Exclusive Excerpt from His Truth
by Riley Hart
”They ate in silence for a few minutes. Then Leo asked, “Where did you go to college?”
“UCLA,”Roman replied. “It was the first time in my life I ever felt like I was free; the crazy part is I wasn’t. I might have been free from my dad and Anthony, but I was still behind bars I didn’t realize were there.”
It was hard for Leo to make sense of that. Yes, he understood the mind was a complex thing. Roman had been through a life-altering experience. But to think that he somehow blocked out how he felt, or somehow made himself believe it wasn’t real, was sometimes hard to believe. It wasn’t that he doubted it; he just didn’t understand it, and damned if it didn’t break his heart. He couldn’t imagine living that way.
“You’re frowning at me,”Roman said, making Leo realize he was.
“I’m sorry.”He should have known something was wrong back then. He should have fought harder. Told someone—something, anything.
“You have nothing to be sorry for.”Roman reached over and grabbed another piece of crostoli. “Here, eat this one. It has the most sugar on it. I remember you used to be a sugar fanatic. You kept candy with you all the time—Starburst, I think. The first time I kissed you, you tasted like strawberry Starburst.”
That made Leo laugh. He hadn’t thought about that in years. He did use to keep candy with him all the time.
He took the pastry from Roman. “I did. I remember when you stole them from me. We were in my room, and you wouldn’t let me have them.”
“You got them eventually,”Roman said with a smile. It hit Leo in the chest, nearly stole his breath because he recognized the joy in that smile. It reminded him of how Roman would sometimes look at him when they were kids.
“I did,”Leo remembered. “All I had to do was kiss you, and you forgot all about the candy. Then I got to make my move and pull them out from under the pillow you were lying on.”
They laughed the way they used to, in those moments where they hid away from the world and could pretend things were different for them. It was carefree, innocent, untouched by what the future would hold for them, but hopeful.
“Are you going to eat it?”Roman asked when they settled down.
“I am.”Leo took a bite, licked sugar from his lips, and it was almost as though they were those naive kids again. It was almost as though no time or distance had passed between them.
About His Truth
They were only kids when they met for the first time. Leo Mancini was the son of a judge. Roman Cipriani the son of a criminal. So different, yet as they shared stolen kisses and secret moments, they fell in love. One day they would run away together, have the future they deserved, because no one loved Leo like Roman did, or Roman like Leo did. But before they could make their dreams come true, their future was viciously stolen and their lives changed forever.
Roman has spent the last twelve years repressing the trauma in his past, trying to pretend it didn’t exist, until even he believed his own lies.
Leo won’t let himself forget what happened because he doesn’t ever want to be that person again. He won’t become the man his father wanted him to be or the guy who gets hurt when he lets someone in.
But in that split second when their eyes meet again, everything changes. Despite Leo’s anger and Roman’s denial, the connection they shared as teens is still there, too powerful to deny. Now, when their moments don’t have to be stolen, they cling to what they’ve always craved—each other.
Roman and Leo aren’t kids anymore, though—they can’t lock themselves away from the world and pretend nothing exists but each other. A trauma like Roman suffered doesn’t just go away, but now that Roman accepts his truth, can the two of them escape their demons before they destroy Roman and Leo a second time?
Available at: Amazon
About Riley Hart
Riley Hart is the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s a hopeless romantic, a lover of sexy stories, passionate men, and writing about all the trouble they can get into together.
She loves reading, flawed characters, and hanging out with her husband and children, who she adores. She and her family live in Southern California, soaking up the sunshine while also missing seasons. Not a day goes by that she isn’t thankful she gets to wake up and do what she loves.
Life is good. Riley also writes young adult and new adult under the name Nyrae Dawn.