Following the Heart, Part 1 – A Topher and Simon Short Story, Audiobook News and More!

As promised, here’s Part 1 of Following the Heart, a Topher and Simon short story. This is a companion piece to FOLLOWING THE RULES. Chronologically, Part 1 takes place just before the epilogue and Part 2 takes place after. I plan to post the second installment next week. I’ll be sure to make the complete story available in PDF format too.

Also, FOLLOWING THE RULES is available now on audiobook! Topher and Simon’s story is narrated by the very talented, Alexander Cendese and check this out…it’s already been Whispersynched! Yes! That means it’s just $7.47 for Kindle users! Nice price!

And a quick note about the Out in College series too.

This series is now available at all online ebook retailers. If you’ve been waiting to purchase the eight book MM Sports Romance series from Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, etc, now’s a great time! We’ve got water polo, football, hockey, volleyball, and more sports coming! Be on the lookout for Out for the Holidays/Christmas in July this summer. It’s the small short story previously published in the Gifts for the Season charity anthology…plus added content! I’ll keep you posted with details.

Without further adieu…here’s a little more geek and jock love with Topher and Simon!

Following the Heart, Part 1 – Simon

Simon-

Topher’s eyes opened then drifted shut again as I traced the mini constellation of freckles on his back. 

“Baby, it’s time to wake up,” I purred, kissing his shoulder. 

“Are we late?” he mumbled in a sleep-laden voice. 

“No, but we will be if you don’t get your fine ass out of bed. C’mon, I have coffee waiting for you in the kitchen. Let’s do this.” I smacked his butt and headed for the door, pausing to press the button on the automatic blinds.

Topher groaned when sunlight flooded the space a moment later. He sat up slowly and automatically reached for his glasses, perched them on his nose, then stretched his arms above his head with a yawn. 

My boy had a thing for routine. 

I knew without watching that he’d shuffle naked to the dresser to grab a clean pair of boxer briefs and continue to the bathroom. Within three to five minutes, he’d emerge wearing said boxers and flaunting minty fresh breath. He’d most likely slip on a pair of sweats and a T-shirt in deference to the cooler temps. Then he’d join me at the island and stare blankly into the coffee I set in front of him, gradually coming to life after consuming at least half a cup. 

Which meant I had approximately ten minutes to rehearse my speech. It was important to get the message and intonation right. I didn’t want to come across as too enthusiastic. Topher was literally the sweetest natured person I’d ever met, but nobody wanted to deal with an overly peppy partner before caffeine did its job. 

Was I nervous? Yeah, I was. And I didn’t know why. 

Topher might not love my idea, but I didn’t think he’d hate it. Even if he wasn’t on board, he loved me and he knew I loved him. It didn’t matter that we’d only been together for a few months, we were solid. And we’d already been through a lot. 

Topher stuck by my side through the tumultuous upending of my career and the media attention we both received once news of our relationship leaked. No, I wasn’t famous, but apparently, a former pro football player coming out as bisexual was news-worthy. The coverage had been a bit intrusive. I’d never been in the habit of discussing any aspect of my love life…even when I’d dated women. 

First of all, it was no one’s business and second, I wasn’t interested in being anyone’s social media snack to be devoured then forgotten five minutes later. But I’d agreed to share my story because I figured there were young athletes who needed to see queer representation in sports. It was something that might have made a difference to my younger self. Thankfully, Topher had been very cool about extra the scrutiny. 

I was grateful to have someone in my corner who believed in me and supported me. 

And who loved sex.

Maybe that sounded a tad shallow, but hey…I liked sex. A lot. And Topher possibly liked it more than me. No kidding. He was voracious on the daily. Always ready and willing to try something different. 

The newest thing for us was—well, Topher topping me. Holy shit. I couldn’t begin to explain how fucking fabulous it felt to have my prostate massaged. I wished I hadn’t held out so long. Not only did it feel amazing, but in a way, it made us closer. Don’t ask me what that meant. I wasn’t sure.

But I did know that Topher was my favorite human in the universe and I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible…without the ridiculous commute we’d been making over the past few months. So I came up with an idea. All I had to do was sell it.

And there he was. Right on time. 

I greeted Topher with a smile and slid a fresh cup of coffee across the island, loving that he’d raided my T-shirt drawer. The USC tee was much too big, but it looked sexy as fuck on him. Or maybe it was his sleep-mussed curly brown hair, pretty green eyes, full lips, or—

“You’re staring me,” he chided, peering at me over the rim his cup.

“’Cause you’re hot.”

Topher snorted. “Come join me.”

“Nah, I’m good. Do you want anything to eat? I can make a quick omelet.”

“No, thank you. I’ll have the blueberry yogurt,” he said, shifting as if to stand.

“Sit tight. I got it.”

I grabbed the yogurt and some extra berries from the fridge, then set them in front him with a spoon and a napkin. He thanked me and tucked into his meager breakfast while I hovered nearby, chewing on my bottom lip nervously.

“Are you okay, Si?” 

“I’m fine. Why?”

He shrugged. “You’re quieter than usual.”

“Mmm. I just have a lot on my mind.”

“Come sit and tell me about it.” He patted the barstool beside him then sipped his coffee.

“I can’t sit. My ass hurts,” I replied, grinning from ear to ear when he put his hand over his mouth and turned a pretty shade of pink. “Are you blushing? I’m pretty sure I’m the one who should be blushing.” 

That was the damn truth. If anyone had told me a year ago that I’d happily get on my knees, spread my ass open, and beg my boyfriend to fuck me, I would have assumed they’d mistaken me for someone else. Just the memory of white-knuckling the bedpost with one hand and jacking myself while he thrust inside me gave me a chubby.

“Simon!”

I pointed meaningfully at my crotch then made a small production of adjusting myself in my jeans, loving the sound of his melodic laughter. I was constantly in awe of how incredibly easy it was to be with him. That smile, that laugh…this man fucking owned me. 

And just like that I was nervous again. 

I cradled my mug in both hands and leaned against the island, running through my speech one last time before blurting, “I think we should live together.”

Boom! Mic drop. I did it. 

The weight of those six little words had been killing me for weeks. Which was silly because knowing Topher, the hard part would be convincing him that I meant it. 

Sure enough, he spooned up a heap of yogurt and nodded. “Someday, we will.”

“Someday soon,” I countered.

He licked his spoon like a porn star and set it on the napkin before reaching for his coffee. “Okay. Someday soon.”

I narrowed my gaze and pointed at his breakfast. “When we do live together, I’m outlawing that combo. Yogurt doesn’t go with coffee.”

He pursed his lips in amusement. “You can’t outlaw yogurt and I’m pretty sure it’s against the law to deny anyone caffeine.”

“Hmph. Fine. You can have whatever you want.”

“Thanks.” He sipped his coffee then checked his watch. “We shouldn’t run into too much traffic on a Saturday, but we should leave in fifteen minutes so you aren’t late for your appointment with your contractor.”

Our contractor.”

He frowned in confusion and set the cup down. “Ours?”

“Yeah, I’m going to need your input. That’s why I asked you to come with me this morning,” I explained, willing him to read in between the lines.

“Okay.” He smiled sweetly as he slid off the stool, brushing my arm on his way to the coffee machine. 

All right. I obviously sucked at this. 

I raked my fingers through my hair and tried again. With emphasis. 

“Because I want us to live…together, Christopher.”

He turned slowly and cocked his head. “I don’t understand.”

“It’s simple. I want to wake up next to you every day in a house where you keep all your clothes. Not just a few pairs of boxer briefs and extra socks.”

“Are you saying you want me to move more clothes here?”

“You’re welcome to move all your shit here now if you want, but that’s not what I was talking about.”

“Oh. Well, I’m not sure what you mean, but I have roommates and a lease I can’t break. This house is lovely, but Malibu is much too far from school and work for me to commute, and the bungalow you bought in Pasadena is…well, it’s kind of awful. But you were planning on selling it right away, so—” 

“No, I’m not going to sell it. I never was going to sell it. I bought it for you! For us. I bought it because it has a really fucking beautiful tree out front and a great yard with plenty of room to plant a garden or whatever the hell you want. It’s yours, baby.”

His mouth fell open and stayed there for a long moment. He set his cup on the counter when he came to and bit his bottom lip. “You…you bought that house for me? For us?”

“Yes.” I swallowed hard. “I didn’t say anything about future plans when I bought it in November ’cause I didn’t want to freak you out. Everything was a little crazy at the time and I didn’t want you to feel stuck with me in case you decided that blip of media attention had pushed you over your limit. Living together is a commitment. I get it. The things is…I’m committed to you, Christopher. I’m in this for the long run. I want to plan a future with you.” I closed my eyes briefly and sighed. “But…I also don’t want to freak you out. So if my timing if off or if it’s too much too soon, I’m sorry I—” 

“I love you.” Topher launched himself into my arms.

Oh, wow. That would never get old. 

“I love you too. So fucking much.” I held him close, breathing him in and kissing his cheek tenderly. “So…what do you think? Do you want this?”

He flashed a watery smile and rubbed tears from his eyes. “Yes, of course I do.”

I whooped a victory cry then swept him in my arms again and spun him in circle, raining kisses all over his face before crashing my mouth over his. We broke for air and stared at each other, wearing matching dopey grins.  

“Excellent. Then we’d better go meet the contractor so you can tell him where you want the observation deck for your telescope.”

“Gosh, that would be amazing. But I have a few questions. There are a lot of practical considerations involved in cohabitation. Financial ones. I don’t have the resources you do but—” 

“Money is not an issue,” I intercepted. “Don’t worry about it. We have a lot of time to iron out any concerns that may pop up. We’re a few months away from completion.”

“I was hoping you’d say that because that house is just…terrible.”

He wasn’t exaggerating. The old bungalow was a major fixer upper with decent bones on a quiet treelined street in Old Town Pasadena. Anyone else might have razed it and started from scratch, but I loved the process of bringing something old back to life. 

I made a yikes face. “I know. It really is. But when we’re done, it’s going to be special.”

He kissed my neck and grinned. “I believe you. Is this why you were agitated?”

I winced. “I don’t know if agitated is the right word. Nervous as fuck works though.”

“That’s not necessary. I’d follow you anywhere, Simon.”

And just like that I felt like a ten-foot tall indestructible, undefeatable, conquering hero with superhuman strength. The smartest man on the planet loved me. Me. That was crazy and amazing. But it was also the greatest gift I’d ever known. I’d do whatever it took to make him happy. 

“Would you follow me to the moon?” I whispered, kissing his ear.

“Yes, however, I don’t think you’d really want to live there. The lunar landscape isn’t hospitable. There’s no atmosphere, no weather, no oceans. The surface is in a perpetual vacuum.”

I adjusted his glasses then laced my fingers with his and tugged. “That doesn’t sound like fun. Follow me to the shower instead. I probably have dried cum on my back. I should do something about that before I go out in public.”

“Ew. Gross.”

“I know, right? Hey, if the moon is out, I vote for Mars.”

“Mars would be worse. Did you know the average temperature is well below freezing? The planet is covered with dust and…”

Here’s the deal, folks…I highly recommend finding someone who makes you smile when they speak a language you’ll never understand. Someone who accepts your limitations and celebrates your strengths. Someone who looks at you like you’re a winning lottery ticket, a newfound star system, and a hundred pounds of the finest chocolate—all at once.

But you can’t have Topher. He’s mine. 

Part 2- 

Moving Day- To be continued…

Published by lanehayes

I'm a M/M author, an avid reader, chocolate and red wine lover and a designer too

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