A few months ago, at the height of the epidemic in West Africa, I heard a story about children forced to live on their own because their parents had died and the villages refused to allow others to take them in out of fear of disease. One the kids didn't have, but because their parents had died, they were suspect. That pissed me off, so I wrote a story about it.
Dillon McDowell, an infectious disease specialist, jumps at the opportunity to work with Doctors Without Borders in Liberia. But when he arrives, things are very different than he expected, and he’s out of his depth. Will Scarlet takes him under his wing and helps him adjust. A hint of normalcy comes when a group of local boys invite Dillon to play soccer.
Will’s family rejected him for being gay, and he’s closed off his heart. Even though meeting Dillon opens him to the possibility of love, he’s wary. They come from different worlds, and Will plans to volunteer for another stint overseas. But Will realizes what Dillon means to him when Dillon becomes ill, and they can no longer deny their feelings.
When Dillon’s soccer friends lose their parents and aunt to disease, Will and Dillon must work together to ensure that the boys aren’t cast adrift in a society that’s afraid they might be contagious. They must also decide if their feelings are real or just the result of proximity and hardship.
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