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I swear, he isn’t my boyfriend. He’s just my best friend.
But after college, Russ left Rose Falls without even saying goodbye. I was ripped apart, and everyone could see it.
But that was eight years ago. Ancient history. It was all in the past… Until suddenly, it wasn’t.
Eight years ago, I was terrified of losing everything because of feelings toward Devin I couldn’t shake. It shouldn’t have been possible—I was straight! So why couldn’t I keep my eyes off my best friend’s lips, his smooth skin, his body after a shower? I thought that leaving would make the confusion go away. But it never did.
Now that I’m back home, I feel like myself for the first time in my life. I need to make things right with Devin.
But I hadn’t anticipated falling into bed with him. And even after one scorching night, can Devin ever forgive me for leaving without a trace? Or have I missed my chance?
Finally Falling is a 68,000-word gay romance about two best friends falling in love. It features a kitten named Pepper, plenty of crunchy fall leaves, and hot ‘n’ steamy scenes next to a waterfall. It’s the first book set in the small, quirky town of Rose Falls, but can absolutely be read as a standalone novel.
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Russ, Nine Years Ago
“Don’t go down there—oh, God, Devin, you’re going to get seriously hurt—”
It was too late. My best friend was already on his way, his sneakers squeaking as he ran down the slippery stone ledges near the waterfall.
Rose Falls was known for its majestic waterfall—hell, Falls was in the name of the town—but most people didn’t dare go down there on a rainy day like this.
Devin was different than most people.
We’d been walking home from an exam, our last one of the spring semester, third year of college. He’d gotten the idea to walk down toward the waterfall and wouldn’t let it go.
It wasn’t on the way home, really, but he said we hadn’t been in so long. It was our spot, after all.
How could I have said no to him? The glint in his eyes alone could undo me in a second, not that I’d ever admit it to him.
So we went down to the waterfall, and on the way there, a fresh spring rain had begun to fall. The leaves had just sprouted from all the trees a few weeks ago, filling what had once been naked grey branches with a green so lush it felt unreal.
By the time we got there, the stone path down to the base of the waterfall was dangerously slippery, but Devin insisted that we continue on. I followed him, watching my every step carefully, saying a silent prayer every time we successfully descended a steep incline. We grew closer to the rushing water, and soon it filled the air around us, and the blur of Devin running ahead of me slowed to a reasonable pace.
“This place is so damn beautiful in the spring,” he said, leaning his head back and slowly turning to look up at the thick covering of trees and stone and water around us.
“It’s beautiful all year long,” I said.
“Fair enough. Hey—” he said, his eyes zeroing in on a tree filled with candy-pink cherry blossoms, “—could you lift me up? I want to grab a branch of those.”
“That’s not safe, Devin, it’s already hard enough to walk here, let alone lift you up.”
“But I need a still life subject and this is perfect. Come on, my painting professor keeps telling me I need to draw more plants.”
“Can’t you just wait ‘til we get back to town? There’s a billion cherry blossoms up there,” I said.
“Not ones this flawless,” he said. He turned to me, his eyes big and pleading, and already I felt my defenses dropping. I had been hanging out with Devin less and less—the semester had been busy, and we had different friend circles, now—but now when I did hang out with him, the impact was even greater.
He’d been showing up in my dreams, too.
“Fine,” I said, taking a few steps over toward the tree. I first tried reaching up on my own, but couldn’t quite grasp the branch. Devin was right, I was going to need to lift him. “Come here,” I said.
He moved in front of me, turning around so that I could wrap my arms around his waist.
When we were younger, we used to do this all the time—I had always been taller and I helped boost him onto trees, ledges, fences, whatever he could find to climb. I knew the motion well: he’d get in front of me and I’d hold him tight against me, lifting him just slightly so he could gain the extra foot or two of height.
But everything was different, now.
First of all, he wasn’t that much shorter than me now. I had a few inches on him, and he certainly was more slender where I had more bulk, but overall the height difference was far less drastic than when we were kids. He hadn’t asked me to lift him up in years.
And when I wrapped my arms around him now, I was much more aware of… him. I could feel the smooth planes of his abdominal muscles beneath his soft cotton shirt, and my fingers grazed against the warmth of his skin where the hemline rode up a bit.
It felt so right to have him in my arms, lifting him up in the gentle rain. I tried to ignore it—holding him, waiting patiently for him to snap the branch from the tree, willing myself not to rest my head against the small of his back like I wanted to.
“Ahh—” he grunted, trying but failing to pull it off. “I can’t get it—hang on a sec—” he said, tapping my arm so that I’d let him down.
I gently lowered him so that he could stand again, but as I set him down, his ass brushed along the front of my body.
And I realized abruptly that I’d become hard, all in the span of twenty seconds, holding his body against mine.