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Authors: K. A. Mitchell

Bad Influence

BOOK: Bad Influence
6.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


For my readers.

Thank you for making it possible to keep coming back to the characters I love.


Chapter One

Silver headed out into the night, the noise and bass beat of the club still ringing in his ears. Or maybe the pounding was rage from finding one of his few escapes contaminated by the nuclear blast from his past. Why the fuck did Saint Zebadiah Harris have to show up in Baltimore?

He wasn’t headed in any direction but gone, but his legs found a familiar route. That brick wall separating a parking lot from a park should have held an imprint of Silver’s spine from how often he’d leaned against it in his rent-boy days. Though those days were never far away enough for Silver’s liking.

“What are you doing back here?” Tanner yelled as Silver came around the corner of the wall. “Thought you moved on.”

“Missed the life.”

“The fuck you did.” Tanner gave him a big hug.

“Missed you anyway.” Silver thumped Tanner’s heavily inked shoulder. Silver was glad to see him. A lengthy career wasn’t part of street life, and shit happened. Better to not give a fuck about anyone, but it was hard to not like Tanner.

A kid who couldn’t be more than fourteen flipped a butterfly knife open. “Next one’s mine.”

“Fuck off, Eddie.” Tanner grabbed the kid’s wrist, twisted it, yanked the knife free and threw it over the brick wall lining the lot. “He’s not here for trade.”

With a sneer and glare at Silver, Eddie vaulted over the wall. Silver resolved to keep the bricks at his back.

“You aren’t, yeah?” Tanner muttered in Silver’s ear.

“Nope. Just came to say hi.” Since a night of forgetting everything by dancing at The Arena had gotten totally fucked when he caught a glimpse of Zebadiah Harris there. Dancing with Silver’s friend Eli. Zeb had the whole goddamned world to be self-righteous in. But no, he had to show up in Baltimore.

“You too good to be a whore?” Eddie was back, playing with his blade. As long as he didn’t make a move toward Silver, they were cool.

“Silver moved up in the world. Got himself a studio gig.”

“Fancy word for porn.” Silver laughed. “So where is everybody?” Aside from Tanner, there was no one there he knew.

“Troy left town. Matty OD’d. Dakota is now working the other side, if you know what I mean.” Tanner made a little feminine swing of hips and shoulders.

“Gotcha. James?” Silver asked.

James had looked smaller and younger than Eddie, but swore up and down he was fifteen. Didn’t have Eddie’s ready-to-fuck-you-up attitude either. Tanner had tried to look after him, the way he’d looked out for Silver when he first hit the street.

Tanner shrugged and glanced away. “Disappeared. So, how’s the high life.”

“Money’s good. Shoulda come with.”

“Oh, hon. My life ain’t much, but it’s all I got. No way am I risking it barebacking.”

Silver worked at keeping his face still.

“’Sides…” Tanner shoved Silver with a hip, “…mug like mine would break the camera.”

Tanner was tall and muscular, torso ripped enough to be an anatomy poster. But a long jagged scar on his face twisted his eyelid and pulled at his mouth. His souvenir from an uncle who caught him sucking off a cousin.

Lights streaked across the wall, a car turning in. “Here comes one. Do your thing, Silver.”

Eddie’s knife flashed.

“Put it away, hon,” Tanner said. “He’s going to give you a hint about the john. He does this thing with the cars. He’s really good.”

Silver made a quick study. “Red Pontiac, 2006, non-vanity plate. He’s white, around thirty, lives in the far suburbs, maybe faking it married or could be too scared to show his face in a bar. First timer—or that’ll be his story. Total bottom.”

“Guess you’re screwed, hon. Or not.” Tanner winked at Eddie then nudged him. “Take your shot.”

Eddie approached the car. “Whatcha lookin’ for?”

Silver tuned out anything except trouble and asked Tanner, “Where’d they find Matty?”

“Right up the block. The old theater.”

The tweakers had been hanging out there as long as Silver had been in Baltimore.

“Jordan?” The name Silver had left behind came out of nowhere. His head turned automatically.

Then his mind went grey white with static. One word burst into it, a flashing alert.




Silver’s hand slapped the wall, feet leaving the ground almost before he made the conscious decision to run.

A rough tug on his wrist dragged him back.

“Jordan,” Zeb said again.

First the club, now here. Was Zeb looking for him?

Silver tried to shake him off. “Got the wrong guy.”

Tanner laughed. “What’s the matter, Silver? You run out on a trick?”

Zeb grabbed Silver’s other arm, eyes searching his face like there was some kind of proof written on it.

Yes, it’s me. Yes, I’m a fucking whore. Yes, it’s all your fucking fault.
Silver clenched his jaw and fought Zeb silently, getting in two kicks to his shins and preparing a knee for higher up until Zeb body-slammed him against the wall.

“Get off me, you crazy fuck.”

Silver had handled bigger guys than this, then run like his ass was on fire. How could he not get away from Zeb?

“Silver, five-o.” Through pounding blood, Tanner’s urgent whisper penetrated Silver’s brain right as his eyes picked up the flash of lights across Zeb’s face.

Silver panicked. Writhed and twisted like he was back at Path to Glory and they were going to stick him in that room again. The Reflection Room. But like back then, it didn’t make any difference.

The cops had a hold of him and Zeb.

Hands shoved him facedown over the hood. One hand pinned his neck while a foot kicked at his ankles. “Spread ’em.”

“Like he’s never heard that one.” The other cop actually sounded like a pig as he snickered.

Silver didn’t move or speak. He knew how authority worked. Whether it was the cops or the counselors at Camp Path to Glory.

The cop’s hand took a long time on Silver’s balls and dick. “Gotta make sure we put your pretty face in the right jail.”

The cuffs were tighter than Silver had imagined. The cop cranked them another notch as he said, “You are under arrest for prostitution.”

“He’s— I know him.” Zeb’s face appeared behind the cop’s shoulder. “He’s not a prostitute. We weren’t—”

The cop held Silver under one arm as if displaying his skintight jeans and blue tank top with
Fresh Cream
written in white cursive letters.

Zeb shook his head. “Listen. I was just driving, and he looked like someone I used to know. I stopped because I wanted to talk to him. That was all.”

“Uh-huh. Excuse me,
.” The cop pulled Silver toward the passenger door. “Feel free to come down to the station and give your statement to the judge on Monday. Now go home.”

Zeb had been glad enough to do that the last time they saw each other. Shut his door, refuse to answer his phone. Pretend Silver had never existed.

“Wait.” Zeb reached forward, but he didn’t touch the cop or Silver. His hand hovered in the air. “How can you arrest him and not me for…?”

Was he insane? Did he want to get arrested for—come to think of it, Silver didn’t know what the word for it was, besides being a john.

With a disgusted sigh, the police officer spun Zeb around. “Hands on top of your head. I’m placing you under arrest for obstruction and patronization.”

was the word.

Thank fuck being shoved in the back of a cop car with their hands cuffed behind them was enough to shut Zeb up. Silver was having enough trouble swallowing back a total mental freak-out. It wouldn’t be like the Reflection Room at Path to Glory. Each time his chest got tight enough to block his breathing he reminded himself it wouldn’t be the same tiny cell. There would be normal lights, not complete black or that blinding spotlight. He was pretty sure he wasn’t going to find Bible verses painted on the walls. But mostly, there would be other people. Even if one of them had to be Zebadiah Harris.

Separate processing. Prints, mug shots. Every step took Silver in deeper while every nerve and muscle screamed at him to run. No matter how still he tried to be, how much he tried not to get any extra attention, he couldn’t completely hide the desperation in the twitch of his fingers, the tap of his toes.

He held his breath as the cop examined the laminated card with Greg Carter’s name on it. The fake license had better be worth what Silver had paid for it in blood, sweat and come. He’d debated giving the name he’d been born with, but the cops were going to find the Greg Carter ID on him, and then he’d be screwed for sure.

The cop tapped away on the computer. “Is this your current address?”

“Uh, not right now. I meant to get it changed.”

After Silver rattled off the Tyson Street address, he felt the cop’s eyes back on him. As long as the cop wasn’t staring too hard at the ID, Silver didn’t care how creepy the look was.

“Supposed to be done within thirty days. Could suspend your license.”

“I just moved.”

The cop made a grunt and handed Silver a thick envelope. “Wallet, phone, belt, shoelaces and anything else in your pockets in here.”

Silver eyed his phone as he slid it in. “Can I call someone?” Not that there was a long list, but Eli’s sugar daddy might help post bail if it wasn’t too high. Silver had always heard that if he got picked up by the cops, he’d just get a release ticket. Not actually get hauled to jail.

“Later.” The cop had scanned the contents of Silver’s wallet. “Thirty-two dollars.” The cop’s eye roll suggested he didn’t think much of Silver’s street value. Back when he’d done it for money, he’d made a hell of a lot more than that. Tonight, he’d only been hanging out.

Through mug shots and fingerprinting, he caught glimpses of Zeb. Silver was glad they were being processed separately. The last thing he needed was Zeb calling Silver “Jordan” often enough to make the cops look closer at the fake ID. When he’d needed Zeb to stand up, he’d been too much of a pussy. Now he wanted to act like some kind of knight swooping in to defend Silver’s honor.

As Silver watched, the cop turned Zeb sharply away from the fingerprinting station. They were fucking with him because he’d been an ass down by the park and made them arrest him, so they were giving him the full treatment. Probably do a cavity search on him. It should have made Silver laugh, but he only wished Zeb hadn’t gotten involved. Wished he’d stayed wherever the fuck he’d been, acting all pure and honest like he didn’t love a fat cock in his mouth, didn’t want it fast and hot and dirty as much as any guy Silver’d had since.

He looked away and tried to turn off. Shut out the whole humiliating, boring, mess of it. He wasn’t embarrassed to be called a whore. Hard to argue when he’d done plenty of fucking for cash—usually on camera. But he couldn’t believe he’d actually been caught—especially when he wasn’t doing anything. Another thing to put on Saint Zebadiah Harris. Fuck. The whole reason Silver had been hanging out over on Eutaw by the park instead of dancing with friends at The Arena was because Zeb had been there with Eli and Quinn in the first place.

They ended up getting fitted out with the double set of cuffs and chains at the same time, and Silver could barely touch his forehead if he hunched over. Right as he was about to follow a guard uniform downstairs, one of the cops called him back.

“Grab that one. Bring him back. Gregory Carter.”

Silver had been hanging on to one thought. He’d stand in front of the judge and get a court date. At which point he’d make a few calls and earn enough money to pay whatever fine he got nailed with. Hell, he could probably even come up with enough for the fine if he could get enough shifts at With Relish.

But when they hooked his chains through a loop on the edge of the desk, his hands went ice cold and started slicking up. He wanted to clench them into fists to hide the tremble shuddering down his arms but didn’t want to get in more shit with the guy behind the desk. The one who wasn’t a uniformed cop anymore, but with a half-loosened tie and detective as the first part of his name.

BOOK: Bad Influence
6.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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