4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 because I'm so sorry for being so overly sceptical in the beginning
Oh my god, I can't believe I actually thought about putting this on my "never-going-to-read-shelf" and be done with it. But this was such a tough sell for me. Leta Blake is - I'm sorry to say it - not my most favorite author. Mainly because I had some issues with parts of Training Season, and started one other book that didn't make it on my kindle after I finished the sample and wasn't thrilled. Also, a gay priest and a rock star? I was so sceptical when I started, I almost expected to dnf this.
But holy f-ing Christ on a stick - pun intended. Was I ever WRONG. Jasper, an out but celibate priest, and Nicky, singer and songwriter hitting rock bottom too damn early in his life, drew me in so fast, I didn't even realize it until it was three in the morning and I still coulnd't stop reading.
I admit it freely, I'm a sucker for the hurt-feelings-in-the-past-theme. I love a well written story where two people who hurt and abandoned each other somehow find their way back through all the molasses that is hurt pride, broken hearts and destroyed trust, to something so new and so deep, that they can't help but explore all of it. I fell especially hard for Nicky. In some ways he could have been the absolute rock star cliché, but he really wasn't. His childhood was not desolate and lonely, even though he had a very bad start in life (to put it mildly). Jaz was not exactly my most favorite person in the world, and he too, had the potential to be the walking cartoon image of a closeted clergy man.
In the end, they both weren't what I thought they would be, which was not only refreshing, but grabbed me and didn't let me go until the last page was turned. The writing was beautiful, the journey of the two not too fast and not too slow.
The only wish I had, that wasn't fullsilled, was the sex problem. I was really hoping for a different outcome after their make-out session on their island. In a way, it was nice to not have Jaz being destroyed by his anxieties and guilt after the deed was done. But on the other hand it would have been nice to have him figure his life out, especially him leaving the priesthood, before he gave his heart and body to Nicky completely. I felt a little bit akward reading their sensual, hot sex scene, when I had the same issues Nicky had. Namely, my absolute conviction that everything would go to shit once Jaz was done thinking with his dick. In the end, it didn't, bless the authors. But it was still not what I was hoping for.
Additionally, Jaz' lack of gut-wrenching confusion, his guilt, the severe conflict between his heart and his faith, fell somewhat flat here. Not even after he broke his vows, threw a life-long commitment to his church and his faith out of the window, did some of the crushing feelings and/or guilt come. In a way, I was ecstatic, because I am a big opponent of the abstinence of catholic priests and nuns - because I'm sorry, but this is not only against everything evolution and biology tells your body to do, it's also unhealthy, outdated and in my opinion, unnecessary and cruel. But that's a story for another day. What I wanted to say was, it was nice not to have Jaz going completely bonkers after sleeping with Nicky for the first time. On the other hand I would have liked to see at least a little bit more struggle with his beliefs. Since they were the most important thing in his life for years.
Oh well, you can't have your caker and eat it, too. And in the end, there were really enough problems and struggles to last a lifetime or three. Didn't change the fact that I enjoyed the hell out of this story and would recommend it to every fan of the hurt-comfort theme. It's beautifully done here.