Jon has devoted his life to seeing to the spiritual needs of others. A Catholic priest for over 10 years and a firm believer in his faith, he’s recently been questioning whether he’s on the right path.
Asher recently lost his long-term partner. Escaping the states before the funeral, he’s been freelance photographing his way around Europe. When he gets a wedding invitation for his best friend Zach and his fiancé Killian, Asher reluctantly attends to show his support despite his own heavy heart.
At the wedding, Jon recognizes the loss and despair in Ash and seeks to help him deal with his pain. Jon offers Ash a position restoring church photographs for an upcoming celebration. Though Ash is ready to run, he accepts the temporary assignment and the two set out on a journey of self-discovery.
Initially, I was skeptical about reading a story involving a Catholic priest. Having been raised Catholic, any romance involving priests is something I tend to avoid. Yet, reading this book, I found that I wasn’t a book about Ash tempting Jon away from his faith. Instead, this was about Jon facing the reasons why he became a priest and whether he was truly called to his profession. As a priest, he’s devoted his life solely to the needs of others while denying his own needs. Despite being constantly surrounded by others, he lives a life of loneliness.
Ash knew love. He knew how to deny himself his own wants and needs for another. When his long-term partner died, he didn’t want to face a life without him. Running to Europe, he isn’t ready to begin dealing with his loss until Jon makes him want to start living again.
Though this is the second book in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone. We met Jon in the first book, Horizontal Analysis, when he helped Zach deal with survivor’s guilt when Killian’s ex died. Though Zach, Killian, and Killians’ mom Eve play roles in this book, the authors give readers plenty of background information so that you do not necessarily have to have read the first in order to appreciate this book.
I appreciated that the authors handled the sexual relationship with care. Neither Ash nor Jon was ready emotionally for a sexual relationship until they dealt with the demons they each carried. Therefore, until those issues are dealt with, there is no hanky-panky other than a kiss and some fantasizing. Afterwards, all bets are off as the two begin to discover one another.
Out of the two books in the series, I have to say I loved this one the best. There was more angst and emotions, not only with the main characters, but with secondary characters like Zach and Killian as they contemplated moving forward in their new relationship as a married couple. It felt more genuine and realistic.
Overall, this was a great love story about how two men faced their demons individually with the support and friendship of one another. It’s a story about letting go and moving forward, even when you aren’t sure what you are moving towards. I hope the authors continue this series!