A Jeri Review: Close to You (Sunshine and Happiness #3) by Skylar M. Cates

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Close To YouIt’s hard to recover from a first love. Some people never do.

How hard would you fight to keep your best friend? Marc Lucas and Tomas Santos have been best friends forever, but now their friendship is in a crisis. When they were boys, betrayals ripped their world apart. They thought it was fixed, but some parts remained broken. Ever since he saved him from a humiliation at school, Marc has loved Tomas. The last thing he expects is for Tomas to love him back. To keep his best friend, Marc revisits an abusive past he’s tried to forget.

For Tomas, loving Marc has been anything but easy. His upbringing told him it was wrong, so why did it feel so right? Accepting who he is as an adult, Tomas decides he needs a committed relationship. To his deep sorrow, he can’t seem to find it with Marc.

When the two find themselves alone and in the grip of a hurricane, long-buried feelings emerge. Being “just friends” is no longer an option. They must risk it all on love.

I read the first book in this series, somehow missed the second and now this is the third. I definitely want to go back and read the second to fill in some of the blanks.
Marc and Tomas had very different upbringing, but they became unlikely friends. When Tomas realizes the abuse going on in Marc’s home he broke his friends trust by asking his grandfather for help. But he ended up betraying his only friend and losing him.
Although they lost touch for years, they never forgot each other. As an adult, Tomas seeks Marc out. To explain what happened and to hopefully get his friend back. They become roommates and tentative friends, but Marc can’t forget what happened. In a half hearted attempt to spare Marc’s feelings, Tomas moves out. But with mutual friends, they often see each other. And the feelings between them grow.
This story broke my heart. I could feel and understand how betrayed Marc felt, but I could also completely understand how Tomas was trying to help.
The closeness and connection between them was evident. From Tomas immediately calling Marc for help and Marc dropping what he was doing to offer that help.
One man with a very religious background and one man with little understanding of love, trust and loyalty. As adults they begin to evolve and grow together. And they finally understand and accept what happened when they were teens.
The author does an excellent job of maintaining side characters so that you want to read the next story to see what happens with them.
Although the story needed the background of their childhoods, I would have liked it more if the childhood story was told all at once and not in a series of flash backs. This created a bit of a disconnect for me and I would have been more invested in the story if I knew the whole background up front instead of thinking Marc being a jerk and then finding out why. Or that Tomas was tentative and stand offish without knowing his whole story.
Still a good book, but I would recommend starting with book 1 and reading in order.
Cover art by AngstyG. Love the beach background on the cover, but the models were a bit too generic and similar.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 248 pages
Published March 28th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634771362 (ISBN13: 9781634771368)
Edition LanguageEnglishSeries Sunshine and Happiness

A MelanieM Review: A Guy’s Thanksgiving (The Guy #3.5) by Skylar M. Cates

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

A Work in The Guy Series

A Guy's Thanksgiving coverTwo proposals. One giant dog. Reunited lovers.

Welcome to Glamour, Arizona, where the holidays are never dull. Glamour may be a small town, but the surprises keep coming.

Everybody’s looking forward to Thanksgiving. Only Mac Sharma is a reluctant guest. Even as Anthony and Dean make him feel welcome at the Carrino table, Mac feels awkward among the close-knit group of friends. Life gets even more complicated when Conor Harvey shows up in town.

Mac has been in love with Conor since his university days. Too bad Conor broke his heart—right before he fled to his hometown in Ireland without explanation. Conor’s still a wild artist and as sexy as Mac remembers. But they’re no longer kids. This Thanksgiving, Mac must decide if he can give Conor a second chance.

You know that meme “You had one job”?  Here cover artist Maria Fanning had one job and nailed it. I saw the cover and knew I wanted to read this story.  That was it.  From that table above the title that you knew was going to be laid out full of food for Thanksgiving to that soulful pup gazing out at you below the title, I was hooked.  I’m a sucker for stories with dogs in them anyway, add to that a holiday story other than Christmas?  I’m in.

A Guy’s Thanksgiving by Skylar M. Cates turned out to be such a heartwarming and lovely story, perfect for this Thanksgiving season or anytime you are looking for a sweet romantic contemporary romance to read. Its the first in the series for me but I don’t feel that it worked against me here.  The author did a nice job of bringing all the couples of the previous books together in short little sketches, enough to let us know something about each of them and their relationship and their part in the group.  I have to say that the 126 pages flew by and made the town of Glamour warm and inviting, enough so that I’m going to be backtracking and picking up the rest of the stories.

There are several main story lines, not just one.  The first involves Mac Sharma, art dealer and Irish artist Conor Harvey.  Their past history is one of broken hearts and miscommunication. I liked the interracial relationship, especially Mac searching for his mother’s recipes to bring to the table for Thanksgiving.  The dog?  All I can say is that it involves Henry and Locke from The Last Guy Breathing (The Guy #3) in a heartbreaking, very real way.  And yes, it was my favorite part of the story.  But there was also Anthony Carrino (The Guy From Glamour (The Guy #1) trying for the perfect Thanksgiving for Dean and his loved ones even though, dare I say it, he was sick as a  dog.  Who couldn’t relate to that?  All the couples from the previous stories are united here for Thanksgiving in Glamour.

My only issue here was that this story had so much heart, so many great couples and story lines that it should have been much longer to give them all their needed time and length to shine.  I wanted just that bit more of each of them in this book and feel they all got cut a tad short.  Still the author’s writing is lively, concise and the sex scenes are pretty darn hot.

In all, A Guy’s Thanksgiving by Skylar M. Cates is 126 pages of sweet, heart-felt romance and a quick read at this time of year when so many other things are grabbing at your attention and time.  I was so happy that cover stopped me in my tracks and made me read this story.  I mean really how can you pass that face up?

Cover art by Maria Fanning did the job.  It made me read the book without the blurb, without the title, just the cover.  You had one job and you did it perfectly! Grade A.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook
Published November 4th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1627985034 (ISBN13: 9781627985031)
seriesThe Guy #3.5

The Guy Series:

 

A Stella Review: Here For You by Skylar M. Cates

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Here for You by Skylar M. Cates coverLife is a thread connecting us. One pull and it all unravels. 

Cole Gannon arrives in the seaside town of Ocean Vista to work as a bartender and finally find a place to belong.  Determined to make a home for himself, Cole lives happily with his four colorful roommates, whom he considers brothers. The only problem is Cole’s attraction to Ian Stark—a guy all wrong for him. He wishes he didn’t keep running into the sexy lawyer.

  Ian knows Cole is attracted to him, but the younger man keeps him at arm’s length. It only makes Ian more determined to be with Cole and learn all his secrets. But while Ian has built a successful law practice, he hasn’t done too well with relationships.  

When a sudden and devastating tragedy occurs, it shatters Cole’s world and throws Cole and Ian together in unexpected ways. In an instant, everything between them changes forever.

I’m an emotional person, I know, but this book really wrecked my heart. I cried almost through all of it. I’ll try to not talk much about the plot cause I don’t want to give away any little detail that could spoil your reading. I have read other books by Skylar M. Cates and I can say I have always loved them.  I like her writing style, it’s easy to read even when the subject isn’t easy at all, but to me Here For You was something else for different reasons.

As I already said it’s really emotional, not just for the tragedy that occur in it, but in the background created for some of the  characters or in the way Cole is working hard to make a family of his own, where his blood family was a failure. Reading about this strong need he has and seeing him insecure and scared of losing the most important people in his life when everything was crushing down, was what left had me sobbing and gasping for breath. I love Cole, he’s caring and so strong, but the change (he and his friends have to face) is so irreversible it’s not easy not let go.  Its not just the fear of failure but hoping that  everyone will help him to continue and try to put together all the broken pieces his family has became.

I found the first thirty pages (more or less) really slow, because the author focused her writing on the secondary characters, introducing them very well.  We see nothing about the MCs together. In fact this is a choral book, obviously required in a story like this. I was able to know a lot about Cole and Ian’s pasts, I got to meet the second characters and feel how they hurt, each one in a different way. I fell for them as I fell for the sweet Cole and the protective and too perfect Ian.

Most of all, Here For You is Cole and Ian’s story, they are hot together and perfect for each other. Cole is taking care of himself since he was a little boy but when he meet Ian and once he stop running away from him, Cole discovers Ian can be his anchor, the one who can take care of him.

From the beginning I had the strong feeling this was going to be a part of a new series, there are all the premises of a great series, I already can see one couple having its beautiful and troubled story (I hope!).

This is the kind of book I like to read. It has already a place in my best of 2015. Highly highly recommended!!

Cover art by AngstyG. This artist is slowly becoming one of my favorite. I love this cover, has something magical and sweet.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press     All Romance (ARe)       Amazon     Buy It Here

Book Details:
Published February 27th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ebook, 234 pages
ISBN13 9781632168139
Edition language English
Series: Sunshine and Happiness #1