“You’ll go to Hell.”
“Then I’ll see you there.”
At twenty-four years old, Father Francis Scott is the youngest priest to be ordained in England. He’s determined to make his new post in the country work, and he’s determined to clear the stains that live on his soul from a childhood he’s rather not speak of. Francis wouldn’t say that being a priest is his calling, but he is dedicated to helping people, and it was his ticket out of a place that he had been trying to escape for years. Being associated with the church will also help with his plans to take down those that caused a lifetime of hurt. When a man that looks like an angel walks into Francis’ church, Francis knows what sin looks like.
Vitari “Angel” Angelini hasn’t been told why he was sent to England—it’s not his place to ask. All he knows is he has to keep eyes on a priest for the Boss. But Angel didn’t expect Francis to be young and hot and he wasn’t expecting Francis’s eyes to be filled with sadness that matched his own and he wasn’t expecting Francis to light his very soul on fire. It seems there are more eyes on Francis and when rivals almost take Francis out for good, Angel has no choice but to kidnap the man. On the run across countries, the men have no idea why Francis is being hunted. But as the pieces start to come together and the heat rises between them, the men realize they have more in common than they counted on. Angel is determined to save Father Francis Scott even if it comes at the ultimate price.
Forgive Me is book 1 in a new series by A. Nash (aka Ariana Nash) and this book is on fire. Nash is known for her fantasy books and this contemporary hits exactly right. My best of 2023 list has already been published, but this book would have definitely been on it.
It’s interesting how these men come together. When Angel is sent to keep an eye on Francis, he has no idea what could be so interesting about one priest. Angel doesn’t have the best thoughts about priests and he had expectations about Francis, but nothing prepared him for what he found. Both men are in their early 20s, but they have both lived a lot of life. When more than one dead body is found on the parish grounds, no one understands what is going on and Francis doesn’t even want to think about that unopened letter in his desk drawer because he can’t matter that much—can he? But he knows that the only organization stronger than the Mafia is the church.
Francis and Angel have a connection from the start. Angel is an enforcer from the Mafia and he knows he’s not a good guy. His life has been dictated to him from the beginning and he has no options. He knows that he’s no good and that Francis is better than him in every way. But Angel doesn’t know what Francis is capable of when pushed to the breaking point. Angel does know that when Francis looks at him, he wishes that he could be worthy. When the men are on the run and Francis sees more of Angel than he intended, he knows he’s being tested.
It had been a long time since he’d seen a naked man with his own eyes, not a picture. He avoided all images…. He’d been doing well, but now God had placed temptation in his path and lit him up like a stage show.
The story takes them across countries and remembering horrific childhood abuses that bond them in ways they both wish they could scrape off of their soul. Angel already knows what he is capable of, and Francis will always feel broken—“He’d always been broken. He’d thought being a priest would fix him. That was what he’d been told. God would fix him…. But he wasn’t fixed. He was the same as he’d always been.” But Francis is capable of a lot more than he ever thought and his kidnapper might just become his salvation.
The second book in this series will be released in January, so you have time to start here and be ready for book two. With action, intrigue, heat, and murder surrounding an unlikely pair catching feelings while winding through a layered story ready to unravel, Forgive Me should be your next read.