So good! Sinner is the second in what God willing ends up being a trilogy or maybe even a tetralogy. Priest, the first book in the series, centered on Tyler Bell, the second of the four Irish Catholic Bell brothers. They had a sister who committed suicide year earlier after being assaulted by a priest. Most of the Bell family left the church and turned away from God after that. Except Tyler. Tyler still had faith and wanted to reform the church from the inside out so he became a priest. While he loved serving God and his community, he had doubts about whether a life of celibacy was really for him.
“I’m not a good man, and I’ve never pretended to be I don’t believe in goodness or God, or any happy ending that isn’t paid for in advance. What do I believe in? Money. Sex. Macallan 18.They have words for men like me – playboy. Womanizer. Skirt chaser. My brother used to be a priest, and he only has one word. Sinner.”
Sinner focuses on the eldest Bell brother, Sean. Sean is an unapologetic manwhore and millionaire. I was never quite sure what his job was but whatever Sean did, he made a lot of money doing it. He enjoyed it and he liked to celebrate work victories with a victory lap in bed. Sean likes to describe himself as a bad man or at least not a good one, but I never quite bought it. His mother is dying of cancer and of the four brothers, Sean is the one who most involved in her day-to-day of care. Not that the other brothers are bad sons, it’s just that as the oldest, Sean took on the role of caretaker. He is the brother who takes notes when doctors and nurses talk, the one who makes sure his parents make it to doctor appointments, and the one who orders groceries or whatever else his parents need to make home their life easier as they deal with living with cancer.
The cutest thing about Sean is his love of a romance novels and the fact that he and his mother have had a two-person book club since he was a teenager. When his mother is too tired or weak to read, he reads to her. He even has a personal collection of historical romance novels that he categorizes by subgenre. How can a guy who shelves his romance novels based on whether they are set in the Regency or Victorian eras or the American West possibly be a bad guy? It's too adorable.
Sean is about to celebrate his latest work victory when he runs in to Zenny, his best friend’s little sister. He hasn’t seen her in years. Now 21, Zenny is working on her nursing and midwifery degrees. She’s also a preparing to become a nun! Sean can't quite figure out what surprises him most - the fact that Zenny wants to be a nun or that the girl he once babysat is now a smoking hot woman.
Zenny may be committed to God and helping others through her community service and social work, but even her mentor the Reverend Mother questions whether Zenny really understands what she is about to give up by becoming a bride of Christ. So the Revered Mother advises Zenny to take some time and explore the carnal world a little more before taking vows. Zenny really believes joining the sisterhood is her calling but she also hasn't had much sexual experience. She knows Sean and trusts him and decides to ask him to be her final fling before she takes her sisterly vows.
Sean is stunned by Zenny’s request but also tempted. Contrary to his bad boy persona, at heart Sean is a good guy. He worries Zenny is too innocent and given that he is 15 years older than her, much too young for him. But as his brother points out, Zenny is an adult capable of making her own decisions. She is also persistent and Sean has a hard time saying no to her. It is supposed to be a month of sexy fun and friendship with nothing deeper than that. But anyone who has ever read a romance novel, watched a romcom, or who simply has a heart can guess how that turns out.
Sinner is a sexy, sultry interracial romance. In addition to the romance and the sex, the characters deal with issues of faith and religion. Sean really struggles to reconcile the idea of faith in God with the reality of what happened to his sister. As much as he admires Zenny for her selfless commitment to helping others, he is largely mystified by her ability to believe in a God he doesn’t thinks exists. His struggle with his faith is almost as compelling as his sexy times with Zenny.