Read Touch the Sky (Free Fall Book 1) Online
Authors: Christina Lee,Nyrae Dawn
© 2016 by Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn. All rights reserved.
Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without prior written permission by the author(s), except where permitted by law.
TOUCH THE SKY is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
All products and/or brand names mentioned are registered trademarks of their respective holders/companies.
Published by Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn
Cover design by Natasha Snow
Photograph by Giovanni Dall'Orto
Editing and proofing provided by Prema and Flat Earth Editing
ucas Barnett and Gabriel Stewart
didn’t have it easy as kids. They were only trying to deal with bad situations at home when they became lifelines for each other. Their pipe dream was to someday meet in LA, where Lucas would design skyscrapers, and Gabriel would learn to fly. But then Gabriel disappeared without so much as a goodbye, and Lucas got himself in trouble with the law.
ive years later
, both men are at a loss when they run into each other at a Hollywood bar. Lucas is still angry, but it’s not as if Gabriel could control how his mind and body had betrayed him. Being found on the ledge of that bridge had changed everything.
he attraction is immediate
, but it’s more than their inability to keep their hands off each other. Neither man expects the fierce connection pulling them together. Unfortunately, ignoring their problems doesn’t make them disappear. Gabriel’s internal struggles are serious…dangerous. And no matter how much Lucas wants it to be true, saving Gabriel won’t make up for not being able to save his mom. If they don’t find the strength to face their own demons before the darkness takes hold, they risk more than just losing each other forever.
the Sky is a beautifully written story of reunited lovers. It isn't often I lose myself in a story but Nyrae Dawn and Christina Lee's near perfect writing drew me in and had me rooting for Gabriel and Lucas from the first page." –Felice Stevens, author of The Breakfast Club series
of deeply romantic twists and sexy turns, TOUCH THE SKY will fill your heart with love and your eyes with tears. I loved it!" –Author Alex West
combination of heat
, heart, two sexy, well-developed heroes with tons of chemistry, and an emotional backstory that will grip you…Touch The Sky is Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn at their finest.” —Stina Lindenblatt, author of This One Moment
There You Stand
The Darkest Flame
The Deepest Blue
The Hardest Fall,
etween Breaths Series
(New Adult Romance)
All of You
Before You Break
Whisper to Me
Promise Me This
There You Stand
dult Contemporary Romance
Two of Hearts
Three Sacred Words
GBTQ+ New Adult
A Hundred Thousand Words
GBTQ+ Young Adult
The History of Us
Turn the World Upside Down,
Out of Play
Searching for Beautiful
hen we discussed
the idea for TOUCH THE SKY back in November 2015, neither of us could’ve guessed that it would become the book of our hearts. It all began with one email—the email that you’ll read on the very first page—and from that point on, Lucas and Gabriel became our whole world until we finished writing their story.
his book is very
personal in that mental illness has touched both of us, personally and professionally. Nyrae worked in an emergency room and Christina was a clinical social worker, providing therapy to children and families. Our experiences taught us a great deal about humanity. About empathy, vulnerability, and the resilience of the human spirit.
the struggle firsthand as well as the effect it can have on those closest to the person fighting their demons. As a result, some of the scenes in this book played out just as they have in various stages of our own lives.
aving said that
, mental health symptoms and severity levels will present differently in different people. We did our best in telling Lucas and Gabriel’s story as authentically as possible. To show the ups and downs, the dark and the light. But this is their story and shows how the progression translated for them.
we all share regardless of our race, gender, or socio-economic status is the need to be loved and to belong. Kindness goes a long way in helping someone keep their dignity. It might actually be a lifeline.
espite this book
being a work of fiction, depression is a very real epidemic in the United States. If you need to talk to someone, if only to hear an empathetic voice, please consider calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.
you for taking a chance on our book. We hope you fall in love with Lucas and Gabriel as much as we did.
ive years earlier
Dude, are we really doing this? I can’t believe we’re going to come out to our families. I mean, I’m glad. I really am. No matter what. No matter how my dad responds—and he will respond—hopefully not with his fist. But fuck, I can take it because it’s eating me alive, being locked inside myself like this. I’ve been going stir crazy, man.
I wish we lived closer and we could meet up someplace afterward, especially if it doesn’t go so well. You know my dad; he can be a bastard. But from what you’ve told me about your mom… I think she’ll be great. And my mom, she might just do what she normally does, which is ignore me. But at least it’ll be out there and they’ll know.
Because shit, it’s so lonely… I sound like such a wuss when I say things like that. I’m alone, because no one knows me. Not like you do. I don’t feel as empty inside when I message you. It’s like you get me. I know you do. But this time next week our families will know who we are too.
And maybe… I don’t know, I’ve got to have hope. I’ve got to believe it’ll be okay. If not, it’s not too much longer until we’re eighteen. We’ll go to West Hollywood and really live. I can’t wait to do everything we talked about! I can’t wait to meet you in person one day. I’m so damn glad we found each other on that message board.
We got this,
at the five-year-old email with a lump in my throat. I saved them all, even the photos he sent me of himself with that wavy black hair, green eyes, and lips that I pictured kissing on more than one occasion. Mostly, I imagined having a friend. Somebody I could trust through the emotional wreckage that had been consuming my life.
But that message was the final one I’d written to him. The last time I remember being so fucking scared of what would happen. If you didn’t count when the steel door locked behind me with my parents on the other side. That was the night some stranger saw me teetering on the ledge of a bridge. I wasn’t going to jump, for fuck’s sake—I was only chasing a high. Trying to quiet the buzzing noise inside my brain. It was better than feeling numb. Way the hell better.
Moving here wasn’t nearly as frightening as all of that. It was a relief to leave San Diego and come to West Hollywood. To drop my general courses at SDU and figure out my own path. This is the city I thought I’d be meeting Lucas in someday, and somehow being here, even though I haven’t spoken to him in years, makes me feel like I’m working toward some goal. The same goal I had confided to him so long ago.
I also came because I was itching to get the hell away, to finally be on my own. I was too much of a chickenshit the year after my hospitalization to message Lucas and admit that they’d slapped a bipolar label on me. That I’d been given powerful meds because apparently you can also become delusional or some shit while manic.
My dad’s face, though, that was the worst. And when I came out to him in that inpatient therapy session—fuck. Worse than his fist against my stomach. But we never talked about his threatening words, his punishing glares. My mom catering to him and never to me. I was the dirty secret, me and my messed-up head, not him.
My back slides against the wall until I’m sitting on the floor in my room with my laptop on my knees. The cold plaster feels good against my skin. I should delete that email. But I don’t. I can’t. I think of Lucas often, wonder what he’s up to. If he found somebody else who got him. A good guy, a beautiful guy.
My chest seizes up.
I want that for him, wonder if we could have had it together. Or maybe he would’ve continued to just be my friend. Hell, I’m not sure I’ll be able to have that with anybody. Not with the way the wires are crossed in my brain.
My foot connects with my forgotten glass of soda, spilling it in a small river over the hardwood floor. “Damn it!” My thoughts are all over the place lately, thinking about those old emails, and starting to feel like shit for no reason that makes any type of sense.
I toss aside my computer on the bed and grab for the tissue box to clean up the mess.
“Everything cool in there?” My roommate calls to me through the locked door.
“Fine,” I grumble. Gotta keep this place clean or Ezra might find a good excuse to kick me out. Dude smokes his share of weed but he knows when even one thing is out of place in this apartment.
“You call off sick today?” he asks in a muffled voice. The problem with renting a room on the outskirts of West Hollywood from a dude who paints in his home studio is that he knows my schedule too well, including how early or late I get home. But years ago, Lucas and I didn’t bank on how pricey the area would be, only that it was liberal and thriving enough for two kids who had wanderlust.
“Nah, the supplies didn’t come in on time, so the foreman let us go early.” At least I’m being honest. Besides, I don’t want to be on that scaffold today. Not yesterday either. Not with these scary hopeless thoughts running through my scrambled brain. Man, I normally love being up there with a birds-eye view of the entire city. And right now we’re reconstructing a building in a rundown neighborhood in North Hollywood, which still has a clear shot of the Pacific from the highest level.
I even turned down going out with the construction crew for a liquid lunch. I can hold my own and be the life of the party if you catch me on the right day. Those same dudes would probably rip me a new asshole if they saw me sniveling in my room like this. Lou would understand though; he’s been cool to me. He always talks to me about his teen boy’s problems, probably because I’m closest to his age.
A knock at my door. “I’m heading across the street to get some food. Want to come?” Ezra asks. There’s a small diner we order from on a regular basis.
I’m tired, so fucking tired that my limbs feel like dead weight. I should drag myself up, though. I only do this weeping shit when I’m crashing. Which is why I pulled up those messages from Lucas again. I needed some type of quiet comfort because this part always scares the shit out of me. How I can’t control it. I can only just roll with it.
But my body is fighting me, only wants to sleep. Add in my jumbled thoughts and I wouldn’t be good company to anybody. I know this pattern. You start to understand your body after a while. If I hold on another day or so, my energy level will return and I’ll be on top of my game again.
“Go ahead without me.” I shouldn’t be anti-social but it’s hard enough pretending at work this week. I don’t want to pretend with him too.
His feet scuff the floor, and I can hear him hesitating, deliberating. Like he knows. Knows something is wrong with me again. “How about I bring you back something? Have you even eaten today?”
Damn, he feels sorry for me. I glare at my top drawer where my two empty pill bottles have remained unfilled for well over a year. I know I should start the meds again, now that I finally have insurance. They might even help me pack on some extra weight. But then that veil will go up, the one that keeps me at arm’s length from the world, and I fucking hate that feeling.
I force myself to stand up and glance in the dresser mirror. My blond hair is all disheveled and I’ve got shadows beneath my eyes, even though I’ve been sleeping a ton. I need to get my ass in gear, especially since I have a paper due for my on-line class tomorrow.
I had left him hanging. “Gabriel?”
“Uh, sure man,” I say, in the cheeriest voice I can muster. “Any kind of sandwich will do.”