Book Review: The Loner by Riley Hart

The Loner

Author: Riley Hart
Series: The Vers Podcast, book 1
Publisher: Independent (January 23, 2023)
Kindle edition, 257 pages
Romance, Adult Contemporary M/M Romance


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.

Despite our differences, Sebastian’s lonely, like me. The more we hang out, the more I realize I’ll never get enough of him.

A loner dating a celebrity doesn’t make much sense. I don’t know how to be someone’s boyfriend, let alone be in the public eye. But to call him mine, I’ll need to leave the past behind and finally allow myself to move forward with him.

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.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I tagged The Loner as a friends to lovers romance, but it’s really more hookup to friends to lovers, haha.

Declan is considered “The Loner” in his friend group of four who have a podcast together – the others being Parker (The Romantic), Marcus (The Realist), and Corban (The Charmer). I love this group of guys, they play so well off each other – if witty banter is your thing, this series is for you! That being said, the real draw for me here was Sebastian Cole. When Sebastian and Declan first meet, Sebastian is just getting started with his career as an action movie star, and while he rockets to stardom he keeps coming back sporadically over the years for quick hook-ups with Declan. His journey from closeted action hero to being out just so long as he is the “right kind of gay” just breaks my heart. Now after a somewhat messy breakup, Sebastian is back in Cali and questioning his whole life. On paper he has everything he’s ever wanted, everything he’s worked for – but is he happy?

Sebastian is so lonely, and he goes back to the person he’s had the longest relationship with – Declan, whom he’s known for a decade but doesn’t really KNOW at all. Watching them come to terms with who they are and what they truly want (vs what they have spent years thinking they wanted or needed) is such a captivating journey. This story is sweet and relatively low angst, and had me grinning from ear to ear quite often.

This is the first book in The Vers Podcast series, and can be read as a standalone. Be prepared to want the rest of the group’s stories, though!!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are unbiased and my own.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.