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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Sanctified by Maggie Blackbird πŸ’• Book Tour & Gift Card Giveaway πŸ’• (Inspirational Contemporary Romance)



In the midst of a battle for leadership at their Ojibway community, two enemies of opposing families fall in love…​
After suffering a humiliating divorce, infuriated Catholic Jude Matawapit bolts to his family’s Ojibway community to begin a new job—but finds himself thrown into a battle for chief as his brother-in-law’s campaign manager. The radical Kabatay clan, with their extreme ideas about traditional Ojibway life, will stop at nothing to claim the leadership position and rid the reserve of Western culture and its religion once and for all, which threatens not only the non-traditional people of the community, but Jude’s chance at a brand-new life he’s creating for his children.
Recovering addict Raven Kabatay will do anything to win the respect and trust of her older siblings and mother after falling deep into drug addiction that brought shame and anger to her family. Not only does she have the opportunity to redeem herself by becoming her brother’s campaign manager for chief—if he wins, she’ll have the reserve’s backing to purchase the gold-mine diner where she works, finally making something of herself. But falling in love with the family’s sworn enemy—the deacon’s eldest son, Jude—will not just betray the Kabatay clan. It could destroy everything Raven believes in and has worked so hard for.




Frost nipped at Raven’s exposed skin, the kind of frost that burned. At least there wasn’t a wind chill, or minus thirty-seven would become minus forty-seven. She scurried from her sister’s truck she’d parked, dashed up the shoveled walkway, and into the school.
All was quiet, classes for the kids having finished for the day. The scent of pine cleaner permeated the squeaky-clean hallway. She hurried to the adult education classroom. Since her vehicle was the lone truck in the lot, she might be the only one here. Even the new principal wasn’t present, unless he’d foolishly walked over.
She entered the classroom to Jude Matawapit sitting at the teacher’s desk, hunched over, writing on some paper.
“I was beginning to wonder if any of my students would arrive.” His strong fingers gripped a pen. His jet-black hair with blue undertones was slicked off his face and tapered to a short-trimmed back. Dark irises richer than a moonless night, so dark his lashes gave the illusion of a generous coating of mascara and liner-rimmed eyes, stared at her.
Not gawked, not ogled, not leered like every other guy did. He simply stared. His plump lips didn’t form into a flirty smile either.
Jude stood. A white dress shirt hugged his pumped biceps and shoulders that formed into the size of baseballs. A black belt wrapped his ultra-slim waist. And a gold clip kept his line-striped burgundy tie secure. “Have a seat. It looks to be you and me tonight.”
Raven inched up the aisle. Her boldness remained at the door, where she’d probably dropped her tongue. She clutched her books and sat at the desk directly in front of him.
“I’ve been reviewing your file.” He closed the folder, and just like Deacon Matawapit, crossed his strong arms. They even shared the same rich baritone—direct and full of authority. “You were an A-plus student, but as of late you haven’t been handing in assignments. Once you get behind, it’s difficult to catch up. I’ve seen this happen too many times during my years educating others. When a student falls behind, most give up.”
A flame of annoyance flickered in Raven’s stomach. Never mind Jude Matawapit’s handsome white teeth, flawless red-toned brown skin, or run-her-nails-along-his-muscles build. Who was he to talk down to her like a kid? He was worse than her siblings and Mom.
Raven stared up at the white stucco ceiling. “I’ve been extremely busy. Not all of us make big money and do what we please. I’ve been pulling extra shifts at the diner.”
“Did you review your last three assignments then?” Jude stuck the end of the pen into his mouth.
There was something about the way his red lips and white teeth nibbled on the cap. And she hadn’t witnessed a man in his late thirties gnawing on one like a hungry beaver.
Jude popped the pen cap between his rich lips, as if sucking on a lollipop and released it. When he rounded the desk, his thick fingers glided across the top. He stopped in the middle, the fingers of his left hand still lingering on the desk’s surface. He rested his buttocks against the edge while crossing his sturdy thighs.
His stance, a get-down-to-business sort of manner, should have intimidated Raven but failed. His brows-bunched-together stare and drawn-in cheeks seemed to coax her to lean in closer and rest her elbow on top of her own desk. She set her chin on her knuckles. “I’m completing them here tonight.”
“Do you have any questions?”
She shook her head, still holding his stare. “I guess I should get comfy, huh?”
“Comfy?”
“Removed my toque and coat.” She sat back, hands brushing the edge of her desk and arms spread wide.


    









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.

“They won’t miss us.” Dad stuffed his hands into his pants pockets. “We need a moment alone.”

Emery had four suitcases to unpack, his plane having landed fifteen minutes ago. If he didn’t obey, he’d get a lecture or a million questions from Dad.

The breeze from the bay ruffled Emery’s hair. A seagull fluttered high above and perched on top of the steel cross housed on the church’s steeple. The magnificent view of the sun sparkling on the water and numerous trees peppering the shoreline was the best place to have a parish and rectory.

“You tired?” Dad stopped in front of the walking path.

“No. I’d really like to get settled.”

Dad frowned. “Is something wrong? You seemed a little preoccupied during the drive.”

How could Emery voice his concerns? His parents lived by smile, pray, minister, serve, and positivity. They didn’t want to see Emery, their sinful, fault-filled son full of weakness. “I’ve never been here for two months. I’m figuring out how I’ll pass the time.”

“I’ve taken care of everything. There’s the summer Bible camp I’m hosting—”

If Emery didn’t speak up, there went his purpose for coming home. “While I’m staying at the rectory, and even though I’m on holidays, I’m a seminarian, accountable to St. Michael’s Seminary and the bishop.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Dad’s brows narrowed. “I accepted your decision to stay at the rectory. You’re discerning and belong among the presbyters, however, I’m still your father. I have over thirty years of experience as a deacon. I’ve witnessed a lot of priests come and go—”

Emery firmed his voice but kept his tone calm. “I think it’s up to me to discern where the Lord’s calling me to help.”

Dad raised his finger, something he’d annoyingly done over the years. “I’ve looked after this church since you were eight. Many times we were without priests. Do you remember? You were ten, and the bishop took six months to send Father Mercure. Who conducted the funerals, the weddings, the communion services, the baptisms, and anything else within my mandate? I think I have about as much knowledge and experience as Father Bennie.”

Dad and Darryl should sit in the same room and see who could out-bullhead the other. “And your services are much appreciated by the parish and Christ. Still, only a priest can recite Mass, give reconciliation, and anoint the sick...”

Dad’s jaw slackened.

Although Emery’s diplomatic approach had failed, he’d keep speaking. If he didn’t stand up to the most obstinate individual in the community, he’d never be able to lead a parish. May God give me strength and wisdom.

“... which is why I’m discerning. I appreciate the sacrifice you made by choosing the vocation of marriage. A son can’t ask for more than what you’ve given me. God did call me instead of you to seminary.”

When Dad smiled, his big dark eyes crinkled. “Quite true. He asked me to raise you so one day you’d follow His will by bringing the sacraments to our people. God decides our roles well before the thought enters our minds. I’m glad you understand.”

Thank goodness tactfully standing firm had worked. “Yes, I do. You raised me to discern my future based on His will and the teachings of the Church, instead of my own selfish ambitions.”

But what had been wrong about a seventeen-year-old boy wanting a tiny bit of something to call his own? No, Emery must put aside teenaged secular desires because they were no more than youthful dreams.

“God called me to serve the underprivileged. I felt it here ever since I was a kid.” Emery tapped his chest. “I obtained my degree so I could help the aboriginal people living on the streets, in difficult situations, or those in prison—”

“You’ll do even better work as a priest.” Dad patted Emery’s shoulder. “You make me proud. A Bachelor of Social Work and soon a Master of Divinity. I’ve raised children who think of the needs of others instead of their own.”

For once, couldn’t Dad let Emery finish instead of putting words in his mouth? Each night he thanked God for blessing him with a great family, but at times, like right now, they squeezed the air from his lungs. The same went for Darryl. Emery wasn’t a piece of rope in a tug-o-war to be yanked by all three determined to have their way while overlooking what he desired.

“You’re quiet again. There’s something you’re not telling me.” Dad frowned.

“There’s a lot on my mind.” Now wasn’t the time to maintain a firm stance. The bones of Emery’s neck grated against one another. A trip to the church to visit Christ and reflect was imperative. “Father Arnold and I are web conferencing next week. He’s a big help and always puts my doubts at ease.”

“Take full advantage of his wisdom. Remember, Father Bennie and I are here for you, too.” The lines around Dad’s eyes softened. “You’re not doing this alone. Nobody does it alone. It’s why most of the faculty reside at seminary. It’s also why seminarians stay at the rectory during their internships. The secular world can manipulate a man by planting seeds of doubt. The same goes for certain... people.”

Dad folded his arms. “I won’t ask why you and Darryl ended your friendship. I do think your decision to cut ties was a smart move. You two come from different worlds and have different beliefs.”

His face reddened. “I tried speaking to Darryl this morning. He claimed to be busy. He’s not the boy you once knew. The Traditionalists Society has one goal—to reform the reserve to its old ways.”

“I’m aware of his position and mandate. It’s not surprising he’s serving on band council and overseeing the self-governance project.”

“He’s influenced quite a few young people.” Dad’s square jaw tightened. “And turned those kids against the Church. I had hoped to attend one of the men’s sharing circles, how-ever, I was informed I need to join the Society first, which I won’t.

“Stay strong. When Roy spoke to Darryl, he wouldn’t relent, even for you. When Roy reminded Darryl of your past friendship, he brushed it off as nothing.” Dad’s voice was the same serious tone he used when preaching.

Darryl’s animosity was worse than what Emery had anticipated. Maybe he should concentrate his efforts elsewhere. If he turned the other cheek, Darryl would give it a good whack.

To steady his voice, Emery sucked in a breath. “I’m sorry he’s upset. It’s expected.”

Dad grinned. “You make me proud. Come. Let’s help your mother finish unpacking. An iced tea sounds good.”

Emery trudged to the rectory. He set his hand against his chest.

Darryl won’t give me a chance, Lord. He... hates me. I’ll do as You ask, though, because You’re my Savior. I won’t lose faith where You are leading me.

He wouldn’t lose faith. He couldn’t lose faith. The church and laity were depending on him to stand strong against the Traditionalists Society.








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-fiancΓ© 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.

Bridget ushered Kyle down the hall, passing the line of offices, straight to the visitation room. He clutched his doughnut bag, and she strangled the handle of her travel mug. Holding hands, she kept squeezing her son’s fingers.

They stopped at the door where Adam waited on the other side.

For Kyle’s sake, Bridget must expunge the tingles juddering through her limbs. “It’s going to be okay. I’ll be there. Mrs. Dale’ll be there. You won’t be alone.”

“O-okay.” Kyle’s lower lip quivered. “I’m ready, Mommy.”

Not good. On his sixth birthday, he’d proudly announced he was too old to call her by that name. This was worse than Bridget had expected. She rubbed the spot between his shoulder blades. “Let’s go. Remember, God’s with…He’s with us.”

“He is, isn’t He, Mommy?” Color returned to Kyle’s brown skin.

“Always, He is. I’m going to open the door.” Bridget kept her voice hushed.

Kyle’s small muscles beneath Bridget’s palm tightened.

She turned the handle. Keeping her cool was imperative. Although the accusing words of asshole, liar, and jerk, inched up her throat.

When Bridget opened the door, the bitter words kept blinking in her brain at Adam leaning against the windowsill. She gripped and re-gripped Kyle’s hand.

A short-sleeved, white dress shirt hugged Adam’s strong upper chest and broad shoulders. He’d tucked the hem into the slim waist of his beige dress pants. His shoulder-length, pitch-black hair, minus the familiar beige cowboy hat, was combed off his square face, but stray strands brushed his straight black brows.

The saliva thickened in Bridget’s throat at his long, wide nose, strong jawline, and plush mouth he used to brush at her earlobe.

His black eyes held hers, his gaze as impenetrable as it had been in the past, unmoving, refusing to let her inside.

Bridget recoiled. Her heart, ready to melt all over the floor, hardened to stone. She lifted her chin.

Adam’s nod was slow, a careful tilt of his head.

Bridget looked to Kyle and pointed at the chair next to Mrs. Dale. “I’ll be right there.”

“Okay…Mom.” Kyle continued to grip her hand.

She wiggled her fingers free. “Go on.” She made sure her gentle order came out soft and drawn-out.

He inched forward, clutching his small Reggie’s Donuts bag.

“Hey.” Adam shifted to his haunches. His pants cuddled his muscular thighs.

Mouth wet and lungs shrinking, Bridget shimmied to Mrs. Dale and sat on the edge of the plastic chair. She dug her nails into her purse, and her muscles contracted at having to endure the longest hour of her life.



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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Two enemies of opposing families fall in love…​
Sanctified by Maggie Blackbird
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5 comments :

  1. Thank you very much for participating in my blog tour. It's greatly appreciated!

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  2. I like the covers-thanks

    tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

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  3. Nice covers and great blurbs. I would love to read more.

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  4. Gorgeous covers and teasers, intriguing synopses. This is a must read series for me. Thank you for sharing the book and author details.

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