Cover Image: The Truth of Loving You

The Truth of Loving You

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

please note that the trigger warnings and topes/themes may contain spoilers
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
HEA: yes
spice: several hot open-door spicy scenes
TWs: death of a spouse (recounted), death of a family member (recounted), alcoholism, manipulative family dynamics, death of a child (recounted), parental abandonment, mental health (on page panic attacks)
standalone: book 1 in Unframed Art series
final thoughts: this book was so hot and I loved both MCs. It’s an insta-lust, fast paced bi (maybe)-awakening story with lots of BDSM and kink exploration. It was interesting to see the couple explore the world of kink, make rules and break them, and try not to fall in love along the way. I cried my way through most of this book since their HEA was a long and winding road but wow there was so much character growth. A wonderful debut novel- I can’t wait to read the rest of the Unframed Art series!!

read this book if you love

😬 angst
😳 forbidden lovers (employee/boss’s son)
🌈 LGBT+ representation
👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 found family
🔢 age gap (24/38)
🤫 hidden secrets
🔀 opposites attract
🥰 nicknames

Was this review helpful?

The relationship, both romantically and the D/S element were beautifully built. I especially appreciate that both characters needed to learn about D/S and took the time to do so, rather than portraying them as naturally perfect at that element of their relationship. Secondly I enjoyed that while both characters built their relationship with each other there was a mutual understanding that Paxton would always be a large and important part of Cole's life but that that did not diminish the relationship with and love he had for Shane.

Was this review helpful?

I absolutely devoured this one. It was freaking PERFECTION. 10/10. This was just so so good. I couldn’t get enough of it and wanted a thousand more pages of this.

Was this review helpful?

Honestly, I was a bit surprised how likeable the two main characters were. There were triggers of death in the past.
It was a good romance between two great guys. I really enjoyed spending my time with Shane and Cole

Was this review helpful?

2.5 ⭐️
Hear me out! I have so mixed feelings about this book. The first 1/3 was absolutely perfect and I couldn’t stop reading and then I started struggling with it and I’m not sure is it the book problem or me problem.
If you want MM, emotional read with broken MCs, age gap, anxiety rep, bi-awakening - I still think you should give this one a go.

Was this review helpful?

I expected this to be a garden variety MM romance (which can be very enjoyable and entertaining) and was surprised by how well-realized our two main characters Shane and Cole are.

Shane's a twenty-five year old executive with his eye on the C-Suite at Branson Financial when he encounters a drunken, grieving Cole Branson, the estranged son of the firm's founder, whose husband, Pax, used to hold Shane's current job.

As Shane and Cole connect, they discover and explore a neutrally beneficial friends-with-benefits relationship (with flavors of D/s and Daddy-kink) and it quickly becomes clear that feelings, as well as f*cking are involved.

There's a lot that's well done here, including the portrayals of grief, trauma, Shane's anxiety and neurospiciness (the latter of which has lead people to dismiss and ridicule him), and kink.

I found some of the writing stilted and a few of the scenes confusing (characters appeared out of nowhere). I'm not big on Daddy-kink (and wouldn't have requested the ARC had I realized that was an aspect), but I will say that it's handled with a light touch. The pacing was also a bit off for me.

Overall, this is a well written debut with a lot of good stuff at its core. It's a 3.75 stars for me, rounded up.

Thank you to Heather Leighson, the publisher, and NetGalley for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

I liked the characters in this book, the story was well flushed out and the epilogue was cute. Shane and Cole were lovely.

Was this review helpful?

This romance was a fairly quick, yet satisfying read. Cole has avoided any idea of love since the death of his husband, he's been determined not to lose his heart to anyone, but Shane makes him question everything that came before. Shane hasn't found himself attracted to men before, but there's something about Cole that he just finds irresistible.
I really enjoyed this romance between the two men as they discovered what they really mean to one another. Cole and Shane made a great couple and I loved seeing them start their journey together.
Overall a great read and I'd love to hear more from the other characters in this book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own and given voluntarily.

Was this review helpful?

The Truth of Loving You follows Shane and Cole. Cole is still mourning the loss of his husband after 5 years. Shane is dealing with anxiety and a loss of his own. Together they form an arrangement that helps them both and leads to feelings.

This book was good but it felt a bit disjointed. Actions didn’t always match conversations and then things progressed rather quickly? Overall I really enjoyed the banter and was rooting for this couple to make it work.

If you’re looking for a spicy mm romance with fun side characters this is worth checking out.

Was this review helpful?

So, I have to honestly say that I didn't love this book.

I felt like it had great bones but it felt like a lot of detail was just missing. I felt like scenes were missing, conversations that should have taken place didn't or they happened and we were notified of it afterwards, and Shane's job was wrapped up WAY too neatly.

It was also very weird how characters would appear suddenly like they were always there, but weren't mentioned being around them. For instance, Alec in the tattoo parlor. He wasn't mentioned in the paragraph leading up to his (Alec) and Shane's conversation until he was just suddenly speaking. I went back and nope. No mention. I had to read a few lines after to make sure WHO was speaking as Alec hadn't been brought up. This started happening so frequently that I honestly started skimming because a lot of things just didn't make sense.

The Daddy kink (A favorite of mine!) was also REALLY weird here and it came and went so quickly that I wasn't sure if it was an occasional thing or if it was going to stick. It would have been nice to see them mention it was just a bedroom kink or if they were going to keep using it out in the world.

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?

I thought I had already read my last five-star book of the year but it turns out I was wrong.
From the first page, from the first chapter I was captured by Shane and Cole
I read it in less than twenty-four hours because I am such an obsessive mood reader that I needed to know everything, learn every detail of these characters and when I was on the verge of not believing what I was reading I fell more in love.
I have to pause my reading before finishing the book so I could ran to see Heather Leighson books and my heart fell a little when I saw that it was the first in the series, I need to read more of her and this world she create, I need a backlist to fan read everything!
I have my own obsessions and anxiety issues when I like a book so much, and I deeply enjoy going through them like a good bookworm
Trying to be more logical, I can say that this romance between two men who seek how to survive day by day with the weight of past, grief and guilt on their shoulders and find in each other the door to begin to heal.
They are beautiful characters and every exchange between them seemed like a piece of open heart. Of course the steamy scenes were pure fire but they were so full of feelings that they are impossible to forget or separate of the characters. It was perfect written and there aren't that many writers who achieve that perfect balance and make me love the pain of a good angst open heart romance experience , and coming quickly to my mind I can think of one of my favorites… Chloe Liese
I'm going to take the words from the author's notes and I'm going to sit very still, well maybe I won't stop talking about this book and recommending it non-stop to everyone, but I’ll be waiting for the next book, for all the ones that follow.
Thanks to Heather Leihgson for give me a copy of this beautiful book in exchange for my honest and voluntary opinion

Was this review helpful?

Shane is focused on his career. He has a goal he wants to achieve and nothing and no one will stand in his way. One day when he walks into his office he sees a man sitting in his chair. Right away Shane doesn't understand the feelings this man is bringing out. Could a touch and a nickname from a drunk man change everything?

Shane is misunderstood. Cole is a sweetheart in mourning. Their first encounter was so painful. I love a good nickname and Cole calling Shane "Pretty boy" doesn't disappoint. The tattoo appointment was a lot to handle. I enjoyed the bar scene. It did end a bit abruptly. For people who don't read the epilogue, they would just think the book stopped in the middle of a scene when in actuality it ends better after reading the epilogue. Not a bad read but very heavy. I think you need to be in the right head space for this.

Was this review helpful?

This is the first book I've read by this author and hopefully won't be the last. This is an age gap, bi-awakening read about Shane and Cole.

Was this review helpful?

This book grabbed me right from the start. It had me alternatively very happy and then hurting the next minute. Found it hard to put the book down in the middle of reading.

Shane and Cole have both been hurt badly in the past and believe they won't ever find happiness again. Or even deserve it. They both struggle with their pasts and feel that the other one is too good for them and can't ever love them.

I liked the alternative POVs. That allowed us to get the story from them both.

Was this review helpful?

I LOVED Cole and Shane so much. I didn't want their story to be over, I was INVESTED. I loved how real they were. Usually it's a smut only MM book but this is the perfect dose of reality and smut.
Both Cole and Shane have interesting stories and it brings them together in the most unique way. The ending was INCREDIBLE, I was shocked! SO SO GOOD. GET THIS BOOK!

Was this review helpful?

I loved reading this story. I was a little hesitant when I read the trigger warnings (death of twin) but I went for it anyway and am so glad I did. It wasn't done in a way to elicit trauma feelings, just part of the story.

I can't wait to read it again!

I could have done without the work drama but I feel like all books have at least one aspect I wish was cut. It was minor and didn't take up much of the story.

Was this review helpful?

I made it 39% of the way through before I got bored and tapped out. This book is 90% spice and 10% plot. I feel like the two characters jump into bed without you really learning their back stories. I also kept getting the two leads mixed up. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Was this review helpful?

I loved this book. I don't know exactly what I was expecting but it wasn't this emotional roller coaster. Cole lost his love and his will do try again someday. And then came along Shane that changed everything. He made him see new possibilities and that maybe love was worth it after all. Shane had been through something traumatic too and it was affecting his whole life not getting it resolved. I loved Shane put his foot down in various occasions with Cole and made him see that what they had was worth it. And then the roles were reversed and Cole was the one doing all the right things and showing Shane that letting love in your life just does you good. They had each others back and neither of them gave up on the other, no matter the circunstances or the time or whatever, they each fought for the other. I loved that when they had a conflict they each gave the other time to thing and then talked about it, that's what a healthy relationship is supposed to be.

Was this review helpful?

The truth of loving you
By: Heather Leighson


Heart wrenching and beautiful!

In my first book from this author I can with all honesty can say it was perfection. I do not use those words often so trust me from the reviewer it high praise. Two truly kind very broken men come together in the most awkward of ways to become something neither was looking for. The authors writing is flawless and the words are so captivating, the plot had so many twists and turns and none that I was expecting, and many shockingly intimate. The authors ability to have two separate individuals struggling in their everyday life and try to navigate someone else’s thoughts, needs and desires was intense and gives all the fills.

Authors Blurb: Cole:
There is no second chance at love. Not since I buried my heart with my husband. Shane shouldn’t matter because I’ve sworn off men. Unfortunately, I’m obsessed with big brown eyes, a square jaw, and a pink flush. Shane is too young, too innocent, and too smart to get involved with me. But when he begs, I cave, agreeing to teach him and give him what he needs. Now we’re in too deep- either I’ll destroy his heart or he’ll destroy what’s left of mine.

I’m on the cusp of achieving my dream promotion to the C-Suite of a major financial corporation, when Cole, the CEO’s grieving, broody son, stumbles into my life. Cole has made me question everything from my sexuality to my goals. He’s unlocked new desires I desperately crave. Large hands and a commanding voice calm the storm in my head. I’m addicted even though he could absolutely ruin my career. Failure at my job isn’t an option; clinging to success has kept me sane. Love defies logic.

This book has everything I love in a book. Then you add that it's beautifully written and believable. It is easily a five star read. Written in dual POV my personal favorite this story flows so incredibly well that the next thing you know your 80% into the book and loving every second of it. The believable way the characters interact is perfect. Run, Hop, Jump or use your (1 click) finger to do whatever you have to do and get this amazing book. It'll break your heart, you'll want to scream with frustration and it'll let you discover that love just might conquer all. The chemistry is steamy and sweet and oh so romantic.

Thanks Netgally for letting me read and review.📚💕

Was this review helpful?

This started out as a cute story, almost a coming of age, and then the second half of the book took the sexy and added the emotion. This is a reassuring story, which covers some sensitive issues around mental health well and in a caring manner. Both Cole and Shane have some rough edges, and it seems like there isn't a way for them to have a future, even if that was something that they wanted. As things get a little deeper and their past loves and bruises show up and challenge them, I was absolutely fighting for their happy ending to happen.

Was this review helpful?