Rating 4 stars out of 5
Francis Murphy has been working the streets to survive on his own for years. By doing everything from scrounging through dumpsters to pickpocketing to hooking, he’s managed to survive. Good-looking but overly thin, he’d do almost anything for food, including entering a church reception looking for the goodies from the meeting being held there. It’s been worse for him since the homeless shelter was vandalized and closed down their operation, but Francis has always attempted to maintain cleanliness so he doesn’t stand out as much in a crowd as some others he knows.
When he’s just about to reach for a plump muffin, he’s hailed by Randy Wright, the pastor’s son. Immediately drawn to Francis, Randy engages him in conversation. But Francis knows just how long he can afford to linger, and as soon as he’s done scoffing down the muffin, he’s out of there.
Unfortunately, his good luck takes a turn for the worse when he barely escapes with his life a few days later after a John goes crazy on him with a knife. Subconsciously, Francis seeks comfort at the Grace and Light Church where he met Randy, and Randy happens to spot him lurking in the shadows. Shocked at Francis’s condition, Randy gets his mother, and then his father involved, and before he knows it, Francis awakens in a bed in their home. There, despite his best efforts to shun their help, he finds support and friendship and finally agrees to work for them by helping to repair the shelter in exchange for room and board.
Over time, he and Randy are attracted to each other, shocking Francis because he never gets involved with anyone and shocking Randy because he thought he was straight. But good things don’t seem to last for Francis and he bolts.
Will he ever find peace? And what about Randy? Will he want Francis in his life as more than a friend? Will the pastor and his wife be as accepting as they verbalize they are? And what about the crazed John with the knife? Is he gone for good?
This was a very interesting story. Dark in some ways, light-hearted and hopeful in others. It’s the first I’ve read from this author, and I was impressed by the character development. And it’s not “preachy” about religion, though it does explore Randy’s beliefs, which are somewhat influenced by his religious family, though in a church that is more liberal than many. I also enjoyed the slow awakening of feelings by and between both Francis and Randy. This is a good slow burn/UST story for those who prefer that theme. It’s also a good story for those who like their stories to feature MCs who seem to have no hope for the future.
Cover by: G.D. Leigh
ebook, 192 pages
Expected publication: August 8th 2016 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleStarting New
ISBN 1626494304 (ISBN13: 9781626494305)