(If I Fell, #2)
Publication date: November 1st 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance
Sequel to Hide Your Love Away (If I Fell Series, book 2)
Timmy and Cole’s angsty love story continues…
Last year, in Timmy Hale’s junior year at Edgewater University, he set his romantic sights on Colton “Cole” Ledger—a burly and sometimes over-protective dormitory maintenance man. Cole soon had it bad for sleek and snarky Timmy too, and—despite a bumpy road (a frenzied stalker and an uncooperative son)—before year’s end they’d found love. Now, in Timmy’s senior year, the couple has left the dormitory behind. Cole is back to running his own custom construction company, and they’ve turned an antique Victorian home into a love nest. For a while, life is good.
But insta-love comes at a cost, and for Timmy and Cole it’s steep. Cole’s doubts haunt him: he’s almost certain he’s too old for Timmy, and that he’s pushing him into a life he’ll eventually resent, keeping him from spreading his newfound wings and taking flight toward his best future. Acting on his fears, Cole pressures Timmy to accept an internship in Manhattan—far from the home they’ve built together. He means well, but Timmy feels like a baby bird kicked out of the nest too soon.
Tensions rise until fear, resentment, and desire draw Timmy and Cole into explosive conflict. When the dust settles, will Timmy wing away like a young blackbird, or return to nest with Cole in their happy garden home?
Stay tuned for Book 3 in the IF I FELL Series, Come Together, coming in January, 2022.
Jared and William put down their drinks on the makeup counter and glance at each other. After a quick nod, Jared takes me by the hand and leads me to a brightly lit studio where a white fabric backdrop is suspended from a frame. Several looming lights are set up, as is a camera on a tripod.
“Where’s the photographer?” I ask.
“William is trained in photography, as well as in hair and makeup.”
I glance at William. “You’re a pink-haired jack of all trades, dude.”
He rolls his eyes.
“I picked up your backpack from where you left it in the waiting room,” Jared says. “You brought the clothing items I requested—the black briefs, in particular?”
“We’re only going to need the briefs and jeans,” Jared tells me.
“Lucky for you that’s what I’ve got on.”
“Ah, yes. How fortunate.” He glances as William again. “I’ll direct today’s shoot. Timmy, shoes and socks off.” Cole would have taken them off for me…but Cole is ancient history. I kick off my ankle boots by the door. I’m not wearing socks.
“I want you to unbutton your jeans. All the way,” Jared says.
His request feels wrong, but I’m his model today, so I cover my discomfort with a snarky reply. “Your wish is my command, but you’re gonna have to hold my drink.”
“No worries…I’ll help you.” Jared steps up right in front of me, and instead of taking my drink from my hand, he unbuttons my jeans himself, staring deliberately into my eyes the whole time. He’s licking his lips too…and, yeah, there’s more horny panting. He catches me by surprise when he grabs my open jeans and tugs them so they ride low on my hips, and almost so low that my pubes are showing.
I gasp but don’t protest. Behind the makeup my face heats. This situation feels inappropriate as hell, but I’m not sure why—I’m not Cole’s anymore.
William takes his place behind the camera and nods. Then Jared steps to the corner of the room where he grabs one of two tall black stools. He places it on the fabric backdrop. “Have a seat, Timmy.”
I’m swaying way too much to be safe for me or the expensive lighting equipment, so I’m more than happy to plunk my ass on the stool. “Want me to smile for the camera? Just say cheese!” I twist my lips into an exaggerated grin.
“No…smiling will not be necessary,” Jared says without returning my grin, and he removes the drink from my hand. “We don’t want you to spill this on the backdrop.”
“That’d be a crime against white polyester.” I’m on a roll here.
When Jared returns from wherever he stuck my drink, he sinks his hands into my hair, fluffs it, and arranges it carefully. He pokes at my bottom lip, puffing it out so I feel like I’m pouting. Then he steps back. “Respond to everything I say, Timmy. With complete honesty—I want it to show on your face and body. And in your soul.”
In my soul? What the fuckety-fuck is he talking about? I fight not to giggle stupidly.
“Yesterday, Robbie and I had a phone conversation. We discussed you and your lover.”
“What the hell?” His comment changes the tone of this photo shoot. “Leave Cole out of this.”
“Why should I?” Jared asks, his forehead wrinkling into what could possibly pass as concern. But even wasted, I know he doesn’t give a single crap about my traumatic break up.
I fold my arms defensively—hurt and angry and wanting to hide as much as I can while in full makeup and bare chested in a brightly lit studio. The camera snaps.
“Robbie said the man is way too old for you. Old enough to be your father.”
I can’t help it. I flip Dexter the bird with both of my middle fingers. More snapping of the camera. “Not your business.”
“Cole wants to keep you locked in a box. Where he can look at you, his pretty boy toy, and have sex with you at will.”
“That’s a lie.” I stand and stiffen my shoulders, my hands curl into defiant fists. Cole screwed up, but not like that.
“Not according to Robbie.”
“Well, Robbie’s wrong.” And Robbie’s a damned traitor, spilling my secrets to this asshole.
Jared shoots me a questioning glance that I’m compelled to respond to.
“I dumped Cole because he didn’t want me anymore—he just hadn’t figured it out yet.”
More pictures are snapped as I stare past Jared to the white wall behind him. My pain is almost unbearable.
“He couldn’t see who I was anymore. He wouldn’t listen to me….” Oh, God. Tears will screw with my makeup…and they’ll expose how scared and weak and lonely I am. But I can’t seem to stop them.
“Go ahead and cry, Timmy…It’s okay.” Jared’s voice has softened to downright gentle.
I allow my tears to flow, though I’m not sure I could stop them, even if I put every last bit of my effort into it.
“Are you getting this?” Jared asks William. His breathless voice sounds a million miles away.
“Damned right, I’m getting this, Mr. Dexter,” William replies, the camera snapping. “It’s solid gold material.”
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children–all named after saints–and five nonpedigreed cats–all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.
My themes I always write about:
Sweetness. Unconventional love, tortured/damaged heroes- only love can save them.
Mia Kerick focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young men within the boundaries of blossoming, supportive relationships. She believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. And Mia’s stories are centered around a certain theme: even heroes can be sweet. Sweet, but not completely innocent.