Four stories of gay young men surviving on the streets. Contains the stories:
Surviving: Brothers Terry and Kel, on the run from their abusive father, hook up with a trio of Denver street kids who teach them how to survive. Can the budding relationship between Terry and Rudy, the leader of the trio, last through the problems that ensue -- including Kel's attempted kidnapping and the loss of the squat the group has been calling home? Perhaps, with the help of a local pastor, it will.
Strays in the Time of COVID: Thrown out of his home, Guy ends up on the streets as Covid ravages the country. Soon, he's adopted by a dog and a kitten. He meets three homeless teens -- Mack, Tone, and Dani, who names the kitten Ghost, and the dog Shadow. When Guy learns that, like him, Mack and Tone are gay, he hopes the attraction he and Tone begin to feel for each other can survive the life they're forced to live.
The Encampment: Homeless and in danger, Davie accepts an offer to live at the Encampment, a mountain site run by Maddox, and Ran. Among the residents is Vin, who befriends Davie. Davie finds out there is more to the place than it seems when he and Vin are sent to stop slavers preying on homeless teens. Things get interesting as the two of them try to survive while dealing with their attraction for each other.
The Runaway and the Enforcer: Beau is an enforcer who goes into hiding after he refuses to follow his boss's orders and harm a rival's kid. Rick, an eighteen-year-old denizen of the streets, witnesses Beau killing one of the men searching for him. Rather than kill Rick, as well, Beau befriends him -- an act he may come to regret, when Rick convinces Beau to take him along, when Beau goes on the run after taking out his boss.
EXCERPT FROM "Surviving"
"How are you doing?" Rudy asked Terry the morning after the fight.
They were alone in the squat, since at Josie's insistence she, Snap and Kel had gathered up all the dirty clothes and taken off for the Laundromat.
"I've been better," Terry admitted. "But I've been a hell of a lot worse too so it's all relative."
"Your head still ache?"
"No. My arms and shoulders though ..." He thought it was better not to mention his legs did too, from all the running.
Rudy nodded, going behind the sofa where Terry was sitting. "Lean forward."
Terry did, groaning when Rudy began massaging his shoulders.
"Am I hurting you?" Rudy asked, concern lacing his voice.
"God no! That feels great."
"Good. I never know for sure."
Terry turned his head to look up at him. "You do this often?"
"Not really. Just sometimes when we've had a long day I do Snap." He laughed. "Okay, that didn't come out right. I give him a massage while he takes care of Josie."
Terry chuckled. "That could be taken two ways and one of them brings up images I'm not sure I want."
"Good point." Rudy kept on, carefully working on Terry's tightly knotted muscles. When Rudy was finished, Terry sighed, half in relief because he felt better, half with regret that Rudy had stopped. It had been a long time since anyone other than Kel had touched him in a ... he supposed a personal way. With Kel it had been to clean him up after a beating, or to give him a quick hug when something good happened, the way brothers do.
Terry was surprised when Rudy came around to sit beside him. At least until Rudy said, "Give me your arm."
Grinning a bit, Terry replied, "I rather like it where it is."
Rudy just shook his head. "You know what I mean." When Terry stretched out his arm, Rudy went to work, starting at his shoulder and moving down. Terry rested his head on the back of the sofa, savoring the feeling of Rudy's hands on him. Despite the reason behind it, it was almost sensual. When Rudy finished, he moved to the other side, chuckling when Terry immediately offered his other arm without even opening his eyes. "You like this, don't you?"
"You better believe it." Terry frowned in thought. "You know, I don't think anyone's ever done this to me before. In fact I know they haven't."
"Damn, you don't know what you're missing."
"I do now," Terry replied with a smile. "If I had the money, I'd hire you as my personal ... umm ... masseuse?"
"I think that would be masseur. And you wouldn't have to hire me. I'm quite willing to do it for free."
Terry's eyes popped open with surprise. "Seriously?"
"Yeah." Rudy smiled, saying, "Okay, lay face down on the sofa. Or better yet on the floor."
"I'm betting your legs feel as bad as your shoulders did, from our being chased last night."
Terry resisted gulping at the idea Rudy was going to massage his legs. That did not however stop him from doing as Rudy said. He rested his head on his folded arms, tensing when he felt Rudy's hands on his thighs. This was getting way more personal than he thought he could handle.
"Relax," Rudy said softly. "I'm not going to do anything more than give your legs a rub down."
"I know." Terry wondered when he said that if he sounded as needy for something more as he felt. I'm being ... stupid. He's just a nice guy who's trying to make me feel better after what happened last night. Physically. I mean ... easing aching muscles since ... Damn. The feel of Rudy's hands on the backs of his legs was erotic. Stop, he cautioned himself. Pretend it's Josie, or some girl I went to school with. Easier said than done. He almost sighed with relief when Rudy's hands moved lower, rubbing his calves. He finally began to calm down.
Then Rudy blew it when he said, "This would have been better if I'd had you take off your jeans. Or not."
"Yeah, umm ..." Terry managed to get out.
Rudy leaned forward, his hands beside Terry's shoulders. "Turned you on, didn't it. Or at least I think it did. It sure did something to me. So ..." He kissed the nape of Terry's neck then got up. "Where the hell is a cold shower when a guy needs one?"
They both heard the sound of approaching footsteps outside the door at the same moment, then a series of knocks.
"That worked just as well," Terry muttered, rolling over and sitting up.
"Big time," Rudy agreed as he went to lift the bar off the door and let Josie and the guys in.