Release Day Blitz: Close to You (Sunshine and Happiness #3) by Skylar M Cates

I'm excited to have Skylar M Cates visiting today and thrilled she agreed to answer some questions for me. So, let's get started and the first question is...

1.Did you learn anything from writing your book, and if so, what was it?

Thanks to some friends in these professional fields, I learned about social workers and the prison system. For example, my social worker pal guided me through things she would be allowed to say or not say to a minor. It was fascinating how the phrasing the social worker uses is so important. When it came to the prison system, I learned all kinds of fun ways one inmate can harm another with small items like toothbrushes.

2.    If you had to kill a character in your book, who would it be and why?

Well, I actually did kill a character in Here for You, which is book one in this series. As I wrote the book, I worried about it and considered other options.  But he kept telling me, “No, I’m not meant to survive this.” Eventually I listened. And you know what? His death tied this entire series together for me. It had such a ripple effect… honestly,  I can’t imagine another alternative. It was frightening at the time, though, to take that risk! 


3. How did you come up with the title for your book?

The entire series has the word “you” in all the titles, so that was a given. Then I brainstormed how Tomas and Marc interact. They have so much yearning for each other --–just to be in the same room with each other—---so Close to You made sense. 

4.    Can you share a little of your current work with us?

The fourth book in the series, involving River and Morgan, has most of my attention these days. Many readers asked me for River’s story, which is exciting and keeps me motivated.  Thank you to anybody who wrote me about him! There seems to be something about him that resonates with my readers. This is supposed to be the last book of the Sunshine and Happiness series, but a few stray characters are demanding to be heard….I’ll have to think it over. *grins* 
My other WIP is a departure for me. I have this pretty kinky, action-packed werewolf story (where the human dominates the wolf) in the editing stage.  

5.     What book are you reading now or have read recently?

I just read Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt. It is the true story of a transgender girl and her twin. The honesty in her story touched me.  I’d like to write a YA novel someday about having a transgender parent, so I found it interesting from a writing perspective too. Such a brave book! 

6.    Do you find yourself scrolling through Facebook more than you should? How do you balance Facebook time vs. writing time?

Ugh, I cannot multitask! I must shut off all social media to write. That is how I balance—I don’t balance it. When I’m on a break, however, I will scroll through Facebook and Twitter to catch up my friends. 

7. Is there a scene that is harder for you to write than others? Such as love? Action? Racy?

I love the sweet and the sexy, lol, but when I wrote The Last Guy Breathing, I found creating the action/thriller scenes difficult. It was my first attempt at having mystery elements in a novel, and the planning is much more intensive when you have to leave clues and have twists.

8.  How hard is it to send your characters out into the world?

Was this question designed just for me? Really freaking hard!  *laughs*  
 I have HUGE trouble letting them go. If the novel needs it, I’ll hold it and revise regardless of a deadline. I love my characters and want to protect them. Seriously, they are like my kids or my dog!

9.   Do you read your reviews? Do you have any advice for how to deal with the bad?

I do on occasion and in select places. I keep in mind what a reviewer that I met at Rainbow Con told me, “Every story is not for every reader.” It’s true. The more important question for me is delivering consistent quality for those who do like my stories. 
Basically when it comes to bad reviews, I try and take the high road, internalize the criticism that seems constructive, and release the grip the rest of it has on me. 
And there might be wine….

10.  Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What it is?

The second I declare a topic off-limits, a small, irreverent voice inside of me might yell, “Do it!”  So nope, nothing is off the table. 

Thank you for hosting me! 

Thank you, Skylar for being here and letting us get to know you better.

AUTHOR: Skylar M. Cates

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press


LENGTH: 248 Pages

RELEASE DATE: March 28, 2016




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.


ALL HE wants is sleep.

Marc Lucas is sick and tired of being tired. He isn’t getting his ass out of bed until sunrise. No fucking way.

If he’s not working extra shifts in the Florida heat, trimming trees to earn money, he’s in his night classes. He’s physically and mentally spent. He tosses and turns for about an hour, but eventually sleep grants him mercy.

When his phone rings in a series of loud, insistent sounds, Marc attempts to ignore it. Why hasn’t he set it to silent mode? He smacks the cell with his palm to shut it the hell up and tries to doze off again, disregarding his scratchy throat and need to pee, hoping to return to his much-desired rest. He’s nearly there, on the edge of dreaming, when a second later it starts to ring again.

Fuck. This can’t be good. Marc peers bleary-eyed at the screen. Three thirty in the goddamn morning.

“’Lo?” Marc answers. Uneasiness shoots down his spine; his instincts go on alert.

“It’s me,” Tomas says. “I’m in trouble.”

Marc’s heart gives a strange jerk as his brain takes time to process Tomas’s actual words. Simply hearing his voice causes a hollow pit inside.

“Are you there?”

“Yeah.” Marc noisily clears his throat. “What’s wrong?”

“It’s my grandfather. Fernando’s gone missing. It’s only been a few hours, and maybe it’s nothing, but-”

“I’ll be there, just lemme get dressed.”

“Ah—no. I’m sorry I called. It’s stupid for you to rush here in the middle of the night. I can handle it. Forget I called and go back to sleep. I’ll take care of it.”

“Because you can handle everything yourself?” Marc sighs. “Tomas, stop. You called me already, right? So enough with the independent, macho act. I’m coming.” He climbs out of bed and hurries to dress.

Although Marc usually finds Tomas’s strong, masculine code attractive, he also knows Tomas is vulnerable as hell when it comes to his family. So no, he’s not going to hang up and go back to sleep like some jackass, not when Tomas needs him. “I can be near your place in under forty-five minutes.”

“Don’t speed, okay? I want you here, but drive normally.”

Tomas’s familiar sweetness makes Marc swallow hard. He doesn’t want to end the call, but he needs to finish changing, drink a Red Bull, and gas up his car. A fist-sized ache pounds in his chest. God, he misses Tomas, misses talking to him, misses everything.

“Just text me when you’re here. I’m combing the neighborhood, and Avó Izzy called the police, though they said it’s too soon for their help.”

“Did your grandmother tell them Fernando has early-stage Alzheimer’s?”

“Yes, but they didn’t budge.”

“Figures.” Marc snorts. He has little use for the police.

“Maybe he’s only confused and got it in his head to go somewhere, even though it’s nighttime. Right?” Tomas draws in a breath.

Cradling the phone to his ear, Marc hears the worry in Tomas’s voice, the need for reassurance. For a moment he pictures Fernando the way he used to look—big, fierce, and disapproving. How did Fernando get old or frail? It seems impossible. Tomas resembles his grandfather, only Tomas just looks hard and tough. Fernando is a true ballbuster.

“He’ll be okay, Tomas. I know it.”

“I’m sorry to bother you….”

“No worries.” Marc stumbles to his dresser and he tugs on his jeans, not bothering to turn on the light or look for clean underwear.

The past hovers like a ghost between them. Over the static of his cell phone, Marc waits for Tomas to speak. Even when he and Tomas grow old and thin like Fernando—when their minds get pasty like oatmeal and their bodies begin to fail them—even then Marc will forever see Tomas as that boy he first met in middle school. The boy he fell desperately in love with, silently and forever.

“Thanks for doing this,” Tomas says.

“What are you talking about? It’s me. Of course I’m gonna come over.”

“You’re a good friend.”

Marc studies the darkness of his bedroom. Tomas’s compliment makes him uncomfortable.

“I mean it.”

Tomas pauses for a long time. Marc wonders whether he is thinking about the definition of their supposed friendship. He and Tomas are experts at pretending nothing else is between them. And that’s okay, Marc tells himself. He’s not right for Tomas. He can be happy as only friends.

Liar. He’s the king of fucking liars. It’s gotten to the point where he’s allergic to the truth.

No matter how much he messes up or how much he runs, Tomas is all he ever wants. “See ya soon.”


Skylar M. Cates loves a good romance. She is 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. Skylar dreams about spending her days writing her novels, walking along the beach, and making more time for her good friends. On a shoestring budget, Skylar has traveled all over in her early years. Although, lately, the laundry room is the farthest place she has visited, Skylar still loves to chat with people from all around the globe.

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Winner’s Prize: An e-book from Skylar’s backlist