His Truth

By: Riley Hart


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?

Possible triggers: violence and homophobia

Special thanks to the following therapists/psychologists/LIFE SAVERS who read HIS TRUTH and provided feedback on Leo—but especially Roman, on his mental and emotional journey: Jackie Lelm, Mary Rutledge, Angela Lavine, Christina Lee, and Nikki Coleman.

Dear Reader,

I can’t believe we’re finally here, at the release of HIS TRUTH. Leo and Roman’s story came to me in October 2015. I decided to work on it for NaNo, which was in November. I was almost obsessed with their story for two weeks. I crazily wrote over 30,000 words in those two weeks and then…then I was just stuck. I couldn’t move forward and I didn’t know why. It was a hard pill for me to swallow but if I’ve learned anything in all my years of writing, it’s that you can’t really push a book.

So…I let it go. I wrote other books and I waited until they were ready to finish telling me their story.

Summer 2016, I read over what I’d written, and sent what I had to a friend of mine. I got excited about it and figured out where I wanted it to go. I finished the book, got a cover, sent it to edits and then…I wasn’t ready. I can’t answer why. There’s no specific reason. The story scared me, but again, I don’t know why. I just knew it had to be right. That I had to tell Leo and Roman’s story the way they told it to me and not how anyone else would want it told. That’s really important for an author. We all have ideas on how a story should be told, even the author, but the characters don’t always have the same ideas in mind.

So, for the second time, I shelved it. While I held onto it, I sent it to quite a few people—author friends, reader friends. They all asked why I wasn’t publishing it and I just didn’t know!

Fast forward to about November 2017. I loaded it onto my Kindle and read it again. I immediately fell in love with these two flawed, broken men again. Their love story was so special and so pure yet so tragic. I felt like I wasn’t giving them what they deserved by holding on to it. So, I made notes as I read and then I went in and added scenes, expanded scenes and changed a few things. I still wasn’t ready so I made a call for therapists and psychologists who would be willing to read it for me. Five therapists and psychologists read the story and gave me suggestions. I made those changes and finally, FINALLY, I felt ready to share Roman and Leo’s story. It went to edits again…and here we are.

I know it’s not light. I know it focuses a lot on Roman’s mental and emotional journey and not quite as much on the romance. I know we might not all feel like we would behave the same way as Leo and Roman if the situation were reversed but everyone is different. This is their story, their journey and I truly hope it touches your heart as much as it touched mine.



Roman Cipriani’s head snapped back. The punch landed right on his jaw. Pain seared through him. His brain rattled as he stumbled backward and struggled to stay on his feet. There was no use in trying as another body slammed into him, knocking him to the lawn. A rock jammed into his back, causing him to let out an umpf before the second person straddled him, and blow after blow pounded his ribs.

He looked into the wild eyes of his older brother, Anthony.