Book: Secrets of You
Series: Sunshine & Happiness #4
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication date: March 3, 2017
Cover artist: AngstyG
Length: 220 pages
Reviewed by Morningstar
It’s never easy to find redemption.
Carrying scars and regrets, River Darcourt avoids too much intimate contact. Among his friends, he is known as a quiet loner. Forget about love. It’s not something he will consider… until sweet, young, and tempting Morgan Hayes becomes his housemate. River closed his heart long ago, but the attraction is impossible to deny.
Morgan Hayes needs a change. He is moving out of his critical father’s home and in with his friends, including his secret/not-so-secret crush, River. Having feelings for River is a terrible idea. But what is a guy to do when the annoyingly sexy mechanic is just across the hall?
While Morgan has overcome ugliness and is ready for love, he’s just not sure River ever will be. They have both experienced pain in their lives. So Morgan dares River to take a chance, and love will either break their fractured hearts in more pieces or, just possibly, make them whole again.
Hey there, Skylar! It’s super talking with you today. You have a new book coming out so I’m going to shine the spotlight on you a bit and see what I can pull out of you….LOL…
Hello! Thanks for having me visit!
Tell us about your new release?
It’s a roommate romance, where the hot guy is down the hall, and it’s hard to resist the temptation. But he’s got baggage. You’ve got baggage. All your friends think it’s a bad idea. So you resist….until you can’t. That’s the surface plot.
I also played with the idea of going from that unattainable crush, to getting him, to finally seeing him as a whole, flawed person. That was from Morgan’s side of things. For River, it was about taking a chance with his heart, which has been through a lot already, and whether or not he deserved that chance.
This is book 4 in this series. Is it a standalone or do you recommend people reading each one in order?
It can be a standalone and be quite enjoyable. However, it does refer to some items from the previous books, so ultimately I would read them in order.
It was a complicated one to write. When a book in number 4 in a series, you have a lot of material to include and resolve. I actually worked with multiple editors to make sure I was getting it all right. I wanted to sure Morgan sounded like the Morgan from earlier, and River sounded like River. That said, I also requested people unfamiliar with the characters to make certain it could standalone and deliver a solid, heartfelt romance.
Do you have a favorite character in this book, or one that just speaks to you more?
A big fat yes! River spoke to me from the very first book, Here for You. I knew his story was going to be important.
River is this guy who wasn’t allowed to fully express his emotions before. A guy who makes a lot of mistakes, but has a really sweet and loyal heart. But in many ways, his confidence in his self-worth was shattered. Most of all, like so many of us, he stumbled around with love and was hurt by rejection. He deserves every part of his HEA----wow, as I write this, I’m feeling protective of him!
Well, this was supposed to end the series, and River’s story does end the underlying theme of healing in the first four books.
A few other secondary characters are asking for their stories, though, so I would never say never! *grins* If I did a few more, they would be much less connected to these original four, and more like standalones.
For now, I’m going to take a break from it.
Of someone was just finding this series and basically said, “Hey what’s it about.” How would you sum it up?
To me, the series is about friendship. The guys live together as housemates, but their connection is very deep. They are looking for love, but they also are looking for a family to belong to and depend upon.
Although others might point to a specific incident in the first book as focus of the series, and it is an important thread, I felt it was more the catalyst for all other guys to wake up.
It’s like how Sleeping Beauty needs to be awake to really know who she is, and that awakening can be traumatic. The series is really about how life can be bumpy and unfair, and we have to stay determined to fight for our happiness.
Writing a series vs a standalone. Pros and cons?
The pros of a series: it’s a big canvas to play on, you can revisit beloved characters, and it allows you to create an entire place (I love fictional towns). Finishing a series is like finishing a marathon!
The cons of a series: finishing them, lol
And keeping track of the details, handling so many characters at once, keeping the interest of readers
The pros of a standalone: it’s simpler to manage, faster to write, and exhilarating like a sprint
The cons of a standalone: never revisiting the characters, cutting scenes that need too much space, and it’s over too soon
Can I ask you what else you have coming out in 2017?
I have a Dreampun Desire book coming late in 2017. It’s a totally fun, tropey thing about a rock star and a cowboy. This one is a total escape! I’m currently finishing it.
I might continue my Daring the Wolf paranormal world this summer and give Sebastian his story. I’m aiming for Halloween for it.
I have two standalone books about young athletes.
I’m not sure when the will be released honestly, but one is about a virgin basketball player involved in a college scandal, and the other one involves a swimmer who needs to reinvent himself after a bad love affair and decides to swim across the English Channel.
Thank you, Skylar for talking with us. This looks like an awesome book and a terrific series.
It was my pleasure!
Lately I find myself drawn into stories because I’m drawn to one or more characters in the story. This one was no different. Morgan was that character for me in this story. He was so strong in the face of a terrible attack, a mom who abandoned him, and a Dad who basically tolerated him. No matter what he faced he made the choice to wake up every day and be happy, be who he was, and live his life to the fullest. Step by step he made the choices to go after the things he needed like moving out of his Dad’s and in with friends to go after the things he wanted like starting design school, and to go after the things he only hoped for like River Darcourt. With each word, I grew to not only admire him but cheer for him. How could you not when he had faced such adversity and loss in his life?
That isn’t to say that River was less of a character, because it simply isn’t true. That man paid his dues in life but was still holding on to the idea that he was cursed and someone as happy and wonderful as Morgan deserved better than the darkness that lived inside him. He was wrong, of course, and leave it to Morgan to help him see that. River needs to let go of the past and to do that he needs to open old wounds and face them head on. Then maybe he can go home, his real home, and go after what he wants.
There were some minor inconsistencies that some won’t notice. They weren’t glaring enough to jar me from the story but they were there all the same. The setting that the author gave us was well built and I easily fell into that world. It didn’t follow a pattern so there was no predictability in how things went down between these two, which I loved. The secondary characters, although important, didn’t take away from the main characters at all.
Although I loved this book, there was just that something I cannot grasp that was missing for me. Overall a lovely read that help my attention and some of my heart. This is most likely just a me thing and not a problem with the story. I urge readers to give it a try the emotional journey for these two alone was completely worth the time it took to read.
*Can be read as a standalone
About the Author
Skylar M. Cates loves a goodis quite happy to drink some coffee, curl up with a good book, and not move all day. Most days, however, Skylar is chasing after her husband, her kids, and her giant dog, Wasabi. On a shoestring budget, Skylar has been lucky enough to have traveled all over the country, and she still loves to chat with people from all around the globe.
MY BLOG: https://skylarmcates.wordpress.com/
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