by Bryan T. Clark

Book Cover: Ancient House of Cards
Editions:Kindle: $ 4.99
ISBN: 9781494955175
Pages: 199

Sebastian Morales is smart, gorgeous and has just turned 30. He is also one of the youngest Priests to be assigned to the sleepy little town of Morris Colorado, nestled just below the majestic Rocky Mountains.

Born in a remote village in Spain, Father Morales’ life had been perfectly scripted as he obtained his dreams. Now in America, he is at task with revitalizing an aging congregation. The job seems easy until he meets Ian Stephens. Ian is troubled, good looking, openly gay and trapped between his own dreams and the responsibility he feels for the care of his aging mother.

Escorting his mother to Sunday Mass one morning, Ian and Father Morales’ life intersect, changing both forever. Ian believes he has seen something in the Father’s eyes that morning, a spark, an intuition, or was he just fantasizing about the seductively alluring priest.

Ian is willing to risk it all in order to find the answer, in turn feeding his own sexual desires and causing boundaries to be questioned by everyone.

Reviews:Dana Piazzi on Rainbow Gold Reviews wrote:

When I first read the blurb I was very interested in reading this book. It’s not the first book I’ve read about a priest or religious figurehead in a gay romance. I have respect for priests and the priesthood even with it’s muddled past, so I’m not looking to see a fall from grace necessarily, but to see a love so strong that it overcomes barriers. Sometimes, though, love is not enough. For Ian and Sebastian, that is the dilemma. I love their relationship together, but I do hesitate to call this story a romance.
The story is told from many points of view – Ian’s, Sebastian’s, Ian’s mom, and even Ian’s best friend Miles. It gives a good viewpoint of what is going on throughout the novel. Ian is out of a poisonous relationship with a cheating ex. They have broken up several times and Ian always takes his repeat offender boyfriend back. Loving relations aren’t something he knows a lot about, though, coming from an abusive home. His siblings and him rarely talk and his mother pretends that he is only going through a gay phase. For a while, I was angry with his mother, but you can see life is sometimes a history of repeating patterns. His friendship with Miles is the only sturdy relationship he has and I am grateful for Miles.
When Ian meets Sebastian there is a spark they can’t deny. Sebastian’s role as a parish priest complicates things. Obviously. Things bloom between them, but can they really make a lasting relationship hiding their love. Though Ian loves Sebastian he also can’t let his ex go. I did some screaming at my kindle at some points in this story for sure. Wanting Sebastian to take a leave of absence from the priesthood. Wanting Ian not to talk to his ex ever again. So many balls were up in the air and I knew that they would come crashing down. I think that Ian knew he was making mistakes as they went along. He just needed to know he was loved, that he was worth something,
Of course those balls do come down and I don’t want to give spoilers away. The author does point out that this book offers a non-traditional HEA, though, I would say that it is more non-traditional HFN. This story feels very much like real life with lots of bumps, twists, and turns. In reality, we are all just looking to find happiness in each day, and I think so do Sebastian and Ian. Will counseling help Ian and his mom find peace in their lives? Will Sebastian be able to merge his love for God and service to the church with his love for men? I definitely recommend reading this book and you can find out the answers. I thought it was well written and I would read more from this author.

N. D. wrote:

Author Bryan T. Clark has written a wonderful tragic love story of broken hearts in his book, Ancient House of Cards, with a main character who's doesn't understand how to truly love someone because all of the people he has ever loved have hurt him deeply in one way or another. Just as he meets a young priest in the church he's long abandoned, the man that could turn his life around, the guy that could easily be his soulmate, he allows his first love to draw him back into his former life of misery and abuse. Clark has done a terrific job capturing the emotions and trials of people who must let go of old hurts and wounds, while they conduct a deeper introspection of themselves and discover if the paths they currently travel will lead to happy, fulfilling lives or self destruction.

About the Author

Bryan T. Clark is a multi-published, Rainbow Award winning author and a 2x LAMBDA Literary Finalist. He’s also a funny, loving, family-oriented, and a proud member of the LGBTQ community. He is committed to bringing his readers stories of real life, with multicultural characters, riveting plots, and of course, what we all desire…ever-lasting love. He is the founder of Cornbread Publishing Inc. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Bryan and his husband of thirty-six years has made their home and life in the Central Valley of California.

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