Andrew and Paul learned about God and Jesus in different churches and realize their views of spirituality are worlds apart.
Andrew was raised Catholic and was told his homosexuality was a sin. For his entire life, he hid the truth. He married and had children to present a façade to the world—that of a straight man. It’s not until he has an affair with Paul, who shows him a different side of Jesus, that Andrew realizes he can be gay and still believe in God. Paul’s Jesus is one of acceptance and love, and in Paul’s church, being gay is not a problem.
For Paul and Andrew, falling in love is the easy part of their journey. They must make it through the fires of cheating, being discovered, Andrew’s wife leaving, the necessities of childcare and family life, the demands of their jobs, and working on their commitment to each other. Only then can they be safe in each other’s heart.
Safe in His Arms was my first introduction to Renae Kaye. I loved the glimpses of Paul in that book and was beyond excited that he was getting his own story. Adding to the excitement was the fact that it deals with the balance of sexuality and religion.
I will warn you, there is cheating in this book. I fully understand that it’s a hard limit for some readers, but Safe in His Heart is written in such a way that I was strangely okay with it. First of all, because there wasn’t a promise of fidelity in the marriage (read the book and you’ll understand just how they came to be married with children) and secondly, because there’s no deception. Paul knows exactly who and what Andrew is from the first time they get together. And before you feel too bad for Kristy, know that she has her own issues, which in many ways trump the physical needs Andrew sated with Paul. Really, it’s going to be okay, and I’d hate to see anyone not buy the book because of the cheating aspect.
Now, for what really matters in this book. Religion. Holy hell! I can’t remember the last time I read a book touched me when it comes to the reconciliation of sexuality and spirituality. Not only did Renae Kaye write about the guilt and negative feelings associated with Andrew being raised in a conservative Catholic family, but she showed the love and acceptance of Paul’s Anglican faith. In the middle of reading Andrew’s conversation with Paul’s priest, I had to put down my Kindle and send a verse which was referenced in the book to a family member who is going through this very struggle right now.
Safe in His Heart wasn’t just a great story for me, it was an awakening. For years, I’ve struggled with my own spirituality, due largely in part to how many “modern” Christian religions still shun people for being gay. One of the weights on my shoulders lifted through the course of this book, because I no longer feel like it’s one or the other. I know that might sound a bit deeper than a lot of reader’s want, but that feeling has more to do with how I processed the book and absolutely nothing to do with feeling beaten over the head by religion. This is not a religious book. It’s a love story where one character helps the other get through a dark time in his life in multiple ways.
Now, the question is when will we get Devon and Ash’s book? They have to have one!
5 pieces of eye candy
I was unsure about this book before I started it. The thing I was most weary of was the cheating aspect of it. However, once I got into it more the author explained the relationship between Andrew and Kristy.
Paul was a great character. He was fun and entertaining and I absolutely loved him. He has such a good heart and kept his faith and belief in Andrew the whole time.
Andrew was very well written. I was leary of him in the first couple of chapters because he seemed to come off as a player. However, the further into the story and more we get to see Andrews thoughts and feelings the more lovable he became. He was a very strong character when it was needed.
I also really liked how in the end Kristy didn’t wind up being the “bad guy.” A lot of books I’ve read make the wife of the closeted guy out to be horrible and Renae Kaye didn’t do that. Renae did a wonderful job creating a story and characters that were entertaining and I read the entire book in one sitting.
5 pieces of eye candy
The religious themes of Safe in His Heart
One of the big themes about Safe in His Heart is religion. It was a hard thing for me write, because I didn’t wish to offend anyone, and let me state that because a character has a religious belief, it is no reflection on the author’s view of the world.
Me, personally? My views of religion and homosexuality are not important. What I think is important is the representation of all types of people in our romance stories. If you’re straight, you can read M/M. If you’re a vegetarian, you can still read about a character eating a steak. If you’re an atheist, you can still read about a character who is a Catholic.
I try to pick from a range of different types of people. My characters are differing in their outlooks, their ages, their jobs, their religion, their families, their appearance… Just like we are in life.
I love reading about people who are different religions and backgrounds to me. It exposes me to their customs and explains to me a little bit more about why people act the way they do. For example, although the Australian Aboriginal people have varying beliefs through their different tribes, one of the things that is common is that it is rude to their customs to look another person in the eye. To most modern white people, it is a sign of honesty, and when they can’t look a person in the eye, they tend to judge that person as dishonest. A simple realisation on behalf of the white person that this is the Aboriginal culture, their religion, and their custom, is sometimes enough to ward off the negative feelings they get when an Aboriginal person won’t look them in the eye.
It was therefore, with openness and acceptance of all people that I welcomed two characters who are from differing, but strong religious backgrounds to my book.
Andrew is Catholic. He’s grown up in the Catholic Church and had the beliefs of his religion impressed on him from a very young age. As a young man growing into his sexual identity, he struggled to reconcile his faith with his inner feelings. This is an extremely common story. You don’t have to look far on the internet to see true stories of gay men and women who are persecuted by their families for this. Recently I saw this project: The Trevor Project, and Tom Goss’s song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJStTqPmcMY) that is about two gay boys growing up in a religious environment. We like to think that this story has a happy ending, but can we be sure?
Excerpt, Safe in His Heart
Andrew tried hard to be straight. He tried to please his father. He consciously ignored his sinful urges and married a woman like the Bible told him to. He used his seed to bring children into his marriage, and that was about the best damn thing he’d already done in his life.
His children were the only good thing about his marriage to Kristy. The day he stood in front of the altar of Kristy’s church and promised to love and honor her, he lied. He felt sick at the time because he made that vow in front of God, and knew that he would break it. But the church hadn’t fallen in like he dreaded. He looked Kristy in the eye and lied, and she looked him in the eye and lied right back.
Safe in His Heart (Safe #2) is about Andrew’s journey out of the closet. The reason he is in there has mostly to do with religion, so therefore he needs to come to grips with his faith and beliefs as he moves through that doorway. Is this book about religion? No – not at all. But it involves religion, and the character’s belief in religion. As a reader of this book you will journey with Andrew as he discusses his problems and works things out in his head.
You will also journey with Andrew as he embarks on a flaming affair with Paul, argues with his PA, is hurt by his wife leaving, struggles with raising his children, and tells his family about his homosexuality.
Someone asked me, how do I balance the romance with the religion? I don’t think it is a balance. This is a book that sits squarely in the Romance genre. If someone thinks to file it with Christian Romances, then I will have to object. This book isn’t about living life as a Christian. It’s about a man’s journey while he works out his Christianity… and has a lot of gay sex with his lover. It’s about bravery. It’s about working out who you are, not what your parents want you to be. It’s about perceptions. It’s about love.
Does this story have religious themes? Of course. Just like a book that has a professional hockey player coming out of the closet may deal with how he tells his teammates, how he is treated on the field, and how the media treat him. You can’t write a book about a hockey player without mentioning hockey. You can’t write a book about a soldier without mentioning the armed forces. Andrew’s religion – and on the flip-side, Paul’s more liberal religion – are crucial in the telling of the story.
So I hope the love and romance is plain to see, despite the secret lovers, the religious headache, and the everyday life that comes into Andrew’s world. Enjoy!
Excerpt, Safe in His Heart
And Andrew had no clue what the hell he was doing. But when he had to, he knew how to “fake it until you make it.” Hadn’t he faked being straight all those years? Hadn’t he successfully faked a marriage? Didn’t he fake knowing what to do as the CEO of Cabott’s until they allowed him to do the job, and then he forged his own path?
But the situation with Paul was completely beyond his control. His common sense told him to get out before he got caught. His logical brain told him someone was always watching. His sixth sense told him no secret was ever a really a secret. But for some reason, Andrew continued to cling to Paul. He was his daily dose of sanity.
The first time Erica told him he had to cancel his “meeting” with Paul in favor of an important business teleconference, he gritted his teeth and let it go. The second time he asked her to change it.
“No. I’m not canceling Paul. Ring Brian and find another time he can meet,” Andrew demanded.
Erica shook her head in the negative. “I’ve tried, Andrew. He’s stepping onto a plane at five our time. We need to slot him in at two, or else we’ll miss our chance.” She made a scribble on her notepad and then gave him an understanding nod. “Look, I’ll ring Paul myself and reschedule. I’m sure he can make it an evening appointment, like last Tuesday.”
Andrew dug his fingernails into his thigh. “He can’t. He’s back on night shift this week.”
“Oh.” Erica paused, and then her eyes turned sympathetic. “You need to choose, Andrew. Either Paul or Brian. Because this is our last chance with Brian before he flies home to the US.”
With an angry nod, he agreed, but told Erica he would ring Paul. Bad news should come from him. Besides… getting his PA to schedule his cheating sessions…?
Renae Kaye is a lover and hoarder of books who thinks libraries are devilish places because they make you give the books back. She consumed her first adult romance book at the tender age of thirteen and hasn’t stopped since. After years – and thousands of stories! – of not having book characters do what she wants, she decided she would write her own novel and found the characters still didn’t do what she wanted. It hasn’t stopped her though. She believes that maybe one day the world will create a perfect couple – and it will be the most boring story ever. So until then she is stuck with quirky, snarky and imperfect characters who just want their story told.
Renae lives in Perth, Western Australia and writes in five minute snatches between the demands of two kids, a forbearing husband, too many pets, too much housework and her beloved veggie garden. She is a survivor of being the youngest in a large family and believes that laughter (and a good book) can cure anything.
How to contact Renae: