Who can save the rescuer of lost souls?
For ten years Noah Everett has fought the good fight, offering second chances to those in need. Now he’s cracking under the stress. What began as a two-man mission is now going corporate, meaning rules, regulations and inexperienced volunteers needing guidance in a field Noah makes up as he goes along. Who can he turn to when his mentor’s strength is all but gone and his lover is leaving for college—possibly for good?
Four years at State with a full ride scholarship will launch Jeremy Kincaid’s future, but his present includes Noah, Doc, and the closest he’s ever had to a family. And a meth addict who’s become Jeremy’s own personal mission.
An attack sends Noah spinning out of control. Jeremy has to find the way to reach Noah before the man he knows and loves disappears forever.
While a sign declaring “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here” didn’t actually hang over the intersection dividing the run-down, inner city neighborhood in half, it should have.
Smoothing his hands down denim-covered thighs, Jeremy Kincaid inhaled deeply, dodged an oily puddle, and stepped across the invisible line separating hope from despair. On one side semi-respectable businesses flourished; across the street a whole different world existed. A thin strip of cracked asphalt separated the safe, sane world from Ramsey Street, aka “Ram Me” Street, so called due to the rent boys who plied their trade down its six city blocks.
Recent rains didn’t calm the May heat steaming the city like a giant sauna—a sauna ripe with a noxious mix of car exhaust, rotting garbage, and whatever the trio on the corner passed around in a pipe.
Jeremy averted his eyes from the man who winked and beckoned, holding out the pipe. He rammed both hands into his pockets, hurrying away from the gut-rolling stench of the poison they smoked.
Sneakers tapping a steady beat against the wet pavement, he envisioned this place through the eyes of another. A handful of men loitered in the scorching heat, some alone, some gathered together, a far cry from the number Noah said used to prowl here back in the day when blue-collar types came seeking a little diversion.
From around the corner a car appeared and slowed to a stop. A gawky boy who couldn’t be much older than eighteen detached himself from a graffiti-spattered wall and sauntered over to the older model Chevy at a practiced gait.
Many times Jeremy had watched the same dance since he’d started working with Noah: the perusal, the interest, the intent, and then… the done deal. The hustler opened the car door and disappeared inside. From what Noah said, similar transactions happened regularly on Ramsey Street, though recently not so much. Prostitution, like everything else, now thrived on the Internet, reducing hanging out on street corners to almost passé.
Jeremy needed to find that guy later and try to talk some sense into him.
Try as he might, he couldn’t imagine his stoic lover haunting this stretch of road, though he’d seen pictures of Noah in a pose similar to the rent boy’s, leaning against a wall, long blond hair trailing down his back and cigarette in hand. If Jeremy hadn’t seen the photos with his own eyes, he’d never believe the tales. Noah said he’d thrown out the reminders of his troubled past, save for a handful of pictures.
Jeremy knew better. He pursed his lips in a bittersweet smile. He’d never wish pain on Noah, but Noah’s past made him who he was today.
Jeremy wouldn’t have him any other way.