Mark of Cain by Kate Sherwood

81cQQ4eGJ+L._SL1500_Title: Mark of Cain
Series: N/A
Author: Kate Sherwood
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Novel (351 Pages)
ISBN: 978-1-61922-021-8
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (5-20-2014)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4½Hearts
Blurb: When a man is consumed by hatred, is there anything left to love?

After a tough day of counseling sessions, Anglican priest Mark Webber is looking forward to a relaxing dinner at a local restaurant. When he sees who’s bellied up to the bar, though, he reaches for his cell phone to call the police.
It’s Lucas Cain, the man who killed Mark’s brother three years ago. Apparently, he’s out of jail and hanging out with his old crowd, which has to be a breach of parole, right?

Pulled over upon leaving the bar, Lucas blows a clean breathalyzer and hopes this isn’t a harbinger of things to come. He’s ready to build a sober, peaceful life. His friends aren’t ready to let him move on, though, and he ends up taking refuge in an Anglican halfway house.

Thrown together, Mark and Lucas find common ground in the struggle to help a young gay man come to terms with his sexuality—and the fight against homophobic townsfolk. As attraction grows, the past is the last stumbling block between them and a future filled with hope.

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Reviewer: Tootsie
Review: Mark of Cain, by Kate Sherwood, is an incredible story about overcoming fear, loss, bad mistakes, and pain. I have many titles by this author, in my own library, and I have yet to read one that did not touch me on some level. She has an incredible perception with expressing, thru her characters, emotions that feel visible to you, the reader, instead of just words on a page. She has taken two characters, who are both damaged souls, in one way or another, are from completely different backgrounds, and brought them together and they clicked. They were able to find comfort in each other, whereas before, they were just stumbling along.

Thru some bad mistakes, drinking, and mean tempers, Lucas Cain, after 3 years, is being released from prison. He killed a man, accidentally, but he considers himself a murderer, along with the rest of the towns’ people. He wants to do right for himself and for others, but his old friends are having a hard time understanding the new Lucas. They want to continue being the rough and rowdy boys and feel Lucas should fall back in line. Lucas, however, is not okay with this plan. How will his homeboys feel when he separates from the pack? How will Sean, his once best friend, feel when Lucas no longer wants to deny his sexuality? Lucas ends up staying at a halfway house where he will remain, as long as, he doesn’t violate his parole. He soon discovers he may have one or more persons working against him.

Mark Webber, priest and confidante, loves working with the children/teenagers in the community. He wants to be a safe place they can come to if they are questioning their sexuality. He finds comfort in the church, his routine prayers, and he feels confidant he has the support of the parishioners and the church. He also likes to be a helping hand at the halfway house, and be support, if needed. He has the support of his family, as long as, he doesn’t mention he is gay. Up until now, that wasn’t a hardship. He doesn’t understand why, the one man he should hate, the man who killed his brother, is also the man he is falling for. Everything around him seems to be coming apart at the seams. His relationship with Lucas, his father is sick and dying, and the one place he felt comfort – his church, has put him on probation. How will Mark’s mother react when she discovers who her son is falling in love with?

The church wants him to walk away from Lucas. Will the church support him, if that is not a consideration? With so many things working against them, will they ever be free to love each other, as they want? Mark doesn’t do sex, just to do sex. He wants a committed relationship. However, time is not on their side. Thankfully, Lucas wants the same thing, and having sex with Mark, is one thing that is very right. In the privacy of his home, he and Lucas, no longer hold back from expressing their feelings. They love each other with everything they have. While the sex is not that explicit, you get the feeling it is everything they need. It’s been a long time since either one had any sexual romps. So, together, they discover what the other likes and how to satisfy each other.

This was a fairly long story, so there are many twists and turns. The author does an incredible job with the progression of the storyline. There are many amazing side characters that enrich the story, greatly. Many times, I would catch myself laughing, aloud, at the banter and the humour these wonderful characters possessed. You, definitely, can see the growth and the maturity many of the characters go through. You will also have moments of holding your breath, afraid of what is getting ready to take place. I love how the author has the MC’s working together to overcome their problems, rather than splitting them up, only to make up, at the last few pages. There will be sad moments, but at its core, it is a love story. A love between, Lucas and Mark, which will not be broken, by anyone. I would recommend this to anyone who loves a feel good story, little angst, a lot of laughter, and a HEA. I may have my fingers crossed for another story with a very troubled soul, a man who is definitely broken in spirit and heart. He was once Lucas’ best friend, now he doesn’t want to be friends with anyone. I hope we have not seen the last of these amazing characters. Thank you Kate Sherwood, for another incredible read.