Marcus isn’t ready for Kai but I was so ready for their romance!

The Realist EbookThe Realist by Riley Hart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved a lot of this book. Both Kai and Marcus are wonderfully crafted characters with very distinct voices and I adored how their relationship developed.

One thing I wasn’t as keen on, and it’s definitely a me thing and not a fault with the storytelling, is the light kink type of dirty talk which Marcus uses with Kai. I’m not a big fan of the baby boy trope personally but it absolutely works for this couple.

Kai sees Marcus, he sees through his compulsion to take care of other people to the truth beneath – that Marcus needs to feel needed. He gets emotional satisfaction from other people being able to rely on him, as it’s something he’s never had himself.

Marcus is a Dad rather than a Daddy per se in that he is the serious one, he’s the realist, the one who weighs up the odds and looks for the eventual outcomes in any situation. He’s never been in love or had a relationship because he doesn’t see the point. His parents’ marriage is undemonstrative, workaholic, and they’re constantly cancelling on him for family lunches.

He doesn’t see himself as relationship material, although he’s delighted that both Declan and Parker have found their other halves.

Kai challenges him on all fronts. He’s not afraid of telling Marcus he wants him, Kai’s also a nurturer but his love language takes the form of cooking for Marcus, helping him to unwind and destress simply by not allowing him to sit and dwell on things.

He believes he’s too much, that his personality is too big to let someone fall for him but I have to say here is another part where I didn’t really get that from the narrative. We don’t ever really see Kai being extra, we’re just told it. Personally I found him to be an absolute sweetheart with a soft heart and a delightfully flirty personality.

Overall though, Riley gives the reader a beautiful slow burn, in terms of the romantic love aspect, relationship which is flaming hot and busting with chemistry even while both men are claiming they’re only hooking up.

It’s clear to see that it’s more than that right from the start, if only they’d admit it to themselves!

Also I love how Riley writes people of colour and centres them firmly in her worlds without making their ethnicity be the only plot point.

One of the parts where this book, and the series as a whole, really shines though is in the friendship between the four members of The Vers Podcast. Riley allows the reader to see the beautiful relationships they all have individually and as a group.

Marcus’ and Corbin’s relationship is really special, there’s nothing sexual in it and I love that Riley’s written about a bunch of friends who love each other platonically with no pining or misguided feelings etc. They would do anything for each other and it’s rooted in their solid experiences growing up and in their knowledge that the others have their back always.

It’s one of the story threads throughout each book which stands out and here is no exception. I love Corbin’s troubled soul and I cannot wait for him to find the person who sees past his anxieties and insecurities to the beautiful man he is.

#ARC kindly received from the author via Foreward PR.

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