious bar in the city? He was out of his mind. “I’m responsible for your son. If the caseworker finds out I went to a place like The Gator, this could put my care in jeopardy.”
“It’s just a bar.”
“It’s more than a bar. It’s where drug dealers go. It’s where criminals gather. It’s a dangerous place. You have to think of Kyle.”
“The program says to put everything in Creator’s hands.”
The familiar heat crept beneath Bridget’s skin at Adam daring to spout his twelve-step rhetoric. “How long have you been sober?”
“First week in the iron house. After they shanked my uncle in the shower.”
Bridget’s blood froze. Adam had never elaborated before when answering a question. She and Jude had guessed correctly about the uncle’s death impacting Adam’s decision to walk a straight path if he’d stayed sober in prison and while on day parole in Winnipeg.
“You want me to go to this bar and ask around about Sheena?”
“You’ll be fine. Tell the bouncer Adam sent you. Ed’ll make sure nobody gives you lip.”
“What am I supposed to say?” Bridget shifted on the couch, squirming.
“Ed’ll point you to who’s in the know. He’ll handle it.”
“Have you contacted this Ed already?”
“Nope. He’ll know. We served time in the iron house before. He’s clean now.”
Clean? And bouncing at the most notorious bar in the city?
“I’ll be nearby, kwe. I wouldn’t send you into a dangerous place without my protection.”
Bridget leaned against the back of the sofa. No, Adam wouldn’t. He was a lot of things, but he’d always looked after women properly. “It’s late. I need to think about this. Can I call you once I have an answer?”
An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes. When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.