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

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