The Matawapit Family Series Book 3
by Maggie Blackbird
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
In the midst of a battle for leadership at their Ojibway community, two enemies of opposing families fall in love…
After suffering a humiliating divorce, infuriated Catholic Jude Matawapit bolts to his family’s Ojibway community to begin a new job—but finds himself thrown into a battle for chief as his brother-in-law’s campaign manager. The radical Kabatay clan, with their extreme ideas about traditional Ojibway life, will stop at nothing to claim the leadership position and rid the reserve of Western culture and its religion once and for all, which threatens not only the non-traditional people of the community, but Jude’s chance at a brand-new life he’s creating for his children.
Recovering addict Raven Kabatay will do anything to win the respect and trust of her older siblings and mother after falling deep into drug addiction that brought shame and anger to her family. Not only does she have the opportunity to redeem herself by becoming her brother’s campaign manager for chief—if he wins, she’ll have the reserve’s backing to purchase the gold-mine diner where she works, finally making something of herself. But falling in love with the family’s sworn enemy—the deacon’s eldest son, Jude—will not just betray the Kabatay clan. It could destroy everything Raven believes in and has worked so hard for.
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Frost nipped at Raven’s exposed skin, the kind of frost that burned. At least there wasn’t a wind chill, or minus thirty-seven would become minus forty-seven. She scurried from her sister’s truck she’d parked, dashed up the shoveled walkway, and into the school.
All was quiet, classes for the kids having finished for the day. The scent of pine cleaner permeated the squeaky-clean hallway. She hurried to the adult education classroom. Since her vehicle was the lone truck in the lot, she might be the only one here. Even the new principal wasn’t present, unless he’d foolishly walked over.
She entered the classroom to Jude Matawapit sitting at the teacher’s desk, hunched over, writing on some paper.
“I was beginning to wonder if any of my students would arrive.” His strong fingers gripped a pen. His jet-black hair with blue undertones was slicked off his face and tapered to a short-trimmed back. Dark irises richer than a moonless night, so dark his lashes gave the illusion of a generous coating of mascara and liner-rimmed eyes, stared at her.
Not gawked, not ogled, not leered like every other guy did. He simply stared. His plump lips didn’t form into a flirty smile either.
Jude stood. A white dress shirt hugged his pumped biceps and shoulders that formed into the size of baseballs. A black belt wrapped his ultra-slim waist. And a gold clip kept his line-striped burgundy tie secure. “Have a seat. It looks to be you and me tonight.”
Raven inched up the aisle. Her boldness remained at the door, where she’d probably dropped her tongue. She clutched her books and sat at the desk directly in front of him.
“I’ve been reviewing your file.” He closed the folder, and just like Deacon Matawapit, crossed his strong arms. They even shared the same rich baritone—direct and full of authority. “You were an A-plus student, but as of late you haven’t been handing in assignments. Once you get behind, it’s difficult to catch up. I’ve seen this happen too many times during my years educating others. When a student falls behind, most give up.”
A flame of annoyance flickered in Raven’s stomach. Never mind Jude Matawapit’s handsome white teeth, flawless red-toned brown skin, or run-her-nails-along-his-muscles build. Who was he to talk down to her like a kid? He was worse than her siblings and Mom.
Raven stared up at the white stucco ceiling. “I’ve been extremely busy. Not all of us make big money and do what we please. I’ve been pulling extra shifts at the diner.”
“Did you review your last three assignments then?” Jude stuck the end of the pen into his mouth.
There was something about the way his red lips and white teeth nibbled on the cap.
And she hadn’t witnessed a man in his late thirties gnawing on one like a hungry beaver.
Jude popped the pen cap between his rich lips, as if sucking on a lollipop and released it. When he rounded the desk, his thick fingers glided across the top. He stopped in the middle, the fingers of his left hand still lingering on the desk’s surface. He rested his buttocks against the edge while crossing his sturdy thighs.
His stance, a get-down-to-business sort of manner, should have intimidated Raven but failed. His brows-bunched-together stare and drawn-in cheeks seemed to coax her to lean in closer and rest her elbow on top of her own desk. She set her chin on her knuckles. “I’m completing them here tonight.”
“Do you have any questions?”
She shook her head, still holding his stare. “I guess I should get comfy, huh?”
“Removed my toque and coat.” She sat back, hands brushing the edge of her desk and arms spread wide.
The Matawapit Family Series Book 2
Genre: Contemporary Inspirational Romance
A single woman battles to keep her foster child from his newly-paroled father—a dangerous man she used to love.
Bridget Matawapit is an Indigenous activist, daughter of a Catholic deacon, and foster mother to Kyle, the son of an Ojibway father—the ex-fiancé she kicked to the curb after he chose alcohol over her love. With Adam out on parole and back in Thunder Bay, she is determined to stop him from obtaining custody of Kyle.
Adam Guimond is a recovering alcoholic and ex-gangbanger newly-paroled. Through counselling, reconnecting with his Ojibway culture and twelve-step meetings while in prison, Adam now understands he’s worthy of the love that frightened him enough to pick up the bottle he’d previously corked. He can't escape the damage he caused so many others, but he longs to rise like a true warrior in the pursuit of forgiveness and a second chance. There's nothing he isn't willing to do to win back his son--and Bridget.
When an old cell mate’s daughter dies under mysterious circumstances in foster care, Adam begs Bridget to help him uncover the truth. Bound to the plight of the Indigenous children in care, Bridget agrees. But putting herself in contact with Adam threatens to resurrect her long-buried feelings for him, and even worse, she risks losing care of Kyle, by falling for a man who might destroy her faith in love completely this time.
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After dropping off Kyle at Jude’s for an overnighter, Bridget pulled up in the no-parking zone in front of the brown-brick, three-story building. Seven-thirty. The bar scene didn’t liven up until after ten o’clock. They couldn’t go that late because of Adam’s parole curfew.
To fit in at the bar, she’d kept her dress simple. Jeans, a t-shirt, and sandals. Only a hint of eyeliner, mascara, and lip gloss. Her hair was bound in a long braid.
Adam emerged from the double-glass doors in his customary jeans, t-shirt, running shoes, and cowboy hat. With his hard onyx eyes, firm jawline, and the stony set to his lips, he’d fit right in at The Gator. He swaggered down the walkway and stopped at the truck.
With the windows lowered, his low whistle carried inside.
Adam opened the door. His muscular form consumed the over-sized bucket seat, so much he removed his hat and set it on his lap. His waves of hair kinked. He adjusted the chair all the way back. “Yep. Nice.” He glanced behind him. “A guy could stretch out there, too. You always dug trucks.”
“We’re in Northwestern Ontario. Trucks are a necessity.”
“Not too many women drive ’em in the ’Peg. Hell, you don’t see many trucks at all. Lots of SUVs instead.”
“I’m not any other woman.” Bridget slid the floor shifter into gear.
“That you sure ain’t.” There was a huskiness to Adam’s compliment.
Warmth crawled along Bridget’s skin. She guided them away from the curb.
“This an Annihilator edition? Sure is sporty.”
“Yes.” Pride blossomed in Bridget. She loved her ride—bucket leather seats, ten-speed transmission, four-wheel drive, and a top-of-the-line stereo. There was even a moonroof and sliding back window Kyle preferred over air conditioning.
“Where’s the boy?”
“At Jude’s. We won’t be done until after nine. I thought it was best he stayed overnight so he can go to bed on time.”
Bridget stopped at the light. When she turned her head, the breath jumped from her throat at the sight of Adam’s dark eyes that first glittered with distress and then eagerness.
The Matawapit Family Series Book 1
Genre: Contemporary M/M Inspirational Romance
It’s been ten years since Emery Matawapit sinned, having succumbed to temptation for the one thing in his life that felt right, another man. In six months he’ll make a life-changing decision that will bar him from sexual relationships for the rest of his life.
Darryl Keejik has a decade-long chip on his shoulder, and he holds Emery’s father, the church deacon, responsible for what he’s suffered: the loss of his family and a chance at true love with Emery. No longer a powerless kid, Darryl has influence within the community—maybe more than the deacon. Darryl intends on using his power to destroy Deacon Matawapit and his church.
Hoping to save the church, Emery races home. But stopping Darryl is harder than expected when their sizzling chemistry threatens to consume Emery. Now he is faced with the toughest decision of his life: please his devout parents and fulfill his call to the priesthood, or remain true to his heart and marry the man created for him.
This is very erotic book about a spiritual journey.
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“What’s wrong?” Bridget stirred her coffee.
“Nothing. What did you need to talk about?”
“I can’t believe he used to be your... best friend.” She shook her head.
A hot coal burned inside Emery’s stomach. Bridget was referring to Darryl. Emery stood and turned to the counter. He couldn’t let her see his face. “What do you mean?”
“Do you know what he’s doing?”
The moisture in his throat vanished. He shook his head.
“Did you know he moved back to the rez?”
Nodding, Emery opened the fridge and reached for a container of water. He poured a glass and sipped. The cold liquid washed away the heat in his throat, but sweat formed in the pits of his arms.
“I never thought he’d do this to us.” Bridget’s tone almost froze the ice water Emery held. “Especially after everything Mom and Dad did for him. Y’know, I used to really like him. I mean, whenever I’d go up to the rez and visit, he seemed genuine about his beliefs and so nice. But he’s taken this Traditionalists Society a bit too far.”
“What’s he done?”
“First, he joined team Clayton. Dad speaks about that weasel a lot. He’s always giving the church grief.”
Dad wouldn’t mention any problems the church was encountering. Whenever they spoke on the phone, he insisted Emery stay focused on his discernment. “I remember Clayton. Vaguely.”
“Darryl’s on band council. So’s Clayton. Put the two of them together at the leadership table and they think they’re Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.”
“I see...” As for Darryl’s rise in the political ring, this wasn’t news to Emery. He checked Ottertail Lake’s web site on a weekly basis. Seemed Darryl had made part of his dream come true.
“At the band council meeting, they voted against the donation Mom and Dad requested for Healing the Spirit. According to Darryl and Clayton, anything Catholic goes against their so-called traditional beliefs. You know what this workshop means to us. Especially Dad. He wants to give everyone the same chance he had to put the past behind them and move on.”
Darryl did... what? Perfect. There went Emery’s chance at making amends. Why was Bridget telling him about their parents’ problems anyway? If she expected him to fly home and confront Darryl, she was asking the wrong person. Returning to the reserve meant a fist in Emery’s face, or maybe two fists.
Wait. He must try to make amends. If he didn’t, he couldn’t write to the bishop in January. Still, only a fool would think to approach Ottertail Lake’s most stubborn, opinionated, hard-headed man.
Emery chastised himself for being a tad negative and judgmental. Darryl behaved in an all-or-nothing manner because he was passionate about his causes and beliefs—which had drawn Emery to Darryl in the first place.
Imagine being bold and courageous, the kind of man ready to stand proud and face ridicule, instead of silently obeying and quietly accepting. If Darryl had lived during the Indian wars, he would have tossed down the pen instead of X-ing the dotted line on the Treaty and died fighting for their freedom.
“Are you even listening?” Bridget was still speaking.
Emery pivoted. “Yes.”
She raised her black brows. “No, you weren’t.”
“Yes, I was. Tell me what else he’s done.” He sank in the chair to listen.
An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes. When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.
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