River has been alone for a long time. He has a group of friends who want to be his family, but River has a difficult time letting anyone in. He finally found someone in Brendan, only for him to be taken away way too soon. It’s been two years since Brendan’s death and River is simply going through the motions. When Morgan moves into the shared house, his sweet, upbeat personality charms River, but despite the intense attraction, River knows he is no good for anyone.
Morgan can finally breathe a little easier as he has moved out from his father’s house. The sight of River constantly tempts him, but he doesn’t know how to get River’s attention on him. Morgan has experienced his share of pain as well, but when the men are alone in the house for two weeks, the sparks certainly ignite. But River has to figure out how to move on and accept that he is worthy of love and worthy of Morgan.
River’s story is one that I have been waiting for throughout the entire Sunshine and Happiness series and we were given glimpses of him throughout the previous books. Secrets of You is not a book that I would recommend reading as a standalone as all of the stories weave together. When the book opens, River is still struggling. Everything is a struggle from finding enough work, to working through the avalanche of emotions he has gone through since Brendan’s death. River is attracted to Morgan, but he feels guilty about it. He feels like he’s betraying Brendan and he feels that with his past he simply is bad news for Morgan. Yet, he certainly cannot deny the attraction and the chemistry whenever they are near each other.
On the outside, River and Morgan are vastly different, with River’s leather jacket and motorcycle as compared to Morgan’s more effeminate style and Morgan amuses himself with how rugged he thinks River is.
“Hey,” River said in his typical greeting. He had a glass of iced tea in one hand and took a large sip. A manly sip. The kind of sip where his Adam’s apple bobbed and he clasped the glass in firm fingers. He was pure, manly evil.
The men have more in common than they realize at first. River is still working through his past, which we finally learn more about, and how he cannot forgive himself for disappointing his mother. The rest of River’s extended family turned their back on him and he feels that he deserves it all and he knows he’s completely closed off.
Morgan had accused him of having walls. So What? Walls kept the house standing.
Morgan also has family issues as his father raised him alone, and while he gave Morgan a safe place to live, Morgan knows he’s not the son his father wanted.
The guys have a lot of issues to work through that also includes Morgan recovering from the trauma of being assaulted in a previous book, River figuring out the best way to honor Brendan’s memory, and then Morgan struggling with feeling second to the memory of Brendan. Yet, none of it is overdone and while there is lingering sadness, there is enough hope to balance it all out.
The book is character driven with dual POV and we learn a lot about each guy. There are also many scenes of them together as the rest of the housemates are away for two weeks and River and Morgan are alone in the house. Once they decide to give in to their attraction, these guys do not hesitate and stay wrapped up together for many heated scenes.
The only issue that made itself known to me were a few areas of the book that felt jumpy in both conversation as well as setting, as a scene would end that didn’t feel quite finished before it moved on, but it all pulled together in the end.
This is my favorite book in the series and also my favorite book from Cates. For a story of redemption, hope, love, and two men that are better together than apart, Secrets of You delivers.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.