The Vers Podcast Series – Book Four
by Riley Hart
Cover & Excerpt Reveal
Release Date: September 6, 2023
Cate Ashwood Designs
Jorge Del Rio Romero
Genre: MM Romance Standalone
Trope: Opposites attract, frenemies to cuddle buddies to lovers, size difference, no-strings-attached cuddling, found family, body positive MC
If you listen to The Vers, a queer podcast I host with my three best friends, you know me as The Charmer. I’m always happy, flirting, and trying to win everyone over. I think most people would be surprised to learn I have a lot more going on beneath the surface.
But ever since all my friends have fallen in love, it’s getting more difficult not to feel left out…
Cue my fascination with Spencer, my neighbor who hates me. There’s something addicting about getting under his skin, and I blame the combination of my confusing emotions and too many drinks for spilling my guts to him about all my insecurities…and about how much I love cuddling.
Turns out, Spencer doesn’t hate me, and my word vomit is the catalyst that makes us decide to be cuddle buddies. When I need affection, I go to him, and he just…holds me. Along the way we become friends, and when I fall for him, it’s surprising that he feels the same. Spencer’s easy to talk to, fun to be around, and did I mention he’s hot? I love how confident he is in his full figure, and there’s nothing like being in his beefy arms.
Spencer has me wanting more for the first time in my life, and he’s determined to help with my disordered eating, but if I want a healthy future with him, I need to work toward being healthy for myself too.
The Charmer is an opposites-attract romance with a body-positive MC and a cuddle fiend learning to love himself.
The Charmer deals with disordered eating, low self-esteem, and negative talk about weight. While the story is uplifting and none of these are heavy-handed, please see content warning for a full list.
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When his phone made a familiar noise, I cocked a playful brow at him. “One of your boyfriend prospects?” I asked, though it was clearly a hookup app.
“Maybe…or maybe someone who just wants to have sex with me.” He chuckled, then grabbed his phone. “Hmm. Nice hole.”
It was my turn to laugh. “You gonna go?” There was no reason why he shouldn’t. I would understand if he wanted to go get laid.
“Nah, I’m good here. Unless you’re trying to get rid of me.”
I should be. I would think I’d want to, but I didn’t. “Nope.” My food was gone now, and Corbin had eaten about three-quarters of his. After we tossed the trash and leftovers in the bag, I leaned back and put my feet up on the coffee table. “Have you considered trying other options than hookup apps if you’re really looking for a boyfriend?”
“Lots of people find partners there. Don’t knock it.”
“I’m not. It’s actually where I met DJ, my ex.”
“Interesting… Well, good to know. I actually signed up for a dating app too. I have a few messages.”
“Let’s check them out.”
Corbin took his shoes off and pulled his legs up, sitting cross-legged on my couch. “Okay…first, we have Johnson.”
“Pass,” I replied automatically.
“That’s not his real name. He’s talking about his dick.”
“Okay, Judgy McJudgerson. How do you know? I’m gonna click his message.” A second later he said, “Oh, dick pic. You were right.”
He went through a few names, telling me about the men or what they’d messaged. We laughed and joked and put some in a maybe category and some straight up no.
I couldn’t pretend I didn’t notice Corbin getting closer and closer to me. I had no doubt that if he just wanted to fuck me, he’d have no qualms about spitting it out. He was honest about shit like that, but I thought maybe the cuddle stuff was different for him. Last night went well, and he joked around and called me CB, but I had a feeling he wanted it today and didn’t know how to ask.
“Come here,” I told him, surprising myself. But what was the point in continuing to feel that way when it was obvious Corbin regularly made me act in ways I couldn’t explain?
“Actually, I think I need a shower.”
“Why? I don’t give a shit about that. Hell, I’ll probably like it.”
When I held my arm out, putting it on the back of the couch, Corbin tucked himself right in. I lowered my hand to his shoulder, then his arm, massaging it and holding him close. He put a leg over one of mine, burrowed in deeper, to my chest, keeping his phone in his hand.
“Who’s the next guy?” I asked. Because what Corbin and I were doing wasn’t about being boyfriends or even having sex. It was about…companionship, about this man who was known as The Charmer, who could get anyone to fall in love with him and had a great group of friends, yet I thought he felt very alone. He needed someone outside The Vers guys, someone who just wanted to be his friend and who didn’t expect anything else from him. Who enjoyed his company not because he was sexy and charming, but because he was him.
“Hmm. This one doesn’t sound too bad. His name is Christopher. He’s thirty-five. He works in tech and loves the gym and working on his body.”
Well, I wasn’t sure that was the healthiest thing for Corbin, but for now I kept it to myself.
“He says he’s done the hookup thing all his life, never had a real relationship, and now he’s feeling like he’s missing out, so basically he’s me.”
“You should message him,” I said seriously.
“Maybe I will,” Corbin replied, but then closed the app. “I’m tired.”
He turned toward me, wrapping his arm around me, face in my neck, breathing me in.
My dick was definitely getting a little excited as blood began rushing toward my groin. “Do you want to stay?” I mean, we were cuddle buddies and all. Jesus Christ, I couldn’t believe I’d even thought that.
“If you insist,” he replied with a chuckle.
“I need to take a shower.”
“Me too. I’ll go home and take one and come back?”
This was…so fucking weird. What the hell were we doing?
Still, we got up, gathered the dinner trash, and threw it all away. I told Corbin I’d leave the door unlocked, and he headed next door to his apartment. The first thing I did in the shower was jerk off, hoping that would keep me from getting hard the second he was in my bed again.
I washed up, then tugged on a pair of boxer briefs, just as I heard the door open and him say, “You ready, CB?”
“Yep.” I made my way back into the living room. Corbin had on shorts and a tee, his hair wet like mine. He locked the door, and I turned off the lights, like we were a fucking couple or something. When we got to my room, he stripped down to his underwear while I did my best not to stare.
His body was so different from mine—hard where I was soft, six-pack abs while mine were beneath some pudge. His hip bones poked out a bit too much for my comfort, though.
“I brought my charger.” Corbin plugged his phone in and set it on the nightstand on the side of the bed where he would sleep. Each of us set our alarms, I hit the lights, and we climbed into bed together.
“I like the smell of your soap.” He nuzzled his face into my armpit, which was really fucking hot. If it were about sex, I’d expect him to stick his tongue out and lick it. “And I like the way you feel…soft and warm. Comfortable.”
“I like the way you feel too,” I admitted. What was the point in lying?
“Cuddle buddies are the best.”
I chuckled. “Shut up and go to bed, Corbin. We have to get up early for work.”
“Yes, CB,” he replied playfully, threw his leg over my body, and did just as I said.
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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.
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