Jordan Sykes is a recent seminary grad and newly appointed rector at St. Mary's who discovers she is unexpectedly pregnant. The father is her former advisory and long-time crush Dr. Dominic Lawrence. Dominic is a rigidly correct Ethics professor, known as the priest-buster for his dedication to exposing and removing priests who sexually abuse their congregations. The pregnancy is the result of an impulsive one-night stand just hours after her graduation. Although she is no longer his student, the technicality of it all bruises his conscience and after two months of no contact he find himself at her door, to apologize.
An apology is the last thing she wants for Dominic especially since she had just decided never to tell him of the pregnancy to spare him the embarrassment and scandal it would cause.
The story is about passion, love and consequences. Their passionate one-night stands shakes up their whole world and not just because they are expecting a baby together. Dominic has to face the issues that have him resisting opening himself up to love and Jordan has to trust him to accept her and forgive her. The HEA is sweet and believable because Ms. Belldene does great work showing us how and why Dominic's priorities and ambitions could change so dramatically and how Jordan and Dominic can overcome together to build a life together. I found the struggles and doubts they face really genuine and I loved that despite the heaviness of some of the issues they face, the book is also genuinely funny. I was charmed by both the leads and the many secondary characters that enter their story.
Not a Mistake is the first book in Amber Belldene's new series about female episcopal priests called "Hot Under Her Collar." Ms. Belldene is an episcopal priest herself and her knowledge of church structure and culture shows clearly in her stories. As someone intimately familiar with how churches and seminaries operate (my husband has been a pastor for over 14 years), everything in this novel felt really familiar even though my denomination is way more conservative theologically and sexually. Clergy, pastors, priests, seminary professors all struggle with how to balance being semi-public figures whose roles rightly require a lot transparency and accountability, against the very real need for privacy and confidentiality. I really appreciated how Belldene's characters lived in that tension and worked to make the best choices, when no choice seems quite right.