The Loner (The Vers Podcast #1) Read Online Riley Hart

Categories Genre: M-M Romance, Romance Tags Authors: Series: The Vers Podcast Series by Riley Hart

Total pages in book: 84
Estimated words: 80635 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 403(@200wpm)___ 323(@250wpm)___ 269(@300wpm)

As a founding member of The Vers, a queer podcast I host with my three best friends, I’m The Loner—quieter than the others, and except for them, I don’t let myself get too close to people. Most of them just let you down anyway, or maybe it’s just that something about me chases people away.

Infrequent, no-strings-attached hookups have always worked for me. Who knew my favorite one would become such a popular movie star? But Sebastian Cole and I made it work, meeting up whenever he was in Santa Monica and in the mood—until he called it off when he got a serious boyfriend. A boyfriend he later found in bed with another man.

Now Sebastian is back in California, taking a break from acting. He needs a friend, and for whatever reason, he decides that should be me. We’ve known each other intimately for years, and yet we’ve never spent much time together with our clothes on. When he starts taking me places, it feels suspiciously like dates…and surprisingly, I like it.

The Loner is an opposites attract romance about a movie star rethinking his career and a bar owner/podcast host who isn’t fond of most people. Expect Southern California sun, swoon, found family and once-in-a-lifetime friendships.

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Ten Years Ago

It had been a long-ass night. For the last two hours, the bar had been slow as hell. It was a Monday, but there was still no reason it should be this dead.

A guy lingered about ten feet away from me, finishing his beer while I arranged things behind the bar. A few people sat at the tables along the far wall. The biggest crowd was a group of four the other bartender had been speaking to for thirty minutes. Not that it mattered because again, it was slow as shit and we didn’t have much to do, which was why I’d taken to organizing the liquor before wiping down the counter that didn’t really need it.

Jesus, what I could do with a place like this if it was my own…

That was a stupid thing to think because I lived in a beach town in Southern California. I’d never be able to own a business of my own, but if I did, I sure as shit would do it better than my boss now. Despite being in Santa Monica, we were a low-revenue bar, and he had other businesses that pulled in more cash. He was the kind of guy who didn’t have loyalty to any one thing—just did whatever he could to fill his pockets, with the least amount of work. And since this place took effort, he didn’t give a fuck.

“Can I get another?” the guy who’d been nursing his beer asked.

“Yep.” I’d gotten the job here when I’d turned twenty-one and had spent the last two years falling in love with bartending. I couldn’t say why really. I was known as a bit of a loner. If it wasn’t for my three best friends, Parker, Marcus, and Corbin, I wouldn’t have real connections with anyone. I didn’t like most people, so a career in customer service wasn’t a wise decision, but for whatever reason, it worked for me.

I filled his mug, handed it over, and took his payment just as I heard the squeal of the door that needed work. I looked up to see familiar, chocolate-brown hair, which I wouldn’t quite call curly, but it looked a little more than wavy to me. It wasn’t messy the way my mop always was, but like each of his hairs always did exactly what he wanted them to. I knew his eyes were a light brown, like watered-down whiskey, only prettier than that. His lashes were thick and long, giving his stare a hooded appearance. Obviously, I kept looking at him because he was sexy as hell. I didn’t know who he was, but he’d come in four Mondays in a row now. He sat at the far end of the counter and smiled when he looked up and his gaze met mine. His cheeks immediately flushed a bright pink.

Jesus, this fucking guy. He almost made me grin too. Almost. I schooled my features. It wasn’t often that I was swayed by a pretty face, but something about him grabbed my attention.

I was fairly certain the guy was closeted. He’d never hit on me, but the desire in his eyes was hot enough to singe the hairs on my arms. I felt him watching me every time he came in. When I’d talk to him, he’d blush and stammer, but he was always polite, the shy, perfect boy next door.

If he was looking to hook up, it didn’t make much sense for him to come here because this was a straight bar. On the other hand, I didn’t hide the fact that I was gay, so maybe he’d randomly stumbled in here the first night and kept coming because he knew I was safe, that he could look his fill and I wouldn’t say a word.

“Rum and Coke?” It was what he drank every time, and one or two, never more.


I picked up a glass, tossed it in the air, watched as it flipped over and over and over, then caught it, set it down, and poured the rum. I twisted the bottle, then set it down, knowing he was watching.

It was fucking stupid to feel like I had to show off for this guy. I didn’t know what came over me other than the fact that I really didn’t hook up that often—just a random guy here and there from an app, someone who wanted to fuck and move on without talking much—and he had the prettiest mouth with the fullest lips that I couldn’t stop imagining around my cock.

I could also tell how much he wanted me, and I couldn’t lie, that felt damn good. I wondered if he’d noticed it was mutual, that I craved spending a night with him too—and that was slightly more nerve-racking. I slid the glass over to him. “This is four in a row.” I leaned over, arms resting against the bar top. What the fuck was I doing? I didn’t flirt, but I was with him.