Homeless for over two years, Merl has hunkered down to endure a second winter in Eden, Colorado. He has lost the ability to trust or accept kindness as anything but a sneaky attempt to weaken for an attack. He sells aluminum cans and other trash to survive, knowing he should attempt to get back into the mainstream but he lacks the will to try.
Nate has led a sheltered and privileged life as the only child of wealthy older parents, now deceased. He is working on a photo journalism piece about the homeless people in Eden when he first encounters Merl. The big man impresses him so much that when an early blizzard hits, he goes back to the camps try to bring Merl and others to shelter in his own home.
Can he win Merl’s trust and cooperation in an effort to provide positive long term help to other homeless people in the area? Even more important, can he forge a real partnership with the suspicious older man?
Merl’s memory chose that moment to dredge up the feelings of the previous night, the touch and taste of Nate’s lips, the sensations of his body pressing close. If they had not been interrupted by Dane’s awakening ... A surge of arousal and excitement rushed through him. His words came thick and slow. “Even more? Yeah, even more.”
They both stood, shoving chairs back, at the same moment. For a breath Merl thought Nate might climb right across the table but he went around it instead. Merl met him halfway. Coming into each other’s arms created an instant spark that became a roaring blaze in seconds.
Catching Nate in a bear hug, Merl lifted him clear of the floor as he bent to find the other man’s mouth. He lapped at Nate’s lips until they softened and parted, allowing his tongue to slip between them and explore the warm, coffee-flavored depths. Nate kissed back with equal enthusiasm, sucking on Merl’s tongue and teasing back with his own.
Nate slid one hand under the hem of the short sweatshirt and traced along Merl’s lower ribs. The touch tickled but in a tantalizing and arousing way. His skin quivered as fiery tingles swept over his whole body.
Nate drew back just enough to speak. “Come on, there’s a king sized bed in my room, plenty of space to do anything we want. It’s farther than your room but we can get there.” He wiggled in Merl’s grip until his feet again found the floor. Merl could nearly have picked Nate up and carried him but he figured that might not sit well. Nate had his pride too and might not appreciate the reminder of the differences in their stature.
Merl had not been upstairs yet in the big house but he followed Nate, taking the hand the other man extended to him as they started up the wide staircase.
“I could have taken over the master bedroom,” Nate said but my room is comfortable, familiar. I just got some new furniture and kept it as my space.
He swung a door open and they entered. Merl paused to look around, not sure what he’d find. The room reflected the Nate he was coming to know -- neat, utilitarian but comfortable, solid simple furniture and nothing unnecessary or ostentatious. Nate stopped and turned to face him.
“Do you approve?”
Merl could not hold back a grin. “Approve? Well, it beats hell out of a tent and some tarps, don’t you think? But I like it -- nothing fancy or frilly or false. A den, a shelter, and a safe place. Kind of like coming home.”
“It’s yours too now, ours.” As he spoke, Nate grasped the hem of the sweatshirt and lifted it. Merl ducked enough to let the shorter man draw it over his head. He stood quietly while Nate raced his hands over the planes of Merl’s chest, traced the line of dark hair from his breastbone down to the elastic waist of the pants. After a moment he could not control the involuntary quiver as Nate’s tongue made the same path and then back up to swipe across each of Merl’s nipples.
He had to take a role here too. Fumbling the buttons free, he undid Nate’s plaid shirt and shoved it back. By the time he had that done, Nate had both hands in the waist of Merl’s pants, shoving them down to his hips and then farther, taking the briefs with them. It took a moment to stretch the elastic past Merl’s cock, completely erect now and eager. The brush of the fabric and then Nate’s hands almost proved more than he could take. Merl’s hands at Nate’s waist stilled, suddenly clumsy in the task of freeing his belt buckle and then unzipping his jeans.