Book Blast for Blessed (The Matawapit Family #1) by Maggie Blackbird (excerpt and giveaway)

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title:  Blessed

Author:  Maggie Blackbird

Publisher:  eXasty Books

Cover Artist:  Martine Jardin

Genre/s:  M/M, Contemporary, Spiritual, Religious, Multi-Cultural, Romance

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 92,784 words/330 pages

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Tagline  

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. 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.

An erotic spiritual journey…

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Kobo    |  Nook    |  Google   |  Smashwords

Excerpt

The putter of a diesel engine carried to where they stood at the side of the house.

“Sounds like the priest’s clunker.” Clayton puffed on the cigarette.

Knots formed in Darryl’s stomach. Did Emery accompany Father Bennie? What the heck was the priest doing up at Long River? Darryl lived at the reserve’s most northern district, far from Grassy, where the Matawapits resided.

Don’t watch them go by.

The car slowed and then turned into the driveway. Black, wavy hair appeared in the windshield. Hot tingles shot through Darryl’s arms and legs. He’d better get himself under control. Running into the coward was expected. It was the reason why he’d raced around the reserve like a fool earlier, trying to figure out what to say when they eventually crossed paths.

Had Emery come to apologize? Maybe reconnect? Wait a second. Someone had probably sent him. In the past, he hadn’t possessed the testicular fortitude to initiate anything. Father Bennie and Deacon Matawapit were up to something.

“Is that Emery?” Clayton frowned.

“Yeah. Gimme a second.” Darryl marched around the side of the house. When the car door opened, he froze.

Emery’s long legs appeared. He straightened to a towering six-foot-something. His red lips, smooth, pale skin, and high cheekbones melted Darryl’s insides. Tight muscles filled out Emery’s blue polo shirt and white dress pants. His hair curled around his square shoulders. This wasn’t a skinny seventeen-year-old kid who’d favored worn jeans, hiking boots, and t-shirts, but a twenty-seven-year-old elegant man.

“Hello. I was hoping to catch you at home.” Emery doffed his sunglasses, exposing his thick black lashes and bright green eyes. He tapped his shades against firm thighs Darryl had caressed during the best time of his life.

Although Emery’s voice was deeper, the feathery tone still stroked Darryl deep inside his jeans. Quivering, he spat out a, “Hel—hi…” He cleared his throat of the damned frog making him sound like an idiot. “Hello.”

“I-I planned on stopping by sooner.” Emery’s gaze roamed in every direction. “I was busy… unpacking”

Darryl motioned to the side of the house. “I was heading out for a drive once I finish talking to someone.”

“Oh…” Emery’s gaze settled on Clayton, who appeared around the corner. “I’ll come back another day when you’re not busy.” Disappointment lined his voice. “Have a good night.”

When Emery turned for the car, Darryl’s frozen heart churned into overdrive. The question jumped from his mouth. “Where’re you going?”

Emery pivoted. “Back to the rectory. It’s where I’m staying during my visit.”

Darryl stifled his groan. Call him a sucker for asking. “You came here for a reason. Why?”

“Uh… I—” Emery held a fist to his mouth and coughed. “Do you have time for a walk?”

A shiver careened along Darryl’s spine. Instead of being prodded, Emery, of all people, had initiated something.

Clayton’s slim brows twisted downwards. “I guess we’re done?”

Everyone knew how tight Emery and Darryl had once been. The cunning coyote had better not think of Darryl as a traitor who’d lose focus on the Traditionalists Society’s mandate now that Emery was back. “We can finish our convo tomorrow. Stop by my office in the morning.”

“Never mind. I’m outta here.” Clayton stamped to his pick-up parked on the side of the road. He glowered at Emery, who returned the frown with a nod.

Fire crackled through Darryl’s veins. Hostility and rudeness to another wasn’t the purpose of the Traditionalists Society.

“We can meet at the Treaty Grounds.” Darryl used an even tone, though his pulse points raced faster than a bear chasing down dinner. “Right now my road’s pretty much the Trans Canada.”

A truck pulling a skiff rambled by.

“Everyone’s heading out for the evening fish.”

“Okay.” Emery’s mouth remained closed while his full lips moved upward. He had the same shy smile capable of melting Darryl’s limbs. “I’ll meet you there.”

“Sure.” Darryl slid on the four-wheeler.

Emery opened the car door and got in. He drove off and left a trail of dust in his wake.

Darryl turned the key. The machine’s engine roared to life. This couldn’t be happening. Someone must have plopped him in the middle of a dream. Who was the courageous man who’d come of his own accord?

He steered the four-wheeler down the driveway. People changed. Before entering St. Michael’s Seminary, Emery had lived in Thunder Bay to attend university. Being out from under his father’s thumb had probably given his confidence a much-needed boost.

His dad’s here and he sought me out.

Had Emery told Father Bennie his intentions for the evening? Where would their talk lead to? There was only one way to find out—drive faster to the Treaty Grounds.

About the Author

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.

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Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

a $15.00 eXasty Books/Devine Destinies gift card and one e-copy of Blessed.

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A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Blessed (The Matawapit Family #1) by Maggie Blackbird

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Ten years ago Emery Matawapit broke Darryl Keejik’s heart, by chosing obedience to his parents over the love he shared with Darryl. Emery’s father Nathan is the church deacon and Darryl still holds a grudge. Emery comes home from Saint Michael’s Seminary six months before he’ll enter the priesthood to address the past, and ask for Darryl’s forgiveness for the way their friendship ended. Darryl is now part of the Traditionalists Society’s mission to preserve and teach the Anishinaabe ways. The deacon is scared they’ll yank the monthly donation to his church for their hydo bill. When the church asks for even more money to hold a Healing the Spirit workshop developed by the diocese to reconcile First Nations and Christian communities, all heck breaks lose. The workshop is supposed to help recovery for the generations traumatized by the Indian Residential Schools the Canadian Government imposed on the Indigenous people throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Old hurts against the church bubble to the surface causing political problems for the reserve and personal problems for our MCs.

This book is an emotional journey and anyone with a complicated relationship with Christianity whilst supporting LGBTQIA+ people might want to read it. Where I live we just had our first Pride event and it was interesting to see which churches came and were supportive. In many ways, Protestantism is geared to be more supportive of queer people, but that doesn’t always work in practice. The issue taken up here is Catholicism and how it related to the “two spirit” on the reserve. There are many times where the author tries to say Creator and God are the same, making prayer the same whether it is the Anishinaabe way or the Catholic way. While I actually agree personally, the official Catholic and Christian line is that you believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God or you are not saved and are going to hell. A lot of this book tries to justify this position of these different faiths being equal or compatible in a way that is not defensible; if that church was a Unitarian Universalist one, we might be able to have a different discussion, but not when the church is Catholic. While the Catholic (and Mormon) church may allow queer people as long as they never actually have sex, I have a difficult time understanding why anyone who believes the Lord made people the way they are would tell them that they can never experience physical love with the person they are in love with. I also can’t understand why a queer person would choose to be part of a church like that when there are churches that have a more nuanced understanding of scripture, that use proper academic translations rather than radical paraphrasing, and learn about the actual historical context of the bible, that would accept them as they are. For full disclosure, I was Christian and went as a missionary to evangelize at one point, but after studying early church history, latin, and medieval pilgrimage, as well as traveling in different countries, I became pagan. I say this because I don’t care if queer people choose to be Christian, I just don’t understand choosing a particular church that thinks queer people are abominations–that seems unhealthy. Also, I don’t have to understand, I just have to be supportive.

I like reading about some of the Anishinaabe traditions. The book doesn’t shy away from tough topics such as alcoholism, sexual abuse, and inherited trauma. I do wish Darryl was a little toned down at the beginning; he is so angry it’s off putting and comes across as immature, his constant profanity is coarse. Emery’s dad is controlling and scared his son will make a decision he doesn’t want without constant supervision. Even though he comes around in the end, it is difficult to like him. Many of the characters are difficult to like until the end and I feel this would have benefited from more time being spent with Father Arnold, Emory’s spiritual advisor, or Darryl’s spiritual advisor Basil. These two men make the most sense in the whole book–wanting what is best for everyone without forcing an agenda, giving advice but letting them make their own decisions. It was good to watch Emery listen to his heart and stand up for living his own life when the cost for him was so high. I have to say there are some awkward transitions between scenes. The sex scenes weren’t particularly erotic as the author uses some strange word choices like “tingles” and “hot shivers” repeatedly: “the ripeness in Darryl’s crotch teetered on bursting.” Part of me feels this would have been more successful faded to black, while the other part of me recognizes that would defeat the point, which is that sex between two men in love is natural and nothing to be ashamed of. Sex scenes are incredibly difficult to write and are subjective to judge as not everyone will like the same thing, so it might just be me.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about this book. I like reading about other cultures and points of view, so I’m glad I read it. There were things that didn’t work for me. In the end, it was good to see Darryl and Emory grow both together and in spirit. Keep in mind after ten years apart, this takes place within three weeks so developing the relationship longer would have added more emotional impact and made everyone’s reactions hold more weight at the end.

The cover art by Martine Jardin is how I pictured the characters. While I am not generally a fan of cover models floating in the sky, in this case, it is actually fitting.

Sales Link:  Extasy Books | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published July 6th 2018 by eXtasy Books Inc
ASIN B07F6DL98W
Edition Language English