Three Degrees East of Bliss
by Silke Ming
Jason Porter is convinced his lover Gabriel Parker is being unfaithful.
Hypnosis reveals that in the early 1900’s, Gabriel used to be a priest named Damien Fassnidge, who due to a sexual indiscretion, was banished to the island of Barbados as punishment.
Sailing from Cork to Barbados to take up his new position, Damien meets and befriends a brash, young Irishman named Nicholas Duffy, who is also on his way to take up the position as a sugar plantation manager. In Barbados friendship turns to love. Torn between his love for the church and his love for Nicholas, Damien decides to leave the priesthood, but before he has a chance to resign, an anonymous letter is sent to the church and he is dismissed. Defrocked and ashamed, he and Nicholas plan to leave the island, but a new piece of information comes to light which puts their relationship in jeopardy.
Will Jason Porter believe this incredible story about Gabriel Parker?
Nicholas Duffy watched Damien walk away. He liked him. He was not the usual, stuffy, old priest. He had a sense of humor, he was young, and best of all, he took the occasional nip of gin. In addition, he was very handsome with his red hair, green eyes, and a muscular build. He was definitely not the image one conjures up when thinking of a man of the cloth.
Sitting with Father Damien had its advantages. He was a deterrent to those mothers eager to have their spinster daughters married off because they all knew that there were no eligible young men on the island. As long as he was sitting with the priest, mothers did not dare approach him on such a delicate subject.
The two men were as different as night and day. One was renowned as a gentleman and a man of the cloth, while the other was a man seeking to find his place in society, and Barbados was just the place to do it in spite of the unscrupulous reputation of the island. Nicholas`s lifestyle did not quite fit in with his conservative surroundings in Ireland, and when he saw the advertisement in the local paper, he jumped at his chance to climb the ladder of success.
* * * *
“Two aces trump your kings,” Nicholas declared, holding Damien’s gaze.
“I think it’s time to call it a night,” Damien said. “I should’ve known you were a card shark.”
“Grrrr!” Nicholas shouted, curling his lips and baring his teeth. “I am indeed a card shark.”
Their card game had attracted a few of the fellow passengers, and they crowded around them, making it a tad uncomfortable for Damien. He thought it better to retire for the evening, before a simple game of cards turned into an Irish brawl.
“Sorry, but I must call it a night. Tomorrow promises to be another long day on the stormy waters of the Atlantic.”
“See you at breakfast then, Father?”
“See you then. Goodnight, Nick.”
“Goodnight, Father,” the group of onlookers echoed.
In his little room, Father Damien got to his knees, and said his nightly prayers before crawling into bed and pulling the covers over his head. It was the month of November, and the sea was turbulent. It was the end of the hurricane season, but that didn’t mean that it was the end of the bad weather. That night the ocean was not in a particularly good mood. The ship lurched and tilted to one side, scaring its occupants out of their beds.
Suddenly, someone was knocking on his door, and when Father Damien opened it, he found Nicholas standing there, whiter than a sheet, with a towel wrapped around his waist.
“Let me in, Damien,” he shouted.
“Yes! Yes! Come on in,” Damien replied, hanging on to the closet door for stability. “Come in.”
“I think I’m going to be sick, Damien,” he shouted.
Damien just had enough time to direct him to the small sink in the bathroom, where he emptied his stomach. Damien cleaned his face with a cool cloth, and the young man stumbled onto his bed, still retching and gagging, until the towel fell away from his body, exposing a stalwart erection. He groaned for a few moments, and then was suddenly quiet. Damien’s eyes opened wider than saucers, as he stared down at the massive rod of thick flesh. His mouth dropped open, his shaft stirred in his pajamas, and he clenched his fists at his side, staring, unable to look away. Not knowing what else to do, he threw the towel over Nicholas’s lower body, but it wasn’t enough. The damage had already been done, and a tent appeared where he had thrown the towel. Finally turning away, Damien stared up at the ceiling, while his unwanted guest sprawled across his bed and continued to moan and groan.
The moment the man saw Father Damien dressed in his vestment, he made a sign of the cross.
“I’m looking for Mr. Duffy,” Damien said.
The man pointed to someone in the distance, riding around on a horse.
“He’s over there,” the man said.
He recognized him as an Irishman by his heavy Irish brogue.
“I would like to speak to him. Would you get him for me?”
The man walked away and spoke to Nicholas, who turned around, raised an arm above his eyes to block out the sunlight, and stared at him. The horse started a slow trot in Damien’s direction.
“Father Damien, where were you all this time? I thought you had returned to Ireland.”
“I can say the same thing about you. You promised to come by and see me at the parish church.”
“Well, Father,” he said, dismounting his horse, “I was thinking about it, and I thought it would be better if I left well enough alone.”
Damien was confused by the remark, but did not immediately acknowledge it. He gazed at Nicholas. Barbados seemed to agree with Nicholas. He looked healthy, handsome, and as brown as butter. Riding around all day on his horse certainly seemed to have its advantages.
“What are you saying, Nick? I thought we were friends.”
“Of course we’re friends. Because we haven’t seen each other doesn’t mean we’re no longer friends. You were always in my thoughts.”
He handed the reins to the field hand, and with a gesture of the head, directed Damien into the plantation home.
“You’re living in the lap of luxury,” Damien said, taking in the antique furniture that adorned the home.
His host poured two shots of rum and handed one to him.
“The best stuff there is,” he said, lifting his glass.
“In heaven there is no beer.
That’s why we drink ours down here.”
Damien nodded, acknowledging the Irish ditty.
“Cheers,” he said, knocking his glass against Damien’s. “So how is hell treating you?”
“Cheers! Just like it’s treating everyone else,” Nicholas replied, before throwing his head back and gulping down the smooth, sweet liquor. “Had lunch?”
“No, but I’m hoping you would ask me.”
Nicholas laughed, poured two more drinks, and led Damien out to the veranda.
“I can see that Father Kelly has taught you well.”
“You’ve never met him.”
“Ah, but this is a small island, my boy. His reputation has preceded him.”
“Well then, I must be more careful.”
Half an hour later, a woman showed up on the veranda to say that lunch was ready. Damien’s eyes bulged as he stared at the amount of food she had laid out. There was enough on the table to feed an army.
“Let’s eat,” Nicholas announced.
Father Damien closed his eyes in a silent prayer. Nicholas gazed at him, his long eyelashes fluttering over his piercing, blue eyes. When Damien opened his eyes, they stared at each other, unblinking.
“So what have we here?” a hungry Father Damien asked, looking from one dish to the other.
“I don’t know. As long as it looks delicious, I eat whatever Mabel puts on the table in front of me.”
Damien spooned some rice onto his plate, and added some stew and vegetables.
“You’re right, Nick. Whatever it is, it’s really delicious.”
His eyes still riveted on Damien, Nicholas couldn’t seem to look away, especially when he served himself another helping. He thought Damien looked different. The sun had given him a healthy glow, and he seemed even more handsome than he was on board the ship. He couldn’t take his eyes off him.
“You’re gawking at me,” Damien remarked.
“I like looking at you. I was thinking how much more handsome you’ve become. It must be the Barbadian sunshine and fresh air.”
Damien put his cutlery down, and their eyes met.
“If I didn’t know you better, I would swear that you’re coming on to me.”
Nicholas did not reply, but kept on gazing at Damien.
“Tell me, Damien. Why did you become a priest?”
“Just as you wanted to be a plantation manager here on this island, is the same reason why I became a priest.”
“I had always thought that it had to be a calling. Why do I think yours wasn’t a calling?” he asked, getting up and standing behind Damien’s chair.
“That’s a misconception, Nick. It was a calling,” Damien said, reaching for his glass and swallowing back the rum in one gulp.
“Am I making you uncomfortable, Father?”
“What makes you think that?”
“You seem nervous,” Nicholas said, returning to his seat and continuing his lunch. “Do you remember that night when I came to your room? I was distressed and in need of comfort, and you comforted me.”
“That’s part of my vocation. I’m here to console those in distress.”
“Father, you are playing with me. You know what I’m saying, and if you don’t know, I’ll spell it out for yer.”
“It’s getting late. Perhaps I should be going.”
“So you do understand what I’m talking about?”
Nicholas stood up and moved close to Damien, so close he could smell the rum on his breath. Damien was nervous, and it showed. His eyelashes fluttered like a moth attracted to light, and he headed for the kitchen door, mistaking it for the entrance door.
“Can I get you something?” the wide-eyed housekeeper asked, unaccustomed to seeing house guests in the kitchen.
“I was on my way out, but I opened the wrong door.”
“I’ll show you the way out, Father.”
Nicholas was waiting by the car when he ran down the stairs.
About the Author
Writing is my passion. I started out with poetry at an early age, and then moved onto novels. Not a day goes by that I do not do some form of writing. I have written six fictional novels, and when time allows, I try to read at least two books per month, thanks to the convenience of the e-reader, which makes it easy to shop the bookstores from the comfort of one’s home.
In addition to my love of books is my love of travel. My career has taken me all over the world, and I have lived in The Caribbean, Italy, India, Germany, and now make Canada my home. If I were to leave Canada for another destination, it would be to live in Bali or New Zealand, because I find the culture and landscapes of both countries breathtaking. My two other passions are gardening and cooking, and I consider myself a gourmet cook.
I am relatively new to romance writing, and have written sixteen romance novels which are all available at most popular book stores.
Connect with Silke!
Author Page www.amazon.com/author/silkemingandsilkeming.com
E Mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Other titles by Silke Ming
Curious Series Paint me Curious Bronze
Paint me Curious Red
Josephine Series Possessing Josephine
For the Love of Jonathan
Dancing with Angelique
The Five Widows Sasha’s Temptation
Series Indigo’s Final Surrender
The Colors of Autumn
Endless Possibilities Endless Possibilities
Series Endless Possibilities – Call of the Heart
The Baron and the Violinist
The Claim Series Staking His claim – Part 1 of 3
Possessing his claim – Part 2 of 3
Three Degrees East of Bliss New Release Part 1 of 2