The Boy Who Came in From the Cold

BOOK: The Boy Who Came in From the Cold
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By
B.G. T
HOMAS

N OVELS
All Alone in a Sea of Romance The Boy Who Came In From the Cold

N OVELLAS
All Snug
Bianca’s Plan
Christmas Cole
Christmas Wish
Desert Crossing
How Could Love Be Wrong? It Had to Be You
Soul of the Mummy

Published by
D
REAMSPINNER
P
RESS http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com

 

Copyright

Published by
Dreamspinner Press
5032 Capital Circle SW
Ste 2, PMB# 279
Tallahassee, FL 32305-7886
USA
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The Boy Who Came In From the Cold Copyright © 2013 by B.G. Thomas
Cover Art by Aaron Anderson [email protected]

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the Publisher, except where permitted by law. To request permission and all other inquiries, contact Dreamspinner Press, 5032 Capital Circle SW, Ste 2, PMB# 279, Tallahassee, FL 32305-7886, USA. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/

ISBN: 978-1-62380-713-9
Digital ISBN: 978-1-62380-714-6

Printed in the United States of America First Edition
May 2013

Bloom Backwards ©2010 by Michael Lee.
Used with permission of the author. All rights reserved.
Photograph of Gynaephora groenlandica ©2010 by Gary Anweiler. Used with permission of the photographer. All rights reserved.

This is for Jonah Markowitz,
and Brad Rowe and Trevor Wright, of course. Thank you for giving us
Shelter
. May this be some small way to express my gratitude.

Special thanks to my wondrous editors—Rowan Speedwell, Kat Weller, Sal Davis, P.D. Singer (who opened my eyes a time or two) and C.L. Miles—Thanks ladies, you make me look good!

And of course Andi Byassee! Thank you, thank you, thank you. It is a wonderful thing to find an editor who really “gets” you. We blink over 22,000 times a day, and I bet you thought you only woke up once.

 

~ Michael Lee

 

Becoming hurts.

 

~ Kat Howard

 

Chapter 1

 

I
T WAS cold outside. It was really cold.
Freezing
cold.

Todd Burton, freezing himself, watched as a man with a big industrial broom swept what was an obviously already shoveled sidewalk. The snow was falling harder than ever and was piled everywhere.

Jeez, it’s snowing like a son of a bitch out there
. Todd glanced nervously over his shoulder into the lobby of the apartment building. No one seemed to be watching him.

What the hell am I going to do?

If this had happened to him a week ago, it wouldn’t have been so bad. Not good. But not nearly as bad.
Luckily, one of the building’s residents had let him in out of the cold in the first place. A big guy–good-looking, tall and wide—wearing a long woolen (and obviously warm) coat.

Todd would have done almost anything for that coat. His pale-tan lightweight fall jacket barely kept out the chill of late autumn. It didn’t stand a chance against the snowstorm outside the warm lobby.

“You’ll wear it and
like
it,” his mother had screamed. “We ain’t made of money!”

If he hadn’t chosen to wear a sweater to the New Year’s Eve party last night, he didn’t know what he would have done. It was the only thing keeping him from being chilled to the bone. His gloves were a joke—the simple one-size-fits-all type bought at Family Dollar, with a hat purchased at the same place—and all but useless. He might as well have been naked.

So it had been a stroke of luck when the big man had asked Todd why he was standing under the awning of the Oscar Wilde apartment building.

“Waiting for a ride,” Todd replied, even though it was a lie. He was no more waiting for a ride than he was waiting for the results of a pregnancy test. But it got him out of the frigging cold. Todd flexed his wet toes in the confines of sneakers worn to death. His feet were still frozen and aching after nearly an hour. Lord yes, his toes hurt.

This sucks,
he thought.
This sucks zombie dick.

“What am I going to do?” he muttered as the snow, abundant as the feathers from a high-school-girls’ pillow fight, fell thickly to the ground. Icicles, looking like the teeth of some primeval creature, hung just outside the large plate-glass windows.
I’d hate to be the poor guy that one of those fell on.

“Still waiting?” came a voice from behind Todd, and, startled, he jumped and let out a cry. He spun around and found himself gazing up into the face of the man who’d let him into the building. No longer in his winter wear (where was that coat?), the man had changed into jogging shorts and a T-shirt that stretched over a massive chest and proclaimed that he was 2CUTE2BSTR8.

It took Todd a moment to figure it out, but when he did, his mouth dropped open. Too cute to be straight. The guy was queer. It was a little more than Todd’s small-town naïveté could take in. This guy? A fag? It just didn’t seem possible. The guy was a powerhouse. A total class-A stud. This was no swishy, limp-wristed, pink-wearing gay boy.

The man eyed him suspiciously, and Todd realized he needed to say something. “Uh-uh, yeah, I don’t know what’s taking… uh, George… so long.”
Piss. Did I actually say “uh George”?

The man nodded, went to retrieve his mail, and on his way back, stopped again and looked Todd up and down. But this time his gaze lingered just a bit. Todd felt his stomach give a weird sort of flip-flop.

“Look,” said the man. “Watch yourself, okay? The building manager has been known to have a shit fit when hustlers come in the building for, well,
whatever
they come in here for. Just don’t get caught.”

Todd stiffened. Hustlers? Did this guy think he was looking to sell himself? Before he could think of how to respond, the man crossed the lobby and disappeared into the elevator.

He thinks I’m for sale!
Todd shook his head. Cursed under his breath.
Do I look like a hustler?
he wondered and thought about the boys who sold themselves in the park.
Maybe I do
, he realized, horrified. He touched the scruff on his face—he hadn’t shaved today and his facial hair grew like wildfire—and looked down at his dirty jeans and worn-out sneakers. Would someone want to buy something so… dirty? He tried in vain to catch his reflection in the big lobby windows.
Not enough light in here,
he thought.

He glanced around the lobby, seeing what at one time must have been elegance, but was now just a few levels above run-down. Brass elevator doors, once shiny and beautiful, now tarnished with age; hardwood and marble floors now scuffed; banks of fluorescent lights hanging from the ceiling; what looked like the faded remains of a huge mural—all probably gorgeous when the building was made. All just sad echoes of a different age.

Todd thought of the man who had let him into the building. From the look of his business attire Todd was surprised he didn’t live in a much fancier place. That coat hadn’t come from Walmart. Couldn’t the guy afford an apartment in a better building?

There was the pinging from the elevator as the doors opened, and speak of the devil, it was the same man. He was carrying what looked like a plate and a mug and was heading in Todd’s direction. When he got closer, the wondrous aroma of coffee hit Todd and he saw the man had a sandwich as well. To Todd’s surprise, the man handed them both over. His mouth fell open. The day had been one of the shittiest ever in a year of total shit. And here, out of the blue, a complete stranger was showing some small-town kindness?

Todd only hesitated for a second, all but snatched the food and coffee from the man, sat down on the windowsill, and practically gulped everything down. Both were a relief beyond words. Todd almost swooned. He hadn’t had so much as a bite all day, and with barely twenty bucks in his pocket and no idea when he’d get more, he’d been afraid to buy so much as a dollar grease burger from Mickey D’s. He ate the food so fast he barely tasted it. Oh! And the coffee filled him with a warmth that finally let him shake off the cold that had plagued him all day. He actually gave a shiver as it lifted.

“I’m Gabe,” said the man.

 

With only a few bites left, Todd nodded but didn’t offer his own name.

 

“What are you doing out in this weather, anyway?” Gabe asked.

Todd stopped chewing. Boy, was that a question and a half. He swallowed hard. How did he explain it? It was awful. He was ashamed. How did he tell a complete stranger that he felt like a total failure?

Todd gave the guy a quick look, then a longer one. The guy was huge. A good head taller, at least, than Todd’s five foot nine and downright massive: really built. He obviously worked out. A lot. Like the guys in the muscle mags that Todd collected.

(“
Jesus, Todd, how many of these things do you fucking have?”
) Not like the men who were all gnarly and knotted like mutants or something, but the nicely built, Hollywood TV-star kind.

 

(
“It don’t make no sense a boy your age having so many of these. You a faggot or something?”
“I just use them for exercise tips.”
)

Gabe’s pecs looked as big as dinner plates, and Todd could see the man’s abs even through his shirt. His waist seemed almost as small, his hips as narrow, as Todd’s, impossible as that should be.

And good-looking.
Really
good-looking. The man had short lightbrown hair (dark-blond? It was hard to tell) and light blue eyes (the color of a country summer sky) and a face like a movie star. This guy could have any woman he wanted. Why had he chosen to go gay?

“Okay, so if you don’t want me to know—”

 

BOOK: The Boy Who Came in From the Cold
13.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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