Rating: 3 stars
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Bastian McCarthy is old beyond his years—losing your twin brother to a freak diving accident and essentially raising yourself will do that to an eighteen-year old. Bastian has just a few months until graduation from high school and he can’t wait to be free. But the survivor guilt he feels and the longing for someone to care for him—to be his daddy–holds him captive and Bastian’s hoping with all his might that Father Rob will not only fill the role, but help him finally feel loved and cherished, something Bastian craves most of all.
Father Rob has long since lost all illusions about the priesthood. Jaded, tired, and regretting his hasty entry into the cloistered life, Rob simply cannot allow himself to be attracted to the brash, disrespectful senior on his swim team. But behind all the brattiness is a vulnerable boy that definitely needs a firm hand and someone to take care of him. Bastian calls to all the things Rob has long since buried and even though he has never been someone’s daddy, Rob really wants to be Bastian’s—even if it means giving up the priesthood.
I fear I may be in the minority when it comes to Julia McBryant’s latest story, For I Have Sinned. While I happily admit that the heat factor and kinky scenes between Bastian and Rob are often off the charts, the story in between those moments is a bit sketchy and felt unfinished. We get snippets of Bastian’s past—enough to let us in on why he is so tortured over his twin’s death and basically left to raise himself due to his mother working in another state and being rarely home. However, we get little beyond those basic facts and the myriad of issues Bastian has that I felt qualified him for some serious therapy go untouched.
The same can be said for Rob. We do read about a bit of his past, including the boyfriend who essentially helped him discover the Dom he had inside himself, but aside from that, why this man would slip into being a Daddy to a fairly messed up teenager is left unexplored. There is a lot of angst on both Rob and Bastian’s part; several times they echo similar feelings about not being enough for the other and their fledgling relationship ending before it even gets started. I really felt for Rob, however, because not only was he grappling with a loss of faith and calling, but also floundering in a new role he liked and desperately wanted to succeed at so that Bastian felt loved and protected. Rob was so willing to leave the priesthood and start over with this young man and that made many of his actions understandable.
Bastian, on the other hand, remained a real mystery to me. I could see from the plot line that he was a bundle of contradictions and a lost soul in many ways, but the way his behavior turned on a dime and was blamed on his ADHD left me a bit puzzled. The constant switching from him calling Rob, “Daddy” to “Father” to “Rob” had my head spinning—it was no wonder Rob often felt unsettled and at a loss as to how to help Bastian.
In the end, For I Have Sinned ended up having way too much sex and too little story that delved into the background of both characters and revealed what made them the people they were today. For anyone liking daddy/boy kink, this novel will no doubt hit all the right buttons. For me, I wished for more details to flesh out what I felt could have been really interesting characters fighting to build a new life together.