Published by Pinkerton Road, Nov 9, 2016
Blog Posts & Reviews:
My Desktop Post — of images that inspired the story
5 stars – Love Byte Reviews — “I’m not exaggerating when I tell you this is one of my favorite reads for 2016. I had just finished another book that was a huge let down, and even though it was 10PM, I decided to start this one. I read until I couldn’t stay awake, and was back up at 4:30AM (really 5:30…damn time change) and read it straight through to the end. Did I mention the teary eyes? I very highly recommend it.”
5 stars – My Fiction Nook — “I loved this story. It will stay with me for a long time.”
4 stars – Books Laid Bare Boys — “Eli Easton has produced a well written, beautifully descriptive romance novel about two sexy men looking for love that kept me captivated from start to finish.
4 stars – Making it Happen blog — “Falling Down is the first Eli Easton book I’ve read, and I find that now after reading it I want to move all of the author’s books up to the top of my TBR list.”
4 stars – Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews – “Falling Down is a wonderful read. I love how this book was so much more than a simple love story. It was about to men finding their way, not only to love but also finding their way to a better life for themselves. It’s about embracing life beyond one’s circumstances. Highly recommended.”
5 stars – Gay Book Reviews (Lili) – “Falling Down by Eli Easton is a gorgeous melancholy story of hope and love. ”
4 stars – Gay Book Reviews (Belen) – “…through it all there is a current of hope that flows strongly and makes this a wonderful story.”
4.5 stars Man2mantastic Blog — “I liked how descriptive this book is about the scenery around them, the trees, the ponds, the houses. I can practically smell fall through the book.”
5 stars – Bike Book Reviews — “I fell in love with both Mark and Josh and cheered for them, while I cried, as they learned to rely on each other and move through the changes in their lives.”
4 star – Oh My Shelves blog — “I truly love Eli’s writing. Her stories, and characters just work for me. I love the realistic feeling I get when reading her books. I can’t wait for her next release. This one is highly recommended with a box of Kleenex on the side.”
4.5 stars – The Geekery Book Review — “Eli Easton has done an amazing job with Falling Down, powerful and touching, a story about hope and love and what is important in this life! Absolutely amazing!”
V’s reads –– “There are some extremely tense moments, and I freely admit I started to cry in the climax. That’s a good sign for me, it shows how deeply I connected with the story–which I felt was fantastic. … The happy ending was realistic, and filled with joy. Highly recommend.”
5 stars – Alpha Book Club – “Very rarely do I wish I could give a book 6 stars, but if I could, this would definitely be one of them. Despite the dark and depressing parts of this book, the payout was so worth it. This is a must-read for 2016 and I highly recommend it to all M/M readers!”
5 stars Joyfully Jay — “It’s the perfect story of healing and redemption. Smoothly written, with detailed scenery, and three dimensional characters who steal, rip apart, and reassemble your heart.”
4.75 stars – Prism Book Alliance – “This is a slow burn romance intertwined with first pain, then grief and lastly growth. It’s a powerful story with an equally powerful message and some very poignant parts – the message in the snow will break your heart. I highly recommend Eli’s Falling Down.”
5 stars Boy Meets Boy Review – “Falling Down is an emotionally charged romance that is both beautiful and heartbreaking.”
Review on Book Unfunk blog – “I almost want to categorize this as YA but it’s not really…it toes the line though. Coming of age, coming out or simply coming alive…it’s magnificent to witness. It’s hard. It’s beautiful. And it’s so very much worth it. If you’re an angst addict as I am, you won’t want to miss this one.”
Keysmash blog –– “OH GOD OH GOD Y’ALL. Get ready to fall so in love with a character so hard your heart will shatter into a million tiny pieces.”
The Way She Reads blog — “This book just grabbed my heart and ran with it.”
Boy Meets Boy Review – Eli discusses the book
Josh finds himself homeless at eighteen, but he has a plan. He’ll head north on the bus to New England and spend October there for his mother’s sake. She always talked about going to see the fall leaves someday. And when the leaves are done and the harsh winter comes, Josh plans to find a place to curl up and let go. It will be a relief to finally stop fighting.
Mark spent his life trying to live up to the tough swagger of his older brothers until he pushed himself so far against his nature that he cracked. Now a former Marine, he rents a little cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where he can lick his wounds and figure out what to do with the rest of his life. One thing was clear: Mark was nobody’s hero.
Fate intervenes when Josh sets up camp under a covered bridge near Mark’s cabin. Mark recognizes the dead look in the young stranger’s eyes, and he feels compelled to do something about it. When Mark offers Josh a job, he never expects that he’ll be the one to fall.
The snow is coming soon. Can Mark convince Josh that the two of them can build a life together before the flurries begin?
Trigger Warning: Suicidal thoughts
Orange leaves danced in the breeze outside the train station in Birmingham, Alabama. Josh stared out the window at the silent spectacle. The tree wasn’t very big, and it was planted in a small circle cut out of the cement sidewalk. It was a rather ignominious place for a tree, a stingy little cache of dirt. But there it stood, its foliage still green at the base but a brilliant orange at the tips. It looked like the leaves were blushing.
The leaves penetrated through Josh’s blank stare and general haze of disinterest.
“Look, Joshie.” His mom was suddenly there beside him, a slight smile on her lips. “Fall leaves. Aren’t they the prettiest thing?”
Josh blinked and shook his head. The space beside him was, of course, entirely empty.
What day was it anyway? Time had lost its meaning since he’d left home. The days of the week used to be a big deal. Dreaded Mondays, back to school. Wednesdays, midweek blahs. Fridays, halle-fucking-lujah. Saturdays and Sundays were treasured and usually wasted and slipped by way too fast. Now the days blurred into one another like watercolors in the rain.
He glanced at a newspaper someone had left on the top of a nearby trash bin. Saturday, October 1st.
Daniel walked up to him with his usual nervous energy. “Hey. We can get to Tampa for thirty-nine bucks.” His tone was both eager and bitter. Daniel hated spending money and felt the entire world was one big conspiracy formed solely to rob him of the small trickles of coins and bills he got working odd jobs or begging on the street. That was a point of view Josh couldn’t really argue with.
Josh didn’t respond. He looked at the tree. He could feel the glass of the window under his palm, but the sensation was remote, like Daniel. The only thing that seemed real was that single tree with orange on its leaves.
Someday, you and me are going to New England in October to see the fall leaves. Look here. Aren’t they the most gorgeous things you ever saw?
His mom had shown him pictures on the computer. The photos were too beautiful to be real. There were narrow country roads passing through forests of tall, thin trees in brilliant shades of garnet and marigold. There were deep indigo ponds edged in fire. There were green mountains mounded like sleeping giants and dotted with swatches of paint.
He remembered his mom’s fond smile. Look at that scenery, Josh. That right there is an embarrassment of riches.
His own favorite photo was of a man sitting on the porch of a log cabin, sipping a mug of coffee. The steam rose from the mug into the misty morning air, and beyond the porch had been a blanket of red on the ground and a host of magical trees.
What would it be like to sit on your porch and see that? Even for just one day? Even for just one perfect hour? Alabama didn’t have trees like that. We’ll go, just the two of us. Maybe next fall. She’d said that every year. Well, every year except this one.
“Josh,” Daniel insisted. “Dude. Tickets for Tampa. We’d better get in line. The train leaves in half an hour. You’ve got enough money, don’t you?”
“I’m not going to Tampa,” Josh said. He didn’t know he was going to say it until the saying was done, but it felt right. The seeds of an idea were forming in his mind. More than seeds. A conviction. For the first time since he’d run away from home three months ago, he knew where he was going.
“Whaddya mean? We said we were going to Florida. That’s what we said,” Daniel complained.
Well, Daniel had said that yesterday, and Josh had felt too apathetic to argue, so he’d let Daniel drag him to the train station. But things were different now.
Josh looked down at his shoes, not wanting to meet Daniel’s eyes. “Sorry. I changed my mind. I’m going north.”
“North? North where?”
Josh shrugged. “Massachusetts. Vermont. Someplace like that.”
“But it’s going to be winter soon! We said we’d go to Florida. You can live on the beaches down there. And maybe we can pick up some work at fast food places and shit. You don’t wanna be homeless in fucking Vermont in the winter, dude.”
The warning stirred the ideas that were gaining hold in Josh’s brain. October. Fall leaves in New England. Summer’s sweet good-bye. The earth going into hibernation. And then?
Winter. Snow. An image of a thick blanket of snow in the woods came to him, maybe next to a lake. That would be a good place. He could curl up in a snowbank and… let go. It wouldn’t hurt much probably. And it was a beautiful image—tragic and peaceful with the muffled fall of snow covering him like a blanket. It felt right.
“Josh?” Daniel prompted in a worried voice.
Josh blinked. He picked up his duffel bag and slung it over his shoulder. The rank odor of it cut through his thoughts. The bag contained his last earthly possessions and the last of his mother too. It had once been a nice bag, gray with a red Nike swoosh, but a few months of living on the streets had given it a patina of dirt and it smelled like seriously rank laundry. It would fit neatly in a garbage bin and no one would ever miss it.
“Sorry,” Josh mumbled. “I promised my mom. So… guess we split here. I hope you find a job down in Tampa.”
“Your mom?” Daniel sounded so confused. Josh risked a look at him. It was a mistake, because he saw the pleading, fearful look in Daniel’s eyes, and it made Josh feel like crap.
He’d only met Daniel a week ago, but the kid—Daniel was only sixteen, so Josh could call him a kid—was homeless too. He’d latched onto Josh with badly-hidden desperation. For a moment Josh second-guessed his decision. Daniel had unfortunately bright red hair, a fuckton of freckles, and braces. Josh worried about those braces. Didn’t they have to be tightened or something? And eventually, they’d have to come off, right? But Daniel had left his dentist and dental insurance far behind when he’d run away from home. What was going to happen to Daniel’s braces?
Josh would never know now. He felt guilty leaving Daniel, but it was a momentary twinge. He wasn’t Daniel’s big brother. And Daniel didn’t know him, didn’t care about him, not really. Daniel just wanted company, anyone’s company. The apathy Josh wore like a shroud crept back in, numbing his heart. Daniel would be okay. In fact, he’d be better off without Josh. Most people were.
And there were fall leaves in New England.
“I’m sorry, but I gotta go. Good luck,” Josh mumbled. On impulse, he gave Daniel a hug.
Daniel clung on for an uncomfortable moment. His fingers dug into Josh’s shoulders as if they were pins trying to nail a butterfly’s wings to a display card. “Promise me you’ll be okay, Josh. Promise you won’t do anything stupid.” Daniel’s words were muffled against Josh’s shoulder. They were so quiet they could barely be heard over the hum of the train station.
Josh pulled away. “Don’t worry about me. I’m golden.” He forced the ends of his lips upward.
“Promise, you bastard,” Daniel said in a fierce whisper.
“Take care, Daniel. Be safe.” Josh gave a little salute, and walked away.