Sebastian St. George is recently divorced and figuring out what is next for his life. He knew getting married was a bad idea, but Sebastian was looking for something to bring him some happiness and some purpose. Sebastian is wealthy and aimless, drinking too much and kind of a mess. He is at a loss for how to go forward, especially as he sees his best friend Callahan finding so much happiness with his new boyfriend, Jace. One good thing that came out of Sebastian’s marriage, however, is that it opened Sebastian’s eyes to the fact that he is not altogether straight.
Remington has somehow made it to almost thirty and is still a virgin. Not that he isn’t interested in sex, but he feels like the chance passed him by and now it is just awkward. It doesn’t help that Remington has some very specific tastes, but who is going to want a Dom who not only has zero kink experience, but no experience with sex at all?
Given that their best friends are dating, Sebastian and Remington end up spending time together, despite the fact that they don’t completely like each other. But when Remington finds himself looking after a drunken Sebastian one day, the men find a spark and a connection. Remington finds he enjoys taking care of Sebastian, guiding him and helping him gets some focus in his life. And Sebastian very much enjoys Remington’s direction. He is a little wary about just how much he likes it, but Sebastian can’t deny having Remington tell him what to do makes him crazy with want.
Exploring this connection isn’t easy. Remington has never had sex, been in a relationship, or been a Dom. Sebastian is exploring being with men for the first time, learning his own way around kink, and still figuring out his life. Both men can’t help but worry that they are ultimately not going to be enough for one another. But if Remington and Sebastian can get out of their heads and follow their hearts, they just might find they are perfect together.
A Cold Hard Truth is the second book in Kate Hawthorne’s Real Good Lie series. This story follows A Real Good Lie, Jace and Callahan’s book, and the men are Remington and Sebastian’s best friends respectively. So while this story mostly stands alone from a plot perspective, the couples are major side characters in each other’s books and some story elements carry over between the books.
This turned out to be one of my favorite Kate Hawthorne books, in part because I totally loved how she developed these characters. The set up here is my total catnip, as I love stories that feature “first experiences” of all sorts. In this case, we have a virgin hero, a bisexual experiencing sex with a man for the first time, and two people who are new to a Dom/sub type dynamic trying to figure it out together. Sebastian and Remington are just so freaking adorable and delicious together, both wanting each other and this dynamic, but not quite sure how to get from here to there. The men are honest about what they want, however, which helps them get themselves at least moving in the right direction. But it takes them a bit to get sorted and I loved every slightly awkward minute of it.
Sebastian and Remington are both kind of in conflict between their heads and hearts (and groins), in that when they just let themselves feel and act, they are so good together. They connect with one another so perfectly and it is a joy to watch them find that moment where they realize they have exactly what they want right there in front of them. But their heads get in the way, as Remington wonders how he can really guide Sebastian when he is so new to it all himself, and Sebastian doubts his own worth as a partner for Remington. It is only when a personal crisis hits that the guys realize that they know exactly how to be what the other needs.
As I said, we get lots of time with Jace and Callahan here as side characters, and I continue to love Jace, who is sort of a combination listening ear and kick in the pants for these guys. I particularly love Jace and Remington’s friendship and how well these two very different guys fit with one another. We also spend some time with Sebastian’s brother, Rhys, and if you had asked me after the last book, right through the halfway point of this one, if he could be redeemed, I would have said no way. Yet Hawthorne manages some well-placed moments where we get to see Rhys in a new light, and suddenly I can’t wait for his story, which is coming next.
Overall, I really loved this one. Hawthorne does a wonderful job with these characters, and I loved watching these men really explore themselves and then figure out how to be together. This is a great contemporary series and definitely worth checking out.