Close to You (Sunshine and Happiness #3)

Author: Skylar M. Cates

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Rating: 4.5 stars

Buy Links: DSP and Amazon

Type: Novel in a Series

Received from Publisher

 

Blurb: It’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.

 

Review: Tomas and Marc’s story arc has been torturing me since the first book. For that reason you’ll want to read this series in order. There’s a lot of history between them and the author teases us quite a bit in the first two books with their pain. Up until this book we really don’t know the details of that history. But now I do! Two thirds of the story alternates from the time they met when they were in eighth grade to where they left off in the last book with Tomas moving out of the house. For me this did slow the book down a bit but it certainly answers why Marc is so emotionally unavailable. Even to the man he’s been in love with since the day they met. I know. He’s complicated.

Tomas meets Marc his first day at a new school. Marc is the kid nobody likes. Tomas is big, smart, confident and friendly so he has no problem finding friends. There’s something about the loner Marc that intrigues him. Marc is angry. He’s been physically abused for years by his drunken dad. He’s hungry all the time from lack of care from his father. Never has nice clean clothes. Marc is the last kid to get picked for anything. Which is how he becomes friends with Tomas. Tomas being a nice guy offers to partner with the guy nobody wants to partner with. Marc lashes out at him as usual but after a rocky beginning they become friends. Tomas thinks Marc is fun. Marc thinks Tomas is his lifeline. The one good thing in his awful life. With Tomas he’s finally not alone. He still has to keep his home life secret. Even from his best friend.

Back in the present Marc is finally in his much needed therapy sessions after he promised Morgan he’d go with him. Marc is miserable without Tomas. He’s told himself for years that he’s not capable of giving Tomas everything he deserves so not to give him any hope. Even if Tomas is what he wants most in life. Marc can’t seem to make himself take a chance and risk losing his friendship again. Tomas thought he could move on after moving out the house the guys shared. The absence of his best friend and love of his life just makes him realize he’ll never be happy settling for anyone else after he’s experienced the deep passionate all consuming kind of love he once felt with Marc. Marc showing up on his doorstep to help him out just gives him the nudge he’s been needing. He will wait for Marc. It may hurt but it’s his only chance at true happiness.

It all gets more complicated then stated above. A lot has happened between them. Marc is very damaged. He knows it but never really wants to face it. He sort of just shoves in all his past and looks to the future. Marc has made something of himself. Now that he’s here he realizes he wants to enjoy that life with Tomas. As his lover and his friend. It’s a struggle for Marc. Wanting it doesn’t mean letting it happen is as easy as it should be considering they’ve been pining away for each other for over a decade. Marc and Tomas both know they love each other. They have to navigate through needing each other emotionally and physically while working through all that hurt and Marc’s issues with his past.

I’m so happy these two finally get their HEA. I’ve been waiting for their story since the first book. It’s been a long heartbreaking road. What makes this couple so special to me is that they do have all this history. Both good and bad. Which for me made for an intensely emotionally read. Nothing is as easy as it should be between these two. All the guys from previous books have cameos in this story. They’re all still feeling the loss of Brendan but slowing moving on with their lives. River makes a little progress in this book. I’m really hoping we get a River and Morgan story. Another great read by Skylar Cates. I’m a big fan of her work. I adore the great characters she writes. Her books are also always super sexy. In this book particularly because there was so much want built up between the MCs that when it finally happens it’s amazing. I absolutely recommend this series to anyone who likes to read about broken characters finding their happiness.

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