About the book:
Jason Banning is a wreck. His leg’s been blown to hell in Afghanistan, his boyfriend just left him and took the dog, and now he’s back in his hometown of Pinehurst, Washington, a place that holds nothing but wretched memories…and Nathan Tull. Nathan Tull, whose life Jason ruined. Nathan Tull, who will never believe Jason did what he did for a greater good. Nathan Tull, whose reverend father runs the gay conversion therapy camp that Jason once sought to bring down—at any cost.
Nathan Tull is trying to live a quiet life. Four years ago, when Nate was a prospective student visiting UW, his world collapsed when senior Jason Banning slept with him, filmed it, and put the footage online. A painful public outing and a crisis of faith later, Nate has finally begun to heal. Cured of the “phantoms” that plagued him for years, he now has a girlfriend, a counselor job at his dad’s camp, and the constant, loving support of his father.
But when he learns Jason is back in town, his carefully constructed identity begins to crumble. As desperate to reconcile his love for God with his attraction to men as Jason is to make sense of the damage he’s done, Nate finds himself walking a dangerous line. On one side lies the righteous life he committed himself to in the wake of his public humiliation. On the other is the sin he committed with Jason Banning, and the phantoms that won’t let him be. But is there a path that can bridge those two worlds—where his faith and his identity as a gay man aren’t mutually exclusive?
And can he walk that path with the man who betrayed him?
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Jason saw Nathan as soon as he stepped out of his car. Nathan had been walking toward the office building, but stopped when he spotted Jason. Jason wouldn’t have been surprised to see him suddenly topple like one of those fainting goats. Then, he seemed to recover, and began to walk forward again.
“Can I help you with anything?” he asked, as though Jason was a stranger.
Jason resisted the temptation to look him up and down slowly. Pretty sure if there was a God, it was His idea of a joke to make Nathan Tull so damn fuckable. No starched shirt or ruthlessly gelled hair today. Nate wore a blue T-shirt that showed off tanned arms. His sandy hair was almost shaggy, the ends curling at his ears. His lips were parted slightly; clear hazel eyes met Jason’s.
“I go by Nate now.”
“Sorry. Nate. I came to see you, actually.”
Something flashed in Nate’s gaze. “I can’t imagine why.”
Nate regarded him warily. He squinted slightly in the sunlight. “To apologize for what?”
“For what I did to you,” Jason said. Face to face, the words were coming harder than he’d thought, each one threatening to undermine something inside him. He was afraid he’d trigger an avalanche if he had to look Nate in the eye for much longer. “I shouldn’t have used you just to get at your father. At this place.”
“You don’t need to apologize to me.” Nate stepped closer. “You didn’t force me. It was my own weakness that brought me to that point.”
“Weakness?” No, Nate had been strong that night. Brave as shit.
“I should thank you.” Nate rubbed the back of his neck. “You did me a favor. You made me see that I needed the Lord’s guidance and forgiveness. I’m a better man now than I was then.”
“Are you a happier man?” Jason asked sharply.
Nate flinched. “Yes.”
“Liar.” Jason stepped forward, ignoring the pain in his leg.
Nate stared at him, his chest rising and falling rapidly.
Honestly, what drew me to read this book was curiosity of how these duo (authors) gonna bring about the story that touch on religion. There’s more than enough pious expressions here – yes, but I’m gonna focus on the two lead characters and their turbulence of connection instead.
This book had me conflicted. Or more accurately, Nate and Jason had me conflicted. The Preacher’s Son is perhaps a tad too deep for my comprehension. And that not taking into account the angst level which is way above my comfort zone. All combined should give clear picture that this is not a go-to for comfort reading; at least if you share same taste as mine. But it made me think! I have issues with the characters in this book, but boy it got me thinking!
The blurb said it all so I‘m not gonna rephrase the words. Nate and Jason were not my typical heroes of the stories. They were lost souls; one with fear and confusion, the other with anger and resentment. I dreaded reading the event that had turned their life upside down. What started as a love act soon seemed as ugly and calculated. I feel for Nate (or Nathan as he’s called himself prior to the horror) and – as much as I understand Jason’s reasoning – disliked what he did to Nate (man, that was beyond awful to push a person to come out like that).
Then the Afghanistan war happened to Jason and I felt sorry for him. The new Jason was so broken and guilt-ridden – still pariah in most of the townsfolk’s eyes. That one past incident had left permanent entanglement on the two men, yet I saw how tricky it would be for Jason to apologize to Nate. Heck, were it me, I’m not sure I can ever forgive that kind of betrayal!
I didn’t like the new, supposedly cured Nate though. I got that he’s STILL hurt and confused, but as a grown man I expected him to have more principles. Whatever his excuses, what he did was cheating and that’s a big no for me. That he sought (personal) relief but at the same time masquerading as friends to the kids at the camp also just hit me wrong. Sure, I’m all for Nate and Jason to finally be together, but the path to get there was just one stumble after another. I couldn’t even decide if I like both characters enough by the end of it.
Told in third person from Nate’s and Jason’s POVs, the book practically screamed the characters’ voice and gripped my heart. Nothing was black and white here; even those who were considered as villains were not. In a nutshell, The Preacher’s Son is an endless journey. It might not be my usual book choice, but I applauded the authors for having my heart twisted and got me pondering on stuff I (normally) hate to come close. I’m gonna need a fluffy, lighthearted rom-com to read after this!
Advanced copy of this book is kindly given by the authors via A Novel Take PR as part of blog tour, in exchange for an honest review.
About the authors:
Lisa Henry likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.
Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied history and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
J.A. Rock is the author of over twenty LGBTQ romance and suspense novels, as well as an occasional contributor to HuffPo Queer Voices. J.A.’s books have received Lambda Literary, INDIE, and EPIC Award nominations, and 24/7 was named one of the best books of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews. J.A. lives in Chicago with an extremely judgmental dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.
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