The Falling series
For Ty Allen, a trip to Los Angeles for a comic book collectors convention with his friends is the perfect place for the Buffalo based artist to hunt down rare issues for his collection, and take a much needed break. When he falls onto a display table, taking it down with him, and is saved from bodily injury by a man dressed as a popular comic book character, the trip takes an intriguing turn. One look into the dark eyes and sexy smile of the masked man with the lightning fast reflexes, and Ty wants to learn more.
Rock musician Craig Simms spends his spare time in a mask and a cape, bringing happiness to sick children in LA through his foundation. When he dives in to rescue Ty from a close call with the concrete floor, he ends up wrapped around the cutest guy he’s ever seen. As they work together to clean up his wrecked display, he’s drawn to Ty’s friendly, sweet nature, and doesn't want their interaction to end.
A whirlwind weekend of chemistry and connection has them free-falling into something bigger than they'd anticipated. Ty is like a perfect melody for Craig’s weary heart, and for Ty, Craig shifts every experience from muted tones to vibrant hues. But when the weekend is over, does what happens at the comic convention stay at the comic convention, or can they find a way to fit into each other's universes?
Falling Faster was originally part of the Love Is All, vol. 3 anthology, and has since been expanded.
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"I like your tattoo."
Craig glanced at his left forearm. The tattoo of a rose and thorns interwoven with music notes wrapped around his skin from his wrist to his elbow. He held still as Ty traced a finger along the stem. The touch was like tiny sparks of electricity. A live wire that only increased in strength when Ty’s chocolate gaze met Craig’s once again. He licked dry lips. "I got it when I was eighteen. Creating music is beautiful, but it can be painful too."
Light came into Ty’s eyes and his fingers paused on Craig’s skin. "You said you were a musician. What do you play?"
"Guitar, piano, and the drums."
"So, what kind of musician are you? Are you in a band, or something else?"
"Right now, I’m mainly a songwriter for other artists. But I moved out here with dreams of being a rock star."
Ty trailed his fingers back and forth along the sensitive line of skin. He was close enough for Craig to see the lighter shade of caramel in his eyes and to smell the fresh scent of his shampoo. Imagining that delicate, teasing touch on other parts of his body was too easy and too tempting. "I’m impressed. A superhero and a rock star. This is my lucky day."
The urge to touch Ty was too strong to ignore. Craig curled his fingers around the man’s warm hand, locking them together. "I feel like the lucky one."
As their gazes held, Ty’s lips parted. He sucked in a breath and dropped his focus to their hands, then took a slow journey back to Craig’s face. "You don’t know anything about me yet."
"Not true." He ticked each reason off on the fingers of his free hand. "I know you were nice enough to stick around and help clean up the display table. You didn’t have to do that. And you’re a good friend because you made sure your buddy wouldn’t miss out on something that obviously meant a lot to him. When we were taking that lap around the parking lot, Slater also told me that you’re helping him bring his comic book idea to life. And I know you’re an artist from Buffalo. That’s a good start."
Laughing, Ty nodded. "All right." Then his gaze tracked to Craig’s other tattoo, peeking from beneath the shirtsleeve on his right bicep. "Can I look?"
Craig inwardly cringed, but raised his sleeve to reveal the large smiling purple narwhal wearing a blue and yellow striped necktie.
Ty’s brows shot up, then narrowed as he studied the ink. "Whoa. That’s… not at all what I was expecting."
"Me either, when I woke up and found it on my arm." With a grimace, he elaborated, "I got it after a show, years ago, on my first tour. I was drunk, wasted to the point that I don’t remember anything after stumbling through the tattoo parlor’s doors with my band. But I guess I asked for this, or got talked into by one of the other guys. No one could remember how it went down. They were all in the same state as me. And we all ended up with tats."
"The tattoo parlor shouldn’t have given you anything when you were in that condition." The quiet words were accompanied by a light flexing of fingers under their joined hands.
"I agree. I don’t like the tattoo, and occasionally think about getting it removed or covered. For years while I toured, it was an effective reminder to never let myself get in that state again." Worry over what Ty was thinking rushed his words. "Not that I’m in that same place anymore. I’m not. That was all youth and stupidity and trying too hard to live up to an image. That night was the last time that I let myself get in that condition. I might make mistakes, but I try my best not to make them twice."
With a gentle smile, Ty stroked the narwhale’s horn. "I think it’s cute."
"I guess I can live with cute." Happiness warmed through him like the rays of the sun, bright and beaming as they smiled at each other. Craig stepped the smallest bit closer, intent on eliminating the distance between them, craving the feeling of that tempting mouth against his lips.
Ty raised his face, watching Craig with eyes heavy-lidded with desire. Then, in a blink, surprise skipped over Ty’s features. His free hand latched on to Craig’s forearm and those long fingers curled into his skin. "Band? On tour? Wasted? You really are a rock star, aren’t you?"
Discomfort at the label rolled through him. Craig shook his head. "Not the star part so much. I’ve been in several bands, and some of them have had success. Others, not so much. But these days, I really am more of a songwriter. I play some shows here and there, but I’m trying to get away from touring."
"That’s… wow. I don’t know what to say. You’re probably one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met." Ty released his hold and stepped back. He fidgeted with the strap on his bag and his teeth sank into his lower lip. "My life is boring compared to yours."
"I sincerely doubt it." Craig took a step closer, but voices carrying in from the hall reminded him that they weren’t alone. "Let’s get out of here. We need to replace that sketchbook."
"Craig." Ty shifted his weight from one foot to the other. "Really, you don’t have to do that."
"I insist. If someone spilled something all over my guitar, or my piano… Hell, I’ve spilled coffee and beer on lyrics I’m writing, so I know what it’s like to have your tools messed with or ruined." He didn’t know if he’d ever be able to erase from his mind the disappointed, deflated look that had crossed Ty’s face when he’d held the ruined sketchbook. "Let me do this."
Ty cocked his head to the side and finally nodded. Then he lifted his chin, crossed his arms over his chest, and raised a brow. "All right. But only if after we’re done with that, I get to buy you a coffee to replace the one that spilled."
Surprise surged across Ty’s features once again and a laugh sputtered from his lips. "That was quick. I thought I’d have a fight on my hands."
The temptation to touch, to reassure, was too strong to ignore. Craig strode forward and in a few steps, closed the distance between them. He laid his hand over Ty’s heart. "I don’t think you’d ever have to work hard to convince me to spend time with you."