The Guy on the Left by Kate Stewart
Published by Self Published on 12/7/19
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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It started with a lie. A night of blurred lines between a teacher and a student.
I wasn’t her student, yet it was the single most defining night of my life.
I’ve never been the man she thinks I am.
Most people have no idea about the life I’ve lived or the words that ring true when it comes to me—still waters run deep.
But you’d be hard-pressed to find a coed on the TGU campus who knows otherwise…because I’ve never corrected them.
The clock is ticking down, it’s Fourth and Inches with the ball inside the one-yard line and the focus is on me, The Guy on the Left. I’ve never felt like a football god, inside I’m…just Troy.
It’s time to set the record straight.
For my son, I‘ll find the strength.
In her eyes, I’m determined to gain redemption.
I will have them both, even if I have to take my eye off the ball.
Look what’s LIVE EARLY, you guys. Yes, Troy is here. And OMG. This book. We FIVE STAR loved it. It’s got all the feels, all the angst, and is the most unputdownable read! You are going to fall in love with Troy and Clarissa. Their romance is a slow burn, it’s angsty and full of depth and charm and laughs and sweetness and realness. So GOOD! Seriously. A must read. LIVE + FREE in KU! You can read our FIVE STAR reviews below!
“Troy,” I shake my head, still trapped beneath him. “We’re a train wreck.”
“So what? Our story is messy, unconventional. We can be messy together, that makes us perfect.”
The Guy on the Left was one of my most anticipated books of the year. I wanted this story so damn bad I could hardly stand it. After meeting Troy in The Guy on the Right, you can’t help but WANT to know him. He’s the playboy, the life of the party, the one person everybody wants to be around! He’s charismatic and charming, sexy and funny, and I instantly fell in love with him. So going into this, I had high expectations and a deep curiosity of who Troy really was on the inside. And OHHHHHHHH BOY, was his book EVERYTHING I ever wanted and SO MUCH MORE.
Kate Stewart is truly an incredible writer. Story after story, she digs deep and meticulously and painstakingly develops her characters with an authenticity that can’t be matched. Reading her stories feels like you’ve just LIVED a FULL LIFE from beginning to end. It’s a journey. And The Guy on the Left was no different. Diving into this romance felt like an experience. A heartfelt ride filled with forgiveness and second chances.
And I LOVED every minute. Troy and Clarissa’s are definitely a hot-mess. Their relationship is the definition of complicated. Honestly, you almost think it could never work out between them. Their start’s not a good one. The damage Troy’s lie has created between them feels so huge, it’s almost insurmountable. They both carry a lot of pain and resentment, and Clarissa certainly doesn’t trust Troy. But under all that darkness is a single ray of light, and that’s their son. Dante is the glue that binds these two together.
And holy moly, is this little boy the most precious thing EVER. He is so funny, so quirky, so smart. The relationship he has with his mother is beautiful, but the relationship he builds with Troy is ANOTHER LEVEL. And gahhhhh, I don’t know what it is about men who treasure their kids, but for me it’s EVERYTHING. I think not having a present father in my life plays into that, but when I read about a male characters who would give absolutely anything for their kid, it’s my kryptonite. And that’s exactly what I LOVED so much about Troy! His dedication to his little boy lights you up. The man longs to be apart of his kids life and it wrecks you. Troy is so tender-hearted and vulnerable and real. And God, there’s this saying that there’s nothing like a mother’s love, but I think that there’s NOTHING like a father’s love too. And Kate brings that to life in The Guy on the Left.
“I’ve memorized you, Clarissa, the shape of your lips, the lilt of your voice, your every smile, every mood, your everything. I used to think it was because I’ve grown so used to watching because of Dante,” he wipes another tear from my cheek, “but it’s not just our son, baby, it’s you. He wasn’t the only one I was falling for.”
On top of Troy’s desperate desire to know his son, is his desire to fix what’s been broken with Clarissa, and it’s so endearing. Seriously, you guys, this story is so angsty and layered! It builds slowly, develops organically into this gorgeous romance that felt heavy at times, but all so real and raw and just beautiful. It was one of those reads that I couldn’t read fast enough and never wanted to end. I fell in love with every detail, from the brokenness between Clarissa and Troy and the need they had to fix it, to the relationship they each had with Dante. I fell for the realness of the writing, the comedic timing of Dante’s funny little lines, and of course the seriously hotttttt moments.
Overall, it was just perfect. I felt like Kate Stewart brought every. single. thing in this companion novel to The Guy on the Right. It was so so so good. A must read. One I will be recommending over and over again. You can read it as a standalone, however, you can’t miss Theo’s story, so if you can, start with that first. The timelines in these books (The Guy on the Right – Bk #1, The Guy on the Left – Bk #2) overlap, so it works best if they are read in order. Other than that, GO BINGE. This is exactly what romance should be.
To be perfectly frank, Troy’s book has been one of my most highly anticipated reads of this entire year. I have been literally dying for the story of the Texas Grand football superstar and his single mom neighbor since I was first introduced to him in The Guy on the Right. I was DESPERATE for the story behind this guy, this womanizing athlete with a reputation that preceded him but who definitely seemed misunderstood by the time I’d finished Theo’s book.
Let me just say, Kate Stewart brought it with The Guy on the Left and I was here for all of it. This book took every expectation I had for Troy’s book and BLEW THE HELL OUT OF THEM. This was a story of second chances. This was a slow burn enemies to lovers romance. This was a story full of angst and push and pull and the most EPIC, LUSH ROMANCE. This was a book that was so SEXY, so STEAMY, so PERFECTLY PACED. The fierce attraction and the palpable tension and the relentless war of emotion had me feeling like it was 2012 all over again and I’d just discovered why the romance genre was my jam. I didn’t want to go to work. I didn’t want to go to sleep. I never wanted out of Troy’s orbit. I’m still desperate to go back.
I honestly don’t even have words. Troy stole my heart in this book for every single unquantifiable reason. For his dynamic with Dante. For his selflessness and his devotion and his sweetness and for all the ways he was never what we thought he was. For how determined he is to deserve a shot. For how much he loves his mother. For the way he blows leaves. For the way he stands up for himself, for what he wants, for people that deserve it. For the way he demonstrates who he is and, later, the way he says it out loud. For the way he grows up into exactly what Clarissa doesn’t even know she needs. I can’t fully describe how much I loved him but he came through and just ended wayyyyyyyy high up on my list of top favorite romance heroes everrrrrr.
Kate Stewart slayed with this book. She can’t write the same book twice so you never actually know what you’ll get when she delivers a new story. She upped her game yet again with The Guy on the Left and I could not have possibly loved this book more. I laughed my ass off on every page. This book mixes angsty, heart wrenching romance with the smart hilarity of a rom com and the result was nothing short of SUPERB. Parker’s dialogue, Dante’s one liners, the antics these characters get up to amidst the most complicated, deliciously painstaking love story was everything I could’ve ever wanted.
I was head over heels in love and lust with every page of The Guy on the Left. It’s not only one of my top favorite reads from this author but it’s one of my favorite romances of the year. I can not say enough about Troy and I wouldn’t want to if I had the words. Read it. Feel it. Fall in love with him as I did. Let Kate Stewart’s absorbing storytelling take you through the most unforgettable story of forgiveness and determination and just feel all the things. You have to read this book and I highly recommend reading Theo’s book first just so you can fully appreciate Troy’s journey. It’s phenomenal. It’s epic. It’s unbelievably romantic, the kind that cracks your heart and melts it and claws it’s way in and never relents. Start there and them brace yourself for The Guy on the Left because Troy’s story is one that will MAKE YOUR ENTIRE YEAR.
“Do you think about that night?” His voice is low, gravelly, and sexy as hell. My mouth goes dry as I stand at his window, my breaths coming faster. When I don’t answer, he prompts me again.
“Be honest. Do you think about it?”
“D-d-do you?” my voice is just as affected. “Do you even remember it?”
“It was the hottest fucking night of my life. Of course, I remember it. And I remember how good it felt with you stretched around me. Even after all these years.”
“Troy, we can’t—”
“You tasted sweet, and I loved the way you let out those moans of yours, the way your breath caught when you came. The way you kissed me back. Fuck, the way you kissed me back. You didn’t hold back with me. I remember that the most.”
“Troy, I can’t go down this road with you.”
“Why not?” He whispers hoarsely. “You could forgive me. We could start over. We could have something real this time.”
Slowly I exhale, remembering the woman who drove toward his school with all the hopes in the world of starting something real.
“You can come back here and let me in. I’ll start with your lips and then drop to your ankles. Work my way up—spread you, lick you, suck you, fuck you—make you come so fucking hard. All you have to do is just let go, Clarissa, let me try. Give us a chance. I won’t touch you unless you agree.”
“We are nothing alike.”
“You don’t know that.”
“I’m with someone.”
“Break it off.”
“I’m happy with him.”
I narrow my eyes across the small expanse of yard between us.
“Maybe he’s what you think you need, not what you want. What if I can give you both?”
“You assume too much and know nothing of my relationship.”
“Can’t be much of a relationship. He didn’t call or text once the whole time we were together tonight.”
“He’s busy and we’re not exclusive. Not yet.”
“You know why guys don’t do exclusive at first, Clarissa? It’s because they aren’t serious about the relationship, but want all the benefits. You shouldn’t play into that. That’s fucking bullshit. You deserve so much better.”
“Says the guy who escorts a different coed out of his house every week.”
“It’s not all that often and they aren’t you.”
I snort. “You can run lines all night, Jenner, I’m well versed in bullshit. Pretty words don’t work on me. Never have. If something happens, it’s because I want it to.”
“Believe it or not, I’m serious. If you were mine, I wouldn’t let an hour go by without proving it. Get back here and let me show you just how good we can be.”
“Fine. Put the physical aside, it can wait. What if we do this right? Take our time. What if we work, what if we give Dante a real family?”
“Stop, okay, just stop. I’m with Brett. I’m hanging up now.”
I end the call and see him hang his head before he disappears from the window. Gathering some clothes, I meet him at the door of my house. He’s angry, I can see it in the tick of his jaw as he takes them from me. “Thanks.”
“Troy, I’m sorry. I just don’t think it’s a good idea.”
“I get it. You don’t think I’m good enough. It’s fine.” He drops the towel and I can clearly see he’s hard. My jaw goes slack as I drink him in. Long, thick and fucking perfect. That’s the best way to describe him. His body is a solid wall of muscle, every part of him masculine and worthy of worship, but the pissed off expression on his face is the biggest turn on of all, no matter how wrong it is. And it’s because I can imagine the sex with him, the grudge fucking, and it’s tempting.
Following my line of sight, he glances down at his cock and smirks. “At least you know the attraction is mutual.” His tone is anything but playful. I’ve hurt him by shooting him down. He tugs on new boxers and then pulls up his sweats before gathering his costume from the floor. Breathless, I stand in the middle of the room as he glances at me with contempt before shaking his head.
“And women wonder why I don’t jump into commitment. Why I make my intentions clear. It’s because of this look, it’s because of these looks I get. My mother looked at my dad the same way. Either they’re afraid I’ll hurt them or afraid I won’t ever measure up to the daydreams they have of happily fucking ever after. News flash, maybe I won’t, maybe I can’t. I’m not perfect, but neither are they, and neither are you. But it’s expected of me somehow. To do the right things, say the right things.” He pulls his shirt down over his taut abs and draws my eyes away with his tone. “You and I may not be going anywhere, but I’m staying put. I’m not leaving my son. And I hope you hear me.” He walks over to where I stand and commands my eyes. “You keep punishing me for something you won’t let me apologize for, for something you won’t ever let me make up to you.” He rakes his teeth across his bottom lip. “But I want to, Clarissa. Oh, how I want to.”
Swallowing, I stand mute while his emotions fly around me. Emotions he’s hidden well. “Fuck it,” he says in a tone filled with ice. “I’m under enough pressure. Thanks for saving me from more.” And with that, he shuts the door softly behind him and I realize I’m still holding my breath.
Series Reading Order:
PS: The Guy on the Right (bk #1) is the first standalone in the Underdogs Series! It is a must read. The Guy on the Left (bk #2) is Troy’s standalone. These books are interconnected with overlapping timelines. You can read them by themselves, but we definitely recommend reading in order.
Also, both books are in Kindle Unlimited. If you don’t have Kindle Unlimited, you can get a 3 MONTHS FREE HERE!