Wednesday, March 1, 2017

ARC Review: Secrets of You (Sunshine and Happiness, #4) by Skylar M. Cates

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.

Jewel's rating:

Sunshine and Happiness is an interesting name for this series. It's set in Florida, so there is plenty of sunshine and the characters do find their happiness, so it isn't misnamed, but I will say that this series is angsty and often times a touch depressing, but there is always hope. It's never far away. The writing is stellar and the characters feel like real people facing real problems and though they do get their happy ending, getting there is never easy.

Ever since I read Here For You, I've been intrigued by River. He's a loner and he broods and when things get too tough for him, he takes off. Running away is River's signature move. In Here For You, he takes off after Brendan's death and through the other books you can tell he's not dealing very well. He had been seeing Brendan, but no one knew. He had feelings for Brendan, too. Strong ones and when Brendan died, River pretty well went off the rails.

River Darcourt is one of the most depressing characters I've read. He's not in the number 1 spot there, but he's high on the list. He's closed off and prone to running. He feels like no one could ever truly love him and he feels that some events of his past are completely unforgivable. River is screwed up and he knows it. He keeps everything inside and no one really knows him.

Morgan Hayes has lost some of the sparkle he used to have in abundance. Ever since he was attacked at a club, his sparkle has dulled. His father always tried to get Morgan to tone down the gay. To not be so obvious. The problem? Morgan is who he is and telling someone they should dim their shine is just wrong. But since Morgan's attack, he's had trouble not feeling like the attack was his fault. Morgan has been getting therapy, though, thank goodness, so he's getting better, but sometimes panic attacks happen.

So both our guys are a little broken, but neither are irreparably so, no matter what they might think. They have their insecurities -- River feels like he doesn't deserve love and Morgan wonders if he can compete with Brendan's ghost. However, when they are left on their own in the house while all the others are away on a cruise, well, their mutual attraction can't much be contained and they see just how good they can be together. But River needs to open up and let Morgan in, or they'll be doomed before they even begin.

I loved loved loved just how caring, protective and accepting that River was when it came to Morgan. River loved Morgan's sparkle and encouraged him to express himself. And Morgan was able to show River that he really did deserve love. They were fantastic together. And, oh to be in one's twenties again...they were very energetic. And hot.

Secrets of You is about letting go of the past. It's about learning that finding love is not just a dream. It's about opening up your soul and letting another in. It's about forgiveness.

I enjoyed this story quite a lot, but maybe not quite as much as the last book (it's close, though). This series, though, is a favorite and I recommend it for those that have a soft spot for hurt-comfort stories. And I'm hoping we get a story for a certain heartbroken, sexy fireman next (please, say yes!)

ARC of Secrets of You was generously provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

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