Released 10 September 2015
Published by Ledra
Cover design by Dar Albert at Wicked Smart Designs
Genres: Contemporary, M/M, Romance
Length: 401 pages, 132,657 words
Sales links: Amazon
Can a priest and a rock star obey love’s call?
Seventeen years ago, Jasper Hendricks and Nicholas Blumfeld’s childhood friendship turned into a secret, blissful love affair. They spent several idyllic months together until Jasper’s calling to the Catholic priesthood became impossible to ignore. Left floundering, Nicky followed his own trajectory into rock stardom, but he never stopped looking back.
Today, Jasper pushes boundaries as an out, gay priest, working hard to help vulnerable LGBTQ youth. He’s determined to bring change to the church and the world. Respected, admired, and settled in his skin, Jasper has long ignored his loneliness.
As Nico Blue, guitarist and songwriter for the band Vespertine, Nicky owns the hearts of millions. He and his bandmates have toured the world, lighting their fans on fire with their music. Numbed by drugs and fueled by simmering anger, Nicky feels completely alone. When Vespertine is forced to get sober, Nicky returns home to where it all started.
Jasper and Nicky’s careers have ruled their lives since they parted as teens. When they come face to face again, they must choose between the past’s lingering ghosts or the promise of a new future.
I will be honest. I was nervous going into this novel due to the religious content I expected. I mean, how can one of the main protagonists be a Catholic priest and not have religious tones! I didn’t fear it to be preachy, just uncomfortable. Within a few pages I knew my fear was unwarranted.
Blake and Vaughn weave a story of love, loss, bad decisions, rash decisions, trials, hurt, pain, and redemption. One of a rock star scorn and still spinning out of control after the loss. One of a man who became a priest when he feared what he should do and now lives with the weight of expectation every day.
Nicholas Blumfeld, or Nico Blue and his fans know him, is in a deep downward spiral toward hell. He’s severely addicted to drugs and is a shell of himself. It’s been so long since he’s been clean or sober enough to feel anything. When he does feel, it’s still pain from his lover, Jasper, leaving him to join the priesthood. At the height of their love, Jasper just drops the bomb on Nicky that he’s leaving to be a priest. All the years following are Nicky leaving home, joining a band and writing his pain and hatred for Jasper in the lyrics of Vespertine’s songs. But now that’s even gone as his drug addled brain struggles to even write any music of worth.
The band, Vespertine, is crippled from addiction and when three of its members are sent to dry out and detox, Nicky decides to go home to get better.
Going home means not only his parents, but also Jazz. Can Nicky really be in the same town, the same space with the one man who sent him on the drug addicted path he’s on? Nicky gets his moment to give the riot act to Jasper but it’s more infuriating than therapeutic.
Jasper is the epitome of poise and calm. He wears that priest collar tight and with the full entirety of its weight of expectation. His belief has helped him get through leaving Nicky and eventually presiding over his congregational flock and Blue Oasis (a children’s home for abandoned LGBT youth). Jasper helps others because he cannot help himself, or Nicky.
When their worlds collide again it’s not without sparks and hurt. There’s a lot of pain to heal from. There’s also the fact that the hurt and hate from what happened is just a bandage on an open wound. A wound that will never heal because they both still care so deeply for each other.
Nicky is so broken. His tough start in life, his early entry into music and his addictions. Guys coming and going and nothing of meaning. For all he’s endured and overcome, he’s surprisingly the stronger one when it comes down to it. He knows what he wants and needs. He doesn’t kid himself. He’s an addict, will always be an addict, but he knows he doesn’t want to live that way ever again. He has inner strength and with a support system he just might make it out of this whole situation better off than the rest of them.
Jasper exudes strength but he’s really just a crumbled mess within a stone shell. He’s managed to gird himself enough to put up the front everyone from the diocese, parish, center, family and friends expect from him, Father Hendricks. For once instead of taking the high road and praying through his doubts or troubles, he let’s himself feel. To be touched, to be loved, this is what he’s missed and needed and it just might be Nicky that wins out over all else in the end. If Jasper would let go of expectation and let his heart guide him through.
Vespertine was a phenomenal story. Some stories just have the power to move me from page to page and Vespertine is one of those stories. So much emotion, pain and love. It’s not easy and perfect, just like life. These two men must suffer a bit but it’s just part of the journey and makes the final moments that much more sweeter.