It was a dark night on a shadowy path when two men came face to face. One man carried a knife, the other, a Bible.
Rocco Marz was a rebel with a free spirit and a hair-trigger temper. He cursed freely and obeyed no one's rules but his own. Nathan West was a devout churchgoer with a spotless reputation, but something was missing in his life.
Once Nathan got to know Rocco, he was drawn to him sexually and tempted to step into his world of sin. But it came at a high price. Did it mean Nathan was doomed forever? Did it mean he was bound for hell?
Or did God in His wisdom have a reason for bringing these two conflicting personalities together?
Hushed as the night, a shadowy form moved quietly through the darkness until the sound of a breaking twig shattered the silence.
Hearing the sound, a man turned and saw what looked like a distortion of light, a human form cut from the colors of the night, and moved to follow him.
When the silhouette realized he'd been seen, he hurriedly darted between the trees, rustling the leaves, and then as quickly as he appeared, he left without leaving so much as a foot print in the mud.
The man knew it was probably some low-life scum waiting to mug him -- or worse, so with cautious movements, he sneaked his hand into the pocket of his jacket and wrapped his fingers around the cold steel of the revolver he always had with him, and a small, pocket-sized Bible. While fondling it, a prayer lingered on his lips as he pushed his way through shrubs and bushes, remembering to be careful since this was New York City, the home of muggers, thieves and gangs just waiting to take everything a man had.
Suddenly he heard the crunching of gravel behind him and came to an abrupt halt. He stood there for a moment, waiting to feel the cold barrel of a gun, or the sharp blade of a knife pressing against his neck. After seconds ticked by and still nothing, he whirled around, ready to blow the scum away. But what he saw took his breath away. There, standing in a patch of soft moonlight was a stranger with a dripping blade in his hand.
"Help," the stranger begged weakly as he dropped the bloody blade, and wilted to the ground.
"Oh, my God," the man mumbled as he quickly put his gun away and ran to help him. "What happened?" he asked softly while loosening the stranger's clothes that were covered with blood.
Receiving no answer, he moved swiftly, dug out his cell phone, and punched in 911. "I need help here. I found a man that has apparently slit his wrists. He's lost a lot of blood."
"I have you on Fifth and Overland. Is it a residence?"
Nathan looked around. "No, it's like a park setting they have scattered around town. They're in the middle of busy streets going both ways. I think they call them islands. Some of them have trees, benches, that kind of thing. Please hurry. I can feel a faint pulse, but I don't know how long he can hang on."
"Someone's on their way, but I'll need you to stay with him until they arrive, Mr. ..."
"West. Nathan West. Yes, I will, but please hurry."
The man quickly began digging in the stranger's pockets to find his ID, but he didn't even find a wallet. Finally his gaze moved upward to his darkly bronzed face, now softly illuminated by not only the moon, but by the dim glow of sputtering neon lights that lined the lonely streets. He couldn't help noticing how young he was. His dazed eyes that seemed to be looking up at him were stone-cold and full of sadness. His swarthy skin had an enviable smoothness to it, without the tell-tale lines of old age. His luminous dark hair that hung long and unkempt looked as if it might be growing out of a stylish cut. He seemed fairly tall with a face and body every bit as striking as a runway model. He wore a shabby jacket with badly frayed cuffs that looked to be a couple of sizes too small. His natural assumption was that the kid was down on his luck, but since these were the kinds of clothes kids wear today he couldn't be sure.
He could be homeless -- or he might be a freakin' millionaire.
"Leave me alone. Let me die," the guy mumbled.
"Sorry, dude, can't do it. Hell of a way to meet each other, but my name is Nathan West, and I'm here to help you."