Cover Reveal: The Realist by Riley Hart
The Realist | Riley Hart
The Vers Podcast #3
Release Date: May 17th, 2023
Cover Design: Cate Ashwood Designs
Photographer: Kevin D. Hoover
To listeners of The Vers, a queer podcast I host with my three best friends, I’m known as The Realist—I accept life the way it is, believe in honesty over sugarcoating, and okay, I can maybe be a little bossy.
If you asked The Vers guys, they’d tell you I’m a caretaker who’s always thinking of others, but they also give over-the-top hugs and don’t believe me when I say feelings are the worst.
It’s why I have no business offering Kai Lewis a place to stay when he’s in need. He’s a flirt who makes no secret about wanting in my bed…somewhere I’d like to have him if he wasn’t the employee of one of my closest friends. But, he’s too trusting and leaps before he thinks, so at least he won’t get taken advantage of if he’s with me.
Now he’s always around, wearing shorts that leave nothing to the imagination and saying he wants to take care of me because I’m always doing it for others. It’s not long before I can’t resist him—a man who likes listening in the bedroom but is stubborn in other situations.
Kai is sweet and funny. He gets me to open up to him. Maybe this whole relationship thing wouldn’t be so bad…if he wasn’t nine years younger…and leaving Southern California soon…or if I had any idea what I was doing.
The Realist is an age-gap, forced proximity romance with a bossy realist and a sunshiny flirt who has Marcus wrapped around his finger.
“Be good,” he said again.
“Why do I have a feeling you’re going to be telling me that a lot?”
“Because you’re smart.”
“Or because we both like it.”
Marcus moaned, this deep growly sound that made my cock throb. “Stop tempting me.”
“You’re easily temptable,” I countered. “Is that a word? If it’s not, it is now.” I enjoyed this back-and-forth between us. Marcus did too. If I didn’t think so, I would have stopped doing it ages ago.
“Do you need my help in here?” he asked. “If not, I’m gonna get some things done.”
“Scaredy-cat,” I teased.
“I’m not scared. What would I be scared of?”
I felt entirely too proud of myself for getting to him this way because there was no doubt in my mind that’s what was going on. “Me. You know, since you want me so much.”
“I don’t want you that much.”
“Then why are you running from me?”
Amusement danced in Marcus’s brown eyes. Did anyone work to get under his skin the way I did? For some reason, I didn’t think so. Maybe the podcast guys, but that was in a different way from what I was doing.
“I’m not running from—why in the fuck do I argue with you? I know what you’re doing.”
I laughed. Fuck, he was fun. “I’m not doing anything other than letting you know when you’re being sus.”
“I’m not—goddamn it.” He bit his cheeks in an obvious way to keep from smiling. “I can be around you. I’m not trying to escape you for any reason other than you’re an annoying little shit and I’m actually going to research fish-tank moving companies for you.”
Oh…well, damn. That was sweet. He came off so gruff sometimes, like he didn’t care about anything, but I couldn’t help wondering if there was a sweeter man in the world than Marcus Alston. Fine and caring? There had to be a mistake. He had to have some big-ass flaw I hadn’t seen yet.
I stepped closer, didn’t stop until I was looking up at him from inches away, the two of us breathing the same air. “You’re a teddy bear, Marcus.”
“You’re easily fooled.”
I put a hand on his stomach, felt the tight muscles beneath his shirt, wished I could see him naked, all that beautiful brown skin on display for me to kiss and taste and savor. “Nope. I don’t think so.” I fisted my hand in his tee, making it rise some. The bulge behind the fly of his jeans was obvious. Damned if I wasn’t hard too. I loved flirting, hooking up, having fun, but something about flirting with Marcus felt new and exciting. I’d never wanted anyone the way I wanted him. “You’re sweet, and I think I’m gonna remind you of that as much as possible…until you believe it.”
Marcus moved forward, backing me up until I hit the wall. He was breathing heavily, hot puffs against my face. He pressed his body against mine, hand moving up to my throat and holding it. Not tight, not restricting my airflow, but just there. He dropped his head forward, his mouth close to my ear, and goddamn it, he’d gotten the upper hand too fucking quickly. “Be careful, baby boy.”
A wave of pleasure rolled down through my torso before landing in my groin. That was really fucking hot, and now I’d lost my train of thought. What had I even planned to say to him?
“Mmm…I felt that tremble. You want me, want this.” He pumped his hips, making his cock rub against me.
“No shit,” fell from my lips. I reached for him, but Marcus shook his head.
“Tsk, tsk. I didn’t say you could touch.” The motherfucker grinned because he knew he’d won. He let go of me and stepped away.
My whole body thrummed with want for him. “What! That’s it?”
His smile turned into a deep, rumbly laugh. “I can tease and play the game too, and I promise you, I always win. Now, can I go find a mover for you, or are you still trying to play in the big leagues?”
Start the Series
The Vers Podcast #1
The Vers Podcast #2
About The Author
Riley Hart’s love of all things romance shines brightly in everything she writes. Her primary focus is Male/Male romance but under various pen names, her prose has touched practically every part of the spectrum of love and relationships. The common theme that ties them all together is stories told from the heart.
A hopeless romantic herself, Riley is a lover of character-driven plots, many with flawed and relatable characters. She strives to create stories that readers can not only fall in love with, but also see themselves in. Real characters and real love blended together equal the ultimate Riley Hart experience.
When Riley isn’t creating her next story, you can find her reading, traveling, or dreaming about reading or traveling, and spending time with her two perfectly snarky kids, and one swoon-inducing husband.
Riley Hart is represented by Jane Dystel at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret Literary Management. She’s a 2019 Lambda Literary Award Finalist for Of Sunlight and Stardust.
Facebook Author Page: https://bit.ly/3VmF8Tl
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Bookbub Page: https://bit.ly/3PT6kYK
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