Tuesday, March 15, 2016

ARC Review: NOT A MISTAKE by Amber Belldene

Not a Mistake
by Amber Belldene
Hot Under the Collar, book 1

Sometimes a scandal isn't a sin...

On the night she graduates from seminary, Jordan Sykes finds herself in bed with Dominic Lawrence, the ethics professor she’s crushed on for years. Two months later, she discovers she’s pregnant and is determined to hide it to protect his career. Maybe, if she loves her new church like hell, they won’t fire her for being a single mother.

Dominic knows the difference between right and wrong, and he’s filled with remorse after sleeping with his favorite student. He’s offered the job of his dreams, but he'd be a hypocrite to accept without making things right with Jordan first.

Dominic proposes marriage to save their careers, never expecting they will prove a perfect—and passionate—match. But can Jordan give her heart to a man who still believes the first night they spent together was a mistake? 

I've been complaining (a lot) lately that I seem to be reading the same story over and over again.  I'm in a reading funk.  I'm starving for something new, something different.  Then this little gem falls into my lap and I am happy.  

First, this topic is interesting, especially for the romance genre.  Not a Mistake features two faith leaders who engage in a one-night stand that results in a pregnancy. To complicate things further, Jordan is a new priest just graduated from seminary and Dominic is her former professor of ethics. He investigates ethical breaches between priests and members of congregations that violate trust. Their affair happens just after graduation.  So under the letter of the law, they should be okay, right?

I read this book to see if I could challenge my own preconceived notions of about sexuality and the clergy.  Having grown up in the church, it is difficult to see church leaders as “regular” humans. Also, having witnessed my church go through several scandals involving the people engaged in affairs, the idea of sex and church leadership represents human frailty and bad decision-making, not necessarily healthy human behavior. 

I really enjoyed reading this book.  It is unusual and gives great insight into the world of faith leaders. Amber Belledene brings her expertise in the field and delivers the story with care. Modern leaders, especially single leaders, must deal with multiple concerns that go beyond their congregation and their relationship with God.  They have to consider how as healthy human beings, they will express their sexuality. 

I like that these are upstanding characters challenged by what some might consider a "mistake" and the moral implications of that one choice.  Jordan and Dominic manage to overcome most of their hurdles, but they face on last obstacle to their happiness.  In my mind, I don’t understand Dominic’s reaction.  Up to this point, he overcome his concerns by willing to give love a chance.  I think this part of the story is very sweet.  His reaction to Jordan’s confession, on the other hand, seems very legalistic to me.  Ironically, this issue is an honest mistake without malice or ill will.  His reaction diminished him a little in my eyes. 

Educational, thought provoking, and highly entertaining – this book is a respite from my normal paranormal, high octane action, sci-fi reads – blessedly so.  I'm thrilled that this is book one in a series.  Looking forward to the books to come!
Thank you to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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